Journaling through the weekend 

I didn’t send a response back to Bea’s email. I did write though. The weekend was hard. I wanted to write to her. I wanted to write and have her respond and feel not alone. I wanted to feel like my feelings and fears and confusion mattered to someone. I wanted to know that someone was here. That all just seemed too impossible. Instead, I journaled and wrote with the intention of giving it to her on Monday. 
 
3/31

Basically it’s about the okay part and the not okay part. The okay part has thrived because it avoids the not okay part at all costs.  

This. This is how I was okay for so many years. This is how I “hid” the bad scary things from myself. Ugh. I know this, I’ve tried to write it, explain, make sense of it. But never in this simple, not-wordy way. This does help.

When stuff like the doctor happens the okay part is forced to share space with its foe. This is scary and confusing and not okay.  

Again, this. The okay part of me does not want the not okay parts to even exist. That’s why I fight to keep things secret, it’s why I when I am hurting and triggered and upset, I just want to run, and hide, and disappear, it’s why I just want this all to stop. I don’t know. The okay part feels like she is doing enough, by allowing the not okay parts to have a voice, in therapy, in writing. They are being acknowledged, so really, how dare the not okay parts intrude on “real/public” life? The not okay parts are not allowed there. It is very scary when they have to share space and confront each other. The okay part feels like a really bad thing happened, not only on having to deal with memories or feelings that pop up because of it, but also because it’s not allowed for those not okay parts to be seen. And the not okay parts….maybe they feel like a failure compared to the okay parts. Like they can never live up to the perfect okayness of the okay part. And they do feel ashamed for showing up, for making a mess of things, for needing something, for wanting to be seen. 

No wonder your identity feels messed up.  

Okay. Really, this makes sense. Of course it feels messed up, when part of me– the part I show everyone, the part that has mostly lived my life– does everything in her power to avoid the not okay parts. But ugh. This just feels insurmountable right now. People are supposed to form their identity in childhood, and then again as teens/young adults. And here I am, just lost. I think I get defensive, defiant, when the idea of identity comes up because I don’t know who I am, and it’s so much easier to be defiant than to admit that I don’t know. I’m only admitting it now because I’m lost and tired and too sad, overwhelmed, triggered, upset to filter and edit. Of course, the flip side of all that is that all those things mean it is hard to think and find words. Writing is easier. It’s always easier.  

As we work through these things, however, they become less separate and unintegrated. You move towards health. We are on the right track with what we are doing. We may have more parts to touch base with is all

Ugh. Not more parts. Ugh. The little girl, the teen. I don’t know. I’m sure I could really break it down, and label all sorts of “parts”. Because I’m good at that, it would be a list, and I can do lists. But. Ugh. More parts? Aren’t the little girl and the teen causing enough havoc in my life? Ugh. 

There is a “fight” part. It wouldn’t necessarily feel directed at someone–just your defensive reaction to being activated.

Blah. Great. I’m assuming activated means triggered? So this is the part that snaps at my husband, yells at my kid, and gets angry for no reason. Right? Ugh. I mean like the times I snap at him when I’m feeling upset over a bad dream, or am feeling too vulnerable, so I snap. Because I am triggered. Or when I am playing with her, or she says or does something that triggers me and I become way more frustrated and short tempered than I would be normally. Ugh. This sucks. My behaviors are my responsibility, I’m not making excuses, but this sort of means that it’s not fully in my control, either. Is that right? So how do I fix this? How do I stop being triggered and having this fight part show up? I don’t like it. It sucks. 

I think it’s good that you want that–to be held and to be comforted. That is the “attachment cry” part. Attachment is an important resource. 

Okay. So on one hand, you know I believe attachment is so, so important because of how I parent– or at least try to parent. But my instinct is to shake my head, and stomp my feet and scream that it is not important for me, that it is not an important resource for me, and that I am just fine on my own. I don’t want it to be important, I don’t want it to matter, and I don’t want to need or want it. 

I wish you could have that with your mom too. I’ll bet you will get some sense of it this weekend in your interactions with her, even if not as much as you are craving.

It doesn’t matter. And I can’t. I have to go there with walls up and being really, really, okay. Because if I’m not….I don’t know. My mom being different, more real will just be…it hurts too much right now. Because I can’t reconcile the two very different moms, and I can’t deal with the “new” mom when all it does is highlight what the “old” mom wasn’t. And it sucks. It hurts and it sucks and I don’t want to deal with it right now. And I can’t have a crying breakdown with her, because even the “new” mom isn’t capable of being whatever it is I want or need. So. I’ll go, and I’ll be sweet and happy and I’ll hold it all together. Because I can’t do anything else. 

