Footsteps that you hear down the hall

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” –Anne Lamott

“If you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.” –Mo Willems


I had just come out of my new psychiatrist’s office with a prescription for Lexapro. I was tired of battling down anxiety constantly, for forever. What used to make me function, write, tick, clean like a motherfucker, and overachieve was now making me exhausted and dulled my edges. Anxiety would also make me explode or collapse, turning on myself. I felt new and clean after describing how it felt to her, like I had the chance to step out of a trap. Side effects, which I had always feared given my health, seemed worth risking. I told her briefly I had a pretty crappy childhood, and not much family or support.

As I walked to my car, I thought about having Strudel, being in labor for a long time, and then being given an opiate when I was at the hospital and physically at my weakest. It’s nearly impossible to see anything a few feet beyond your face when you’re in heavy labor. The pain lifted and I looked out the window. The moon was a tiny little sliver in the darkening sky and it was beautiful. I told my midwife an embarrassing story about the time I had accidentally smoked opium in high school and it felt like this. Then it was time to push and I forgot about the moon.

Maybe if I tried an antidepressant, I reasoned, I would see things that were a few feet beyond my face. I could turn down the hypervigilant klaxons that were usually going off, whether it was dangerous or not.

She told me it sounded like I had PTSD. As we were wrapping up, she said, “Is there anything else I should know about?”

“No,” I lied.


A few weeks earlier I had met with a different therapist in hopes of being prescribed medication. I called the front office and asked for someone who could diagnose and prescribe. They told me there was an opening with someone with a man’s name. I never wanted to see any male providers for anything. I have a cyst on my nose and I am waiting months until a woman dermatologist is available.

I told myself it didn’t matter, since I knew the check up visits would be short. Plus my anxiety was on sabbatical, since depression was taking up too much room. I didn’t really care who I saw. I would have said, “Am sad, give pill now” to a moderately friendly tapir at that point.

I talked to him for an hour and I really clicked with him, and felt a little bummed that we would only have short appointments. I’m going to call him Ted. Ted had the same kind of ping-ping crazy word association ADD brain that I have when I’m feeling more normal. I was so deep in depressive brain sludge I didn’t really try to keep up with him, but I felt more comfortable with him than the therapist I’d seen for a year and a half until quitting recently.

At the end he told me he’d like to see me for therapy and I said “but pills now?” We looked at each other in a moment of silent confusion. He told me he was just a talk therapist and couldn’t prescribe. I figured out the wires had gotten crossed at the front desk.

“Can I come back anyway?” I asked. We made another appointment, and gave me the name of the psychiatrist I ended up seeing. Ted said he used to work with her and thought we would get along.

I didn’t get what I’d come for, but it didn’t panic me. I felt better just talking about the deep situational depression I’d been in since something sad happened in May. Like many people with depression, I’m a great actor and can fake my way through my workday, or through other stuff. I’m genuinely on when I’m talking with Strudel, because I’m interested in her and care about her. I wanted to be more resilient for her. When I was at home alone I felt hollow and powered down. Battery low.

The next day I woke up feeling un-depressed. I started thinking about my day. Tick tick tick, anxiety immediately came back. There it was. It looked tanned and rested.


The third time I was driving to Ted’s office, I was having the normal “my-brain-is-trying-to-murder-me” internal chatter that I was trying to block out with a podcast. Suddenly my brain got even louder than usual. MAYBE YOU CAN TELL TED ABOUT THE THING, it said. HE SEEMS NICE.

–Ha ha, no one wants to talk about that. Let’s start slowly, like with my fear of voicemails and Crocs.

In response, I felt pain rip through my head–one of those flashing, searing headaches that I get when I’m having insomnia or am under a lot of stress. It’s like a little lightning strike on one side of my head, and sometimes I even feel nerve twitches that make my skin or eyelid jump.

It passed and I looked in the rearview mirror. I saw my kindergarten teacher in the backseat. She was beautiful, though her makeup was a little too early-1980s frosty to just be a fun retro take. She was wearing beads and a brown tweed skirt. I had forgotten she had nice freckles.

“Oh hey…this is awkward. I don’t actually remember your name.”

“Really? Who doesn’t remember their kindergarten teacher’s name?” she said. She looked cross for a minute and then the calm expression of a person who voluntarily herds five-year-olds for a living returned.

“You know I have memory problems,” I said.

“Who do you think I look like?” I looked at her hair, which was feathered in a way that would be out of date on the coasts at this point, but not in 1982 rural Michigan. She was so young! I thought she was so pretty. I bet she’s retired now.

“You’re definitely a Carol. Why are you here?”

I parked and turned around to face her. Carol played with a screwdriver that I’d forgotten was in the backseat.

“This is the last time you were happy,” she said, gesturing at herself.

“This is really bad writing,” I said. “Even for me.”


I left Carol in the car and went to talk to Ted about 2019. I’m his last appointment and he said he tends to go a little long if he knows no one is waiting afterwards. We were coming up on the end of the hour.


–Shut UP!

“Do you think it’s possible to forget sexual abuse for periods of time?” I asked.

Ted blinked, clocking the complete conversational one-eighty I’d just taken.

“Yes,” he said. He told me he believed the brain can suppress events to protect us.

“Hmm, that’s interesting. Wow, where does the time go, see you in a week!”

I left his office so fast I probably left little poofs of heel smoke like a cartoon character.


When I was 11 I stole a rowboat with a friend and ran away from home. The cop who drove me home asked me why I would do such a stupid thing.

“My parents are abusive,” I said.

“What!” she said. “A kid like you, out here in the suburbs? You don’t know what abuse is.”


Conversion on the Way to Damascus, Caravaggio, 1601

I was in a lift at work, 20 feet in the air, hanging six-foot long ceiling fan blades when I started having flashbacks. Carol was working with me, wiring a cord into a box overhead that was aimed at the wall of the gym I was working in. She had a safety vest over the blouse she was wearing, which had Lurex threads interspersed into the plaid pattern. She smelled like a fresh perm.

“We’re not sparkies,” I reminded her.

“Yes, I know that!” she snapped, rolling her eyes a little. “You’re not licensed to wire this projector.” She flipped a switch and it started.

“Oh,” I said. “The picture is very clear.” That was me, with my inane nattering to always change the subject.

“What do you see?”

I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the feeling of the wrench I was using to tighten the screws. It was hard to stay in 2019–my head felt like it was going to float off somewhere, or disappear. The wrench clicked like the old-fashioned projectors they would bring into our classes in grade school. I remembered the way the music or narration would occasionally distort if the filmstrip sped up or slowed down.

