Embrace the Suck

Photo from Pixabay

When I hear the words “suicide prevention” what I hear is “you did not do everything you could to save Anthony, you missed something and now he is dead”.  I do not know what other suicide loss survivors hear when they hear those words but that is my experience, which is all I can write about. I cannot try to write anything else, that is what “my truth” means to me. This is my experience and  it does not diminish anyone’s else’s experience(s). I am free to express my perspective without anyone telling me I need to be more sensitive to everyone around me. Me being more sensitive to everyone around me is at the heart of my codependency, which I have paid a lot of money in therapy and books on the subject to try and break free from.

It is my experience that when it comes to grief and suicide most people want the uncomfortable to be made comfortable. They want the easy, safe and neatly packaged response so they can check off the box that says they “did something” and can go back to their nice lives where nobody has hung themselves in the garage. I do not blame anyone for wanting that, I sure wish I could want that, but it does make me seethe with rage because to me, that means everyone wants to forget that Anthony was alive and now he is dead. Not in “a better place”, not “at peace”, not “released from his suffering” but dead AF. In a grave where his mother has to go to spend time talking into the dirt that covers the coffin that holds his dead body she will never see or hold again in this life and maybe not even in the next if she keeps missing mass and hating God.

There is no comfort for me. I wish that I could find a way to not be me so that I could pretend there is some somewhere, but I am not anyone else. I am who God made me and that is a person who sees absolutely no comfort in pretending things are not the way they are.

I was born in the middle of a Texas Panhandle dust storm. It is one of the few details I know about my birth other than my father had been long gone by the time I made my way into the world. I do not know why being born in a dust storm is one of the things that I held onto my entire life, but I did. I have never asked my mother about my birth in adulthood and I am not even sure when or where she told me the fact that I was born in a dust storm either, or if it was even her who told me. I just know that somewhere along my life someone said that I was born in one and that it was dark and a giant spider was crawling on the window of the hospital. The picture of that was seared into my imagination and that is what I think of when I think of the day I was born. That and my grandfather giving me his last name.

A few days ago there was a dust storm in Big Spring Texas which is in the panhandle close to the tiny town I was born in and the pictures of it were all over my Facebook feed. I sat at my computer completely awed at the beauty of it while the comment section was full of people saying how scary it looked. I told my husband that I was really proud to have been born in one of those beauties and I did not understand why. He said “well, when you are born in darkness and chaos, you can handle anything else in life” and for the first time in our relationship (which goes back to when we were five years old) my husband saw me. Not this version of me that I showed him or the version of me that he had made up to make it easy to deal with life, but me, Leticia. Who I am, where I came from, what I have been through and as I am right now. I felt seen and loved and understood. That is how I feel in therapy because I have a great therapist, but she is still my therapist, this is my husband. It is what I have been seeking and somehow I have found it.

I never would have found it if I had lived my life on the plane where I pretend things are not the way they are so I can be comfortable. If I choose to believe the world is a friendly place. It is not. God is love and we are made to love and be loved and to find our way back to God, but that way is paved with suffering because this world is cruel and full of sin and people who cooperate with evil. That is reality. There is an escape from it but that escape comes with a price. That price is never being seen as we are and to never see the beauty of the survivors of evil. And dear survivors, we are beautiful.

In my experience the only way through the grief of suicide loss is reality. To know it is bullshit, to live in the house my son died in, to refuse to do anything that makes it seem like this was a good thing and to fight for my space to mourn the life of a great human being that died senselessly in a way that blew his family’s lives up. His children and siblings were innocent casualties in the explosion that was his suicide and yet, they are now forced to figure out how to live the rest of their lives piecing themselves back together. That is the reality of suicide.

There is nothing we would not have done to prevent Anthony’s suicide. There is nothing we would not do to have him back. There is nothing in the world that helps us in hearing people talk about prevention. I am sure it helps someone and that is amazing, but for me, what helped me was hearing from people who have suffered this loss and how they managed their way through it. The honest and raw stories of people who were angry and who admitted that it sucks to be here. The people who asked “why” and who listened as I asked “why”. I personally do not get anything from people who have to stay positive or set their heartbreak to the side to move forward. I want to hear from people who move forward carrying that heartbreak. To me, this is the beauty of Mary, she did not act as if everything was fine and she did not think positive, she felt her feelings and she lived with a pierced heart. That is the role model I need in my life and it is the kind of example I want to be for others who need that. Anyone who needs positive affirmations or lists of ways to stay positive have tons and tons of self-help books to dig through to find that. I want my writing to be a blessing to those who mourn and mourning means embracing the suck. I was born into darkness and chaos, I was made for this.

