Not everyone has a mother

Trigger Warning: mental abuse, suicide, family issues.

This isn’t a game related post. So for those of you who are here hoping for something fun, or even slightly funny, related to WoW or other game, you might want to move along. This isn’t one of those posts.

This post is deeply personal. I talk about this stuff pretty flippantly when it comes up, but I don’t delve too far into all the sordid details. What with a friend’s post about her divorce, and Allie Brosh’s (of Hyperbole and a Half) post about depression, I started really thinking a lot about things going on right now.

Not everyone knows this but I have no family nearby. It was super depressing to think about this when I needed to put an emergency contact on my “If found on the side of the road almost dead” bracelet. Who the hell should a random stranger call in case I had to be taken to the hospital?? My nearest family member lives hundreds of miles away. 7-8 hour drive minimum. I don’t have a lot of close friends because I find they only want to be friend’s with me when they need something, so I’ve stopped trying to keep track, or keep up.

But mother’s day is looming around the corner. It’s only days away and this holiday brings out a lot of frustration and emotion for me. It’s even more frustrating when I hear people say things like “everyone has a mother.” It simply isn’t true. I haven’t had a mother since I was 19 years old. I was born from someone, yes. But I haven’t had a mother in my life for so long, I’ve forgotten what it’s even like to say “My mom…” about anything.

My mother is a first generation Korean immigrant. She was a hippy when she came with my dad back to the States. She wore tube tops and had hair down to her butt. She wore big glasses. The person she was in the pictures I have of her don’t reflect the person I remember all of my life.

My mother showed up one day with a golden retriever puppy. Then a couple weeks later, after my sister and I had grown attached, left the front door open. The puppy was gone and never returned.

My mother liked to use her accent or lack of “English” as a reason for why we weren’t communicating very well, but couldn’t understand that I understood her perfectly fine. Her English was perfectly fine. There was nothing wrong with the way she communicated, just the meaning behind her words, is all.

My mother spent the majority of my childhood telling me how fat I was, how I should be ashamed of myself and strive to look like my sister, emaciated thing that she was. I remember being about 16 years old and we were sitting around the table eating dinner watching Cops of all shows. It was my mom, her boyfriend, my sister and I. And there was a larger officer running. And the words that came out of my mother’s mouth floored me. Sickened me even. She said “That fat guy should never have become a cop. Look at him, he can’t even run!” I was taken aback, but these are the comments I had been hearing for years. I just didn’t sit back and take it this time though. This time I said something.

“Y’know, you don’t know anything about that guy! Why would you judge him like that?”
“But look at him, he can’t even run!”
“It’s a tv show. He’s running just fine. So what if he’s fat. That doesn’t mean he can’t do his job.”

This generally turned into a discussion about how I should marry a rich man who would take care of me.

My mother accused me of stealing some packets of M&Ms out of the cupboard. In doing so, she decided to lecture only me in front of my sister and the two daughters of some guy she was living with this time. It was all my fault, because I was the oldest. Which meant that I had to be the one who stole the M&Ms out of the closet. She decided to slap me, across the face, in front of everyone, because I refused to admit that I had stolen the stupid candy. I was 17 and slapped her back. The conversation quickly became something else entirely. It was about respect and how dare I slap her! And “I can’t believe you just slapped me!” It was the last time my mother laid a hand on me.

I lost track of the number of times my mother told me how ugly I looked when I was angry. I lost track of the number of times she told me she would kill me if she could. I lost track of the number of time she told me what a horrible daughter I was because I didn’t listen to her and do what she said.

I distinctly remember getting into an elevator one days and she made this off-handed comment “Oh look, two fatties just got on!” and since we were the only two, I knew she meant the two of us. My mom was never fat, and looking back, I wasn’t either. I am now, but I wasn’t then.

In high school I planned how I would kill myself. Where I would do it. Everything. I had the letters written. The one I would leave at home on my dresser for my dad and the one I would have in my pocket for everyone else. I remember how shitty I felt. How I never felt comfortable being me. I wore clothes big enough for an adult man, to hide myself in them. No one can see how fat you are if you’re drowning in your clothes, right? I wore a jacket all year long so that I could hide my boobs. Because my mom made me feel great shame for having them. Poking them and laughing when telling me how big they were. Calling them everything other than what they were… boobs. Once I turned 18, I went to live with her in Los Angeles. I thought it would be better than the small town I grew up in. I remember telling her about how I was once suicidal. I told her that it was because of how she made me feel about myself. How ugly she made me feel because I wasn’t tiny and skinny.

She told me, “That had nothing to do with me. It just mean you’re weak.”

