There is something haunting about seeing your young adult child hold a loaded gun to his head and wondering if you're gonna die, too...
Last week was doozy, and I made it through Tuesday by the grace of God and a true friend. You really learn who those are when you have major problems.
Spent that morning asking my caseworker not to penalize me for not being able to come in because I didn't have gas money to drive there to job search. He's a good guy, but he had to put pressure on me because that's his job to make sure people comply. I couldn't, having only enough gas left to make it a couple miles when the program is ten miles away. This was very hard.
Spent part of that afternoon watching my son hold a loaded gun to his head because he got mad when I asked him to get another job since he quit or got fired from the other one. He still ain't told me why and I'll have to ask his boss in person if I want to find out the reason.
Timing is everything, but with people who really unstable, it becomes harder to ascertain if the timing is good. Lil' nigga seemed happy. Hell, he should have been; he'd had a wonderful Valentine's Day with his girlfriend on Sunday, thanks to me letting him buy steaks and a box of candy with my food stamp card. The following evening he had friends over. Tuesday rolled around, and late that afternoon he was blowing time playing on Facebook. He looked happy enough.
"Xavier," I said, "you don't look too busy. Why don't you look for a job again?"
Zero to sixty in ten seconds flat.
No, not the car of my youthful dreams, but his anger, and it's accompanying cussin' and bitchin' about how he's under too much stress and how he's done with all that. I walked out the room, telling him he was acting like an azzhole.
Less than two minutes later, this crazy boy is sitting across from me in our living room, gun to his head, trigger cocked, and repeatedly daring me tell him to shoot himself.
How did he get the gun?
I bought a little .38 for protection a whole lifetime ago, when I was 21 and living on my own. This gun has a lock on it, and I always keep the key separate.
Well, he friggin' found both.
He begged me to dare him to do it. Worse, he looked angry and impulsive enough to go through with it.
So many things ran through my mind in those few minutes... questions like, how did he get this bad? How did we get this bad?
"Go ahead, Ma, I don't care anymore. Just tell me and I'll pull the trigger."
"You're not that stupid, Xavier. You're really not."
What could he say? Yes I am? Nah, that ain't something he'd agree with, thank God.
Instead he said, "I'll do it. I really will, just dare me!"
"Nope. It's a stupid dare."
He then proceeded to ventilate of how hard everything is for him.
"You seemed pretty happy to me the past few days..."
"It never lasts. Just dare me."
All the while, holding that cold little .38 to his head.
Me, having visions of him firing it into his brain.
Me, being so gotdamned angry with him that the childish side of me wanted to dare him just to see if he had the balls (and the stupidity) to do it.
Him, how spiteful he can be, how he might be the kind of person who if I did dare him, he'd shoot me first for not loving him enough and daring, and then kill himself.
The image of us both laying dead and bloody, or him dead with me wounded in my chair or on the floor, then my daughter walking into the house an hour later and being traumatized from this scene for the rest of her life.
Or him shooting me, leaving me in wheelchair or dead, then chickening out in shooting himself... the trial, the family trauma... the waste...
While these thoughts crossed my mind, I just stared at him coolly and repeated in a firm voice, "You're not that stupid."
He vented some more about his stress. I know all about his stress. He thinks I don't, but I do. He gets stressed out if you ask him to do his laundry, yet when younger and maybe even now, thrived on the stress of selling a dime bag of weed and never 100% sure whether or not if he'll get busted.
The more he vented, the calmer he became. Fifteen minutes later, his azz is back on Facebook like nothing had happened.
What a narcissistic azzhole.
And nah, he ain't in the hospital. If I had tried to hospitalize him, he'd have convinced them he wasn't suicidal and been released, if not that day the next.
Then I spent the evening being yelled at by my landlord, who also has a mood disorder, for two reasons. He came home and my dog was startled when he walked in kitchen backdoor and barked at him. He don't give a shit that his dog has had diarrhea for two days and nights straight, and I'm the one letting her out.
He was also pissed that son had gotten too loud the night before when entertaining his friends who weren't loud. Like my son, he's a coward with other men but a bully with women. He has never told Xavier to keep the noise down. Nope, instead he yells at me to control my "child", when my child is a grown azz man. Instead, he becomes every bit as intimidating, hostile and ungrateful toward me as my own son does.
Some of you may recall a post I did on him in December, My Psycho Landlord, where he made a death threat to me and my dog.
How in the fuck did I have the bad luck to get sandwiched between these two nutcases under the same roof? And why is it that they both tend to flip out on the same day?
There are some men who are so threatened by women that they become extremely dangerous when they're expected to pull their own weight, or in other words, to exercise normal give and take in a relationship; could be a mother-son relationship, domestic partnership, or one at work or between a live-in landlord and tenant, as in my case. Being reasonable with a woman is not something they value nor want. They want total control, and generally it's exploitative.
Geezus, I hope being around all this lunacy doesn't make my daughter so scared or hateful of men that she rejects them. Most are not that way, and I keep telling her this and to observe the good guys in the family like my brother and nephew and her uncle. But still, who does she live with? I'll get back to her in Part 2.
Tuesday must have been a day when the cards were stacked for me to die. As soon as my landlord started yelling at me, I threw on my coat, grabbed my dog and left out of the house.
I sat in my car and cried like a baby. I couldn't drive anywhere 'cause I my tank, like my soul felt, had hardly any gas. For a few fleeting moments, the image of me putting my own gun to my head and ending the despair and futility flashed through my mind.
Just get through this month... you knew in December than January and February would be a bitch... The Spring is coming, and along with it, the flowers you love so much, and a good job with the money to escape are just around the corner... Just hang on, babygirl, it won't be like this much longer...
That was my internal voice of reason speaking. I love that voice.
Kit, where's your pride? How can tell us this shit? Ain't it embarrassing?
Yes and no. I actually wrote the draft for this on Wednesday, but had to think about more and whether I really wanted to share this. I have a lot of pride, too much sometimes, but am also guided by serving others.
I learned from being a social worker and a therapist that the shit I've gone through lately is so gotdamned common, particularly among mothers and women, but also fathers and men, that it ain't funny. Having serious problems can be isolating because often people feel horrible and embarrassed, and wonder if bad shit only happens to them.
Being a helping professional makes me no more immune to having family problems than being a doctor protects one from disease. Problems in life, like rain, rain on everyone.
I called my relative, who had planned to meet me a little later with gas, and boo-hoo-hoo'd. He's been trying to steer Xavier away from bad choices for many years, so is so familiar with our situation that he wasn't freaked out. The most useful thing he said was exactly what I needed to hear, and reminded me of what I "forgot" on this very dark day.
He said, "God has carried you this far and won't leave you now. Think about all that you've been through since November. You survived, economically making do with very little because your own clients can't afford therapy anymore. You emotionally survived Xavier's relapse at the same time your landlord began acting crazy and trying to hustle you for more rent money because he's not earning much and sick with lung cancer but no health insurance, and you checkmated his azz. Hang in there. God didn't get you this far to let you down now."
He was right. Judging by the police that pulled into the gas station right next to the one we were at, I'm pretty sure it was being robbed. What if we had chosen that one instead of this one? Damn.
This is one face of the Great Depression II. Danger and despair everywhere... but also, I must add, hope, love, and for most I think, a determination to survive.
And that was Tuesday.
There is so much in this post that I broke it up into two parts; the second will explain the title. Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences, and I'll post Part 2 in a few days.