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2023.03.28 21:12 Terrible-Compote My Long Road to NC, Part III: Setting Boundaries, Building Barriers
I continued trying to have some kind of contact with my mom. I gave her the ultimatum that to be in my son’s life, she had to get professional help and be sober for some length of time. She said she would never go to therapy, but she would try meetings. We met up for lunch every so often, usually at a diner near her home, and it was awkward but mostly low-drama. My wife and son remained off the table until she could give me reason to trust her.
And every time we met up in person, she was back to drunk-calling me in less than two weeks.
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
My mother calls me, drunk, late at night. When I remind her of the “no phone calls after 5” boundary (which we’ve discussed very recently during our last visit), she says “but that was ages ago!”
When we last had lunch—twelve days ago, not "ages ago"—I told you what I needed to be able to trust you. You just trampled all over that. So one of three things must be true: A) you were drunk when you called me just now, B) you're experiencing cognitive decline such that you don't remember a very recent, supposedly important conversation, or C) you weren't really paying attention during that conversation, just yes-mabeling me so you could get access to my son, because you still don't see me as fully human or give a shit about me except in that it hurts your ego when we're not in touch and you don't have baby pictures to show off.
If it's B, please tell your doctor what's going on. But my money is on C, given that every time I try to give you a chance, you end up hurting me.
Giving you the benefit of the doubt that you really don't remember, this is what I said:
1) I have spent way too much of my life trying to figure out whether you were drunk or not, lying to me or not. I'm done with that. Don't give me reason to wonder, and I'll assume you're acting in good faith. This means not calling me in the evening, not drunk-calling people you know through me ([MIL], [friend’s mom whom she barely knows], etc.), and not being drunk at family gatherings. Basically, don't make your drinking my problem anymore, and don't make me wonder.
2) I need to know that you will respect my boundaries, even if they're inconvenient for you. That means that if I tell you I need space, give me space. Which means not calling or emailing me, not trying to get at me through [wife], and not shit-talking me to people who know us both.
I sat in your living room and said all this less than two weeks ago, and you claimed to understand when I said that these were the only conditions under which I could have any kind of relationship with you.
You never call me during the day, so calling me at night (and regardless of our history, who the hell calls someone with a fussy infant after 8PM anyway?) is a pathetically obvious power play.
IF you are really taking recovery seriously and doing the work, you will understand that it takes a long time to earn back the trust of people you've harmed with your drinking. It's not a switch that can be thrown. And you'll know that you don't have to understand or agree with someone's boundaries to respect them.
So this is it: last chance. I need some space. I'm asking you not to contact me until I'm ready. That means not calling, texting, emailing, or showing up at my home, not trying to get at me through [wife] or anyone else, not having [Narc grandma] write another of her disgustingly manipulative nastygrams to get me back in line. I'm not giving you a time frame, because I honestly have no idea how long it will be. Or you can keep pushing my boundaries and destroy any chance that I will ever trust you or want to see you again. Your choice.
From her, the next day:
I truly apologize. It's not A, B or C. D is I thought that since I'm not drinking, the previous barriers didn't apply. Now I know better, and will give you the room you say you need, though how I can prove myself with no communication is beyond me.
When you're ready, I will bring you the photo album you wanted to see.
I literally said in so many words on Thursday that they still applied. I told you I'd give you the benefit of the doubt about not drinking—even though you've lied to me about it countless times before—as long as you didn't make me play this horrible, painful guessing game anymore, and I explicitly mentioned calling me in the evening.
You can prove yourself by leaving me be and working on yourself. By giving me space and not saying nasty things about me that you know will get back to me. By giving me a real, actual break from the emotional labor of constantly trying to figure out whether I can trust you.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
[childhood nickname] dear,
Just want you to know I very much wanted to send salutations to mark [misspelling of son’s name]'s 4 month milestone, but my net was down from early Friday morning until this morning.
This is a transparent (to me) attempt to frame my frustration with her as the result of unrealistic expectations. Why, she is just a poor waif who struggles with her internet connection, and I’m shunning her just because she didn’t wish my son, whose name she totally knows, a happy four-months since being born! I'm sure many of you know this tune and can hum along.
We continue to be VVLC. She tries to get both Narc grandma and my dad to intervene; my dad, to my great relief, hears me when I tell him that he needs to stay out of it and never brings her up to me again for the rest of his life.