I saw my sheets from when I was nine. I had completely forgotten I had Garfield sheets. It literally made me gasp. I saw my bedframe–the color of the wood stain and the shape of it. I began to sweat profusely in the lift. I remembered the wall next to my bed–the paint had sand mixed into it and the walls were sharp and gritty and I was always scraping myself when I was in bed. I had a memory of being ground into the wall by something, someone. My hand started shaking and I dropped my wrench into the bottom of my lift.

“SJ!” My boss, who had been teasing me for dropping things all day.



Carol had already gone off to lunch. I didn’t know what company hired irritating, reality hell-demons, so I wasn’t sure which trailer she was in.


A few days later I was working by myself in a smaller lift, in a classroom with 9-foot ceilings. No one was around and it was extremely quiet, except for an earth compactor outside that was causing such strong vibrations it was making my lift rumble and sway. It was making me a little peaky but I ignored it. Then the sparkies started testing the fire and lockdown alarms. Lights were flashing and sirens were going off and a recording was saying there was an emergency in the building. I wanted to scream and run down the street. My shaking hand reached up to adjust a ceiling grille.

Carol walked in.

“Oh god,” I said, when I spotted her.

“Well, that’s just rude,” she said. Her heels clicked as she walked across the freshly linoleumed floor that was just waiting for an army of children to come and scuff it up. There would be teachers like her in this building soon, but probably with less aggressive rouge. “We need to talk.” The emergency lights strobed around her, shining on her moussed hair.

“Yes, we do,” I said. “Every time I’ve remembered this before, a door slams shut in my brain and I stop thinking about it. What is happening to me? It’s not going away.”

I had to raise my voice to be heard over the sounds of the alarm: “LOCKDOWN. LOCKDOWN. THERE IS A LOCKDOWN IN PLACE.”

I’ve stopped thinking about it for months or years at a time. It resurfaces as dreams or as a memory. I tell myself I’m being dramatic, that there is something wrong with me, that I am a crazy person, that I am a liar. These are things I was told repeatedly when I was a child. I’ve literally told myself I don’t have time to think about it. I started having vivid flashbacks a few years ago when I got very sick and stopped eating gluten. I don’t know if it was the trauma of being very sick and in a lot of pain, losing control, and being bedridden, or reducing inflammation by changing my diet, but there they were. Carol was there then, and I had neatly forgotten about her once more.

She handed me an envelope. Actually, it was shaped like a cootie catcher and looked like it had been riding around in someone’s pocket or purse for a long time.

“What’s this?” I said.

“I wrote down what’s wrong with you.”

I was starting to suspect that I knew what was wrong with me, but I hadn’t seen it played back on the projector yet, thank fuck. Here it was on a piece of paper. I could just read it and have the answer? Where was this paper when I was 19 and afraid to answer my door or phone? Where was it ten years ago? I felt myself shaking my head again, knocking images out of it. If this kept up I would probably concuss myself.

“I don’t know if I can open this. Can you give me a hint about what it says?”

Carol sighed. She was tired of my bullshit. That makes two of us, Carol! She pulled out a compact from somewhere and started looking at her teeth. She reapplied her mauve lipstick. She was making a real meal out of bothering me.

“I’ll tell you two things,” she said. “This paper will tell you exactly what’s wrong with you, but it’s going to make you feel much worse. The second thing is kind of a riddle. Ready?” I nodded. “You’ve been afraid of ropes and hoses your whole life, but what you’re actually afraid of is–” She trailed off and I couldn’t hear what she said.

“What?” I whispered.

“This is like a METAPHOR,” she explained, shouting. “You can’t remember what you’re actually afraid of so you couldn’t hear me!”

The lift rumbled under me and now a woman’s recorded voice was saying, “There is a fire or other emergency in the building. Please proceed calmly to the exit.” The lights were flickering on and off. I clung to the lift’s rails and looked down into Carol’s face.


“It’s snakes! You’re afraid of snakes!” she screamed.

The alarm tests stopped abruptly, though the rumbling continued. The lights came back on. She was right, I’d completely forgotten snakes existed. I took a deep breath and began to open the layers of the cootie catcher.


A “fun fact” about me is that I first started noticing that my uterus was prolapsing when I was in my late teens, before I had children. Uterine prolapse does not run in my family.


I’m spending a lot of time in closets lately. I spent a ton of time in my closet growing up. It had a light, so I could read secretly and never, ever sleep. I wrote a suicide note on the wall of my closet when I was ten, in black crayon. Boy, I was sure looking to get attention, wasn’t I? That was so crazy! So dramatic! What on earth was wrong with me that I went to that extreme?

“You know what’s fun?” Carol said. “Lying on the floor in the fetal position.”

“That’s not…oh.” I feel my knees buckle and I go down, curled up on the rug in my 2019 closet. My breathing starts to change and I hear a whistle coming from something, a wheezing. From far away. “This isn’t over. We’re not done talking, Carol.”

“We are for now,” she said. She loomed over me, running her nails down my arm as I shook. I pulled my knee up to protect my ribs. I didn’t know I could still make myself so small.

A man’s familiar face appeared over mine. He was dressed in a heavy, wet, reflective coat and pulled his face shield up to look at Carol. He was dripping on the carpet but I wasn’t worried. I was relieved and knew this would end soon.

“Hello, Walter,” Carol said. He nodded curtly.

He smelled like Chinese restaurants and furniture polish. I could see the lines around his eyes, from squinting against heat and fire and the horrors and sadness they bring. Walter’s collar dripped onto my face: alcohol, not water.

“Hey kid,” he said, kindly. I sniffled and put my head into his lap. He stroked my hair with his gloves on. “We’re going to get up, and we’re going to pour gin on Carol until she shuts the fuck up, ok?”

My shaking hand took his and he helped me off the floor.

“I’ll be back tomorrow,” she said, flipping through my tee shirts.

“I know,” I whispered.


I was up in the big lift again, this time with my kind, sweet, funny boss. There was no room for Carol. Regardless, my brain was zapping back and forth between timelines. I heard my parents fighting. I saw myself standing over my newborn sister’s bassinet and I remember saying: I’m going to protect you.

As an adult, I always thought that memory was so strange. Who sees their newborn sibling and makes a weird nigh-feudal vow to protect them?

If I stayed in 1987 for too long I would start shaking my head, as if it was an Etch-a-Sketch I could erase. Today my brain was telling me: I think my mother knew about THE THING, and did nothing. She had never been responsive any time I asked her for help or protection. I asked to go to therapy in high school (I was disassociating and cutting myself) and her response was to ground me.

