Saturday, December 31, 2005

My Mother's Political House

I spent the last four days at my mother's house in California. My mother is not from there. My mother grew up in Pennsylvania. I only mention this because the following post is about her opinions. Geography is sometimes relevant to things like opinions.

My mother's roommate is my brother's mother-in-law. Read it again and it will be clear. My brother and his wife and their son live a few miles from the two grandmothers. The grandchild was a big motivating force in this arrangement. The other was divorce. Both women divorced their husbands around the same time. So my mother's roommate completes a duo that is half cheering section, half partner in crime.

The two of them each have their own chairs and they sit next to each other in these chairs. The chairs recline, so with four feet facing the couch with me on it, my mother reads the paper and her sidekick listens and comments and supports. There are no dissenting opinions in the chairs.

I always lay on the couch and read or watch tv and tune out most of the political rhetoric. I grew up with it. I can almost comment without even hearing the subject specifically. We are a tribe of die-hard liberals. Instead of stories, in my family's house, people talk politics.

It was inevitable but still I was surprised by it. The news story turned out to be a piece about guns. Something about a person getting accidentally shot in a bad part of town. My mother read the story and then began talking about the evils of guns. Her sidekick agreed and they talked about guns for a little bit and how all guns need to be illegal.

I'd like to say that I stood up and educated my mother on the 2nd amendment. I'd like to say that I at least told her that I have been shooting. Hell, I'd like to say I said a lot of things. But I didn't. I said nothing. Not one word.

The conversation turned to the next story and I justified my silence with my mother's age and the fact that telling her about the shooting would lead to a serious conversation about me, my journey, my brother, even my cigarette habit and I was terrified to have it. In that moment I was a complete coward and it was clear to me just how far I have to go.

Now I feel a strange mix of shame and determination in regard to communicating with my mother. She is not the easiest woman to speak with because she cries a lot. I could probably list forty more excuses for why I avoid the tough subjects with her, but they are just excuses. I know I have to have many conversations with her, one of which is definitely a discussion of guns and how they, and their enthusiasts, have helped me and changed my life.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Talking To My Father

By some strange twist of fate, my packages arrived from my father with a small wooden baby jesus enclosed. Being a known atheist, this freaked me out a little because I thought that my father was preaching Christianity in some weird, silent, voodoo way. Talking to Dad is a task I never like and always avoid. If I wanted to know anything about the wooden Jesus, I would have to break down and call him.

So I called and mercifully got the machine. My father doesn't believe in voicemail because you pay for it again and again when you only pay for a machine once. I don't know how he reconciles the voicemail on his cell because the explanation would take him all day and I don't have the minutes required. I left a message on his answering machine, which has the computerized voice because my father is extra paranoid, and, after the beep, asked if he had intended for me to have this Christ or if he was the owner of a very empty creche. I hung up and forgot about it.

At midnight his time he called me back (which is very late for my dad).

"Christina, it's Dad," he said as he always does. He was very happy to find out that the baby Jesus who had been lost 3 years ago had turned up in the packaging of my presents! It was a little creepy. Thinking of a missing olive wood creche Jesus waiting three years and 2500 miles to turn up in my house at Christmastime made me revisit my protestant roots for a moment. The Jesus and the rest of the creche belonged to my Dad's wife and she had gotten the whole thing in Jordan and it was very special. I couldn't resist making 'once was lost but now it's found' jokes. He laughed. He can be a good sport about most things.

I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing and promised to mail Jesus back to his manger when my father began talking about how well my brother is doing. I have heard no information about my brother since I told my family about the molestation last May. All of the sudden, my father is telling me that he has a new, healthy hobby, he's not drinking, he's doing really well.

And I felt like screaming, "yeah, but he still molested me repeatedly and you're acting like it's a hangnail!"

I'm mailing the Jesus tomorrow. I should have screamed.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I am a medicated bipolar and I take more than a few things to regulate that condition. A few days ago I ran out of one of my prescriptions. I called in the refill and a few hours later, expecting to pay $7, was told that the prescription, in generic form, would be a copay of $50. FIFTY DOLLARS FOR A GENERIC. This wouldn't be such a big deal except that I had change my entire pill regimen three months ago because the insurance company decided to stop covering what I was taking. Of course what I was taking was working.

