Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

Archive for the ‘family’ Category

They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab and Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough

You know what doesn’t survive a PhD?

What won’t survive alcoholism?
What won’t survive an out of control child?
What won’t survive a plague of trauma unexamined?

A marriage. That’s what.

I’m going to live tweet, live blog, live live the revolution of my heart. Where I learn to love myself and put the needs of my child and my soul and my body and my ambitions before anything or anyone else. It’s not their fault. I readily give others these permissions to expect things from me and there’s just no consent on what I expect in return. And now, here we are. The proverbial house on sinking sand.

It’s sad. I’m sad. Relationship loss and grief is every bit as awful as death. Maybe more so. But sobriety is life. It’s the only thing keeping me alive.

And if you don’t want to hear about that because I’m not amending the constitution of my life in the timeline you have determined, well, then that’s all right. I’ll still be moving on my own pace. I get that I have been undeniably, brutally, in many cases unforgivably, selfish in the past. I have so much guilt and shame about that, things I can never undo. But I will not be made to feel guilt for working through and toward sobriety at a speed dictated by anyone other than myself and the Universe.

I said yes, yes, yes. This is the outcome of that.

Written by thelittlepecan

April 30, 2017 at 10:42 pm

There’s Nothing Between the World and Me

https://twitter.com/_WeAreBlack/status/856151211577405440

I often wonder what it is like to live in real fear for your child. A mental exercise steeped in racial and class privilege.  I don’t live in fear of much of anything. I have fear of what others think of me, but even as I face legal issues related to alcoholism, I have almost no fear of jail, or social consequences.  I certainly do not fear the loss of my child’s life at the hands of those meant to protect him. I do not fear that he will be seen as a threat.  I only ever hear that he is well-mannered and sweet, his occasional outbursts or rude behaviors seen as quirky or normal.

Color-blind racism is an academic notion with real, devastating human consequences. We discuss it as something to quantify and research, to count and run t-tests of what policy is working and which white groups are “disenchanted”.   Opposite Bizzarro World, Ta-Nehisi Coates  explains to a willfully ignorant nation that this well intentioned attempt to dismiss race and along with it the history of brutality and oppression is futile.  More than futility, though, it is strategic denial of responsibility.

Black bodies have never been autonomous. How to explain to your child that their body is not their own?  I talk about consent with my son.  I tell him he doesn’t have to hug anyone he doesn’t want to and Meme can’t demand a smooch if he isn’t feeling like it.  I explain to him that he should not touch others without asking and that no one should touch him without an invitation.  I do not have to see him watch the torture porn of black bodies on television, bodies brutalized and replayed over and over so that white audiences will understand the reality of the situation.  He does not need “The Talk” except that one about the birds and the bees (Coates 2015:12).

I drove last summer to see my niece.  She’s a graduate student in Tennessee. We had a rental car with Texas plates.  I was driving with my husband and two very tall teenaged boys.  We headed home and it was late, after midnight.  I was pulled over for speeding or not using my turn-signal, something mundane.  My husband reached into the glove box without warning as I rolled down my window…and nothing happened.  My sons were not seen as threatening even though they are pushing six feet the both of them.  My husband’s sudden movements were not viewed as dangerous or that of a person reaching for a weapon.  I was warned to slow down or be careful and with a charming smile, sent on my way.

A mile down the road a Black man was pulled off his motorcycle by that same officer.

I had a conversation with my boys about their rights and how to interact with police.  And I told them that this conversation was wildly different than the conversations their friend’s parents had with their friends.  But, I didn’t fear.

What a privilege it is to only wonder about fear and to never panic for your children for existing in the world as children.

Written by thelittlepecan

April 23, 2017 at 10:39 am

They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab and I Finally Said Yes: A Series

I don’t know how to start a description of deciding to go into rehab. I’d had years of meth use behind me…working on my second decade of being clean. I couldn’t stop drinking and eventually I found myself handcuffed on the side of the interstate with my 10 year old precious boy in my car.

Seemed like I should get my shit together.  This was clearly beyond acceptability.

You should see my admission photo. I look like Bambi met a MACK truck on a dark Smoky Mountain road and truly had no idea which way was left.

So, I went right.

I’m not a wallflower. I’m anything but. But you couldn’t force me to talk that first day, though force me they did.

