Deep Down To My Core Archive

Loss and Honey

Posted July 22, 2021 By kmarrs

Lost my most recent patient, Miss Pattie, to liver cancer this week. I wasn’t there when it happened, but I was with her quite a bit leading up to her final moments.

I really enjoyed the time spent with her while she was still functional. I only had about a week or two of that time with her, but I’ll treasure it.

I firmly believe that everyone we meet leaves an impact on our lives, even if our time with them is brief. Miss Pat introduced me to honey.

I mean, I’ve always been a huge fan of honey. I spend way too much money at the local farmer’s market buying quality honey. I have spicy honey. I have a lot of honey. But I’ve never quite known what to use it for other than adding it to tea. Yes, even my spicy honey.

(Spicy honey in tea when you have a cold is the best. The spice clears your sinuses and the honey soothes your throat. And tea is also good for a cold too, of course. But I’m serious, get yourself some spicy honey for your next cold.)

In her final days, Pat didn’t eat much. But what she would almost always agree to eat was honey on a toasted English muffin. Now, my kids are big on English muffins, so I usually have some on hand. One evening after my shift with her, I tried it, and it opened my mind to a world of honey uses. The next day I excitedly reported back to her that I’d tried honey on a muffin for myself and understood why she lived on them. She sent me home with a fancy jar of honey from her friend’s bees, and instructions to try it on vanilla ice cream.

I’m telling you here and now, honey on vanilla ice cream is absolutely the best way to eat ice cream.

From there I branched out to fancy honey. Expensive honey. But EBT paid for it, and we currently have extra EBT because of Covid, and it’s use it or lose it. So if ever there was a time to try acacia honey and manuka honey, it’s now.

Next on the list was honeycomb. Because I’m trying to honor a woman who I’ve known for a very short time, but touched my heart, I’m diving head first into honey adventured. I will say autism and beeswax in the mouth aren’t the best mix for me, but the honey is good enough that I’ll finish what I have. I melt it over muffins and that helps with the texture. Also, my 13yo, who has a chewing stim, got to discover raw honeycomb, and he is a huge fan.

My final adventure will be creamed honey. I haven’t bought any yet, but that is simply because I forgot. I plan to do that in the next week. That too will probably land on an English muffin.

I really appreciate having met Miss Pat. Watching her die from liver cancer is probably the most triggering thing I could ever watch someone die from, but I honestly think in the end it was worth it.

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The Path

Posted June 24, 2021 By kmarrs

This came up in my Facebook memories and hit me super hard. I walked the stage with a nearly perfect GPA and top honors. But here I sit 2 years later with too much brain damage to attempt grad school. Grad school being why I needed perfect grades.

I was dying. I didn’t know it was cancer, but I was very much dying and I knew that. I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me, but I knew. And yet I forced perfection on myself. I asked for extensions instead of just skipping the occasional assignment. I studied while in the hospital. I wrote final papers right after surgery while on opioids.

I pushed and I pushed myself to perfection. Nearly killed myself striving for perfection. All so I could have a perfect GPA so I could get into the grad program of my choice.

And now? I can tell the difference. How smart I used to be, versus where I’m at now. Yes, I’m still intelligent. But not like I was. I can feel the difference and I can tell I’m no longer cut out for grad school. I was already going to be struggling because of Autism and ADHD. But brain damage to?

I am so angry. But I’m mostly sad that I put so much importance on my grades. C’s get degrees but I nearly died achieving perfection.

My path looks different now. I spent all of therapy coming to terms with all of the above and all of the below.

My best friend is Marissa. Granted, we don’t call her that. We call her Coffee. I’ll continue to call her Coffee on these pages. But her name is Marissa. I think it’s good to attach a real name to her existence now and then.

We’ve been best friends for a few years at this point. It all started with her sending me photos of the various animals in her life on Tumblr on a bad night and then before I knew it was had a friendship unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I’ve blogged about best friends before. If you’ve been here you know those usually blew up in my face. There was the ableist girl from high school. Tried to steal not just my spouse but my kids too last time Robin and I separated. There was Nate who was emotionally constipated and forbid me to have any emotions around him ever.

Coffee. I don’t have words. We have faced a lot of the same struggles, though there are plenty of differences. She is strong where I’m weak, and vice versa. I can honestly say that while it’s strictly platonic and nonsexual, I am absolutely in love with her. She is my person. She is one of my chosen sisters and I would do anything for her and know she would do anything for me. She’s held my hand through the process of nearly dying, losing my wife, and just every low moment of the past few years. She’s not afraid of my emotions and low points. And she approaches my BPD with common sense, compassion, and basic human decency. She’s also not afraid to call me out if I need to examine and rethink my behavior. She’ll enable me buying a children’s fishing pole to go “cat fishing”. But she won’t enable me treating people like shit. She makes me want to be a better person and helps me dig deep to find who that better person within me is.

And everything that she does for me, I strive to do for her in kind.

She is more than I could ever have hoped for in a friend.

And together we have built two really solid and healthy friend groups, with some overlap. A found family full of love, acceptance, neurodivergence, and queerness. My life is so full of love these days, but I found this chosen family with Coffee by my side. And through her love and guidance, I became a person worthy of their love. I do a lot of hard work. It wasn’t all Coffee. But she offered solid support and feedback.

There is a point to this.

Coffee is going to school to get a degree in running an agricultural-based business. The plan is, she and her husband Pete will buy some land in probably Kansas and they will run a lavender farm. In 10 years when my babies are all grown and out of the nest, I’m following them to Kansas and I’m buying a house as near theirs as I can and I’ll help them run their farm. Coffee will make sure I have a thriving wage and health insurance. I’ll also do what I do now, caregiving, on the side to help add enrichment to my life.

My path is no longer taking me to grad school at OSU and a PsyD that I’d use to diagnose especially women with Autism and ADHD. But that’s OK. Because my path is now taking me to Coffee, and her little family, and that’s even better.

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Learning to Fail

Posted February 18, 2021 By kmarrs

A few weeks ago, I asked Tumblr the following:

So I want to talk about parenting a gifted kid. Because I don’t honestly know if I’m doing it right. Please know I’m doing my best and in good faith seek advice.

For the past like 3 or 4 years, my 13yo Lucas, who is autistic and has ADHD which he’s medicated for, has been in the gifted program. I almost didn’t let them put him in it because I know the horrors of being gifted, but I was assured he’d never be pulled out of class, he’d just be doing slightly different assignments. When questioned he didn’t even realize he was doing gifted program work, that’s how integrated it was. I was assured he was doing different things, even if he didn’t realize it. Ok. That’s great. I let him stay in the program all through intermediate school (4-6).

He’s always brought home good grades. I’ve never cared about grades. I care about effort, whatever that means for the individual child.

Then the pandemic hit and the end of last year and all of this year became online. I’m sure I don’t have to tell y’all that online school and ADHD don’t mix.

With a complete lack of structure, he’s putting my disinterest in grades to the test. I think he is trying his best but the executive dysfunction is a bitch and he just can’t get anything done except under complete duress that’s exhausting and traumatizing for everyone involved. And even then he was suddenly failing everything. Everything.

At some point, I’m not exactly sure when, but I was probably a really tired single mother in that moment, I just radically accepted that this year is a wash and he’s probably going to be repeating 7th grade.

I’m not even mad. I’m just tired.

And I haven’t stopped encouraging him to do the work. We talk about what it means to repeat a grade. We discuss these kids he’s grown up with leaving him behind. We discuss that it’s not too late to catch up. But honestly fam, as the autistic kid, he doesn’t really have any friends he wants to keep up with. (That part hurts my heart more than anything.)

But I’ve just radically accepted that this year being online was doomed to fail and instead of being angry at him, I’ve made failing ok. I know if he were in an actual classroom he’d be fine. But he’s not so I have to accept the consequences.

Is that the right thing to do? What would you want your parents to do in this situation? I’m asking in earnest!

Every response I received was filled with encouragement that I was doing the right thing by him. Overwhelmingly people told me how they wish their parents had taught them failing was ok and how to fail. Because you know what? Sometimes you fail in life.

Which got me reflecting on teenage me in high school. I was undiagnosed with ADHD and Autism, severely depressed, and blossoming into having Borderline Personality Disorder. My grades, my senior year especially were a mess! And while my mom didn’t yell or punish me, it was very clear I had disappointed her, and that hurt. Instead of being taught how to fail, I was taught that I needed to achieve a certain level to be acceptable.

Fast forward more than 10 years to when I started college. I had it in my head that failure wasn’t an option, only somehow I got the message that anything less than an A was a failure. Sure I graduated 6 years later with top Latin honors, but I also almost died repeatedly because I had stopped making my own blood. If I had been taught to fail or at least accept less than an A, I might have spent less time writing final papers while getting blood transfusions. The two should never mix.

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Alone but not Lonely

Posted December 24, 2020 By kmarrs

Robin is settled into Seattle and has been for a few weeks, at this point. The kids miss her like crazy. They show it in various ways. Sammy is a little more outspoken with it. Thomas tries to hide his pain where he thinks we can’t see it. Lucas is a lot harder to read, but I know he does miss daddy. Even Iris misses her.

I’m a little more on the fence myself. I more miss having help than I do the company. When the kids started feeling better they were obnoxious for a couple of days and I was so sick I could barely move. I could have used a healthy adult. But the thing is, had Robin been here, Robin would have had Covid too, (I caught it the day after she left and passed it around the house from there) and not only would she have been unable to be helpful, but I would have been sharing my sick bed. I’m very selfishly grateful I didn’t have to share my bed while sick.

The first two times we separated missing her company was a big part of why I took her back. Granted, we worked on our shit and were healthier when we got back together. But I think things would have been different if I hadn’t been so lonely. This time I have a couple of dozen friends at my disposal, and yeah, none of them are local, but I’m ok with that. I’m not alone unless I put my phone down to read. And it’s a huge help.

I’ll be a lot more hesitant to take Robin back this time. And while that is something I fully intend to do in maybe about 5 years, that is fully conditional on where we stand as individuals. We are both in need of some therapy to be better people. And I won’t settle for anything less than what I deserve in a partner.

Anyway. I do in some ways miss Robin. But not as much as I feared I would. And I’m relieved by this, but I also feel guilt. I’m going to have to work on that guilt in therapy because me not missing Robin as much as I arbitrarily think I should is fine but the guilt it brings isn’t healthy.

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Friendship

Posted June 15, 2020 By kmarrs

My memory is poor, so I don’t really have many fond memories of my ex best friend from high school. I remember when Luke was like 2yo, taking the boys to the zoo and pulling them around in the wagon I bought for that exact purpose. Only, that trip I guess Thomas mostly walked since he would have been around 6. And Lucas spread himself out in the wagon and passed the fuck out. He napped for a solid 2 hours or so in that wagon while we pulled him around the zoo.

I remember this because I just took the littles to the zoo. It finally opened back up this weekend for members only. You have to make reservations in advance since they are only letting so many people in at a time, but I made them well in advance. So I’ve been reflecting on the many happy zoo memories.

Another clear memory of her is her blatant ableism. Like how she refused to be seen with me in public in February with me wearing flip flops. Even though at that moment I literally could not wear any other shoes. I did not hang out with her that day and have actually not spoken to her since.

I guess that made her mad?

Because a few years later she tried to steal my then husband (now wife) and my kids from me. She always did covet the family I had. So the minute my relationship went south, she swooped in. I don’t blame Robin from sleeping with her. We were separated and she’s always had a crush on her. But she had no interest in being casual. She was in it for the family. And when Robin and I got back together she was furious. Which says a lot about her since she’s Catholic and doesn’t believe in divorce. Usually.

I’ve had an attempt at a best friend between now and then in Clyde. But he was toxic and I got out when that became apparent. We’ve been in and out of casual contact since. But nothing lasting. What can I say, we met in a joint class. We were teammates on a group project. The first that degree ever gave me. We then, a few years later, ran into each other in a different class. I think if I ran into him again, we could be civil. Stand and chat. Or email for a few days. But it wouldn’t be anything deep or lasting. That friendship was too toxic.

I’ve had a few toxic friendships. Hell, at times my relationship with Robin is toxic. This isn’t some huge revelation. It’s common knowledge we’ve been separated twice.

BPD makes it hard to maintain relationships.

Being neurodivergent makes starting relationships hard.

Also, I don’t see myself as worth much, so I don’t immediately bulk at being treated poorly.

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My Identity

Posted February 17, 2020 By kmarrs

It’s been a while since I discussed my identity on here. And there have been some updates as I’ve grown into one label, and out of another.

I am very much nonbinary and working towards transitioning. I will be legally changing my name to Max, if not Maximum. We’re getting new scrubs at work and my new scrubs will have Max on them in place of my dead name. (Remind me to post why that’s possible next.) I am working towards getting a massive breast reduction, though probably not complete top surgery. Hopefully, with my history of neck, shoulder, and back pain, my insurance will cover the reduction. I’m not sure how much I care to transition beyond that. I already have short hair and don’t wear makeup. I live in scrubs, which are gender-neutral. I’m not really interested in hrt. So I think I’ll be done after the name change and the surgery.

The one thing that has changed is my sexuality. While I still identify as ace, but that’s more based on sex repulsion due to an OCD hangup with body fluids than whether I’m actually sexually attracted to people. When I opened my mind to that, I realized that I’m just not really into men. But strong women with swords? Make me weak. I also like femme women. Really just any women. So I guess what I’m saying is, I’m a whole ass lesbian. Which, now that I know, I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize this.

What about Pat? Well, for starters, they don’t go by Pat anymore. We’re sorting out what to call them when. But also, I knew 15 years ago that I was marrying a woman. It just… hadn’t really been acknowledged more than just on the surface level. However, part of my spouse’s midlife crisis involved a huge gender crisis. I won’t toss out labels because they are still evolving sometimes on a daily basis even, as new ones are tried on to see what fits, but wherever this lands, I assure you I can be attracted to my spouse and be a huge lesbian.

So I guess that’s where things stand for now. I’m pretty comfortable with my new labels and I don’t see them changing again. But, that’s what I said last time.

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