So here I am at a medication crossroads again. I have taken myself off of the $50 generic and called my shrink. What is the point of generic medication if it works out to be just as costly as the "real thing"? In this case that is true. I can take the brand name medication for the same price. Didn't that President, GWB, push some generic medication program as some loose solution to prescription costs to keep our drug dollars out of Canada and Mexico?

All I know is that I am once again changing medications in order to keep my costs down instead of my spirits up. As an added bonus, the withdrawl from that particular generic drug has given me a rash. I can't wait for the next one. Hopefully it will have a generic equivalent.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Drink and A Smoke

I keep trying to get a good night's sleep. Some people have a hobby or two, I have a bit of a quest. It is this quest for sleep that last night led me to drink. After more than a few days suffering from the local virus and doing very little other than hacking and blowing my nose, I decided I was going to go out and sit with my friend, the vodka tonic.

I don't consider myself an alcoholic, but I am an addict where alcohol often leads to other drugs and bad decision making. I went out anyway, knowing my promise to myself that I would not be making those bad decisions. I was just going out to have a drink, maybe some conversation, and then, finally and hopefully, maybe some actual sleep.

I saddled up to the bar and sipped my drink. I talked to some people about what amounted to nothing and I killed some time during those hours between 11pm and 2am. I fought the boredom of being alone and awake in a bar with thoughts of myself, half-asleep and screaming at home,wrestling the same nightmares. Then I had thoughts of a new letter I had written to my family discussing what I might need from them regarding my healing process.

The letter was on my mind. It didn't matter what song was on the jukebox in the otherwise quiet bar or that I knew the drunken guy the management was throwing out for being a letch. The two guys next to me continued to try to reach into my preoccupied mind as the sweet-tart tonic washed the vodka down smoothly. Do I send the letter? I came to no conclusion as I sipped my drink.

With no great epiphany, I slid off the stool and went on my way home. I didn't finish my last drink or my last smoke. I had had enough. I arrived home and crawled into bed, hoping for the alcohol to work a miracle on my subconscious. About a half hour later I found myself bouncing onto the floor, sweating and flailing. My breath was quick and I could see it all again; the bathroom, his naked legs, the water, my tears dropping into it. For those first few minutes of awake I could see it all as if I was still there. As I pulled myself off of the floor, I realized, I still am.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Gun Rental 2

When I was at the range today to shoot with my trusty friend in tow to coach and accompany me, I found out that they will allow me to rent a gun and shoot alone. They allow this because the range is well manned and as long as I am not a foreign national, which I am not, it is fine for me to come in and shoot alone. In fact, Tuesdays are ladies nights where there is no range fee for women.

Lifted by this information, I rented the Glock 9mm and I shot pretty well. The fear rose up in me as usual, especially when the person in the next stall began shooting something very loud at their Osama target, but the feeling of vomit and the shakiness only lasted about fifteen minutes. Soon I began to focus on my progress and the task at hand. The gun did jam more than a few times but I handled that. The routine, taught to me from the start, was there for me to rely upon. I really tried to do everything alone without coaching this time so that I would feel comfortable on my own in the future.

My friend did step in each time we reviewed the target. He talked to me about my stance, my aim, my overcompensation for the kick. Each time that target floated back and I began to shoot, I did a little better. I appreciate having someone there to guide me through. I also appreciate knowing that should I become too fearful, there is someone there to let me know it's all ok. It is time, however, for me to do this on my own. So my next post about the range should be a shooting story of complete independence. Wish me luck.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The trouble with gun rental

It is the weekend again and I would like to go shoot. I figure I'll return to the .22 at the advice of so many, and work on my accuracy a bit while I jump and cringe as usual. That is, I will do all of this if I can find someone to go with me.

I don't pretend to be a stable individual. I also don't pretend to want to use a gun to kill myself. Regardless of these two statements, I cannot go to the range alone because I don't own a gun. This makes no sense to me, but I don't think I can find meaningful statistics anywhere to help my cause. Ranges don't let people who rent guns shoot alone in case they want to go in and shoot themselves. Tell me, all knowing readership, does this happen often? Are there landmark lawsuits?

None of that matters of course, because the rules are the rules and I'm probably not ready to go on my own anyway. Someday though, and probably sooner than I know, I will be ready and I won't be able to convince someone to go with me. Then that will push me toward ownership, a place I'm not interested in exploring just yet. I shoot to help myself feel strength and independence. It's really hard to focus on those things when I cannot go alone.