Saturday, June 10th, 2017
I've torn my apartment apart looking for my knitting needles. Did I lend them to you?
From me, nearly a month later, because I’m not checking my email from her all that often:
I do have some, though definitely not all, of your knitting needles. I can mail them to you if you'd like. I have no idea where the rest might be.
I was beginning to feel that you were finally giving me space, that I might consider trying to re-establish some kind of conversation with you in the hope of seeing if there is a place for us in each others' lives going forward. Then I received [Narc grandma]’s latest salvo, and it's clear that nothing has changed—you are still claiming that this estrangement was out of the blue, that I never explained to you why I needed this distance, that I am doing it to punish you.
I have explained myself to you so many times. I spent countless, irretrievable hours out of the first days and weeks of my son's life trying over and over to find the perfect words that would help you understand why it hurts me to be around you, why I could no longer swallow that hurt, why I did not and do not feel like I can trust you. If you actually care to know, it's all there in black and white.
I don't know what you're doing in recovery if it does not involve any kind of self-reflection or accountability.
If we are to be in touch, I need to know that you really understand what it did to me to grow up with a mother who was drunk every night, who was utterly unpredictable. To be threatened with institutionalization when I defied you, to see you repeatedly hold a knife to your own throat and threaten to kill yourself in front of me. To know that you drove drunk with me in the car. To have you scream and swear at me, to know that you would always, always choose drinking over not hurting me. And I need to know that, in light of all that, you understand why it is difficult for me to be around you.
When you are ready to have a real, honest conversation about that, call me—during the day—and I will answer.
[my full name],
First, I did not know that [Narc grandma] had been in contact with you until your email and when I asked her later that evening. And I have told her why you felt you needed this distance, and that I've stopped drinking. Her bewilderment is not over that, but about the seemingly endless estrangement, as is mine.
There's been plenty of sell-reflection - that's what happens in the Rooms, and on my own as ell..
I have been hoping that we can find a way to move forward together; that we can put the past behind us and look toward the future. I'm still hoping for that but if you're determined that it's not to be, I will have to find a way to move forward on my own.
The estrangement has been ongoing because you have not given me the space I asked for. Every time that I think that you are finally getting it and giving me that space, you email me. You have also called both me and [wife], including in the evenings, which I specifically asked you not to do. Your messages alternate between acting as if I am "banishing" you for mysterious reasons I have refused to explain (e.g. on March 8) and acting as if everything is completely normal and fine (e.g. on April 16 or June 10).
Even this email from you is more of the same: I tell you what I would need to start moving forward (an acknowledgement of your part in this estrangement), and you reframe that as me utterly refusing to entertain the idea of reconciliation.
I have no desire to rehash the past endlessly. But the unacknowledged weight of it distorts every interaction that we have had in my adult life. I am not asking for self-abasement or endless apologies. I am saying that if we are to move forward, we need to have one conversation in which you acknowledge your role in all of this without gaslighting, minimizing, or denial. I need to know that you understand the damage that your drinking has done to me and to our relationship.
I have left the door open. You know what it would take for me to be able to rebuild a relationship with you. If you decide the price of that is too steep, that is a choice you have the right to make.
No response. We are NC for a time, and then I cave again, even though I know in my gut that nothing has changed.
Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
My mother and I meet up for lunch. I speak to her with more honesty and vulnerability than I’ve ever managed to muster. Her eyes slide off me and to the side, the way you’d react to a stranger screaming obscenities on the subway. She keeps repeating that we can’t “move forward” if I won’t let her all the way back into my life, making a little walking gesture with her fingers as she says it. Outside the restaurant, she asks why I’m afraid of her, and I tell her that she’s the angriest person I’ve ever met. “Not anymore,” she says. Something in me breaks. I'm not quite done, but I'm closer to done than I've ever been.
From me, the next day:
I'm writing this out because I find it much easier to gather my thoughts and express myself clearly in text than speaking in the moment. I can also write without disturbing my son during his naps, while I can't always talk on the phone without waking him.
There are a couple of things about yesterday that give me serious misgivings. One is that you asked me, right off the bat, why on earth I would still need space. There are a few problems with this question:
1) It presupposes that everything is settled now, that since the past cannot be changed, it must be as if it never happened. This is not only impossible, but it is how things have operated between us for my whole life—you were allowed to lash out and do and say whatever you felt like in a drunken rage, and if I called you on it once you sobered up, you would not remember, and you'd act as if I was being unreasonable and oversensitive.
