© Michelle Routhieaux 2018
© Michelle Routhieaux 2018
2-12-2018When I was really little I used to get bored in church. I was that kid that couldn’t stand children’s church when it was really daycare but had no idea what the pastor was talking about in actual church. So my mom and I would pass notes and sometimes she’d write phrases for me to copy. This is one of those phrase papers. I found it in a box of things from before I was 5. :)
© Michelle Routhieaux 2018
Today has been one of the most harrowing days of my life. I’m currently propped up on pillows on the couch staring, half-watched the tv. Mom’s falling asleep with Ellie in the chair, intermittently telling me random things. I’m trying to to type but it’s extremely difficult.
I went to the VA MH Council meeting this morning – no problems. I mean, I didn’t want to go and felt a bit out of sorts but no more than normal. I was running late but participated a lot and socialized with Jean & Howard and McCail after, walked down with everyone. I didn’t want to leave just yet, wasn’t sure about plans for the day, so I sat down in the lobby and journaled and charted. It’s something I’ve done before. I like having moments to myself, unrushed, and I like watching the volunteer interactions there at the front. I was starting to feel like my blood sugar was low, getting a bit weak and disoriented. I wrote it down. I was alarmed when I got up to leave and began stumbling to the right. My purse is heavy and I used it as a counterweight. I figured if I could just get some food I’d probably be just fine. I made it to the Valet, ate a glucose tab, made it to the Chipotle parking structure, thought things were fine. I worked on something on my phone before getting out of the car. But when I did I was still falling and stumbling to the right. I had a heck of a time trying to get up the broken escalator stairs. I was starting to freak out as I waited at Chipotle. It was hard to breathe but I wasn’t feeling anxious. I made it through the line leaning on the counter, could barely hold myself up. I held myself up on the table until I could sit down. A growing portion of the right side of my face felt pressure, then tingling, then burning. Lips sat in a pout. My right hand and arm were shaking so bad I couldn’t eat more than a few bites. It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever experienced and God in my head kept telling me, “GO.” I knew I wasn’t safe to drive. I drank half my soda, bagged the food, and called an Uber. Thankfully, there are many around me.
I was lucky to arrive at the hospital in an utter lull. I knew what would probably happen and did – Stroke Code. Front of the line, many nurses and doctors all around testing everything under the sun. I was having trouble speaking clearly, moving my right side purposefully, holding a steady gaze. I had no pain. I wasn’t anxious. I was actually quite peaceful. All I’d wanted to do that day was get my nails painted but that would have been after Chipotle. Lots of blood tests, urine tests, eventually an MRI.
They were much less interested when they figured out I’m a psych patient. Reminded me SO much of Adrienne and scared me, but I was exhausted – both from shaking so much and fear and from the Ativan they gave me to try to stop the shaking for the MRI. I couldn’t move if I’d tried in the MRI thanks to drugs but I couldn’t stop the twitching/shaking. It’s been like that sometimes in the past few weeks. I don’t know why. The MRI people were nice. The last doctor not so much. The nurse came in and said great that my mother was there and she could drive me home. Ummm, excuse me what? The doctor came in and said my MRI of my brain was perfect and there was nothing wrong. I looked up at him and said, “I’m gonna have to call ‘Bullshit’ on you for that one there but continue…” He gave no explanation of any of what happened or why, how to prevent it from happening again, what to do if it comes back. Nothing. He just left. Dickwad. It’s really hard to type this ‘cuz my fingers are unpredictably shaking and I’m mostly lying down ‘cuz I’m too weak to continue sitting.
I didn’t call my mom ‘til just before the MRI. I knew she was off work then and she’d want to know. I didn’t ask her to come or for anything. I specifically did not need people freaking out around me. Minus all the patient reports outside, that room was so peaceful. I prayed and watched and felt. I listened. I tried to write. It worked a little. There was no tv or music, just me. And that was okay. The Ativan toward the end made me really tired and I know it’s still making me tired now. I’m still getting waves of confusion and dizziness. I contacted Dr. M but I think he wasn’t there.
So what do I do now? I asked David and Soleil for cancellations tomorrow and David called me. After talking a little, I get to see Soleil tomorrow. He says if there’s nothing wrong with my brain then it’s all psych and I’m under a tremendous amount of stress. Don’t you throw that psychosomatic crap at me. When I’m stressed my pain gets worse. I don’t go ‘round fake believing I’m having a stroke. Too much work if nothing else. I told him I agree I’m under a shit ton of stress but ALSO that something neurologically is WRONG with me, STILL. Fluids don’t solve that. Neither does the Chinese food I ate after. Nor will a few hours’ sleep. Today, though, wasn’t stressful before this. I wanted to get my nails done!
I need help but God only knows what with. I’m SOOOO tired and sore. God save the queen. Here’s to a tomorrow sans weakness, shaking, falling over and pretty large needles. Here’s to a tomorrow that’s not so scary and more easy to understand. Please pray if you do. Thanks.