Understandable! Parts all riled up. Hopefully you will talk to each of them and remind them that there is a grownup running the show and they need to simmer down!

So, I have these two very different responses to this. One is to say, I am not talking to them. Nope, not happening, no way. Not doing that. The other is to say, okay, I think that might be a good idea, it can’t hurt, even if it feels a little silly, okay, I’ll try it. Ugh. 

4/1
I keep trying to write that letter, and I just can’t. It’s too triggering. I can’t seem to separate writing a simple letter from what happened, and what it felt like was happening. And I sort of need to explain this to my doctor. I think it’s a combination of maybe needing to explain because I have this need to make people understand where I’m coming from, maybe a part of me feels like I “owe” her an explanation, but even more so, I really need her to get it. Because after I reacted like that, how is she ever going to view me as a competent adult again? Maybe she won’t. Maybe, even just a little piece of her will wonder if I shouldn’t have my husband there to make decisions for me. Maybe she will be afraid I’m going to freak out again. I’m afraid I’m going to freak out again. 
I can’t think today. My brain literally feels like sludge. Ugh. I’m so tired. And sad. More than sad. I can’t make it all stop, and I want someone to make it stop for me. But no one can. And that just feels sort of heartbreaking. I’m stuck right now. Stuck with all this mess. And I have no idea how to clean it up. No idea at all. 

4/2
I don’t want to go to my parents today. I don’t have the desire or energy to smile and be okay. I will. Of course I will, because what else is there to do? But I don’t want to. I want to hide in my closet, blanket over my head and cry. But I can’t do that. I’m expected to be at my parents and visit and be nice. So. 

—-I’m at my parents now. I’ve been really dissociated and not here. I just can’t. And Kat is being very possessive of my mom, and doesn’t want hubby or I playing with them. So. I don’t know. I’m allowing it, because in one way it’s good that she is being more independent from me. And, I’m glad because I don’t have to smile and pretend. Hubby is watching tv– ugh– and I’m listening to a book, writing emails to ABA staff and trying to come up with a list for the school meeting. I don’t know. I don’t want to be here today. 
And she told me that my aunt Debbie– my dad’s sister– is really, really sick. She had a brain scan, and it looks like either a tumor or MS. She goes back this week. I tried to talk to my mom about it, because I needed something. But she said that she refused to even think about it. I’m really upset. I can’t hardly feel it yet. I just can’t…its just more I don’t want to be real. It’s another thing I want to stop. 

3/4
Rory called…she is having all these issues with her boyfriend. I’m out of things to tell her, out of energy to validate her feelings and what is happening. I texted her, told her I had a migraine and couldn’t really talk, but would text with her if she wanted. She told me what was going on, and sent me a letter she was planning on sending to him. I thought what she wrote was good in that she was clear about her feelings and worries. But I also thought she was maybe a little harsh, and was really….I don’t know, almost bossy in telling him what he was doing wrong, and why she thought he was doing it. I wanted to tell her that it might be a good idea to rephrase some things in her letter. But I couldn’t. The last time I said how I felt, how I really thought, I lost a friend. So I told her what I knew she wanted to hear. And I feel terrible about it. But too scared to say what I really thought. Ugh. I’m just too tired and afraid. 
Yesterday, it wasn’t a bad visit, but it wasn’t good. I don’t know. Things were odd….I just felt so closed off. And my mom seemed really….I don’t know. Surface like again. It was jarring. She seemed like her old self. It was easy, I know how to behave when people are surfacey. So it was fine, simple, easy. But I think….I don’t know. It set me on edge, too. I don’t know. This messy here but not here, on edge feeling. It was hard. It was a hard day in some ways. And we went to dinner, at this place, fire and ice– pizza and ice cream. So not okay. I don’t know. I ate pizza, ate ice cream. Wanted to go throw up but couldn’t get away. And when I did, the bathroom was crowded. Ugh. Panic. It was uncomfortable and not okay. And the weather was bad, and scary, and hubby decided we would drive home anyway. I was really scared. Maybe it was about not being in control of the drive. I told hubby I was scared, and worried about the roads, and asked if he was okay to be driving, or too tired. He was just like “it will probably be fine”. I ended up snappy and irritated with him. I needed him to tell me it was okay, he was awake and the roads weren’t so bad. I don’t know. When I said something later, driving in a whiteout, he joked and laughed at me over it. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter. 

I’ve tried and tried to come up with a list of parts…I don’t know…this is what I have…..

Parts…….

–the grown up part
She’s…I don’t know, exactly. She is the rational one. The one that can always see all sides in an argument. She’s the one who can be present and grounded. I think she’s kind of new to me. She’s the part that wants to be vulnerable and open and authentic. She’s okay with messy, but likes some semblance of order. She’s more of an introvert. She’s happy just being at home with her family and having a few friends, and she wants to have those few friendships be less surfacey and more real. She likes yoga, and taking Hagrid for walks– either in more nature areas and downtown in busier areas. She likes to swim. She likes to sew, and be creative and bake. She likes helping people and making people feel good about themselves– she’s the one who likes doing little things to makes people feel special. This is the part that wants to be healthy. She’s the one that stops me from quitting therapy, that says even when things get messy or there is a rupture, it’s worth it to try to fix it. She’s usually the one writing, journaling and emailing. She wants to connect and she wants to be honest and she wants to be healthy. 

the little girl
scared, vulnerable, alone, feels like she did something bad, afraid to not be good enough, needs approval from everyone around her, feels like she has to be perfect to be loved, she’s needy and clingy and is always afraid “her people” aren’t really there. 

the 9 year old (the angry one)
Alone, feels left– abandoned, believes her mom knows what she did and that mom hates her for it –and she hates her mom for knowing and not fixing it– and that she made her mom sick and that she will never be good enough to fix it. She is angry, there is so much mad here, but it’s not allowed, it’s not okay, so she hides it and pretends there is no anger. She is mad that she has to be the good girl, that she can’t afford to mess things up again. She’s very afraid of disappointing her parents, and she feels a lot of pressure to be perfect, to be good enough. And she is mad that she constantly feels like she comes up short. Really big mad feelings, but they are scary feelings, too. This mad cause this heart in your throat, can’t breathe, stomach dropping anxiety feeling. It doesn’t feel good or okay

the teen
Defiant, sassy and snarky, scared, feels like she has to be perfect to be loved/needed/wanted, feels like she needs to do things on her own, doesn’t trust anyone, won’t allow herself to need anyone, feels like all she does is fail and screw everything up, feels dirty and bad, believes she is going to hell. She can be really mean, and then turn around and fall apart crying and hurting a second later. She’s afraid of vulnerability. She doesn’t like change, and fights against it, but sometimes secretly wishes someone would push her to change. She’s afraid if she admits to needing someone, they will leave. If I were to label bad coping skills to parts, she would the one that cuts for all kinds of reasons, and she is definitely the one with bulimic behaviors. 

Miss Perfect
She’s the part that is…..I don’t know, the facade, the happy, perfect, has it together, is okay, is always fine part of me. She’s the okay part. Only it’s this almost intense need to be okay, and have everyone around her be okay, and have everyone around her believe she is okay. If those things can’t or don’t happen, she falls apart. She demands perfection, and will beat herself up over any perceived mistake, even the smallest thing is cause for being upset. She’s very much a type A personality and is pretty OCD. Messy is not allowed. She thinks if she wants something done, she needs do it herself, and she doesn’t want to need anyone. She is more of an extrovert, can be very outgoing and can talk to anyone, in pretty much any situation. Shes the part with that amazing filter. If I had to assign bad coping skills to the parts, she is the one who likes to restrict food and she will cut if things feel out of control or those pesky feelings show up. She’s more of a “grown up” but deep down, secretly feels like she is a little kid pretending to be a grown up. But I would say she ran the ship for years. She’s the one my parents raised, taught me to be. She’s all about hiding anything negative, even if secrets and lies are needed to do so. I don’t really think she is actually a healthy part, but I’d guess she is the okay part that can’t tolerate any of the not okay parts. 

–the fight part
Really big mad feelings, but they are scary feelings, too. This mad cause this heart in your throat, can’t breathe, stomach dropping anxiety feeling. It doesn’t feel good or okay. Shows up when triggered, and causes big reactions that do not fit the situation. 

–the slutty one 
This is the one that slept with random guys after leaving the boyfriend. I don’t even have real memories of that time. I couldn’t tell you who, or where, or how many. I can’t even say if I was okay, or if I freaked out, or anything at all really. There’s just not much there. And, she is the one that instigates things with Ryan. I think she equates sex with being loved and wanted. I think she is young. Maybe 12, 13. It feels similar to when I kissed Kenny at the cabin, instigated things with him there. I don’t know. 

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I think I need a map

Bea wrote me back. She was kind, and reminded me that even though the little girl feels threatened and scared, she is safe now, Kat is safe now, everyone is currently safe now.

She also said this:

It’s not this story OR that story, this family OR that family; it’s this story AND that story, this family AND that family.

Which got me thinking…….

When I read this, it makes so much sense. When you say every version, every story has truth in it, and they all are connected, it makes sense. But it makes a kind of sense in a broad, generalized way. It makes sense in a “this is how the world works, many layers, all with their own truth but that truth doesn’t take away the truth in a different layer of the story” kind of way. When I apply it to my life, it’s too messy. Maybe I don’t like multifaceted stories when the story is MY story. Things are much simpler when it is 1 OR 2, not 1 AND 2. I don’t know how to fit both stories together. It scares me.

As long as I can say that I am the only one saying things weren’t okay, weren’t perfect, as long as I am the only one saying there was a lot of ugly and my family did all they could to hide the ugly under the rug….I don’t know. It meant I could be wrong. It meant that maybe I really was crazy, or lying or just being a drama queen over normal life events. It meant that nothing was as bad as I feel. It meant that things probably were perfect and maybe I just never was good enough; I was too sensitive, too emotional, a drama queen.

But now….now my mom is talking and telling a different sort of story. And that changes everything. Because it means I’m not crazy. It means I’m not making things up. It means that it’s all real; everything I have said and felt and thought about them hiding truths and burying ugly stuff and being unable to deal with bad emotions. It’s all true. And even though I’ve had some conversations with my mom in the past year that felt like she was telling me in a round about way– through saying we were doing the right things with our kid, and teaching her to feel all her feelings and validating them and always striving to be honest and transparent with her– and that she wishes she could have a do over and raise my brother and I that way…well, this is different. She’s being very straight forward. I don’t know how to respond or feel. In truth, I feel frozen when she is being so honest. It scares me. If everything I felt about my family is true, and being validated now…it means that I didn’t make up what happened with Kenny. It means it wasn’t just a silly game, and a silly crush, like I told myself for years. It means it all happened and it really was that bad.

I feel like I need a map to understand all of this, some sort of paper with everything laid out and all the puzzle pieces fitted together. It’s all swimming around in my head in choppy waters. I can’t sort it. And as soon as I think I am getting it sorted, it all breaks apart. I need a timeline, a map, something. I don’t know. I need to actually SEE both stories put together. I need to see how that works, what it looks like. Then maybe I can understand what it means. Maybe then I can make sense of it all. Or maybe that is a silly idea, and will never work, because how do you map a life, map a history of not just one person, but of their family history, just to combine it all together and figure out how that person got here? Is that even possible?

Maybe I should show up to therapy on Thursday with one of those giant rolls of paper and my colored pencils and sharpie markers. Maybe it’s time to make an “art project” in therapy. I’m sure Bea would say okay, and be fine with that. But can I really make a map? And can I really show up and be that directive in therapy? I don’t know.

Journaling and ruminating

I started this last night, and finished it just a little bit ago. It’s more journal entry than anything, not my usual posting. But I have been ruminating about what is going on with me, and this is what I got this weekend.

I’m tired, but hyped up. I’m not sure sleep is something that is going to happen, although it’s almost 1:00am. We drove out to my parent’s today. I’ve spent the day faking okay, smiling, laughing, talking, going through the motions. But I wasn’t really there. While I could tell you the things we did today, I can’t really tell you how I was feeling about those things, or the conversations that were had. In truth, I probably would leave out a few of the more minor things we did. That’s how gone I was.

What is it about being around my parents that sends me far away? I just don’t get it. Out of everyone on this earth, I should feel most comfortable being present, here and authentic, around my parents. They are the people who are supposed to always love you for you, be proud of you, like you, want to be around you, and they are not supposed to leave you (even if leaving is just emotionally leaving you). But that’s not what my parents did. On the surface, sure. It’s exactly they did. But….they really weren’t there. They didn’t give a message that they would love me just for me, or believe I was perfect just as I am. They sent the message I had to be perfect– smart, talented, happy, good, likable– if I wanted their love. So, I was those things. I worked hard at it. I’m very good at being perfect; or at least my mom and dad’s definition of perfect. I hid away, dissociated, was here but not here, all in order to be that perfect little girl. The habit is so learned, so ingrained in me, that I think I just automatically do it now when I’m with them

Why did they need perfect? Did I read the message they sent me correctly? I must have. I told Bea I remember being in second grade, and trying desperately to figure out how to change one of my marks on my report card before giving it to them, because I knew it wouldn’t be good enough. I told her I remember that same year, thinking my mom would rather me be thin and pretty like my cousin. The funny thing is, when I look back at picture of my cousin and I, we are the same size. So all of this, the crazy nonsense in my head, it started so young. Before I even knew who I was. It’s no wonder I’m still trying to figure it out, and it’s no wonder that it is all confusing and hard.

