i woke up with the song, “Wrecking Ball” in my head. Fitting.
i noted Sir Raven was awake, having already poured her french press, and went to brush my teeth. She greeted me with, “Did you wake yourself up talking?” Evidently, i woke her up talking. i’ve always done it, at times driving my insomnia to epic proportions-spending days awake, because i was terrified of what i might say in my sleep. Like my plans to runaway or when i was very nearly raped when Dawn locked me out of the house. Cymbalta makes it worse.
i sleepily took my meds, poured french press, and started beading before i finished my first cup of coffee. Happily, there was a bit of hot water, so i showered, letting myself be fully immersed in the experience. i have to do everything in order. i shave every day but even shave my legs in order. Then, i towel dry off inside the shower, wipe down the walls. i put oil of olay all over my face, throat, and breasts hoping to stave off aging. i make the bed, put on panties and a bra, and go back into the bathroom to scrub the toliet and wash my hands. i put on eye shadow, eyeliner, blush, plum colored lip balm, and powder before slipping a dress on and cleaning the sink.
Sir Raven says, “Hi, Beautiful” as i walk by, and i beam at her. It took me years to realize that she was telling me this with every photo she takes, every time she said she liked my dress or nails, or scent. The words, though? It makes me feel beautiful.
i make a second pot of french press, serving her Ancestors by their photos, adding a generous amount of rum. i love this part of Sunday. i wake the other Altars by lighting a candle and go to see about fixing her breakfast.
There is something soothing about making the same breakfast every Sunday. She gets four slices of crispy bacon, two hashbrowns, and two eggs over medium with cheese. i serve her meal and bring her a glass of apple juice before returning to clean the kitchen.
i might slice up some fruit or have some yogurt later when i break my own fast. i have a second cup of coffee and finish off my bead work while she eats. She generally has breakfast in bed Sunday but she is busy wrapping my beading around the loom and watching videos on youtube with her headset on. i have to wave her down to get her attention, asking permission for various things from having a friend over to picking up my meds from the pharmacy on Monday. i also ask about going back to TJ Max for more earbuds, and she laughs, since i was talking about that in my sleep.
i straight up my playpen, fixing the pillows and folding up my nap blanket before peacefully return to beading.
Sunday is my day of rest, from extra chores or errands, most of the time. i mop the kitchen and bathroom only. i keep the kitchen clean and prepare meals, but am otherwise free to relax unless she has other orders. She doesn’t complain about me beading because i have to keep up the pace. We are finally at the halfway point. Eventually, the hand beaded looms will be turned into dream catchers, a gift for the Elders in her Spiritual Family.
It is good to have peace, to accept the tight control of performing the same tasks, over and over.
i’ve been having a lot of nightmares. Technically, they are actual things that happened, just stuff i haven’t thought about in years. Last night’s feature was the time i was so exhausted from the humidity, that i fell asleep on the school bus, just long enough to miss my stop and ride to the next. i was in the fourth grade and should have been more aware but was disoriented when i got off the bus and headed home. Florida has tricky weather and thunderstorms can begin and end in a fury. This day, the rain started softly right as i was almost in front of my own yard. i heard a car going too slowly and turned to see my mothers face, full of utter disgust and hatred. “You disgust me,” she hissed. “Get in the house.”
i couldn’t imagine what i had done wrong.
i didn’t have to wait long to find out. My mother’s beautiful face was contorted in rage, the blows seeming to come from all directions at the same time. She said, “I was driving down out street and thought, ‘oh, that poor child doesn’t have the sense to get out of the rain’. Then I notice she is so disgusting that her slip is showing.’
She said the last bit, an inch from my face, spit flying from her contempt. At was, at least, a break from the blows.
“Imagine my surprise,” she said, “when I realized that disgusting idiot is my own child!” At this pronouncement, she had grabbed something and the pain was sinking in with the shame. i remember next somehow being in bed and getting up to use the bathroom when i stepped on something painful. A wire coat hanger, bent into an unnatural state, tossed aside when her fury subsided or when she took me knocked out to my bed with the strawberry shortcake sheets.
“I came to see if I could bring you anything,” I said quietly to my mother’s door, which was open just a crack.
“That would be very nice,” she said, sounding pleased, as if everything had been righted.
i was always-always-trying to prove that i would be good, would be perfect, would try harder, would give more.
It’s hard for me to not ask if anyone needs anything. When i’m in a lot of pain and distracted by that, i’ll revert to older training, and ask every time i walk out of the room. It makes Sir Raven annoyed. She likes that i’ll dump and clean her ashtray and refill her drink every time i get up. She hates it when i ask.
I did it last night. I asked.
i felt like an idiot when she said, “jade, why must you do that? I have chicken, waffles, water, cold beer, cigarettes, what else could i possibly need?”
i tried to cover my feelings with a joke. “A lap dance?” And then i apologized and went back to beading until she was finished and it was time for me to clean the kitchen. When she turned on, “Modern Family” for me to watch while she had her headsets on watching something else, i figured i was forgiven and could relax.
i try and remind myself that the other programming, each lesson learned, has made me into something good for her. Someone who pushes through pain, smiles through frustration, and almost never thinks she is wrong.
i try and remind myself that she is patient with my deficits, and i try to be patient too.
My dreams alone reveal the struggle, the work. i’m still the same girl in some ways, mystified as to what i did wrong, determined to find a way to not have it happen again. Fortunately, it’s my work ethics and determination that she might love the most in me. i steady myself today by clinging to our little rituals, the routines, the lists. Today, i am thankful Sir Raven said i was beautiful when she had no idea how much i needed to hear that today.