Ⓒ Michelle Routhieaux 2018
So, Ellie had her last surgical check this week and the surgeon said she’s doing “Terrific!” They are amazed at her progress from paraplegic to walking around now and playing, and she just started physical therapy last week. He said we’re doing a great job with whatever we’re doing. I am so happy. I am grateful for everyone who helped out with the fundraiser in prayer or money and am grateful to have my dog back. She still has some pain and stiffness and walks a bit weird but I’ll take it. ;) Thank you SO MUCH.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2018
I’m sitting here scanning a box of poetry from high school. It’s been under my bed for years, now next to the couch for months. Today is the 17th anniversary of when suicide became real to me. I wish it’d never happened. And the impact of this writing I only read a few lines here or there of gives me ultra goosebumps, makes me extremely nauseous, and if I was standing I’m sure I’d collapse. (and the tears…) (“If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens)
I want to be right in the middle of the pain. I feel SO guilty. I LEFT her there. But she was me. And I can’t get her now. And she just screams and screams and screams. I can’t imagine having been my teachers when I wrote or spoke emotional truth. (stare…)
The music is very loud and I’m not sure what to do. Supposed to give a friend a ride to a group I’m leading tonight, at which I anticipate there to be some problems. I can’t be this person, or get into this person, and then do that. But not doing it validates that she doesn’t matter and never has. (head in hands…) (“Stronger” by Mandisa)
I wish I could see David today. I need to write too. Something specific. This is really best done somewhere with a garden. ;) I have to be strong enough to stand with her. I have to be strong enough for her, strong enough for me. Strong enough to let go.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2017
If you see me with pink spots drawn on me, they are to remind me to be compassionate towards myself. :)
© Michelle Routhieaux 2017
You know, I never thought it would be this way. Maybe because I never really thought. No one taught me what’s required to be a successful grownup, what it’s like to lose a love, to lose your life.
I’m sitting on the living room floor. Just switched from “Code Black” episodes to meditation music on the tv. I’m surrounded by the contents of what yesterday was my purse. I emptied it this morning and haven’t been able to figure out what to do with it. The air is on but I’m not hot. There isn’t always a happy ending.
I stayed home today. Got home super late from the ER with a friend. I didn’t have anything pressing today so I slept, kind of. Woke up to a call from another’s doctor. And the headache from the night before. It pressed on unto an 8, still moving. Took 5 prns and a few hours to even somewhat subside. So confused. The muscle weakness made an appearance today. I made a few videos. I did that the other day too. I haven’t been writing. I’ve been so scared. Too scared to pick up the pen or to write truth on the page. Or I want desperately to write but am too physically weak or tired or in too much pain to do it. Or I just can’t post what I need to say because the truth that’s eating the inside of me will eat through the outside of others. So much I want to tell David and I’m so scared. I really wish x was here but she’s not.
I’m so tired. I’m dancing the line between driving and acquiring a new bracelet. It holds no magic power though. I’m sick. I can and do help a lot of people, but I’m still sick. I feel so alone. Disconnect from those around me. Talk of needing to find a sustainable way of living long into the future without the help of others terrifies me. I’m trying to hold out ’til the 20th for my ECT with Dr. M. I got a confirmation call today about an appointment with a new neurologist on Monday that I thought had been cancelled. Honestly, I don’t have it in me to figure out food much less bring together all the facts this lady needs and communicate them in a way that makes sense to humans. (silent tears to piano music)
(long pause, visualization)
Was it meant to be this way? Always on the outside? Maybe one of my parents was successful living disconnected but made me with someone normal and I’m some fucked-up hybrid with all the skills a disconnected person needs to survive but an incredibly deep need, a longing, together to be. A polka-speckled universe. Cornflower blue. (pause)
I need to reschedule a meeting tomorrow so I can leave an appointment early to meet with a friend’s doctor, who is also my doctor occasionally and that of one of my other people, to talk about things she won’t agree with or understand and come up with a solution I don’t support at all. I had it all planned out – appointment in La Mesa, meeting at the cafe next door, picking lavender for the afternoon and then the OCD meeting. Maybe a visit in between. Now the appointment is in Miramar at a facility I need to powwow with but shouldn’t right now, in a place that embraces secrets as I hunt for my truth. My meeting will be replaced with a few hours of arguing. It may be followed by helping a person discharge, which will take the rest of the night. If not, the other person hopefully will be there by then. I take refuge in the quiet moments there. I talk to the staff and take in what my body calls love – acceptance, warmth, care and concern. We help each other and they’re proud of me. (staring)
I know what I need. And I can’t have it. Even if it was there I can’t do it right now. I had two somewhat regular gigs helping people that paid for my doctors. Now they’re gone and I have to solve for x. I have a little bit of savings and my mom is helping me, which is a trigger and a blessing. I surrender. I’m not sure what to do. I was already really struggling. Now the bumpers are down and I’m on my own. My therapist talks about finding a way to be self-sufficient one day. Right. I’ve no idea how.