But…..on the other hand, I do have this determination, this sense of myself, somewhere deep down, that I do always somehow come back to. So my parents did a lot of things right, too. And I think my grandma and grandpa helped with that part of me. They wanted the real me, they loved just me. I knew that even as a kid. I know certain things about myself, like what I believe, what I’m afraid of, things I like. So I do have that sense. I think it’s a strange dichotomy, to have both those extremes given me from my parents. Most kids, I assume, would somehow fall into this grey space, a middle ground between being lost and knowing, believing in themselves. But not me. Oh no. I had to just split the two things apart, black and white, no grey space here.

I’m jumpy tonight. I don’t want to sleep in this room. I feel very….my head is achy and foggy. My chest hurts, I feel like I’m trying to breathe in air that is so thick you could scoop it up. My stomach hurts….like that feeling you get when a movie follows the main character from a cheerful scene to a dark road, and you know something bad is about to happen, but you don’t know when and so you are waiting, unsure when or if, and it’s a fun feeling when it’s a movie, but not so great when it’s a feeling that won’t leave you.

I emailed Bea again, trying to explain broken better, and to tell her I really feel like she isn’t getting it. Her response was probably kind and empathetic, but I only can find fault. I see and hear criticisms and frustration and a wish for me to go away and stop whining in most of what she wrote. I know, rationally, I know this is me projecting my own feelings into her words. Or maybe it’s the child part of me expecting that Bea will behave like every adult in my life always behaves. She did say that broken to her means fixable, and when the special vase in her office got broken a few weeks ago, she didn’t hesitate to take the time and the effort to fix it; that with time and effort, I will be fixed, too. I think she is saying that I matter enough for her to take the time and effort to fix. Or, on the other hand maybe she is saying I am taking too much time and effort to fix? This is what my mind does. It flips between thoughts like this, black and white. At this point, I can’t even reframe things to get them to the grey space.

I told Bea how I drew a picture for my first grade teacher in the last email. It was of a girl hiding in a closet, monsters on and under the bed. I can remember drawing it, and giving it her. I remember her asking me about it, and that scared, nervous, relieved feeling that washed over me at her words. I remember telling her that sometimes scary things happen at night. I don’t remember anything else. Obviously, nothing came of it. But I think I believed that if she only knew everything, she could stop it, she could fix it. She was the first grown up, outside of my family or my parents circle, that I really, truly believed in. On some level, I wanted to be saved. She didn’t save me though. It wasn’t until fifth grade, when she taught my class again, that I had another adult in my life I felt was trustworthy. I allowed her to catch me throwing up. I claimed I was sick. She never questioned further, but again, I think at least a part of me wanted someone to stop me. To care enough to stop me. I didn’t find another grown up to trust until I was in 7th grade. My small group leader at church, her name was Jen, was the next person I reached out to. She didn’t catch the secrets I was trying to tell, without telling. If there was anyone after that, I don’t remember them.

So, adults failed me all my life. The ones who were supposed to protect me, see me, love me for being me, couldn’t do that. The ones who were in my life– family, friends, doctors, teachers, coaches– they didn’t see what was happening, they didn’t see any sign something was wrong. And, finally, the adults I did reach out, even if it was a coded not direct message, missed the message. So, adults have always failed me. I think in some ways I am replaying this with Bea. Even though I am an adult, I don’t feel like a grown up. Bea says I’m getting more grown up and when all these pieces of me are integrated and not running the show, I will feel more grown up. But anyways, as I do with everyone my age (and sometimes with people younger) and older, I view Bea as the grown up. And I’ve reached out to her in a somewhat hidden message kind of way (instead of being very blunt and saying I’m hitting crisis point and I really need her to step on and help) and she is failing me. I did try a second time, and was more clear, and it still feels like she is failing me. I wanted someone, a grown up because grown ups can do things and have all the power, to fix it, to stop it, to save me. To make things better. Is that what I’m wanting from Bea? Because even I know she can’t do that.