Why is this happening now? I thought.

Look around you, Carol whispered. I looked down. There were a few women on the site, but as usual it was 98% men. They were everywhere. I was surrounded by them. Why did I go into construction to surround myself with one of things I was most afraid of? Then I realized: I wasn’t afraid of them anymore. They didn’t make me jump or startle. Most of them were nice, or at least inoffensive. I could deal with the few jerks with some snappy putdowns. I felt differently out in public, too–I wasn’t constantly monitoring my environment anymore. I didn’t make stupid choices like wandering down dark alleys now, but I could be comfortable and even relaxed. I had desensitized myself.

I could take just a little bit more now. It was opening the doors to the past in my mind.


There’s something else, too, and I need to talk about this really carefully. Someone encouraged me to see my attacker last summer. When we had the conversation about how it would be good for me, and that things were different now, I cried in public in the bar we were in. That’s a little extreme, I thought. I went to the bathroom to pull myself together.

I looked at myself in the mirror–is that really what I looked like? I felt like I was dreaming. I had no memories, only emotions. I splashed water on my face and cleaned up my trashed makeup and returned to my seat.

“You’re having a really hard time getting over your childhood,” they said.

“Yeah,” I heard myself say. That was mean, I thought. Walter poured me another glass of wine.

When I saw my attacker a month later, I immediately snapped outside of my body. Everything I said felt unreal, like I was dreaming and hearing my voice on a bad speaker from far away. I was getting the sparklies you get when you faint.


I breathed and the world came back, though I was still outside of my body. I held onto a nearby counter for support. The shell that was my body kept talking and smiling, and pretended to be happy. It made jokes. I don’t remember what happened for the rest of that day. I went home and went to bed. It was obvious a bunch of mast cells had exploded and all I could do was sleep.

We all spent more time together. The person who had instigated this meetup was pleased, and I tried really hard for them.

At the end of the day my attacker hugged me and kissed my cheek and it felt super super wrong and bad. I stiffened mentally but I think I made myself act normal.

This was the last piece of the puzzle that would blast the door off the hinges forever, but it would take almost another year.


I started taking Lexapro, and slept very fitfully. Sleep is my respite and has not usually been a problem for the past couple of years. I shit you not, within 48 hours I had no anxiety. Placebo effect? WHO CARES. I didn’t feel great, but it was weird to experience the absence of both anxiety and depression. I was drenched in sweat at work, and sweated all night long. That was not great. Also, Carol evaporated. I stopped having flashbacks.

Wow, solved, right? Happy ending tied up in a bow? No. What site do you think you’re reading, anyway?

I stopped Lexapro. I wasn’t ready to let go of Carol and her hateful projector. I read the truth that was on the piece of paper and it almost ripped me in half. I don’t want to tell you what I saw. I won’t. But I needed to see it. Every time I tried to stuff the abuse back behind the donkey door, I would see some innocuous detail of my room or remember a conversation and I completely knew my brain was finally showing me the truth.

I feel very weirdly calm now, deep down in my center someplace. I almost feel happy about it? I’ve found THE splinter and I’m not going to stop until I pull it out. I’m not going to stop until I put it back in 1987 where it belongs. I’m going to be one piece. A very chipped and wobbly piece, but one piece.

I’m No Longer Watching Her

My sister was driving me to IKEA on a day that we both had off. Work’s been really slow and I often get cut just in time to get stuck in normal rush hour, before the northbound express lanes open. But not this day–it was a small field trip mostly to gawk at the store’s remodel and an excuse to hang out.

The freeway was lit with that strange Seattle late fall light that looks yellow and cuts through the clouds at an angle so you feel like someone’s holding a giant filtered spotlight on part of the city. There was a good blow on too so on stretches of the freeway the leaves were tumbling along with us at 60 mph before destroying themselves on retaining walls and under truck wheels.

Morgan looked beautiful in silhouette, in the sepia light. I could see the fine lines that are forming on her delicate skin that are making a record of her life. I imagined her drawing on a cigarette, as I had seen many times before. I imagined her eating. I imagined her crying. I imagined her mouth wrapped around a child’s pacifier as I had seen many times.

She turned her head toward me briefly and I saw the vertical scar on her upper lip perfectly illuminated for a second. I forget about it for months and years at a time until it pops out. I see it even less now that she quit smoking three years ago.

Morgan was small when it happened, just beginning to pull up. I remember her creeping around our living room one day and my mother hissing at me where I sat on our massive sectional, reading the TV Guide cover-to-cover as I did every week: “Watch her!” My mother was on the phone, wandering around the dining room and out of sight. I got sucked back in to reading about what Tony Danza was up to in his spare time.

I saw Morgan fall out of the corner of my eye, followed by the blunt smack of flesh meeting a hard surface and then a wail. My mother swore, put the phone down, and came back into the room. I rushed over to pull Morgan up and there was blood all over her mouth. She had cracked her face on the sharp wooden corner of our giant television. I wondered if she would go to the hospital like I did when the dart machine fell on me and split my head open.

By this time my mother was off the phone. “I TOLD YOU TO WATCH HER!” This was my fault. Every time I saw the bandage and then the angry red scar for the next few years, I felt a twinge of guilt. I should have been watching her.

In grad school Franny was small and I was burning the candle. Now was the time to make a big push, I reckoned. I was still so young so it was okay to work and take too many classes and spend time with Franny whenever I could. I had a night class and I would come home and work on papers or reading and then I had the day off home to continue the unending slog through books and papers. In the morning SeaFed was gone, pretending to drive his taxi but becoming increasingly disinterested in working again.

I remember always getting sleepy around ten o’clock, just in time for Sesame Street. I would twiddle the bunny ears on our 19″ teevee to make PBS as clear as possible. I poured a cup of Cheerios for Franny and would lie down on the couch, bending my knees and locking her in behind them. I would doze but would snap awake if she tried to move out of her little fort. If I was lucky I could steal a 15 minute nap in this way.

It always made me think of Morgan, too. She liked being trapped behind my legs like this. We would play “prisoner” over and over when I was 12. My legs would swing shut, locking her onto the couch and say, “You’re my prisoner!” She would scream “PRITNER!” and laugh. Or she would pretend she was driving a car and my legs were the door and then the dashboard.

The phone rang, snapping me out of my short nap. It was red and a cord attached it to the wall, and no one could get through if I had the dial up internet on. Franny was where I’d put her, in a trance, watching Elmo, methodically eating one Cheerio after another. It was my mother. I’m sure I sounded groggy when I answered.