I came home one day to the front door kicked in and several police officers standing in my living room. My mother apparently had tried to kill herself because her boyfriend had decided to leave her. She swallowed a bunch of Tylenol with codeine, called him and told him what she was doing. He called the cops. They rushed her to the hospital. She managed to convince the social worker assigned to her, that she was safe to go home… but they needed someone to watch her. I was 19 years old and in college. I had a boyfriend and things to do! I didn’t have the mental capacity to keep track of my mother at this point.

Two weeks later I came home to a strange man living in our house. I figured it was just a new boyfriend, but I’d never met him before. I had no idea who he was. But I wanted to light a candle in the house, so I went digging in her room for some matches or a lighter. I knew she sometimes smoked and would have these things. Instead I found a package of wedding photos. She had run off to Las Vegas and married this guy, this stranger. After another couple of weeks the guy was gone. She told me that he wasn’t living up to his end of the deal, and that was for him to help put me though school. I stared at her, drop-jawed, because why would I accept something like that from a guy I didn’t know!

My mother stole my car from me while I was at work, leaving me stranded. At this point I had moved out and was living with a boyfriend. The car was in her name, but I was making the payments on it. She showed up at my office building, went to the parking garage, and took the car, leaving me stranded there. It was a mess. And a nightmare. And the last time I spoke to my mom. She called me, months later, and left a voice mail on my work number saying she wanted me to call her but didn’t leave a number.

That was the last time I heard from my mother. She’s no where to be found now. My dad has tried looking for her. My sister blames me for my mother going off the grid. No one knows what happened to her. But I made a decision to not talk to her again. The fat comments were daily for the majority of my life. The “you look like the devil” comments came any time I tried to stand up to her for the way she treated me or other people.

So forgive me if I don’t want to celebrate Mother’s day in some trite, commercialized way. I don’t have a mother. I have a woman who gave birth to me, but a mother, the mother I would be if I wanted kids, is not the woman she was to me.

So forgive me if I don’t partake in celebrating mom’s on Sunday. I still have a few open wounds my mom left that refuse to heal.

Actual Guild Recruitment… I Know Right?!

So it’s official. I helped start a guild.

What started off as a handful of us lamenting on twitter about the frustrating aspects of various guilds that drove us away from wanting to be associated with them (some more severe than others, mind you) eventually became me sitting down with Nyxy and Aero and putting a plan in motion. Seerail acquired a level 25 guild and set the ball rolling to get GMship and get ready to transfer it over… but where?

I took a few days to look at a few core things that were mandatory and necessary for picking a realm. Not a single one of us were happy with our current realms and all of us were willing to go elsewhere. Once a realm was decided upon based on population, economy, and how many anal jokes and/or references to Thunderfury occurred in 30-40 minutes (none at the time when I was logged in) we started transferring toons over.

We decided on a guild name. We discussed some guild policies that were mandatory. We talked about days and times for raiding and the sort of atmosphere we wanted while raiding.

And I set about writing all of those policies up. I admit to being a bit of a control freak, but I was utterly grateful that Aero decided to take the helm of running the whole operation. Then Nyxy and I hit the final stretch to our quarters in school, her with having real finals, and me with having lots of papers to write, things were put on the back-burner. It also felt really overwhelming, to try to predict and decide how to make it all work.

But, in the end, we created <From Behind>, and as of now we are actively recruiting for people to help us fill all roles for a 10m team. We’re looking to raid from 6:30pm – 9:30pm Pacific (-8 GMT) on Tuesday and Friday nights for main progression type raids, and Sunday’s will be semi-optional previous tier/gear farming type stuff.

We really and truly want the person behind the toon much more than the class and spec they are bringing to the table. Definitely check out the guild site and don’t be afraid to chat with any of us on Twitter or in game!

We want to get started with raiding as quickly as possible, but this might mean we’re running some CRZ T14 raids in the meantime to get some gear. So come, join us, and have some fun!

Celebrating Small Victories

One of the easiest things to admit to myself was that I was fat. One of the hardest things to admit was that I wasn’t so happy with being fat. I had friends to tell me how beautiful I was, inside and out. I had strangers comment on my hair, my pretty face, or even my boobs. Inside I longed to be one of those skinny girls you see in movies and television.

Mind you, my desire to be thin wasn’t ever quite enough to give up ice cream, rice, spaghetti, cheese cake, Nutella, Candy Cane Kisses, pizza, In & Out, and who knows how many other things I refused to give up. I was okay with my size for a number of reasons, but mostly I didn’t want to be buggered with watching what I ate and exercising.

It’s not fat-shaming, and I know there are some folks who are going to say that’s exactly what it is. I don’t think everyone needs to be thin. I don’t think I want to be thin so that I can get a man to like me. I don’t judge people based on their size and I certainly don’t ascertain their worth based on the size of their pants. I don’t look at my larger friends and think how unfortunate their lives must be. I don’t see them and think to myself “If only they were skinnier, they would be SO much happier.” But for me, it’s different. I’ve always wanted to be smaller, and instead I just found myself getting bigger over the years.