I need to write but I need to sleep. And I’m craving candy. I get paranoid around this time of night and I keep thinking someone’s here, that someone’s watching me. I have to go. I’ll pray for you if you pray for me. Kinda like buy one get one free. ;) I really wish that I didn’t feel censored and that I could write and keep up with my charts. 6 years of my charts. I WANT to do them. They matter to me. I must sleep.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2017
You know, I was just thinking Bambi is a terrible kids’ story or fairy tale. Then I caught the next thought that there should be more happily-ever-afters. But that’s not right. The fairy tales fuck us up. Maybe if there were more tragic kids’ stories expectations would lower and there would be less mental anguish.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2017
I can’t do this.
I’ve been home about a half hour. I took an Uber from 1925 Elm, wherever that is. It has not been a good day.
I actually woke up when my alarm went off at 8:30am and started researching how Facebook Live works so I could share Women’s Day at the church with my friends. K- had texted letting me know T- was speaking because he knows my friend really likes her. I didn’t get an event up yesterday due to the NAMI Walk but I put it on my page and I wanted to be able to share it, especially with that friend. I told a few people at the NAMI Walk too.
My body hurt quite a bit today from missing my 5pm meds yesterday during a nap, but I got up and took a shower. I had laid out my clothes – a really cute black and white skirt and black top. I heard my mom getting dressed, which baffled me since she neither likes that church, or Women’s Day, OR ever wants to go there. She said she just hadn’t been feeling well. Bullshit. She’s spooked from almost dying and wants to go to church so somehow “going with” me, which means driving me, which means us being late on a day I’m specifically trying to capture everything, seems perfectly sane. Right. But my balance is off today and I’m running into walls and dropping everything and I still fucking hate everyone, carried over from yesterday. I forgot my purse and she was determined for me to eat yogurt instead of writing or changing the last few settings on my phone or figuring out how to tweak a camera accessory to work with my phone.
She was pissed that I’m cranky, for which there are more than a few reasons, some of which are physical. When we got to the church we were the ninth car, including -’s. “Where are the humans?” I said. We were eight minutes late so I thought maybe for once they started on time. The doors were closed. No one opened them. I let my mom in. When the few humans who were there noticed my mom was there they were all excited and happy to see her and saying how they’d been praying.
(make a smoothie, move to couch, turn on piano music)
Everyone was happy to see my mom. I’m glad they paid attention to her. I sat down. The service hadn’t started yet, which I find annoying. – came down from going over a song to hug my mom. He hugged me too. He looked old today and I said so. He said it looked like I got the notification. He gestured towards my outfit. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. The other ladies for Women’s Day were in black & white. I’m assuming that’s what he meant but I still have no idea. I said I wish I had gotten the notice/notification for this day sooner so I could send it out to my people. He said no, that he didn’t want any more notices or people, he just wanted Michelle. I stared/glared at him confusedly. What the fuck was he talking about? I told him you can’t have Michelle without notices or reminders, and I bring people. Again with the no more notices, just Michelle. He said he was changing things, blah, blah, blah. I looked at him again and said, “Don’t make me hit you today. I am not in the mood.” I was not joking and there was no way what I said would have been taken that way. I don’t even remember the last thing he said to me. I just know it was in the same vein. I grabbed my purse, stood up, hands raised in surrender and said, “I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t be here. I’m out.” And I stumbled my way down the aisle and out of the church. I guess I’ve stormed out of enough events in my life that no one bothers to follow, or text, or call. It’s not in the best of neighborhoods. I don’t like being followed, but I’m not sure what meaning to attach to being ignored.
I don’t know what – was referring to, or what he meant. I certainly don’t understand. It was his notice I was talking about. HE sent it to me. He calls me his “new evangelist.” While I don’t like that word, it’s a type of outreach. What is Michelle without networking, without outreach? Really? Go ahead and define me without anything related to connecting people to other people or resources, without some component of organization or information, without sharing, or teaching. I dare ya. Spreading the Good News, or sharing the Gospel, is NETWORKING. I can’t not be me. And I don’t intend to.
I was aware as I left that I didn’t have my journal but I didn’t dare turn back to get it. I walked. I had my purse and my phone. I walked up 49th to Federal, down to Euclid and called an Uber at Elm. I knew it wasn’t safe for me to be walking there. I don’t fit in. I didn’t care. If someone had tried to mug me I would have just handed them my purse. It’s not worth a fight. I’m dressed too nicely on a Sunday morning to be a prostitute and I’m white so that rules some things out. On Federal a police car passed me, turned around and drove past me again. He did this several times. I was paying attention to my surroundings as I walked, but also to my body. Yesterday and today my face has been tense and twitchy, but I noticed something new today. As I walked, my hands were open static, palms forward. They just stayed there. My fingers weren’t moving. My soul was frozen. I give up. I stopped to smell red and yellow roses, said hello to the homeless people as I passed on the street. I smelled the two types of jasmine, picked one. I stopped to stand under the shade of a few trees. I just wanted to write but I had no paper. I needed a safe place to stop.
I wish I had wanted to die. Precarious situation. I’m used to feeling awful and wanting to die. It brings relief and I’m okay. But I didn’t want to die today. I just couldn’t stop the feeling. It’s all over. Nowhere to go from here. Dr. M said we can reset the inside of my brain but not my life. Sometimes I think it’s better to feel worse than good. At least in death there is hope. In this, it’s just endless bullshit followed up by a helping of confusion and then some more shit on the side. Why try to feel or get better if being better hurts worse?
There were no words in the UberPool. Driver barely spoke English. Before he arrived I looked down at my phone and my mom had sent me a text message. It read, “Don’t let the Devil keep you from being in church this am. Come back in, please.” I replied, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ll see you later.” I was so hurt. How dare she? Sure. I use everything I have in me to get to a service I’m doing something special for, am extremely triggered and offended by something someone important says to me, leave so I don’t scream or hit someone or say something their delicate ears can’t handle and somehow it’s the DEVIL keeping me out of the church? Riiiiiiiiight. I’m in bed with Satan and my goal is to fuck up the church and cause a scene wherever I go just to get in the way. I’m sorry I never realized the beauty of this plan. I suppose all the people I bring and media I share are Satan-derived too. I earn Hell-points for everyone I bring to church or convert and extra for each time I get upset and leave. (close and roll my eyes) Why even try?
M’s coming over in a half hour to work on folders. I don’t care to see anyone. I don’t want to work. I hate the new labels. I need to return the proof for the table runner. I need a nap.I think I’m getting sick too and my doctor isn’t returning my message. (sigh) Mom called to say she’s bringing food home. I JUST WANT TO WRITE AND SLEEP.
God, please help me.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2017
A strange thing happened tonight. I was out to pizza with a friend and I had my dog Ellie. I know crazy people are drawn to me but tonight’s variety was different. I was at the counter waiting for a change in receipt when a disheveled man came in from outside and asked about Ellie. He started talking about PTSD service dogs and mentioned he was homeless. He told me he saw a super famous doctor in La Jolla once. I asked if he was a vet and he said no, that he wasn’t part of “the killing machine.” I tried to end the conversation and go back to my friend but no such luck.
The man came with me and sat down with us. He said there was something he wanted to tell us, something important. I have no idea what it was. I do remember him saying the word “bitchin'” and his name being Greg. My brother’s name is Greg and he’s the only one I’ve ever heard say that word. I wanted to give him a low income housing resource. Instead I heard about his experience being homeless, his family structure, some pro-Trump ranting, and how if he’s going to join a gym it has to be 24 Hour Fitness because it’s right down the street.
The man was filled with tears. He knew we wanted him to leave, yet he stayed. He asked if he could pray for us. He put out his hands and I held one and closed my eyes. He said a powerful prayer for my friend and I. God was there. I could feel it. He walked away and we took our pizza and left. The feeling stayed with me that God was there. Before I got in the car he showed up again and said to me that he really needs my help and would I PLEASE help him to get some place to live, some place with a bathroom and a shower, that he would work hard. He just really wants help. It was sincere. He never asked me for money or to buy him anything. He came to bring God to me.
I got in the car and told my friend about faith, that what is holding me up now is faith. I don’t understand what’s happening and I can’t fix or change it, but what I have is an unending faith and a posse of blessings and a crowd of people who love and support me. I have Jesus. I let go and trust. I am held. I’ve been really scared and, as my friend would say, “losing my shit,” and tonight God sent me a homeless man to refocus, to reconnect. He didn’t go anywhere. He never stopped caring for me, making everything right. Sometimes I just can’t see.
Thank you so much, God, for loving me. Please show me how to help your servant Greg.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2017
Now that all the crazy end-of-year giving charity hype is over I have to ask, have you Smiled yet?
I’m always looking for new and easy ways to raise money for my group DBSA San Diego. I love Amazon Smile. Here’s how it works:
To choose DBSA San Diego, use this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/46-4731973
The location says Chicago, IL because that’s where we’re headquartered.
Shopping through Amazon Smile doesn’t cost you anything extra. You only have to sign up once. All the same products are available. You just get to help out in a really great way. There’s even a little note by each product if it’s a purchase eligible for donation.
I’d appreciate everyone joining to support DBSA San Diego and sharing with friends.
Even if you don’t support my charity, it’s a really great program.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2017
I’m sitting in the VA parking lot. The potluck was tonight and I pulled it off well, got a special award from Libby. I cleaned up and socialized, kind of. I feel weak and dizzy and faint, like before I passed out yesterday. I walked the stairs anyway. I want that star.
(rest on my fist the space between my eyes)
Mom didn’t come.
I missed my opportunity. I fucked up. This is my fault. I need and wanted ECT. In the time I could have done it and recovered I tried something else to appease my doctor, which went horribly wrong. Now I’m in a med change. She’ll want to know if it’s working tomorrow.
Is my new med helping? Is it better or worse? I’m not sure how to answer that. Before I was severely depressed and non-functional. I wanted and needed ECT and had time to do it but needed help with logistics. Now I don’t know what I am. My best guess would be rapid cycling mixed episode with mild psychotic features and marked memory impairment. I go back and forth from bitter to rage to desperation to confusion – lots of confusion – and back. The period I’m not supposed to have now comes for about 3 days every week and a half. I’m bingeing a lot, making myself ill, impulsively maxing out my credit cards. I shut down completely in private and in public at inopportune times. I’m isolating from everyone, including D-. Fighting with Mom every day. Is that better or worse?
I missed the opportunity. They don’t come often. Today I went back to work for F-. I’m expected at group and outreach events and appointments. Because my moments are split I don’t get to pick ECT anymore. I don’t get to do what I know works for me ‘cuz I’m feeling now. Fuck.
(curled over, feel my heart beat on my skin)
What do I do now?
Just keep working.
I didn’t matter enough to fix. :(
Not my turn.
3 – When Daddy hides the roller skates, run run away.
No like Daddy clip his fingernails.
Ice live in penguins, Mommy.
I get to see J- on Thursday. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for it but I want my life back. I NEED me back.
What do I want/need help with?
(stare, hear a GameBoy game song)
3 – I want to go humbly. I mean home. You bozo.
(VA police sweep)
The difference between now and then is that in the darkness I felt hope.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
I just signed one of the electoral college petitions online for Hillary. I don’t actually think it’s a good idea though. Somehow I’m aware that if we don’t give Donald Trump the chance to prove himself or fail, this divide will just grow and get uglier. Like when I tell a doctor I know their treatment choice is not a good option for me, sometimes I have to try it anyway to PROVE that I was right. I know it’s dangerous. I know I don’t like it. I always know it’s probably what we need to do. If my side is wrong and the country is magically better, GREAT! I don’t care who fixes it. I can admit I was wrong if the outcome is good. Being willing to suffer for the right to be right is a necessary cost that not all are willing to take. In fact, right now I’m dealing with the fallout of being right in my treatment. But I’m still right and now they believe.
Do I hate/despise/openly curse Donald Trump? Yes.
Do I feel hurt by the statements his supporters make about me? Yes.
Do his policies and promises and those of his people directly stand to ruin or end my life? Totally.
Do I understand why some of his followers follow him and believe? Yes.
Has any Trump supporter I’ve encountered mentioned stopping to consider how his presidency might affect me? Nope.
Did I vote though my vote doesn’t count? Yes.
Do I want to know what is happening in this presidency that will affect me and my loved ones for better or worse? Every damn thing.
Do I understand any of this? Nope. That’s probably a blessing.
Whatever side you’re on and for whatever reason, fight your fight. Just make sure you know what you’re fighting for and why. It really matters.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
I feel sad. (pause) I’m sitting on the couch, tv off. Mom’s asleep. The clock is ticking relentlessly, rain falling on the metal overhang outside. I watch the candle flicker. I don’t know what’s happening.
I had surgery on my tongue today to remove a large bump/lesion. I am grateful for my doctor and awesome staff. Also, my mom rocks. She took the day off to look after me. I haven’t taken any PRNs yet but I slept most of the day and am still tired. My mouth hurts but I feel so calm and nothing bothers me. I know it’s the drugs in my system but I don’t care. My head and my mouth hurt. Don’t really care. Struggle to keep my eyes open. Nope, don’t care. This is a blessing. Thank you, God. I must sleep now. I’m falling over. I have to go to my program tomorrow, in 4 hours, and I can’t be late. I’ll tell you about that some other time.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
I am SO blessed. I’m sitting on the couch with my dog cuddled up next to me. Mom is sewing as we watch Big Bang Theory. It’s some sort of dream.
I woke up this morning. Yep. I wandered around my house most of the day confused and anxious, freaking out and shutting down. I finally found the guts to write to my brother’s step-dad about what I want to do with his body. I sent the message over Facebook and went through a basket I haven’t touched in ages while watching NCIS. My niece’s mom contacted me for the first time. Then the step-dad responded in agreement and my fear fell away. I could BREATHE. What a blessing. I also got to chat with a friend from Level 1. Thinking of her lifted my spirits.
In the afternoon God told me to go cut lavender. So I found my scissors and went 56 minutes before sunset. I prayed for God to sit with me as I cut the flowers, to bless me and the people who grew them, to heal the people who will receive them. I asked Him to let me just be. I walked and sat and cut. I listened to the neighbors. I watched the families interact. There was a butterfly that flew by. I say automatically, “Hi, God.” Sometimes instead I say, “Hi, Dad.” I pay attention to them and to the flowers.