“I’m just hanging out with the kid,” I said. She sounded a little odd, but I was disinterested in unpacking her mood. I don’t remember what she wanted.

Later my sister, who was 15 then, told me that my mother rang off and immediately said, “I think she was asleep!”

“And?” my sister said, or some variation on that. Due to a combination of Stockholm Syndrome and decent experiences, my sister trusted my parenting.

“She should be watching her!”

A few months later, my sister was spending most of her spare time at my house, even though we were in the middle of unending reno hell and there was only a couch for her to sleep on. SeaFed didn’t really notice or care; at times his obliviousness was advantageous. I think I needed my sister around as much as she needed me then.

She’s been a great source of support for me lately, which still surprises me. Now she’s watching over me. She reads between the lines on my texts: “Everything ok?”

No, not really. This is hard to say and I’ve been trying to say it for almost a month: Franny moved out before Thanksgiving and in with her dad.

I have to pull away from this sentence before my melt onto my dining room floor and ugly cry until I die of dehydration. So.

I’ve been experiencing waves of anger over the last few weeks that I think are kind of protecting me and keeping me functional so I’m not just a big wound constantly, and I can do things like go to work and buy groceries. The things that feel so stupid and pointless but are kind of reassuring because you know that life is going to go on.

I also don’t like this feeling, though. It’s like a death in that every meal you make that the missing person liked but is not eating with you, or every little change you make to your house, or every passing day is a brick in the path that takes you away from that person you miss, leaving them in the blurry past.

I am crying again, I need to pull away from this again, so I will be shitty and angry: SeaFed, who has relinquished himself to his father’s care, has been gifted some kind of large property on his island with multiple mother-in-law cottages. It sounds like their previous house was kind of melting due to age, neglect, and poor DIY repair work. His father used to attempt to set him up in business, either at an office or working for himself. Now I think he’s just resigned himself to being his carer. I think there will probably be a trust set up after his father dies.

It’s like the movie The Truman Show. I think everyone around him is invested in the appearance of SeaFed being a functional adult, and this is how it works for them. I was not ever good at participating in this charade, although I realize I could be a lady of leisure on an island in my own compound if I could have played along.

I had another realization recently that SeaFed is a high-functioning autistic. I think his mother was autistic, and it sounds like his grandfather was too. (Leslie you know it’s true and it’s too late now. Get you-know-who tested.)

I spoke with Franny about these thoughts a few months ago and she seemed somewhat reassured that there could be a reason that her father wasn’t very engaged with her life nor did he remember what her health conditions were, so couldn’t accommodate her. What I was saying made sense to her. At the same time, I feel like this possibility made her angry. I think it was hard for her to reframe the narrative of her situation with her father and see him as someone who had a reason for being limited beyond just thoughtlessness. I remember her being ten or so and saying out of the blue, “I think there’s something wrong with my dad.” She was right that he’s not typical.

In the first couple of years we were married, I remember SeaFed’s father expressed relief a couple of times that I’d come into his life and seemed to be steering the ship. They had reached their wit’s end with him as a teenager when he really dialed into his dual talents of wasting someone else’s hard-earned money and his penchant for petty criminality. Here was someone who could take them off his hands. Maybe he would get his act together now.

My increase in responsibility happened bit by bit. When I met SeaFed, I had no idea how to adult beyond knowing that I had to have a job and write a rent check every month. He would take me out places and not pay parking. I didn’t have a car and I came from a village where you could pretty much park on a cow or a corn or in the middle of the road if you felt like it, but I was fairly certain the signs reading “PAY HERE” hanging in the lots with numbered spots had an implied “This means you, buddy” ring to them.

“Don’t you need to pay to park?” I asked. What a rube I was then.

He would shrug. “Nah it’s fine.”

After we were married he got a collections notice for hundreds of dollars of unpaid parking tickets in Oregon from when he was 18, plus fees, plus bonus threats of credit ruination. He was spending a lot of time in Portland and parking willy-nilly as he did in Seattle.

“Why didn’t you pay these?” I asked.

Same shrug. “It’s a different state so I just thought I wouldn’t go back there so whatever.” He didn’t care, since he was all-cash druglord lifestyle at the time.

I think I married an idiot, I thought. I started paying the bills and doing the taxes. Later I thought I’d married a sociopath, due to his lack of interest in me and cavalier care of Franny. You know how that came out.

So Franny left in the middle of the night (11 is the middle of the night when you wake up before 4 a.m.). We had been fighting that night and the tension had been increasing between us for the past few months. Franny hits walls when she doesn’t want to do something. She may tell you she’ll do it, or that she’s doing it to get you off her back, but in the end, she does what she wants.

A friend used to watch her for me while I was at school. Franny was about to turn three. If Franny didn’t like something, she would stop short, not move, and stare you down impassively. My friend, who had extremely verbal children who could tell you off six ways from Sunday, and were no strangers to the well-timed tantrum, was amazed by this Ghandi act. They nicknamed her The Mountain.

I’d been getting Mountains of bullshit from Franny for the past year.

Are you going to start going to class again?
-Yes of course

Are you going to take the SAT this time?
-I would have but the bus had an accident

How about this time?
-Well this time the bus didn’t come

What about that make up work that you need to do before June?
-I’ll do it

You didn’t do your make up work. How are you going to graduate?
-I can make it up my senior year

What’s your senior project going to be?

Are you going to apply for the library again like you said you would?

Finally, near the end, some honesty. She told me she didn’t want to take the SAT. She didn’t want to go to university, which her grandfather would pay for. She didn’t want to get a job. She wanted to attend community college and live at home. I remembered her father going to community college several times in fits and starts and always flunking out after the withdrawal period was over. I knew she would dwindle down to one class and just kind of turn into a directionless fungus on the wifi all day.

Oh no, I thought. You are becoming your father and it is like the cold knife of the past is going through me. Did I want to take the role of SeaFed’s father, his carer forever, regardless of wives, children, the appearance of productivity and normalcy? This was hard.

A reliable witness saw her smoking and told me. Now the knife was twisting. Her, with the breathing problems and doctor visits and asthma inhalers and lung pain. When this sort of thing happens, every cell in a parent’s body screams out: I TOLD YOU NOT TO MAKE THE SAME STUPID MISTAKES I DID! That was kind of the last straw.

