Stuff, Love & Family

11-29-10     1:03am

I feel like my heart has a whole in it. My room is empty and so am I.

I worked for several hours with M- today on organizing my room. We moved my chair into the living room and the bulk of my journals onto my bookcase. Now there is a large open space of floor. (breath) I hate it. I don’t want it there. Something should be there. I can’t handle the nothing. It’s too much.

I don’t have people (or historically haven’t) but I do have stuff. It doesn’t leave me. It doesn’t tell me I’m unworthy or make me feel like shit. I have stuff and the stuff are my memories. Most of my stuff is stuff I don’t need but I need the memories. And I need to feel safe, to be surrounded. I NEED love. But instead I have stuff. And when I get rid of the stuff it reminds me I am alone.

S- posted this week that she is grateful for the unconditional love of her grandparents. I don’t know this thing called unconditional love. I try to give it to others. I do my very best. But it is not something I learned as a child. Love had boundaries and rules, none of which were clearly explained. But the gist was, and mainly still is, that if I do good and act perfectly I might be loved. If not, I will most certainly not be loved. I may be hated and I should hate myself too. But good & perfect are undefined, although they lie just past what’s achievable. And should I achieve them, the consequent love is temporary. We love you and are proud of you. What are you going to do next? And when? We’re getting impatient. I try to love and accept people for who they are or be honest that I don’t.

I was thinking tonight about that nasty email my cousin sent me months ago. If she had listened to what I said, took the time to understand and set her judgments aside, she could’ve been less downright cruel. I did nothing to her. I did not put her down, dismiss her character, or place blame or shame. I expressed my feelings and my story. But she chose to tell me how I’m a disappointment to her and all this other crap. She doesn’t even know me. She shouldn’t even care. But she cared enough to send an email that I’ll never forget, just enough to hurt me out of spite. Such love.

The walls close in. At least they try. I feel like the force of the world is pushing against them and they’re just barely holding up. (I hear “Call the Man” by Celine Dion.) I am so cold. I talked to J- tonight. She is so strong and so scared. I wish I could help her. I wish that it wasn’t so cold.

(Rocking, trying to unnumb my toes with the heater, hearing “Austin,” thinking I am The Giving Tree. I don’t want to be.)

I should sleep. I see Dr. C tomorrow. I found Mr. M’s hundred dollars today. I don’t want to spend it on doctors. I want to spend it on me. I know that he’s helping but I can’t afford him. His helping is hurting me, as it helps me. Weird.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010


5-27-10                 3:41am

I feel so very tired tonight, and sad. I’m here with my book light again. Tomorrow marks one year from my last admission. It’s been a long year.

Tonight I think about money. How it affects and limits me. M- asked awhile back on FB if you’d rather grow up rich or poor. I’ve thought about that a lot. I’m glad I grew up poor, that I can truly appreciate. But I could use some money now.

It’s like being trapped. My mom drives me nuts. She is my x-factor. I can’t stand her and I can’t change her, but I can’t move out. Why? No money. I’m not going to get more money. It’s not going to change. I have to figure out how to deal with it.

I don’t want lots of money, so much I don’t know what to do with. N- was talking Sunday about the average starting salary for his dream job. It was in the hundreds of thousands. I asked what he would do with that kind of money. He said, “I know. Really.” But I mean it. What does a person do with that? I don’t even know what that looks like.

I just want to not have to worry about money, to be able to be free and not tied to so many things. I don’t enjoy scouring a menu for the cheapest thing or not going out ‘cuz I can’t afford it. Money may seem trivial to some but it changes things.

I don’t claim it would solve all my problems, but even my life at USC was better. If I didn’t have to worry about the cost, how would my life be different? What would I do or change?

  • I would be less dependent on others, less limited
  • I would move out
  • I would get new glasses for me & Mom
  • I could get the dental work I need
  • I could dance (body pending)
  • I could order food I want instead of food my wallet wants
  • I might be able to get an answer to my medical problems. Doctors are NOT motivated by Medi-Medi
  • I could buy things like M’s bag just because I want to.

That bag has caused me much grief today. It’s beautiful. I want to be able to just buy it, but I can’t. He said it’s a bag “you” can afford. I’m not a part of that you. An affordable designer bag is still almost 20% of my income for the month. I could buy the bag with the last of my credit, but instead of feeling pretty while carrying it I would be plagued with guilt. That’s no way to carry a purse. My current purse cost $9 at WalMart and has taken my abuse for the past 5 months. I’m impressed. But it doesn’t decrease my desire for this purse or my anger and sadness that I cannot indeed have it. It also doesn’t make me any less aware that I do not NEED that bag.

When I look at something I want there is this fight in my head. The question is not just can I afford that? It’s do I deserve it? Because if I can’t afford it, then surely I don’t deserve it. But there’s a part of me that believes I do deserve it and gets pissed that I can’t have it. Why can’t I have x? I’m a good person. Why is this happening to me?! It becomes more existential crisis than shopping trip.

What I can afford affects how I present myself and how I’m perceived, defines a part of who I am. So I never know just who I am. There are these many different parts in different clothes with different roles, that eat different foods & wear different shoes. And I’m treated differently for every one of them. They’re all me but in different tax brackets.

I just want to be me and free. But that requires money.


5-29-10                 1:41am

I thought more about money yesterday and what it can’t buy me, what it can’t change.

Money can’t change my health. It can’t take away the days I can’t move or talk. It can’t bring me closer to the people I love. And all the money in the world couldn’t buy me someone who cares about me like my mom does. She may drive me nuts but she’s always there.

I’m grateful not to have many days like yesterday. I’m so exhausted. So sick. I had some good hours today & a long nap. But money can’t change that. It can’t bring me back.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010