As I sat on the ground collecting purple flowers I heard a buzzing. It was a hummingbird. It flitted around the plant beside me then came over to the one I was working on. I stayed still and watched. It backed up and stared at me. Then it moved forward, forward more. We were face to face and I didn’t move. God sent me a hummingbird. It hovered long enough to hold my attention. When it was ready it flew away. I praised God for the day.
I met a neighbor whose mom is a patient at Mesa Vista. I shared DBSA with her. I really hope this one house’s inhabitants show up soon. I REALLY want to cut the flowers in front of it. Mom wanted a bun taco from Del Taco so I drove through. I hadn’t been to that Del Taco or through that drive thru since November 16, 2001, when I left my dying father. The lady who gave me my food at the drive thru looked different. She didn’t fit the image of a fast food worker. I told her she looked too skilled to be working at a Del Taco. She said her husband owns the franchise and she fills in where needed. I told her about not being there since 2001. She told me her daughter, who was 26, died three years ago. She also told me about her mother with Alzheimer’s and their struggles. I offered resources and gave her lavender. She was amazing. She said to come back more often. I don’t know her name and I don’t like the food, but I’m pretty sure I’ll go back to see her.
I listened to Snap Judgment on the way home, bought bananas, made a smoothie and walked into my living room to Mom sewing. I don’t know what inspired her to do that (she is AWESOME) but I’m glad she’s back in her element.
I am so blessed. I’m exhausted but joy fills my face – and my soul, and my toes. Hallelujah blessed. Yesterday and the day before we SO awful. And today I’m okay. Held by God. I’m even back in touch with my old ballet teacher, who has been in the wind for years, and my 8th grade history teacher. They both appeared like the butterflies and the hummingbird.
Look for the small and so meaningful blessings in life. A hummingbird shouldn’t have to stare me in the face for God to grab my attention, yet today it did and it worked. God is with me. Don’t let me forget that.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
6/30/16 I’m sitting in a conference room at the VA in an empty meeting. I’ve been wanting to write on this prompt from my brain for some time but I’ve been scared. I’ve been letting someone else control me. Someone mentioned last week that I hadn’t posted on my blog in awhile. There’s a reason. It’s just not pretty.
5 weeks ago my boyfriend broke up with me. Things had been getting progressively worse for some time and he decided a FB message was the appropriate tool to communicate with. He brought over my stuff, we exchanged keys, and he left. You’d think this would be the end. It was only the beginning. M- started (or continued) stalking me. He sent me notes through text, email, Facebook, Messenger, left me voicemails and off-topic comments on my blog. He went through other people to get to me, asking them to text me for him or contact me another way. He contacted my mother. He even hijacked someone else’s Facebook profile whom I was talking with to get to me. He at least stopped dropping by my house unannounced or at least I don’t know it. I took him off my FB profile as a significant other. I was confused but felt relieved.
It has been up and down since then. I haven’t felt this boxed in or trapped ever. Some of the things he’s done leave me honestly scared. He won’t let go. I can’t post on my blog because he reads it, can’t share in group because it goes back to him. Every time my phone dings or buzzes I’m on edge because it’s usually him and I don’t know what he wants. Will it be insults today or over the top compliments? Have I ruined his life or saved him? I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t care. He researches me online, talks to everyone about me. I don’t even know what people know about me anymore because he tells everyone everything. I’m a pretty private person. I don’t appreciate mass sharing. There have been days I went to comfort him and was yelled at for an hour. He’s the first person who’s ever said something to me so mean or hurtful that it literally took my breath. I couldn’t breathe. He acts as if his assumptions are truth and won’t believe anything to the contrary. The mood instability and purposeful manipulation grind me down and make me mad. He’s texted me “911” to get me to respond when there was no true emergency.
He asked to stop by after church on Sunday to drop off a letter to me. He stayed awhile. The conversation was uncomfortable but he was respectful. I thought maybe he’d changed. Nope. He went home and started messaging me that I need to change my profile picture on FB because it’s not very flattering, not the best of me, and he’s not the only one who thinks it. FUCK YOU. Who the FUCK do you think you are? I AM NOT YOURS.
In a continuation of the emotional blackmail, he posted on his website that any donations would go to me for my Phoenix Rising tuition. He put up a story about me that’s not true speckled with tiny spots that were. That night at group he brought me a journal and some candy and a drink. So wait, now I’m good again? I can’t keep up. I accepted them and said thank you. I asked him to take down the story since it’s both private and not all true. The one thing that’s really important to me and my future is that Phoenix Rising training and he KNOWS I need money for it. Why not tie me to him for the money? Brilliant idea, except that it isn’t. It only hurts me having to choose whether or not to stay in the abuse for the money. The answer is no. Thing is, I’m not even sure he sees what he’s doing. He honestly believes he is helping… I think.
