Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sounds like breakfast..

This little story popped up in my fb newsfeed a few weeks ago, and I have been turning it over in my head ever since. 

A young woman went to her Grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

Her Grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her Granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

The Grandmother asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft and mushy. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardened egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.

 "What's the point, Grandma?"

Her Grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin, outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her Granddaughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

I have allowed myself, encouraged myself even, to become the egg. Hard and unyielding, wrapped up in a shell that does not protect my soft insides but hides the hard and cynical center of me from view.

I always believed that I handled life's difficulties well, gaining wisdom from my mistakes and fighting the injustices as best I could. What I discovered however, was quite different.

 I let every negative thing in my life harden my heart. I was not learning from my mistakes.. I was using them to build my armor. I railed against circumstances I would never gain control of, never change, taking every rebuff as another reason to mortar my walls high and strong. I unwittingly formed an unbreakable barrier between me and the world, all while believing I was only creating a thin shell.

These walls do not serve me well. They keep out love and friendship and happiness and hope.. and hold in fear and pain and loneliness and regret.

 I am tired of living inside this fortress, and I have begun to create a doorway.. but because I thought I was only cracking a shell, the process is more involved than I expected. 

I am afraid.

When the door is done, will I be able to open it.. will I even have the nerve to reach for the handle?

I am the egg, but I want to be the coffee.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Ok all.. this is going to be a serious kind of blog today. Sorry.

My mom is a good person, kind and giving and always glad to do things for/with her granddaughters. Proud of her adult children, and can be quite funny.

Until she cracks open a bottle of bourbon.

Then she is hateful, mean, and bitter. She rants and raves at anyone unlucky enough to be in the same house with her, including the pets and television. Every mistake you have ever made gets pulled out and thrown at you, usually with derisive laughter and a mocking tone. She spews "when I was growing up" or "My mother would have never"..

 (let me clarify that my mom's mother was a horrible parent, allowing her children to be physically and sexually abused before tossing them into a Home (like an orphanage) for years, where they were subjected to even MORE abuse. However, in her drunken rampages, my mom claims a golden and beautiful childhood with a strong and loving mother who worked herself silly to raise a brood of kids.)

My mom's examples of how wonderfully she was raised, and how wonderfully my brother and I were raised, are brought up for the sole purpose of condemning the behavior of either myself as a parent or of my kids as people. My children are lazy, or spoiled, or ungrateful, or disrespectful.. they will never amount to anything because they are just terrible people, and I am to blame. (Her bile is always directed at me, even if she goes about it in a round-about way)

 I have made mistakes as a parent and as a person, we all do. In the heat of my mom's diatribe, every single misstep, every bad boyfriend, every wrong turn I have had becomes a battle cry for how completely she despises me.

Make no mistake, my mom hates me, with a burning passion. (That may sound childish, but it is a truth that can not be masked)

I am held up for dissection.. compared to my brother, my cousins, her siblings, random people she has seen on tv or in the news.. and found lacking in every way. I have been told to get out of my children's lives, that they would be better off if I simply didn't exist. I have been told that it is a good thing I couldn't have more babies because I am a slut who will spread my legs for anyone. I have been told that maybe I should apply for disability because I am too stupid to hold a job. I have been told that I am alone because once any man gets to know me he sees how useless I am and runs. I am fat, stupid, lazy, useless, selfish, self-centered, cruel, lacking in morals.. she has even gone as far as stating that maybe I was retarded, and she probably should have just had an abortion and saved everyone the trouble of supporting me.

My mom is an alcoholic. She has been an alcoholic since my brother and I were teenagers, maybe before. My mom knows she is an alcoholic, knows she is abusive when she drinks, and doesn't care.

I have tried for years to be there for her, to help her stop drinking.. I am done. She has ripped my little family apart, my oldest is moving out and my youngest is scared of her. I have to leave her. My mom says she hates being a mom, and a grandmom, so I will remove those burdens from her life. It will not be easy for my girls and I, but it is time to cut my mom loose before we all hate her.

I don't have a job, but I will find something. The place we can live makes this apartment look like the Broadmoor, but it will be a safe and loving home. There may not be cable or internet for a while, probably not even a phone, but it will be a better place for at least my youngest and I.. my oldest isn't coming back.

I write this not to condemn my mom, or to look like a victim, but to simply say enough is enough and declare that my life will no longer be hers to destroy.