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The Internet is on Fire

picture from Pixabay

Or at least I want to set it on fire every time I log into any of my social media accounts. Even Instagram which really pisses me off because I really thought the social contract of being on Instagram was solid as in I we all agreed that no politics would go on there. But this week it all went to shit.

Here’s my thing: I do not have it in me to argue with strangers online anymore. I spent a lot of time doing that before Anthony died and it got me nowhere except regretting it when I buried him. I do not think anyone wins an argument on morality and politics on social media. In fact, I have lost a lot of friends because of my political freak outs. It is not that they did not agree with me, although I would say that most did not agree with me, but it was that I was hysterical. Nobody will ever listen to the arguments of a person calling them a moron. This is hard for me, especially when it comes to politics. Because I am a bit of an elitist and a Platonist. Plato was known to say that not everyone was smart enough to vote. I tend to agree with him because I am a horrible person. Which is why seething about political issues online does nothing to help me bring anyone to know Jesus and actually is probably a good way for me to walk my ass right into the pit of hell.

So! I have been staying out of the dumpster fire that is the internet. What have I been doing you ask? Well, get this! I have been doing my homework. GASP And I read a book, watched a movie and an entire series on Amazon Prime. But because I am not on social media to tell anyone and my husband is still in the desert, I haven’t talked to anyone about any of these things! Which is why I’m here on my blog because I also need to write and without Facebook, I came back to write about them on the blog.

1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – I had been avoiding watching this show even though a lot of people told me it was great. I don’t know why I avoided it really, just that I did and that was a mistake. I watched the first episode and was hooked. This show is so cute and funny. The main character’s outfits are beautiful. It is about women’s creativity and the high cost of it sometimes. Also, the family is a real family who has issues and heartache but sticks together. I normally would not watch a show about someone who is from the upper class because I do not relate to that kind of life at all, but this show really hit home how we all have so much in common in the human experience. I love it and can’t wait to see the next season!

2. I read a whole book. Maid by Stephanie Land. Stephanie is a great writer and really does such an amazing job of capturing what life is like when you are trying to make ends meet with a shitty job as a single mother. I have been there. What this book taught me is that I am so lucky. While I do not think that it’s lucky that I come from generations of poor people, I am lucky that I never wondered how to get on foodstamps or get medicaid when I was pregnant. I always knew what milk qualified for WIC and I never had anyone be rude to me at the grocery store for using foodstamps. Because when you live among other poor people, everyone gets it. But the struggle of working when you have a sick kid or finding daycare that is safe is one that I know well. Crawling out of poverty and having one tiny thing kick you right back in is part of the life of being poor too. But the love that mothers have for their children is what fuels us to keep going and keep trying. Land writes about that love honestly and with amazing talent.

3. Wine Country on Netflix – It is just funny. Do not watch it and then come to me telling me that it’s inappropriate. Because I know, that is why it is funny.

4. Game of Thrones – I am not linking this. Ya’ll know where to find it. I am also not going to debate people about the morality of watching it. There is a reason that I am not on social media and that is because I do not want to argue with anyone. Part of that inspiration came from last Sunday’s episode of GOT. SPOILER ALERT. Stop reading if you do not want to read spoilers.

So in that episode Daenerys burnt down the entire city with her dragon because she was sick with grief and rage. Ummmm…. Where do I even begin. First of all, since I started watching this show I have asked for a dragon and God keeps silent. Literally, I ask God the creator of the Universe why I can’t have a dragon. I took His silence as a way of Him saying that I am crazy and He refuses to entertain me. But then as I watched that dragon burn everything to the ground I realized that I do have a dragon. My anger. And when I lost Anthony, I let it burn everything to the ground. I did not care who was in the path of destruction, it all burned. My relationships, my marriage, my friendships, my life, my writing, my faith.. all of it. And watching that episode made me reevaluate my life which meant getting of the internet for a bit.


So there you go, that is what I have been doing. If things keep up this way, I will end up actually going to the gym this next week. Ha!

Getting My Shit Together 2019

One reason that I have been avoiding writing this blog post is that I already know what is going to happen. I am going to write it all out and people will be so proud of me and offer encouragement or say something like “I wish I could do that” and then my life will fall apart. This has happened over and over as a blogger. I think it is because God likes to entertain Himself by torturing bloggers/writers/authors/speakers.

But here I go anyway.

