Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Importance of Standing Up For Yourself

Sometimes standing up for yourself sucks Holy Balls. Sorry. It just does and Holy Balls is my new favorite expression. Just for clarification, Holy Balls doesn't always have to be a bad thing. You can use the term like this:

"Holy Balls, RadoMom! You won our first contest. The next time you're feeling low about yourself, know that you can pick a dysfunctional Mom's love of vibrator talk, right down to the minute it happens." You are gifted and now you shall be gifted... bath stuffs and such. Now email me at 100DaysinBed@gmail.com so I can arrange to get you your fabulous prize!!!

So here's the thing about standing up for myself. It is totally new to me. Where my parents have come in, it's just been totally easier to go along with everything rather than fight with anyone. Why? Because my Mom can NEVER be wrong so it's always been easier to bend and bow than argue with someone who can never see your side, never admit they are wrong and never take responsibility for their own actions.

My sister and I laugh at my Mom's new Non-Apology Apology. It's like a Passive Aggressive Apology. When she knows she's wrong (but will never admit it) she will say, "I'm sorry for my part."

BUT IT'S ALL YOUR PART!!! Here are some examples of when I've gotten an apology like that.

Mom: "Do you really want to be eating that muffin? (Insert condescending glance at my hips and thighs) It probably has 600 calories."
Mom: "You would think living in L.A. with all the professional hair people someone could show you how to manage your hair."
Mom: "Is that top supposed to bunch like that around the waist? I don't know if that's very flattering."

And know you know why it's been a few days for me to write. Because SHE'S TOO MUCH, it's all too much.

But let's go back to how we ended not speaking to each other. The day was Sunday and my Mom and I were supposed to go down to a beach hotel only I was feeling like we had had A LOT of togetherness. We had had two dinners where she was very critical of where I was in my life and I just wanted a break.

I blogged about that day, when I asked for "space" and was going to have dinner with her down at the beach and then drive up to my apartment and sleep here. I figured her time alone, not counting sleep would be about four hours. I blogged about her flipping out but it went one step further.

She called my Dad crying saying she had to move out of that hotel because it was not how she remembered it. So I went down the next day and moved her back to the hotel near me. Now all week she had been saying how she moved out of that hotel for me. Because now I couldn't be trusted to stay with her like I said I would. I might need "space" again and that's not what my mom planned on.

Finally, I had enough and said, "You moved out of that hotel because YOU wanted to. It had nothing to do with me. You said it wasn't nice enough and it wasn't what you remembered and you didn't have enough places you could walk to. It was what YOU wanted. Don't say you left because of me."

I don't know why this bothered me so much but there is a history in my family of "rewriting" history. Taking something that happened and changing the story to make my Mom look better in it. My Mom would not budge and it got progressively nastier which is what happens when I stand up for myself and assert myself and she feels like she's losing an argument.

She started getting really nasty and said some really mean things, trying to paint me as not dependable, that she couldn't count on me and that I had done the worst thing you can do to a person - "You abandoned me." I said, "I abandoned you at a luxury beach front hotel?"

Really? 'Cause now, I think she's reaching. Just a lil'. But she has to win. But I wasn't going to let her. Because I have all my life. I've just backed down. Adopted her version of the story to keep things cool and non-fight-y.

But I always hate myself. And worse, it permeates all my other relationships. I learn how to switch off in arguments because it's just easier. My "standing up for myself muscles" grow weak and I don't know how to use them anymore.

But this time I did. I just couldn't take it anymore. I could feel her manipulating me, first with her psycho-babble, then her anger, then her tears. But I felt nothing, I was unmoved. You feel nothing and unmoved when you've seen it a million times.

And when it was done, and she was out of the car and out of my Los Angeles life, I did feel something. Proud of myself. It's not going to be easy, our future. I don't know what our relationship will be now that I won't operate in the old way. But whatever it will be, it will be better for me because I'm being real for the first time. I won't be pushed around anymore.

Now that I started this, there's no going back.

This post is dedicated to not taking any s*%t.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Want To Inappropriately LICK Your Ear "Thank You"

You guys have been my rock through this visit with my Mom. As you know, it ain't been pretty and we left not speaking. I'm going to tell that story tomorrow.

In the meantime, I wanted to say HAPPY DAMN 100TH ENTRY TO ME & YOU, my awesome self-esteem picker-up Posse.

Know that, I love you all and your comments, advice and life stories are the wind beneath my Weight Watchers wings. I can't, for some technological reason beyond me, comment on your comments from my home computer but I always catch up at the library. So never feel ignored, always check back to the post. I say that because I really put your advice into action and/or always feel comforted that I am not the only one dealing with an INSANELY, DYSFUNCTIONAL family.

I cap it, 'cause it's extra true.

This post is dedicated to lady bugs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Welcome To Planet Koo Koo Bananas

Well, we have a winner! Proving that even mothers who are busy tearing away at their daughter's thread bare self-esteem have time to think about vibrators, I will announce which one of you wins the contest in my next entry.

This has been the craziest week in a long time. I've come to realize a lot of things during my Mom's visit, mostly, THAT IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN AS LONG AS I LIVE. (Again, I write that in caps because I am screaming it.)

One thing I want to say to all the cool Moms that read this blog and cringe that you might one day have an ungrateful daughter like me who blogs about you behind your back, the thing is, my Mom isn't the most, shall we say, mentally well person around.

The problem is my Dad has really hid this problem from us and enabled her to the point where I'm unclear if she's taking meds, when she's taking meds and if she's seeing someone regularly for this problem. This trip would prove negative on all counts.

Things really went haywire on Sunday when I, needing space, after the self-esteem stripping encounter that was our Saturday night dinner, suggested that I take her down to the beach hotel she booked for us that week, have dinner with her and then come up to my own apartment and join her for breakfast the next day.

She went Koo Koo Bananas. Yelling at me at my favorite restaurant (sorry, Los Feliz Cafe... I tried to tip accordingly to my mother's melt down), saying that this isn't how she planned things, why had she even bothered to take time off work if I was going to change the plan and maybe she should just get on a plane and leave.

I reiterated calmly that I just wanted three hours to myself. It's kind of funny because she's a therapist. FOR REAL. So asking for space and asking for a boundary from A THERAPIST and then getting yelled at by one... kinda funny.

That should be my new reality show: "Tonight on 'Therapists Exposed' - by day she gives her patients advice, disbelieving their mothers could be so cruel, by night, she terrorizes her own daughter about how many calories are in a Starbucks muffin!"

Are ya with me, or are ya with me? So I could go down the whole list of Koo Koo Banana-ness - her checking out of the beach front hotel she was staying in because it was not as nice as she remembered to instead stay at the motel near me with, as my friend A, said, the beautiful view of the neighboring Costco; her vitriol at her sister for having two anorexic daughters when she so obviously has three daughters with food issues, her lectures on the fat and calorie content of almost everything I've eaten since she's landed, etc.

(P.S. did you know instead of dessert, you can just have two chocolate covered Altoids for 7 1/2 calories each?! How have I lived without this information for this long?)

But I'm kind of exhausted living it, so I'm not going to put you through it.

I think my Mom can definitely sense my pulling away from the chaos that is having her for a Mom. I don't engage or take the bait as much and that makes her furious. When I won't argue, she can't win and I think that makes her feel judged in some way. I long to just have a normal relationship with her but there's such an element of wanting to protect myself from her, too.

It's really sad. Sad to have your Mom come out to visit and all you think about is how you can't wait until she leaves.

This post is dedicated to waiters who bring you a second margarita without even asking.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Defending Your Life

Whenever I really worry about something, the opposite comes true. So I thought the fact that I was really worrying about my Mom's trip here, would mean that it would turn into a rolicking free for all, good time, wacky Lucy and Ethel on escapades type trip.

Then I remembered that Lucy really hated Ethel.

Things took a sour turn today (yes, a whole 36 hours into her trip). It might have started before that. She kept saying how worried she and my dad were about me. WORRIED, WORRRIED, WORRIED... like worried reserved for a person who lost their job or went into foreclosure or had a life threatening illness. It was starting to feel like, they were looking at some version of my life that didn't exist.

Yes, I am no longer writing for TV full time - no one I know is. But I am doing the most creative work I've ever done and actually making a good salary... a great salary and know that it's guaranteed for a year. So knowing that she worries about me and thinking the only worry can be about my financial future, I say, "Would it make you feel better to know that I'm making (insert what I think is a great deal of money here) a month?"

"No," she said quickly and tightly.

So we went into Marshalls where she needed to buy gifts for some baby set of twins she knows and we got into a huge fight about whether twins wear the same outfits or dress as individuals but it was SO CLEARLY not a fight about whether twins wear the same outfits or dress as individuals.

Of course, I dropped it because that's what I do, but I was feeling like - what more do you want from me? I have a great life (okay, I don't all the time and you guys know I'M FREAKIN' WORKING ON IT! but I've never let on to my parents that it's anything less than).

I guess I'm mad at being judged by my mother, "Judgy McJudger-stein" like I'm some poor sad sap that they have to worry about. Or maybe I'm mad that the things she should worry about - how I've taken my cousin's death or the loss of my boyfriend have never been addressed.

I was really pressing her tonight at dinner, "What are you so worried about?" I know that I am not some conventional "gonna get married and have some kids kinda girl" so I wondered, "Do you think I'm lying when I say that and you're really worried I'm missing out on something I'm not gonna have?"

She assured me she's always know since I was 14 I would not have kids. So what was it? I've said I'm doing well financially, she'd met all my friends the night before and the night before that. I AM THE PERFECT APPEARANCE OF ALL THINGS HAPPINESS AND LIGHT!

SO, what was it????

She wouldn't say although I was stunned when she said later on, "I just hate that you don't feel good enough for your father and I." I think that's when I really lost it. "What? I don't feel that way. Not good enough? You don't think I'm good enough?" It was like all of a sudden she was speaking some dirty truth she felt about me and there it was out in the open.

I felt like I could take a glass and just smash it into the table, I was so mad. Because I don't feel that way. AT ALL. With all I have to F'ING worry about it has never been about not being good enough to my father and mother.

Well, until now.

Because now she put it on the table, she can't take it back.

Then when I got pissed and wanted her to explain what she meant, she starts with the crying and I feel manipulated like I have my whole childhood when she gets backed into a corner she can't get out of and she plays the "tears" card.

That's it, I was out. As I said to a friend of mine, "Two days down, six more to go!" I'm home and she's at a hotel (The best $300 bucks I've ever spent) yet I could not feel more resentful or more trapped than I do right now.

This post is dedicated to prescription medication.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Life At 100mph

Life is crazy busy, I feel like lately, I've been shot out of a canon and I'm flying through the air, hurtling toward a ring of fire. Don't get me wrong, there's been time to play too, (Tequila, anyone?) but I get up in the early a.m. and I just start running.

Between all the work, the writing, the pitching, the preparing, the meetings and the greetings, I've been aware of how I've neglected my blog. And then I thought, if I don't write soon, THEY'LL ALL ABANDON ME! AND MY MOTHER LANDS ON THURSDAY AND I CANNOT BE ABANDONED RIGHT NOW!

P.S., when I write in caps, it's because I'm screaming.

Today I called my good friend, N. Here name is not really N or start with an N. But I must protect her anonymity because I REALLY really need her to do me a solid (I mean, favor - sorry, I was trying to be cool). S & L were supposed to pre-lap the aisles of the sex shop with me so I can be prepared for my mother's inevitable demands for a... thing-y that... you know... vibrates.

Alright, a vibrator. See, I'm awful at this. Any way S is sick and L went on a cruise (PS, S better cough up a lung and L better come back with a tan for her and a "Carnival Cruises" robe for me or I'm not buying it.) I can't really handle this myself, so I called N. "Will you go look at vibrators with me so I can be ready to take my Mom shopping for one when she gets here?"

N, burst out half laughing, half gasping, "NO!"

I begged and I pleaded. "PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE!!!!!!!!"

She finally said, "Yes" but I fear I will only learn it means "No" once I call her on Thursday and she's had her phone line disconnected.

Me and N are a like. Good girls. Shy about stuff we shouldn't be. Although if you had seen me out Saturday night with a group of ten guy friends, you wouldn't think I was shy about anything (Tequila). We all talked about sex: first times, lousy times, awkward times, times that involved not being aware that the other person had, um, fallen asleep... DURING.

But that was all tequila talk. This is my MOM AND HER SEX LIFE... WITH MY DAD. I get embarrassed seeing them in bathing suits! But I don't want to make the same mistake that was made to me - not talking about sex or making it seem like it's something to be ashamed of. I don't want to do that to my Mom. Hence, the preparation.

And also, you know, if she ever steps outta line or buys me a sweater from the Maternity section in order to embarrass the fat off of me, I can sit back and say, "Hey Mom, remember that time when you came to L.A. and made me take you vibrator shopping?"

This post is dedicated to things that are made of rubber.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I'm Manifesting My Ass Off!

Have you guys heard of manifesting?

It's kind of like "The Secret" (which I haven't read) and kind of like positive thinking and visualizing with a little Voodoo mixed in. For instance, let's say I want to "manifest" a good trip when my Mom comes in 9 Days, 11 Hours and 14 Minutes I would make up a positive saying and repeat it often. The key though, is to say it AS IF IT'S TRUE and already happening. Say like,

"My Mom is here and we are having so much fun! It's so wonderful that she has not said anything mean about my weight, lack of a full time job or zero prospects of having a boyfriend! And even better, she doesn't want to go vibrator shopping because she's realized that is NOT appropriate mother/daughter activity!"


Listen, y'all, I am not some California Kook. I'm straight neurotic East Coast pessimist through and through. But I gotta ask, "How's that been working for me?"

When my Dad was really sick and needing a heart transplant and we didn't even know if he would find a match in time, my Mom took him to a crystal healer (eye roll). My Mom is a former nurse so it's not like she's not a practical woman who doesn't believe in medicine.

The point is... she had to believe that she was doing SOMETHING. She was and is a woman of action and she could not stand by and be powerless and feel like she was NOT doing everything to make my Dad better. Did it help? Who knows, but we know it didn't hurt. And maybe somehow, it gave my mother something back, to believe she could do things and not just be a bystander in that horrible situation.

So that's where I am. I don't want to be a bystander in my life. There are some things I want and I am willing to say I WANT THEM! I am willing to draw up my list, repeat it often and being the Type A girl I am, even have it laminated at Kinkos!

Will it work? My answer was going to be, "I don't know but I know it won't hurt." Now I will say, after writing this, "Yes, it will work!" Here's why, I believe when we name stuff, we get it, not because it just magically comes to us but because it is... named and by being named we can take the steps to make it true.

Perfect example, today I was talking to my former boss and she said to me, "How are the boys?" The boys? My nephews? My former guy co-workers? Who did she mean? OH, THE BOYS! The guys in LA, the guys I'm not thinking about, therefore not putting any vibes out for, not dressing up for, not going to places where they'll be, not exchanging numbers with and not having awkward yet thrilling first dates with.


I know it's something I want but it has not even been in my realm of possibilities. Now it is. It's on the list.

Okay, so here's what I want to know from you guys, just because I am so curious about this recent phenomenon of people really looking up from there lives and wanting to change, to make their lives more meaningful and have purpose. Mine came out of circumstance but I'm wondering, do you feel that way, too? What do you feel is missing? What new things are you trying that are helping?

Let's open up the convo and help each other out. Thanks ladies!

This blog is dedicated to Mom jeans.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Um... I Think That's Gonna Leave A Stain

We have so much cool blog fun to catch up on.

I owe you guys stories on Adventure Bowls, Weeks 3, 4 & 5. Also, check in next week because L and S are taking me sympathy Pre-Shopping in preparation for my mother's visit and anticipated immediate demands for a vibrator. They're going to get me comfortable roaming the aisles of a sex shop without looking and feeling like an obviously guilty Catholic.

But today, oh, today we are sick. I felt it in my stomach, it was turning over in a way that you have no reason to believe you are going to throw up, so you do no preparation in the throwing up, like say, running to your bathroom, and instead it comes upon you so quickly and violently that you roll over and throw up on your bedroom carpet.

And as you are running for the bathroom because, um, it's coming again, you are sure that you glimpse this horrifying sight out of the corner of your eye:

Your ten pound Chihuahua treating your floor like it's his very own snack bar. Oh! Note to self: "Don't let that little beast kiss you on the lips tonight."

So, welcome to my life. We're taking a snuggle and cuddle in the bed to get better and we'll catch up on Saturday, if not before!

This blog is dedicated to dogs who act like Hoovers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Alone With Her

This blog is updated because a reader caught me "rewriting history" even though I didn't mean to. I will highlight the parts that I changed and if you are curious what set this in motion, please read Martha's comment and my reply to her.
My Mom is coming to visit in three weeks. I want to feel excited and I do feel excited but I feel nervous, too.

We have not been alone since her nervous breakdown.

This past Christmas we talked about my Mom and Dad coming to visit me here in California because my older sister wasn't coming home. Then my younger sister decided she'd like to go have Christmas with my older sister. I didn't want to go back to that house, where it all happened and where I had not been since it happened, and be all alone.

So I invited my parents here. Then the fear came. What if she had another "episode?" Where would I take her? Would they accept her insurance? (I'm very practical.) How would we get her home after?

I thought how I reacted when it first happened the Christmas before last... and it didn't make me feel very capable of being able to handle anything happening to her this Christmas. I'm not quite ready to describe exactly what went on that night, I will just say that I burst into tears and when running for my little sister.

My mother came after me, downstairs. The things she was saying were just... crazy and frightening and even though I can now reason, that was not her, she was not there... all I could do was run, past her and up the stairs to get my father.

E and I had just taken him out to lunch that day to say, "Something is wrong. Something is very wrong." He insisted it wasn't, Mom was fine. He said we should do a toast to all his girls being home. We did and he said, "Don't clink any booze outta my glass."

I know. I mean, he was kidding. But we were all kidding ourselves. Hiding. Having a drink during the day to deal with what would come just that night.

What's strange is, I have no memory of what happened just before it happened. That seems so unbelievable. It was late, why were we all up? Something must have made it happen? What was it?

But it was me who burst into tears and E who sprang into action. First with the plan to get her into bed, then to drug her so we could come up with a better plan. Then hunting and pecking all over the house to find all of my Mom's pills.

I was hiding down in E's bedroom when she brought them to me. There were 6 or 7 bottles. E, "All different doctors." What? Some were anti-depressants. Some were anti-anxiety. Some were sleeping pills. Then E got out my Mom's date book with phone numbers and just started calling. She didn't care that it was 1:00am. She was a private detective, on a mission, trying to put the pieces together of how my Mom, a therapist herself had conned so many doctors into prescibing conflicting meds. Yeah, she's a therapist... so that's probably how.

I did end up pulling my end. It's amazing how we fall into our strengths. E was good with the factual stuff. The talking to doctors, the calling of my Mom's friends to see who knew what when (and shockingly, they all knew, for a very long time...). I was good at cooking for my Mom, sitting with her, keeping her on a schedule.

But I wished I had been E. She had the strength. Although, I did one day (this automatically brings a smile to my face) go into my father's bedroom while he was sleeping, rip off the covers and he jolted awake. "What? What?" he said. I said, "You knew this has been going on for a year. We're not playing this your way anymore. We're playing it my way. And if you back down to anything E or I say, we're getting on a plane and leaving you to handle this all alone."

"Okay, okay," he said.

I had to leave the room, because I was so shocked he went along with it. I didn't want him to see the surprise on my face.

So I guess I have to remember that part of me when she comes out here. I can handle it. I can handle anything.

This blog is dedicated to readers who leave comments after feeling a little awkward that the blogger may have just revealed a wee too much about her family.