“You cannot live with me if you’re going to do nothing,” I told her. “I can help you move in with your dad and you can do nothing at his house.” I may have said that louder and with more fuck-bombs than I’ve represented here. Then I went downstairs to my bathroom and cried on the bathmat for about three hours and went to bed. Then she packed a bag and left. I know I am a terrible person (see title).

She is living in one of the mother-in-laws in SeaFed’s Retirement Villa and Jazz Ranch.

(Pete said, “I want to do nothing and get a house!” Amen brother.)

I was getting text and email updates from SeaFed that were cheery in tone, like a Christmas newsletter from your neighbor that leaves a sour taste in your mouth because you know how many times the cops came out. SJ, everything is under control. It’s handled. I’ve got this parenting thing in the bag. Girl you crazy and now it’s SeaFed’s time to shine.

He was telling me how great everything was, and how he was in communication with Franny’s advisor and she only has a little bit of makeup work, and she’s feeling great and doesn’t even seem sick! She’s super on track to graduation! She’s making her own meals! This sounded familiar. “Of course we are in the honeymoon period,” he conceded.

SeaFed has this paradoxical tendency to try to scam people (passing off lemon cars, stealing from past employers, etc) while imputing the best motives in other people, like Franny who has turned up on his doorstep after not speaking to him for over a year and now is being the perfect angel baby. It’s probably good he claims to have quit doing crime, because I had never known a more credulous criminal.

I face-palmed after realizing that I’d chased her off to a situation where she had been rewarded with her own apartment, instead of living with a family who she’d be accountable to. On the other hand, me being straight with her about SeaFed has probably made her realize she cannot really rely on anything but her father’s access to money.

I finally replied to him and included her on the email as well, since she’s almost an adult and I wanted her to hear what I had to say. I told him I was in the same position a year ago. That she only had a little makeup work to do and she was reassuring me she would finish everything, but didn’t. Now she’s behind from junior year and her absences this year. I told him that she has up periods where she seems fine and then has a huge energy crash and misses school, and that she’s probably going to need to learn to balance her disabilities and self-care herself, since my advice and interventions didn’t seem to help.

I put her on blast and said that I had been contacting her about arranging to pick up her stuff and she was ignoring me, and that I was hoping she would get it out of here before xmas. SeaFed immediately made arrangements to pick up her boxes.

He said “thanks for the input” about the school and lying stuff and was probably too tired from patting himself on the back for his gold star parenting to say more. He asked me for her medical records (she needs to request them herself at her age anyway), and I told him this was the last time I was going to deal with him as her go-between, and that she knows how to get in touch with me if she needs anything, and muted the email.

She’s blocked me on Instagram and told Strudel we are Nazis and that we’re reading their texts (false, I’m just good at guessing the obvious). Also that she is never going to speak to me again.

Somewhere my terrible mother sat bolt upright in bed next to her 14th fiance and said, “AHA VENGEANCE IS MINE!”

In Other News

Let’s have something cheerier, like an update on my impending hysterectomy. I had to have something called a urodynamics test. This is to see what’s what with your bladder and how much urine you’re leaking if everything is normal (meaning uterus UP!), if any.

You come into a room with a fake toilet in it and you have to pee in the middle of a room into this fake toilet, which gives you a weird unhousebroken feeling.

Then they weigh that and see if there’s any pee left in your bladder via ultrasound. Then, Lidocane goes in your urethra, so you know something bad’s going to happen to that guy: camera catheter!

I saw the inside of my bladder.

“Oh god, gross,” I said. The nurse laughed.

“It’s not gross!” my doctor said. “It’s a great bladder. We’re going to turn to the left and see that hole?” Oh no ugh please stop “That’s where the pee comes in from your kidneys.” The hole opened and sphinctered itself shut again. “See, some pee just came in.”

Then we drove upwards (north??) and I saw the bulge of where my uterus was just chilling on my bladder, making a big-ass dent in it. It was like, enough already, lady. No wonder I never feel like I’m quite finished peeing.

Then I got a pessary jammed up to hold up my uterus to see how my bladder would function under normal conditions. This involved more catheters and a bunch of sensors. My bladder was filled slowly with mystery liquid that I forgot to ask about and was probably corny. I had to cough at points.

“Let me know when you first feel your bladder filling up. Ok, can you relax a little and not hold yourself up on the edge like that?”

“Sorry, I am trying not to run away,” I said. Her nurse thought I was hilarious at this point.

“Now I want you to tell me two more things: when you first feel like you have to go, and then, when you have to go SO BAD that if there were bears outside your tent you would still run out and pee.”


There was more coughing. “Are you leaking?” I wasn’t. Everything seems to behave when my bladder isn’t involved. She was trying to distract me by asking about Ehlers-Danlos in my family and who had a normal uterus and who had other problems.

“Um I think I’m at bears,” I interrupted.

“You’re at a gas station and it’s all dark and no one’s around! Do you get out of the car?”


WAS MY BLADDER GOING TO POP? I felt like she was Willy Wonka and we were on that hellboat. “There’s no earthly way of knowing/when I’m going to rupture one of your major organs…”

Finally she stopped, there was more coughing, and then she wanted me to pee to see how much would come out. I could not make myself pee into the catheter, so she took it out, and I went again, in the middle of a room as if that’s normal.

“Oh good, more volume than what I put it. It’s all working great.”

As I dressed I stared at this painting.

I went home and degranulated and felt very ill for the rest of the night. I’m guessing there was dextrose in the saline? I managed to look up the antibiotic she gave me and saw that it’s corny so I declined to take it.

She left the pessary in because it was a great relief to have my uterus in place for the first time in years, but it started dislodging at work the next day (of course). I was using a welding machine when I felt like I was going into labor. So much fucking pain. I pulled it out in the loo, wrapped it up, and threw it away since it obviously doesn’t fit right. It was a nice twelve-hour break.

Next I get to research which pain meds and antibiotics I can use if any. They won’t operate on me without preventive antibiotics, of course. Luckily I have Corn Allergy Girl’s great guides. They are willing to operate without installing meshes, which is good.

Poop Diamond and a Tiny Open P.S.

An old friend of mine said something to me a few months ago that really resonated with me. Hard. She’s good about that sort of thing. She can see truths right through to their heart. I don’t think she would be friends with me if I was constantly delusional about everything, but once in a while she can give me a really good, loving shove that I need.