I was frantic to find anyone who seemed like me. On the inside. I was determined to take this for all it was worth and force myself to ignore whatever bullshit I heard.

And heard it I did.

Racist, sexist, ableist, queerphobic, antitheistic, antiatheist bullshit.

It was horrific and traumatic and beautiful and freeing and stifling and one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I stopped having panic attacks. I leaned on people very different from me. I learned just how deep my racial and class and educational privilege is and how far that shit would carry me at the expense of others.

I fell in love.

I fell in love with myself.

 

These are my experiences. These are my analyses. These are my words.

 

Hold on.  I think I’m back, Bitches.

Written by thelittlepecan

April 22, 2017 at 10:08 pm

Friendship. Ur doin it rong.

Well, it finally happened.

Not because I am atheist.

Not because I am liberal.

Not because I am loud, provocative and offensive.

I lost a friend because I am poor.

It didn’t start out that way.  It started out as a typical Facebook debate over liberal and conservative ideals.  Welfare was brought up, as usually happens no matter what the original topic is, and I reminded my friend that I am a government assistance recipient.

It isn’t much.  My son receives Medicaid and SNAP (the new name for the federal food stamp program.)  We recently voluntarily gave up his WIC benefits because I felt we did not need them.

I take a lot of pride in the contents of my friends list.  I did one of those “who’s on your list” things about a year or so ago.  Most of my list is composed of people who are opposite of me in almost every respect.  Religion, politics, education, financial situation, sexual orientation, marital status, you name a demographic variable and my friends are different than me.

I think that’s awesome.

Back to the story.

This friend became upset because I did not choose to take him up on a job offer he presented to me several months ago.  If I remember correctly, this offer was presented as I was choosing to return to school to begin my graduate degree.  The decision had already been made, I had come to an agreement with my family about the support they would give to help me achieve this goal and I had already accepted a job on campus.  If I remember correctly…it’s entirely possible that I have the timeline wrong.  If I do, it means the offer came as I was graduating last summer (pretty sure that isn’t it) or it came after I had already begun classes, taken a job and would be unable to do something different.  Quitting in the middle of the semester is grossly irresponsible financially for a number of reasons.  Not the least of which is that any financial aid received gets all messed up and withdrawing with F’s or I’s doesn’t work the same way at the graduate level as it does as an undergraduate.

Not that any of this even matters.

There is a pervasive idea in this country that if you are poor, you are undeserving.  You must work your fingers to their bloody bone, never have anything nice, always be miserable until you climb up bruised and beaten to the next tiny rung on the social mobility ladder and you’ll be grateful about it whether or not you actually reach the next level.

Because I am poor, I must try and get a job any place I can, shun any chance at happiness or goal fulfillment, never buy anything new, hide my face away inside my home so that no one gets the wrong idea that my life might actually be good and never draw out of a system I have paid into consistently.

I should not use my talents to get the education I need to have the career I want if I am poor because it might mean 1/10000000 of 1% of the aid I receive might come from someone who does not think I should have it.

(Wonder how well that will work when I start demanding the money I pay in taxes only go to those in need and NOT fund war or farm subsidies or corporate welfare.)

I have a great life.  I have a wonderful family.  I am happy and fulfilled.  I work a job I love that provides me with a small salary, great experience and allows me to go to school at a significant discount.  It adds to my employment capital, AKA the “thud factor” on the curriculum vitae that I will provide to the school where I earn my PhD.

I’m angry that I feel like I need to explain myself.  I’m not doing anything wrong.  I’m sad that someone would choose to judge me and refuse my friendship over $300 per month that buys food and only food for my family.

When I was strung out, I hid away.  I never applied or received any assistance from the gov’t.  Thank Bob my family thought I deserved to survive or I’d probably be homeless and still strung out right now.  It wasn’t until I decided to go get those things I want for my life and had a family to support that I applied for assistance in the first place.  It wasn’t until I decided to make something of myself that I asked for help.

And this is why I know it isn’t about welfare fraud or welfare drug users or welfare queens, whatever the hell that even is.

Because I’m not any of those things, but I am still undeserving, I am still a leech on the system; I am still filthy liberal scum.

Guess what?

Friendship. Ur doin it rong.

Written by thelittlepecan

August 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm