Last year. On medical
leave again. Diagnosed with PTSD by a therapist. Found that wonderful therapist from having reached out to my school
district's EAP director. Something had happened at my child's school. I again needed help. I really needed help.
A flick of a finger. Ping. And I was once
again in the PTSD abyss...
"Friday. I am going back to work. In two weeks, I return. I believe it's for the best. I will
ONLY DO AS DIRECTED. No special projects generated by me! Just what I am told to do.
Why am I returning? Because it feels right for me. I am bored here.
And why not give it a go? I am good at it! I must, however, protect myself. I MUST.
I will take one/each day at a time. One day at work. At
a time. And if it doesn't suit me--if it feels like way too much, then I will retire.
the correct diagnosis for me. I believe my work with Dr. (therapist's name) is important. My sense of overall
safety--my worldview--has been damaged.
to do? Well, first recognize it. And it is true. I see where people may become agoraphobic. That just
leaving the house feels dangerous!
birds. Family. Last night all of us at home. Precious.
But...the soft and silky fur of this cat...
Will you, Kim, let it (PTSD) control you? What happened to you, Kim? Like
"insecure kudzu" wrapping all around you. Distrust. Suspicion. Insomnia. High blood pressure....and
How do I remain secure?
Eight months later.
love the quiet. The usual. I love a sense of fulfillment and of possibility. I just re-read entries from
last year. "The year of going crazy..."
Ah. It's a lying, cheating world.
Do I prefer to be treated with respect by a tax evading criminal...or be ogled lasciviously by a school principal?
Maybe we humans simply cannot help our natures.
My nature: Right now I'm holding onto resentment. I was
wronged. But does that merit this growing feeling of disconnect? Righteousness...?
7, 2017. I had a really good year. Glad I stayed.
She is awakening. Inside
of her is a stirring. She reads words and she feels them. These are not just words for her. They are experiences.
She reads. She loves to read. This time "The Stone Diaries."
A character in the book, Mrs. Flett. "If you're willing, Mother," as Mr. Flett mounts Mrs. Flett again. As his hand
again crawls up Mrs. Flett's night dress.
and Mrs. Flett could sit over tea and commiserate.
it and weep!" And she does. She innerly weeps. No one knows really. No one sees. She is in her laundry room. Folding
clothes. Now in a grocery aisle. Planning dinners and breakfasts for "her men." Two sons and a husband.
It is her nature to sacrifice for others. But this is
too much. Too much to feel these waves of longing smack her. Mock her really. She is almost sixty. Married thirty five
years. She'd thought that on that first day of these thirty five years, her bliss had been found. There she stood in
her simple white dress. There in that church she heard him say the words of her girlhood dreams. "From this day
forward. Till death do us part." She'd thought that this man saying these things to her was all that she
would ever need.
She was beautiful that
day. So pretty. "Luminescent" it was said of her at her wedding. Her belly without the birthing
stretch marks that were to come. Her breasts not yet sagging from nursing her boys. Her waist cinched tightly by the
The only imperfection:
her feet ensconced in the perfect white high heels. "Why did I choose those?" she now wonders. "Blisters
and wedding days..."
She did not
know then that "to have and to hold" meant her nightly resignation at the bedroom door's creak. "You
awake?" as he climbs in. "No!" she wants to scream. "I am not awake. I am asleep and I do
not wish to do this again tonight. I am tired. I have worked all day folding your laundry and cooking your
dinner. I do not wish for your hands to be on my breasts and between my legs. This is my time to read. This is
my time to dream. This is my time."
instead: "Yes. I am awake."
"It's not their fault," in her mind over and over
as she listlessly pushes a grocery store cart. As she regards family sized frozen meals. She resists the torpidity.
Her lackluster cooking efforts are not their fault either. Neither is her disinterest in all things domestic.
And so she will wrap hotdogs in crescent rolls. Bake tater tots. Call it dinner.
Perhaps she will assuage her guilt by slicing strawberries or
apples as a side.
A sigh in the laundry
room. A pause. A worn T-shirt in her hand now used as a dust rag. Bob the Builder. A fleeting thought of her youngest
at three. A smile. She so loves that boy.
She stands still. In the laundry room with her fifteen year old son's old T-shirt is her hand, she realizes
that she can stop waiting. She doesn't have to wait. That she simply cannot wait any longer. She is no longer
willing to wait.
Mrs. Flett at the clothes line as
she contemplates retiring for the evening. "I am not willing, [Mr. Fletts]," she will say. "I am no longer
Her. "Me either, Mrs. Flett.
I am no longer willing."
have tea and talk about it."
A one minute You Tube
video: A man's naked buttocks and back. He's on top of a woman. The music pounds into me as he pounds into her.
Two women. One with her head buried between the other's legs. Cunnilingus. The receiving woman languidly looks at me watching. She smiles.
A different girl shoves the barrel of a gun into her
mouth. She pulls the trigger. Blood and brain hit the wall behind her.
Another gun to the temple of a man. Another trigger pulled. Blood and brain hitting a another
All this in the one minute. But that minute has
stayed with me. I am not accustomed to such glamorization of suicide and murder. Nor to such harsh depiction of orgasm.
According to my high school senior friend, this is what she and her friends
routinely watch. Seven seasons. All since she and her friends were eleven.
This is our American Horror Story.
My American Horror Story:
Well, okay. I am horrified. I begin to understand that weed smoking seems tame and sane in this
lurid world. I picture youth lighting up joints and turning on screens. Turning to and away from American Horror Story's
violence at the same time. They turn on any device any where and watch this degradation of humanity.
Youth use marijuana as their collective shield. They watch American Horror
Story violence in a fog. Maybe that's the only way to get through that stark hell, for surely these high school seniors
are people of some morality.
"Good God", I say to myself.
"Who am I to judge marijuana in this age of Lil Bump and Post Malone?"
I am a middle school counselor. I asked my students for an attention grabbing song
glamorizing drugs for our Red Ribbon Week's drug prevention introduction. Three academically outstanding boys said "Rock
Star, Ms. Werner. You gotta go with Rock Star."
are some of Post Malone's unedited "Rock Star" lyrics:
"Ayy, I've been
fuckin' hoes and poppin' pillies
Man, I feel just like a rockstar (star)
Ayy, ayy, all my brothers got that gas
And they always be smokin' like a Rasta
Fuckin' with me, call up on a Uzi
And show up, man them the shottas
When my homies pull up on your block
They make that thing go grrra-ta-ta-ta (pow, pow, pow)
ayy, switch my whip, came back in black
I'm startin' sayin', "Rest in peace to Bon Scott"
Ayy, close that
door, we blowin' smoke
She ask me light a fire like I'm Morrison
Ayy, act a fool on stage
Prolly leave my fuckin'
show in a cop car
Ayy, shit was legendary
Threw a TV out the window of the Montage
Cocaine on the table, liquor
pourin', don't give a damn..."
My high school senior friend writes of marketing. Specifically
the marketing of marijuana. And yeah, Post Malone and American Horror Story market weed. But they market a whole
lot more than weed. They market drug, gun and sexual violence. Rape. They market disrespect. They market misogyny.
They market all day and all night. During the school day and at 3AM, my high school senior friend can view and
listen to anything she wants. And she does.
She and her friends watch American Horror