Sometimes I feel sorry for my friend (in a weird way), because I think 99% of the time she sees the truth of her own life so fricking clearly. Harsh-light-of-day clearly. I’ve never seen her let a bad relationship go on, or carry on lying to herself. She is her own Cassandra. Ok, maybe that’s a bad analogy, because she listens to herself. It’s better to have self-insight, I know, than the alternative.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to tell you what she said, but I had to shove that piece of coal up my ass for a while and see what came out. I was telling her about an unpleasant run-in I’d had with someone I used to know (I didn’t write about it–too much going on really). I was lamenting that I had let myself get into relationships in my twenties with a lot of people who were not so good for me, which, if I am being honest with myself, was a nice way of saying, “Were huge assholes who didn’t really respect or understand me.” I knew this was a pattern, and I’d had a nagging feeling there was a code I was not quite cracking there.

Some of the people I was attracted to were just not nice–one-sided relationships all the way. They would make me happy for a while. “Wow,” I’d tell myself. “They certainly have an interesting take on the world. Maybe I can learn how to be more assertive (or decisive, or less worried about what other people thought about me, or whatever) from them.” Oh, Narcissus, I could watch you watch yourself for hours! You really are the grooviest. I’d take in what they’d say and feel the little pings of red flags pop up. Then things would not go so well. That strong trait or traits they exhibited that I thought I could learn from would be turned on me once. Ouch. And then several more times. Well, we’re going to have to call it a day, then.

It made me nervous because I had seen my mother run through people like mad over the years–husbands, fiances, friends. Umm…her children. I thought maybe I didn’t really know how to be friends with people. Something was certainly wrong with me. Hadn’t I been told that over and over again growing up? And then again for years by my husband? I was “not funny.” I was “weird.” When I got up the courage to actually show my ex my writing it “did not make sense.” (Okay, that is certainly true sometimes.) Lucky for me I made some friends with people who were nice and not broken. These were also people I decided to pattern my grown-up self on as I moved through my twenties and beyond. And wow, I am still friends with most of them, in a pretty normal, mutually-accepting way.

So to get back to my friend and what she said–I was kind of lamenting the fact that this creep ex-friend had made a little pecking intrusion back into my life via an email, and why was I always so bad at relationships (present company I was moaning to excepted). Then she said it. “You know, SJ, I don’t want to pathologize you, but you really didn’t have the best examples for normal relationships growing up.”

Saying that this was a light bulb moment would be greatly oversimplifying things, but it rung, like a clear little bell, and then kept ringing and resonating. I’ve heard similar from other people, and I’ve told myself that, but that sentence was exactly what I needed to hear from that friend on that day. I kept getting into relationships with people who were like my mother: self-involved, mean, unaccepting. I tried to pull away from her multiple times in my teens and twenties only to have my ex really disapprove of that choice, because he was a mirror of her.

Reader, I married my mother.

For a long time I thought my ex was a sociopath, because of the lack of empathy and some of his interesting life and moral choices, but lately, after following one disjointed thought and coincidence and conversation scrap after another–you know that feeling where you are kind of chaining along to some kind of conclusion? Just me? I hope not. Anyway, I’ve been reading about narcissists and I think I may have a bingo there. Or the closest I’l get to a bingo, anyway. I could tell you dozens of anecdotes and how they relate to each symptom, and at some point I might, for my own entertainment.

Anyway, I tell you this because I like to say when I have realized things, even if I think I might reevaluate things later. But these feels pretty right; it feels like some information I was missing, or at least a label on things. The good news is that on my own over the years I’ve developed coping techniques that are pretty similar to what’s recommended for dealing with a narcissist. Keeping things very brief, like our last exchange before school let out, when he had to scold me one more time and I basically gave him no reaction.

His wife is now opening calling him a lazy asshole in front of the children. Girl, I am breaking the fourth wall, okay? If you can read this a) you are driving too close and b) you should probably read this. All of it. Good fuck’n luck comrade.

I do wonder how Franny’s doing over there for her month! P. sent her a care package and I’ve texted but it is silent. I’m hoping she’s tired and happy.

In Other News

“If you come in to this room without knocking I will make meatballs out of you.”

Kick Me In the Showers

What can you do with this? Sometimes I think I am a cold person for hitting my last straw and walking away from my mother 5 years ago. Then I hear that my mother blew up at my sister over Christmas, drunk, calling her stupid and a loser and a retard.

“Mom went PSYCHO,” Morgan warned me.

“Okay,” I said. It would not be the first time.

“No, REALLY,” she said, and then told me everything. Morgan’s face twisted and she pointed at me as she imitated how angry our mother was as she screamed at my sister and told Morgan she was ruining her life. I kind of felt like I was time traveling back to when I was a kid and she told me how worthless I was and how little she cared about what happened to me. She looked kind of like my mother did when she was very young, and furious.

She was getting to the end of the recitation of the tirade and I burst into tears over my cheese plate.

“Oh–it’s OKAY,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry,” I said. “I know this isn’t about me. But it hurts my heart to hear what she said to you.”

Like all family relationships everywhere since the beginning of time, I have a funny relationship with my sister. She is ten years younger than me and I spent a lot of time just…being there for her. She spent a couple of summers in high school practically living in my house. I felt like I hung in there for as long as I could with my mother and then shoved off–they seemed like they were doing okay.

I guessed my sister was coping. She knows, though.

“Mom’s a JERK, you know it,” she said. “It’s okay, because I know all that shit she said is FUCKING BULLSHIT.”

“Yeah,” I said. “You’re older, you know who you are.” I pulled my weepy ass back together again. We talked about all the times all the booze had been poured out, a wine cellar had been given away, vomit out of car windows, only to reappear a couple of days later.

“I used to buy Mom’s story, that she was scared of Dad, that he abused her, that she was helpless. I saw her provoking him, like mad. She would push him until he would pop,” I said.

“Mom likes to fight,” Morgan said.

My sister’s husband came home and helped to kick my drunk and raving mother out of their apartment. I was so so very glad to hear he was there for her like that.

We were sitting in Morgan’s car smoking a cigarette (shh). Louder Than Bombs came on when she turned on the radio. She pointed at the radio.

“You got me Singles when I was twelve and ‘Hand in Glove’ was the first song on it.”

“Well, you were a teenager. ‘Here is your mandatory angst kit.” I thought for a moment, inhale, exhale, I am such a shit smoker now. “You okay?”

“Yes,” she said. “I think I’m relieved somehow.”

“I almost emailed Mom and told her not to come to my house again, but I decided not to make the aggro, for myself. I let it go. I think…I’m pretty happy most of the time,” I said.