Part of this need to get my shit together comes from the fact that I have been living in the black hole known as Grief for the last two years and the fog is finally lifting. Several things happened to snap me out of it. The biggest one was probably when my husband moved out in September. That is very complicated and involves things that are not mine to speak on, but I can say that when I no longer had such a close target for my anger or someone taking care of my every need, I had to really come back to being some kind of presence in my life again instead of just being on autopilot.

I got a job and being out in the world reminded me that I love people. I love talking to people and hearing their stories. I love seeing people grow. I also remembered how many people have no clue what the purpose of their lives are and that God loves them so much He thought the world needed them in it to make it better. I also remembered how much I hate waiting tables and how much I love writing. So I quit because I could once my husband and I reconciled.

Step 1 of Getting my Shit Together:

is to write full time. To focus on it and to begin freelance writing and pitching agents for my memoir. I was waiting tables out of the need to pay my bills and also fear. Fear was honestly the biggest factor. When the need to pay my bills was gone, fear was all that was left. I had to make the choice to jump even if I was scared to death. I still am, but now is the time.

Step 2 of #GMST2019 (we are just gonna go modern now and go with this hashtag)

This might actually be #1 depending on how you look at it. Or it might be the pre-requisite. Anyway, it is going back to therapy. Going to therapy and dealing with hard things. You would think that the trauma of losing a son to suicide is the hard thing but the truth is that I had given up on therapy because I blamed myself for his suicide. Somewhere in my mind, I had already failed the most I could fail so there was no reason to even keep healing from anything that happened before Anthony died. Also, I had taken on the punishment of life without therapy as a punishment for Anthony’s suicide. Going back has helped me see that and get my emotional life in order. I do not want to keep on letting anger lead me by the hand. I also am not about to be fake or let people walk all over me so I need therapy to help me balance those two things out.

Step 3 #GMST2019 (see how I keep making this shorter?)

A budget. You guys. There are just somethings that I do not understand the concept of when people say them. Like “dress in layers” or “surrender to God’s plan for your life” or “just budget your money”. First of all, I hardly have ever had money and second I do not know what those words even mean. But I have a friend who does know what a budget is and how to make one so I asked her for help. She explained.things to me over coffee and we talked about other things so it was also time with a friend. I left that coffee date with a new understanding of how to manage money. I have been using the YNAB (You Need a Budget) app and it has changed my life. I have all my bills and expenses covered and my choices on what to spend my money on are more intentional. I am also so grateful that I understand how to manage money instead of feeling like money is in control of my life. No, I still do not have endless amounts of money so I have to make choices, but I am making them, they are not just happening to me.

Step 4 #GMST2019

A daily schedule. Time is like money. It has to be managed. We only have so much of it and the things we have to do take time. I took the things I learned about a budget and applied them to time. I busted out my Blessed is She planner and started budgeting my time. Putting it all down helped me to see what my priorities are and make them happen and also to see what I can and can’t say yes to during the week and why. This daily schedule helped me to see goals in their context rather than just being things on a random list somewhere that I expect to just happen. That is not how things materialize in our lives. If we want something, we have to work towards it. A daily schedule telling me what space in my day is going to be to focus on this specific goal is how I will get there.

Step 5 #GMST 2019

My priorities. Prayer, myself, family, school, gym time and daily Mass. I had to sit down and set my priorities and put them in my life. For so long these things are just concepts that either get attention or they don’t. Sometimes they even compete for attention. Using my budget and daily schedule I can put them in their place in my daily life rather than just think about them. I had to stop feeling bad that self-care comes right after God for me because I am codependent and have no boundaries so that is what works in my life to make me the best version of myself. Then I had to put myself on my schedule. That meant putting “bubble bath” on my weekly schedule. Or putting “gym” time in my daily schedule. Once I set my priorities and put them in my weekly schedule I could see how it was possible and could stop feeling guilty about taking care of myself. I can also see how taking care of myself helps me to care for everyone else. I can also see how much time somethings are taking out of my day and out of my other priorities. Like social media. And I can adjust or adapt accordingly. This means taking Saturdays to write and schedule blog posts, learning how to schedule social media posts and limiting myself to an hour a day on social media.

All of these things have helped me gain some control over my life over the things I can control. I know there is plenty that I cannot control, but that does not mean just letting life punch you in the face all the time. That will happen anyway, even if you have a budget and schedule and goals. But having my shit together might make them easier to handle when they come along. I don’t know, I might end up saying this is all too much and going back to binge-watching Netflix and eating McDonald’s for dinner. I will let you know.

What are some things in your Get Your Shit Together Plan?