There’s a moment of clarity, though. When the doctor tells you that you have two choices… resolve to have diabetes and heart problems or eat better and exercise… you start making the touch decisions. I’ve spent years trying diets. I was always the “fat sister” who was smart. I exercised in gyms, and I tried running. Oh running! I’ve never been much of a runner. Even when I was young and healthy and not facing life-shortening conditions I hated running. I made myself feel insanely guilty for eating out, telling myself I had failed so what is the point! When I wanted some candy I’d stop myself from having any for weeks, sometimes months, until I broke. I never had a single piece of chocolate, I ate entire bags of chocolate. I made up for the months of deprivation and seeming starvation from the food I loved.

I’m not sure why this year, 2013, was the magic year. Why being 34 was my magic number. But I stopped telling myself that I had to be the best at everything. I can’t run a mile straight… SO WHAT?! I can’t really run much at all… so what. I’m still horrifically lazy, and I still enjoy sitting on my ass more than I do getting up to leave the house, let alone exercise. One of the best things I ever purchased was that $100 treadmill from craigslist.

I exercise 4-6 days a week depending on how I feel or how busy I am. Lately I’ve been inundated with procrastination-itis and then having to actually DO the school work I set out to avoid until the very last minute. I walked mostly, that first month. Sometimes for 45 minutes, other times for 2 hours. I bought myself some running shoes. And running socks! And both have made a world of difference in the pleasure I derive from running. I started trying a couple yoga moves to help stretch my long since atrophied muscles (okay not really, but damn am I not flexible for shit!).

I snack on Jelly Belly jelly beans throughout the day when I want something sweet. I reward myself with 5-10 Hershey Kisses if I’m feeling really generous. I have In & Out and pizza when I want. The difference is that I don’t keep eating these things. I don’t have In & Out every other day when I’m having a crap day. I don’t have 3 slices of pizza and instead draw it out and have it for a single meal over the course of a few days. I drink a lot less coffee and a lot more tea. I drink water with Mio added (because it doesn’t have aspartame or sugar, but adds some flavor).

Most of all, I don’t feel guilty when I eat what I want. I make better choices. Not the best choices, but I make better ones. I eat less in a sitting because I’m fat not because I always ate horrible food, but because I ate enough food for two people with every meal. If I skip a day because I’m sore, or tired, or really just want to veg out playing WoW for 4 hours… I still don’t feel guilty. It’s a funny little philosophy, treating each day like it’s a new one, but that’s really what I’ve done. If I make terrible food choices today, tomorrow is another opportunity for me to make better ones!

I’ve noticed that I choose less sugar-filled products. I notice that while my brain said I want the ice cream in the freezer, I don’t actually want the ice cream. I see it, every day, but for the last 5 days I chose not to eat it. Today I had roughly 8 spoonful’s of Ben & Jerry’s Red Velvet Cake and that was it. I didn’t need to finish it off. I didn’t even want to eat more than what I had. I keep the sweets around, just in case, but I find I don’t choose them as often as I once did. It’s not because I’ve reached some milestone in life changes and I just choose not to eat it. It’s because I just don’t crave it like I did. I don’t need the sugar for energy anymore.

I still get up from the chair sometimes, and the soreness is a reminder that I’m old, fat, and trying to stop being fat, and I’m tempted to hobble to the kitchen to make another cup of tea. Because in the past I always overdid it. I always exercised more than my body could handle. Today, I resolve in being sore every day, but knowing I can walk, and move, and sit, and the soreness sort of just disappears after a few steps.

Today I completed Week 2, Day 1 of Couch 2 5k. Without a break. I started and finished with no pauses. I ran every single one of those 90 second run segments (there were 6, btw, and for a fat ass that’s a lot of fuckin’ running!) and I wanted to quit and stop. I started off thinking I could do it and by the end I wanted to cry and quit. But I didn’t and I finished it. Sunday might be different though. But I’ll worry about Sunday when I get there.

I wake up every  morning and I look in the mirror. My stomach sticks out just a little bit less than it did a month ago. My shirts fit the same, but my pants are a little bit more loose. I can hold a plank for 10 seconds without collapsing in a heap on the floor afterward. Each of these milestones I accomplish I celebrate, because a month ago, if you told me I could run a total of 9 minutes in a 28 minute workout, I’d have attempted to have you committed.

Tomorrow is another day. I might not walk, or run. I might have more chocolate tomorrow than I had today. I might have a second cup of coffee, or have a Wendy’s Frosty after eating a burger. It’s okay. cause today… today I ran 9 fuckin’ minutes out of a 28 minute workout and fuck yeah, that’s worth celebrating!

Edit: Edited to add that if you wanted, you should join us on Sunday at 3pm Eastern for a Twitterland Running session! Check out the details on Jibbi’s post. It was fun, and we’re using hashtag #Twit25k