I Have 33,996 Spam Comments and Am Waiting for Vodka and Tizer

Dear Goddam Diary,

Yesterday I felt SO funny because I have been wanged by my occasional inner ear vertigo and I got so desperately nauseous I took some Dramamine. You cannot spell Dramamine without DOOM or something, because it knocks me out every time. The struggle to stay awake on the bus and the resulting stoned feeling can only be compared to huffing glue out of empty Mountain Dew soda cans while no one is paying attention in the back of sixth period art, or SO I HEAR.

This made me think of my art class, of course, where I met one of my high school boyfriends in a haze of glue and bad thrift store polyester. The short version is that we had a great summer relationship and saw lots of concerts and ate a lot of fried meat. It is notable that this is the first summer I experienced vertigo, as well, which came after a quick secession of head injuries. Can’t complain, though really, because some people (me) think that uneven pupils are FASHION.

He moved away, and we broke up, and I carried on with my last year of high school, which involved continuing my mission to turn myself into a human pincushion. WHAT? It was the ’90s. In a previous episode I recounted my absolutely ignorant and boneheaded attempt at getting my nipple pierced. After this failed attempt I had my nose pierced by a proper shop in Colorado and knew what to look for after that–or so I thought. 

I decided to go for the ultimate badass hard-to-the-core piercing. YES. I would get a hole popped in my junk drawer. I called up a local shop that was less scary crusty old tattooed dude, and more “hey we’re so hip” and made sure they did it properly with needles. Another bonus: unlike Chicago shops I knew they would not card me. I brought a friend with me for moral support, another lonely young punk who I would drive around with for hours, listening to Damaged and throwing bottles at people out the window.

We showed up at the appointed time and the shop looked clean and the hole-pokers were friendly. My friend sat with me by my head like I was having a baby on a bad TV show.

“Okay,” the dude said. “I have to tell you I’ve had training on this, but have not actually done this piercing.” I shrugged.

“Go for it,” I said.

In the end, it went well and was a really standard and good piercing which healed well. Months later I moved to Seattle, and was happy to have a fresh break. My ex-boyfriend who I had spent the previous summer with was making noises about moving to Seattle and getting back together, which horrified me. We parted on good terms, but I had lived through probably my worst year ever, and I wanted something new. My roommate, who had developed a friendship with him and what looked like a fatal crush on him, invited him to move in with the caveat he would sleep in her room. Fabulous! My ex-boyfriend, who was clingy and whiny on a GOOD day, was going to be underfoot constantly.

After kind of avoiding serious conversation for the first few days he finally cornered me late one night about getting back together. It was already midnight and I was sunburnt and wiped from sightseeing in Seattle in August, the only reasonable month here. What should have been a ten-minute conversation turned into one that lasted HOURS. I watched snails and slugs ooze across the sidewalk and up and down the walls outside our apartment and considered what a terrible metaphor it was for the conversation I was currently mired in. I could not be moved; no, I did not want to try dating again. I smoked constantly, incessantly, a habit I had not yet kicked and one he hated, to keep a barrier between the two of us.

He cried. He was always a crier, which, fine, but it was a little disconcerting sometimes. Once he had shown up at my house, completely unbidden, in full face Eric Draven makeup (I know, WAT). I look back now and realize he was kind of a proto emokid.

Finally, I had squashed any last hope he had about our reunion and rejected any limits he tried to set on my activities, dating or otherwise. He sniffled and said, “Well, can I ask you something at least?”

“What.” I was tired as fuck and thought I could hear the birds waking up.

“I…uh…I heard so much about your new piercing.”

“Yes?” I said, staring at him through a screen of angrily-exhaled smoke.

“Wellll, can I see it at least?”

My only answer was to grind out my last cigarette and bang back into the apartment.



Maybe I’m in your Really Simple Stalkzors, I dunno, but I am also resuming Blogher today at some point. The article is written, I just have to mark it up and publish it. I will link later, since friends who have my back more than I have my own (read: lazy) think I should pimp more.

Also on my list is NEW BANNER YEAH BOOOOY.

At The Library

I left Franny and Strudel alone in the children’s section, reading happily, and walked a few feet over to the CD rack to see if I could find some reasonably non-offensive CDs to be played at bedtime again and AGAIN until they are spun into silvery dust.

There were two little girls sitting at the tables directly adjacent to the children’s CD racks. They were engaged in that eight-year-old girl psychological warfare that adults either miss, or choose not to notice.

“Your teeth are so YELLOW,” one girl hissed to her companion. “You should really brush them more often.”

“I DO brush them,” her friend retorted, in hushed tones.

“I mean, I have never seen such yellow, dirty-looking teeth as yours. Ugh.”

“They ARE NOT!”

This exchange went on for a few minutes until the girl with the teeth lost it and socked her little frenemy.

“OW,” the taunter said, at full volume. “You shouldn’t hit people.”

They remained unsupervised and I paused in my browsing, looking up at the sound of the taunter’s louder voice. She looked up at me, now visible, and the girl with the teeth slowly looked over her shoulder. They both waited to see what this adult would do. I looked at the girl with the teeth.

“I would have hit her, too,” I said, and went back to browsing.

The Cat Came Back, It Wouldn’t Stay Away

Okay, I have lost it again and am opening a can. But this is good, so don’t worry. I didn’t even cry when I wrote this.

The Franny came back today, bursting with news. The unholy wedding of Seattle Federline and That Poor Woman came to pass. Franny said the best part involved some other children (new cousins?) and some bunkbeds, and “Oh, yeah, the wedding, too.” Sometimes her polite diplomacy really reaches toxic levels. She was the head flowergirl, one of five (!!!). I asked if her baby sister was the ring pillow and she said she wasn’t, but the baby was made to wear a tutu.

“How was that?” I said.

“It was dumb, she should have been wearing her normal clothes.”

And she totally remembered to ask about the tattoo! She told Supa and me at lunch today. This was the trigger that made my can open, so to speak.

“What did he say?” I said.

“He said No.”

“No?” I said. “Like, no, under his new tattoo is not my name?”

“Yeah, Mom, he said no.”

Supa’s eyes goggled out of her head.

“Your dad lied,” I said, surprised in spite of myself. She looked at me and kind of blinked.

“I saw it,” said Supa. “I saw it after he had it done.”

“That Poor Woman has seen it, too,” I said. “He had it for the first few months they dated. People know it existed.”

Franny looked from me to Supa and then shrugged. What can you say?

I don’t mean to go after my kid. I don’t know what to say to her at times like this. I told her about the tattoo offhandedly one night, and I told myself that she probably wouldn’t remember, but she did, and she asked him, and he lied about it in front of his new wife, who knows about the tattoo.