Today I went to his baptism with another friend. He asked if my last FB post was about him. That SO pisses me off and he knows it. He’s back to saying he loves me and that he’s going to marry me and that when he gets back from rehab he’s going to chase me again. He says he KNOWS I still love him and am still IN love with him and KNOWS we’re still lovers in our hearts. He says he KNOWS he broke my heart (by cheating on me, et. al.) “Stop pretending like you don’t still love me,” he says. He claims to know what I think and how I feel and my history, which he doesn’t. He wants to be “friends.” He says, “That’s all we really ever were anyway.” No, it’s not. We were in a relationship. He was part of my family. He messages me in despair and sadness begging for attention and help. Last time I called him when he sent me crisis texts and he said he was fine, that he had talked to some friends and used some skills. I was livid. He said, “Well you didn’t HAVE to call. I’m trying to give you some space since you think I’m stalking you, even though I’m really not.” He wants me at his going away party this weekend and to agree to take one phone call a week from him while he’s in rehab for the next two months.
I can’t do it. I have laid back, kept quiet, tried to deal with this on my own. I have respected his privacy, though he doesn’t respect mine. I have altered my life. I have constant anxiety. When I think about him I get angry. When I see him in person it’s hard to breathe. Texts and FB messages haunt me. Hugs eat at my soul. I can’t get away. Last time I saw him he told me he was going to frame all my PRYT art and hang it around his house. That’s just creepy. I have waited, played along, pretty well I think. Friends and church members have encouraged him to keep pursuing me. He told me we are destined by God to be together and that no matter what he’ll find me and we’ll be together. I don’t know what to do.
I’ve been waiting to set any boundaries because I’m scared, both of the backlash towards me and the very high probability of a spike in his suicidality. I don’t hate the man. I have compassion towards him. I care but I am not in love. I am under attack. I really don’t want to hurt him.
Since what I send to him usually becomes public knowledge anyway, I will spare him the hassle and make this an open letter:
I’m sorry you’re feeling so scared about this new journey next week. You will make it. I’m also glad to see you get baptized today. You are a man of God now and strong in your faith.
The past 5 weeks have been very hard on me. Your constant pursuing and intense emotions and reactions have left me trembling, fragile, ANGRY. I don’t hate you. I have compassion both for you and what you’re going through, but it can’t include me anymore. Contact from you (good or bad) sets my body on alarm. I feel fear. It’s hard to squelch my anger about what you’ve done. Apologies don’t erase memories. And neither does any other excuse. I truly treasure the time we spent together and what you’ve done for me. We both grew and expanded our lives. But that time is over now. This is a new time. And in this new time we need to focus on ourselves.
You are leaving for rehab on Tuesday. I’m proud of you for going, for having the courage and strength to face your demons. I don’t want you going there thinking the whole time about how you’re going to get back with me when you’re released and live happily ever after. You’re not. I’m not interested. I’m not in love with you and my heart is not broken. I do feel sad though that it had to end like this. It’s not what I expected.
It’s important for me to be specific so these are the boundaries I’m asking for.
What is okay:
I know it’s a lot to take in. We will see each other when you get back and maybe someday when we’re both healthier we can be friends (by my definition). I’m not your best friend and I’m not your lover. Until then, we can be fellow group members who really care about each other.
Please leave me alone, M-. Please.
It’s time I take back my breath. This is my life and I want to live it. So, hopefully you’ll be seeing more posts from me soon. If not, at least you’ll know the pause is not from fear. Just sadness. And living my life.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
I have to give a shout out to Brenda, the amazing lady who has been doing my hair for over 20 years now. Crazy, huh? I just realized that today. She is kind and quick-witted, full of talent. She is conservative in cutting (no asking for 3″ off and leaving minus 7.”) We talk about life. Today she was telling me about her “flying squirrel” dog. I swear if she catches that on tape that dog will be famous. ;) No color or perms or other fancy stuff. Just incredible cuts that are sure to always flatter you and your face. She won’t do it if it makes you look bad, even if you want it.
Brenda works out of Kids Hair Salon in La Mesa, CA. So, if you don’t mind the sound of a kids movie on the tv, being surrounded by kids and parents, and looking at jungle animals on the walls, I’d give her a try. She washes, cuts, dries, and styles my hair all for around $20 (and a tip.) Can’t beat that. I wish I remembered to go more often. It makes me feel good.
Thanks, Brenda, for being so great and for making me look good for all these years. Here’s to 20 more.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
Love and Compassion and Understanding flow through me.
Breathe… (smile, listen to sermon)
The air burns my throat as I take it in. My feet press against the pew and there is pressure on the bridge of my nose. I’m thinking slowly, bandwidth consumed. My eyes and temples hurt.