If I’m honest, I can even see this scenario playing out in my marriage, and in my friendship with Kay. The thing about Kay is she has fixed me before, and she has saved me from myself. So she has done exactly what I wanted and needed. Hubby…well, he plays the role of the grown up very well. He takes care of me, and he would save me, fix me, if he could. But he is so very, very unaware of things, he misses the coded messages I send to him.

I’m not exactly sure where this is all going, I’m just trying to get out some thoughts I’ve been having since getting to my parents.

I’m trying to understand why they trusted him. I’m trying to see what it is that made my parents feel it was safe for me to be around him. Was it because he was charming? Or because he was kind, had this good boy, super helpful, super friendly kind of vibe? Bea once said– like months ago– she would be interested in Kay’s thoughts about Kenny. I asked Kay. She said he was funny, a jokester but in a good fun friendly way. That he was always very helpful towards any adult he was around, she didn’t like that, as a kid. She said she remembers thinking, and hearing from her parents, that the whole family was weird, but she couldn’t put her finger on what it was exactly. He was weird, she thought, because he didn’t have a lot of friends in his own grade. And, it was weird that while the rest of us were free to ride bikes around the neighborhood, and run down to the park and whatever else, Jackie was always accompanied by Kenny. He was supposed to keep an eye on her. Kay said it was odd how strict the smiths were with their two younger children, while Mandy did what she wanted, when she wanted and ran wild. I asked Kay how Mandy was wild. She said there had been rumors of a teen pregnancy and abortion. I don’t know if I believe that. Mrs. Smith is not the type to allow for an abortion. And then, Mandy had her first child without being married and she was young– just out of high school. So there was a lot of talk about her.

I thought Kenny was so cool and so awful all at the same time. He was fun, he played, when he came with us we could ride our bikes down to the little corner store and get a candy bar or cookie. But it was a busy road, so we weren’t allowed to go alone. I don’t know. I liked him. I had a crush on him. I wanted him to never be around me. I wanted him to babysit. I wanted to stay somewhere else and not have him babysit. I thought I loved him, I wanted to marry him. I hated him. I don’t know. He had a fun game he played with me, only after a long while, it wasn’t fun anymore. But I was older by that time and it wasn’t….,I don’t know. It was confusing. Hard, I don’t know. I liked him, thought he was my friend, and couldn’t do anything about the game not being fun anymore. And I had been involved, made a choice to play his games, and likes his games. So I was stuck. I don’t know. It all gets twisted in my head.

Bea says having nightmares about the boyfriend is on par with the present happenings, even though it may seem silly that it would be that important. I don’t even know what that means.

I’m wishing now I hadn’t written that email to her, that I had just gone with pretending it all away. Now I am going to have to face her, and I’m afraid. I feel like I’m going to be walking into…..something scary. Like I’m in trouble. Or going to be shamed. Or she is not going to be happy with me. I don’t know. I also feel numb and my feelings are hurt by her last email. No matter how many ways I look at it, I can’t find her usual warmth and understanding. Even though I know it’s there, that it is the headspace I am in. I don’t know.

We went to hubby’s family get together thing today. I can’t stand his mom, and she was crowding me a good portion of the day. I realize it was becasue Kat was clinging to me, and she wanted to be around Kat, but she kept saying all these comments like “I’m so jealous mommy gets to hold you. I don’t have any babies to hold anymore, my kids grew up and left me all alone.” I finally snapped at her. She got the message and backed off. Then, Kat misplaced her shoes. Everyone was supposed to be out getting pictures taken, which Kat wasn’t going to pose for anyway, and she was perseverating on her shoes. I took her back inside to look for them, and as we were walking away from the group, hubby’s mom yelled that we were supposed to stay out there and get pictures taken. I had to stop and explain the entire situation to her, the whole group hearing it, many of them with no context for anything because hubby’s mom doesn’t want extended family knowing Kat’s autistic. Ugh. It just makes me so mad. So I was very snippy about it with her. Then, after pictures, hubby’s dad kept trying to take extra pictures of me. His mom wanted a picture of hubby and I together for her Christmas letter (which I can not stand) because I was (and I quote) “actually looking thin today.” So I moved away from th camera, thinking that should have sent the message. So then I got stuck having to actually yell and state I was done with pictures, didn’t want my picture taken anymore. Which meant hubby and I got into, ending with me saying me that “if some asshole can’t see and respect the fact I don’t want my picture taken, that’s not my problem.” Ugh. So, yeah. It was not the best of days.