So I have decided to stop saying things like this all together. It doesn’t change anything, and it just puts her in the position where her dad lies to her. This has been happening since the divorce, where she comes back and tells me something that he’s told her that’s really untrue. His new wife has said a couple things to me, too, that he told her that have no basis in reality. My reality, anyway. I’m prepared for the possibility the sky is actually orange, I guess.

When they first got together, when he was still telling me he wanted to get back together and have another baby with me, he told me his plan for dating TPW was not to tell her his secrets, meaning about his past. I have often wondered how much she knows, but at the same time I don’t think she cares. So I am laying down the aggro and walking away from it. Franny’s dad will find other things to lie to her about without my involvement, because he’s the type of guy who lies needlessly to people.

I know we all do this with history. Our memories are bad, and get worse with age and children. We want to portray ourselves in the best light. The real story comes from whoever wins the wars, or the one with the loudest voice, right?

I remember early on, when he and I were still speaking. Before he sexually assaulted me. I didn’t tell you about that before. That was the second event in my life that almost killed me. Franny remembers waking up to me crying in my new apartment but she doesn’t know what happened. I wrote a cartoon about it and court in general here.

Now I feel like my silence is totally unbroken: Hey, my husband sexually assaulted me after we were separated. How about degrading someone you can no longer control? It’s the new fucking purse dog, yo. Now you know part of the reason I hate him so much. He went to court and said it was consensual. Of course, what else was he going to say?

Before I filed for divorce he used to call me at my office and tell me how we could knock boots and that my companion and TPW didn’t have to know. We could have another baby, it will be great. I WOULD KNOW. IT WOULD NOT BE GREAT. I’d rather stick my arm in a fucking thresher.

Anyway, I was going to tell you something that happened when he and I were still speaking. The subject of my mom came up, and he turned to me and said, “Your mom says she never disowned you.” My mom disowned me when I was seventeen. She said, “Come into my bedroom, I want to talk to you.” I sat down and she said that she didn’t care what I did anymore. “I disown you,” she said. That was the first thing that almost killed me. I moved out shortly after that. And hey, guess what? I got back on the honor roll before I graduated. Go, Asshole.

It is like scrubbing your insides with sandpaper to hear that people never did things that almost killed you. I know what being torn in two is like. That tore me in two. I thought I was going to die of a broken heart right there.

My mom called me up in February and told me I need therapy, because of some of the stuff I write about people (meaning her; I deleted the post I wrote about our falling out over Christmas).

I need therapy. She should know, she watched me go from loved and secure and well-adjusted to fucked up when she took me back from my grandma’s to live with my new stepfather at six years old. THIS IS MY THERAPY. Damn, what am I supposed to do? I keep running is circles on these things in my head, and in my art, but I am feeling better. Things are getting better. I don’t have anxiety attacks anymore. I haven’t cut myself for eleven years.

I was afraid to write completely openly about these huge specters in my life, my ex-husband and my mother, but I am not afraid anymore. Both things are out of my immediate space now, and I feel better. For a long time I hoped I could get away from things like this, but you never can, really, because they will still be in your own head. So I guess it’s okay that I hear about things from afar.

How do you rebuild your life when you are torn in two? I don’t know. Watch this space, I am still working on it.

I can still see the ghost of the tattoo of his name that’s on my shoulder, under my newer one. I am going to show Franny when she gets home, and that will close the matter on my end. I am trying to tell her you can try to rewrite history, but sometimes the ghosts are still there.

Rated “W” for Wastoid

The House of Representatives is full of insane jackasses.” –Jon Stewart on video game violence.

Man moons on live news; anchorman keeps his shit together. (NSFW)

Colbert on animal marriage: “The gays are on the march.


Comcast tech sleeps on customer’s couch.

How to be featured on Youtube. Skip ahead to 00:45, seriously. That’s all you need. You can watch the whole thing, though. I won’t judge you.

Youtube is so swell when you wake up too early. And now I have to pack for our weekend!

Meanwhile, Back at Rancho Braindead

I am a little like, UGH UGH YAARGH today. But I’m not dead. I’ve just hit a rough patch and am having trouble focusing on writing. Or anything. I wish a magazine would come in my mailbox every single day, because I am in the mood to fill my head with trash right now. Or stare. Staring’s good, too.

I have been debating for a few weeks now whether or not to bring this up at all, but my best friend just moved away on Monday. In theory she’s coming back at some point, but I kind of feel like once she escapes the PNW and tastes the freedom of, well, not living in the PNW, that will be it. I wouldn’t blame her.

Lots of my friends have moved away in the past year, because of the no-job grad school diaspora. Before I was always able to say, I am so sad that my firend left, but think goodness I still have these other friends I see a lot. Now I am like, Oh, shit, that was the last one. I forgot to stockpile berries for the coming winter, like a big retardo grasshopper.

I am over here, a little weepy and irrational right now, and I mean, my sister’s still here, and Companion’s here, but I miss those other people terribly. And now I am poouring my heart into my dumb blog without using speel cheek, that’s how low I’ve sunk. Haw.

So you should probably look at this thread, which discusses one-of-a-kind dolls for sale on Ebay and elsewhere. I peed myself a little when I saw these, one of those gape-mouth involuntary pees of abject horror. You will encounter the words “anatomically-correct” and “exsquisite eleven sword.” This discussion board is really cool in general, and usually NSFW, but I think that thread is okay. I think it’s a bunch of talented but dissaffected comic artists.

Joshua (yes, you): I am cogitatin’ on the email you sent. I will reply soon.

Tom Cruise Audiodiary: “Sunday, May the Fifth”

“Euuuhhh, yeah, so things are wonderful with Kate, the woman I inseminated completely on my own in a very, very heterosexual way. Couldn’t be better. Fabulous.

“Well, they’re mostly wonderful. Now that she’s been missing sleep with our little Elrhonda, euuuuh, I mean, Suri, she seems a little, I don’t know, confused sometimes. I take her by the hand so she doesn’t wander off.

“I think…maybe…sometimes I see a flicker in there…there’s something that tells me she can remember her old life. (Note to self, up Kate’s “vitamin” dosage so she will take more naps.) I tell her that her thetans are acting up and then give her a few shocks with the E-Meter, and then she’s okay again.

“Cruise out.”


This is a cry for help if I ever saw one.


When Strudel was tiny I didn’t know if I was coming or going, but by god I could tell whether or not my damn flaps were up or down. Poor thing. Lost all sensation above and below the neck.