Pain flows through me, shakes every cell in my body. But it’s not mine. Hands open, arms wide, I breathe it out. The negative energy crashes over and through. It exhausts but doesn’t take me down. I’M STILL STANDING. God holds me up.
Love and compassion and understanding flow through me. When filled with anger and hurt I don’t lash out. I am quiet, listening, processing, able to make a choice. I speak slowly and what comes out is truth and compassion. It’s not mine either. I watch.
I’ve prayed for years for God to speak through me and to me, to make me a vessel only for Him. I pray for Him to speak through others and I listen. I couldn’t comprehend how much that would hurt or how much it would bless me. I am not who I was. She haunts me. He holds me. And I breathe…
The Devil attacks me. He WILL not bring me down.
I need to move my body, change more energy at home, allow myself to let go. Take back the breath.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
I’m sorry I haven’t written in awhile. It’s not because I don’t think of you. I’ve been busy and scared to share the truth. Today’s truth is not so scary.
It’s almost midnight. I have a bunch of stuff to print for an event I have to leave for by 6:30am tomorrow. I’m trying to read a few articles on FB but my computer is too slow to load them, thanks to having to redistribute my cloud files and them ever so slowly resyncing. The tv in the living room is blaring an infomercial and my mom is in her bedroom talking to her jackass boyfriend on the phone. Mine just sent me a short video mocking people who have too much stuff in their front seat when you go to ride with them. Last week he wrote “horder” in the dirt on my back window. I don’t understand. It’s a trigger for me to be made fun of, but if you’re going to do it anyway at least spell the insult right. He finds it funny. I don’t. My car is full of donations waiting for a specific space at a specific hospital that means a lot to me. There’s nothing humorous about that.
I folded clothes for a friend this morning after a long walk. I couldn’t breathe so I rolled on the floor and stretched for awhile. If I listen in the quiet my body tells me what I need. I met with someone about a partnership with my support group and had a muscavado brownie. Fucking amazing. (Eclipse Chocolate) I wrote beforehand in the car, enjoyed the peace of just the sound of wind in the trees. A man with some unnamed movement disorder kept driving around looking for parking. Eventually he came up to me on his motor scooter and handed me a beautiful red garden rose. He said he came to take his girlfriend to dinner but she wasn’t there. So I got the flower and a dinner invite. While I passed up the offer for tacos, the rose was nice.
I wrote for about two hours tonight. I went to my therapist’s office and laid on the floor in the hallway. There was no one there but the cleaning crew. It was a good safe choice for writing, complete with great jazz music overhead. (God-damn vacuum infomercial. Grrrr. I’d turn it off but that would attract my mom’s attention and she would start in on me again.) (sigh) Too late. She’s silently scolding now.
I don’t understand. All I want to do is write. I want to be by myself somewhere quiet and encounter my mind, vent my soul for a night. I miss riding the bus and trolley. I had that time to listen to music, to think and write. I could solve problems and develop ideas. I could passively observe. Doing everything quickly does not appeal to me. I want the privilege of moving slowly. God’s showing me a direction He wants me to move in but I’m too distracted to take the path. Like anything is really more important than God’s will, right? I feel sad and I want the right and the space to just feel it.
My ECT is on hold and I’m facing multiple losses right now. I don’t really talk to my friends. I’m not leading groups very often. I’m working on sharing in them. I’m starting to unfold and re-experience the traumas in my life. It’s scary but worth it. I want the darkness out of me. I want to let it go. I’m trying to learn to be a girlfriend. I suck at it but there has to be something said for trying.
I’ve been trying slowly to organize my possessions and get rid of things. I know I have too much but some of the stashes have a reason and most of the boxes are wired with memories. That’s not just a box of envelopes. It’s so much more – 3 therapy sessions worth of stories. And there are a LOT of boxes. Boxes, piles and bags everywhere. I have my stuff, group stuff, mom’s stuff, dance stuff. I have no office so my things are everywhere. I try. I know my mom and I have “issues” when it comes to things. Let’s face it, we’re hoarders. I know that. Do you think I don’t know that? I try my best not to think about it every day. It hurts when someone throws it in my face.
I’m so tired. I have a resource fair in the morning and then a Super Choir rehearsal. I’m hoping after to do some writing. Most likely I will be chastised all morning to type instead. Can’t I do both? Life is not all about work. I know this. My mom does not…
I’m sorry. I’m rambling. I just felt like talking with my fingers to someone and you were the person/audience that came to mind. I miss writing and sharing me. What helps you set aside everything you’re doing to follow what God’s told you or what you’ve discerned, even when it goes against all reason and odds? How do you set aside what logic tells you is required and do what you know your soul NEEDS? I don’t know how to do that. I want to learn. (Mom is at it again, nag, nag, nag. I wish she could just be content.)
I have to go prep for the event I don’t want to go to now. I hope to share with you more soon, maybe even some core truths. We’ll see. Thanks for listening.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2106