2) When I asked you for space before, you never actually gave me that space. During the time that I was trying to take a break, you contacted me more than a dozen times between November and July, called me, called my wife, and sent other people to tell me how unfair I was being. That is not a break. I felt cornered and hunted and was constantly looking over my shoulder.
3) While I was at your apartment yesterday, I developed a crashing stress headache, which I still have today; as soon as I got home, I had the first cold sore outbreak (a stress-related symptom) that I have had in months; and I spent the evening vomiting. I am telling you this not to blame you for my physical symptoms, which are mine to manage, but to help you understand how difficult it is for me to be around you. This has been true for years—I used to need days to recover from visiting you—but now I have a baby (whom I can't kiss right now for fear of making him ill), and I can't compromise my ability to care for him like this.
I also want to address your apology. I appreciate that you say you believe me; that's more of an acknowledgement than you’ve given me before, and I am sure that it was not easy to say. But you have to recognize that it is the bare minimum, and it is not a magic wand that heals all wounds. Saying "I don't remember doing all of what you say I did, but I'm sorry for whatever it was" is not really validating in any way; it shows vague good will but not any real understanding of the damage done.
If you don't remember all of it, do you remember any of it? Do you remember telling me it was my fault you had to drink? Blaming me for your unhappiness in general? Telling me I was wonderful one minute and telling me that I'd ruined your life the next? Because that was all normal to me. I thought it really was all my fault. I thought I was just that bad, that worthless. It was only as I contemplated becoming a parent that I realized how twisted, how damaging that is.
To make matters worse, your not remembering things has been a big part of the pain of all of this—from before the age of reason, I knew that if we had a conversation in the evening, I could not expect you to remember it in the morning. I knew that if there was an emergency in the night, I could not trust that you would wake up, much less be able to keep me safe.
You said that just as I want to protect my son, so [Narc grandma] wants to protect her daughter. What about you? Where was your protective instinct? Now that I have a child of my own, the idea of deliberately incapacitating myself while caring for him is terrifying, horrifying to me. You had to know that your drinking was a problem, and you had to know that it was damaging me, and yet you chose, again and again, not to get help. You chose the appearance of normalcy over getting healthy and being there for me.
Which brings me back to what you said yesterday about wanting to get us back to "a semblance of normalcy." That's a telling phrase. I remember many, many times in childhood, when you were screaming at me, and then the phone would ring. And you would answer it in the happiest, calmest voice imaginable. It terrified me that you could switch it on and off like that, and it made me feel like there was something wrong with me because I couldn't maintain that facade.
My whole life, I have felt like it was my job to keep your secrets. And when you would get sloppy in public, I would feel deep shame that I had somehow failed to protect you from your own actions and that people would know what was going on. One of the main feelings I remember from childhood is shame. I was ashamed of everything about myself. Even now, looking at my copies of the photos you showed me yesterday, which delighted me at first because of their resemblance to [son], just makes me feel sick and sad.
I am writing all of this because I was not able to say it to you yesterday. I get tongue-tied in the moment and talk about trivialities instead. The crux, though, is this: I have gotten healthier over these last few months than I have ever been. I feel right now as if I made a big mistake by visiting yesterday. It was not for [son]'s sake that I got back in touch with you—he will be fine no matter what. And it was definitely not for mine—I am worse off for it. It was out of a sense of obligation to you.
I was not going to send this—I wrote it down to get it out of my head, which is why it might be a bit jumbled—but I realize that the only hope there is to rebuild anything between us is if we are honest with each other.
I won't be up for another in-person visit for a while. I don't know how long. I am open to us corresponding by email—which is easier for me logistically for the reasons I mention above. I am also open to phone conversations, when we can find the time. It's up to you to decide whether that's worth the effort.
From her, nine days later, in a new thread with the subject line “Moving On?”:
I've been wracking my brain trying to respond to your last email. When you left here I was guardedly optimistic that by having lunch, hanging out (your words) we could begin to forge something positive between us. I'm heartsick that our meeting so stressed you out.
I have heard everything you've said, and acknowledge and apologize for my past behavior. As I've said, that, along with ensuring that it stays in the past, is really all I can do.
Of course it's worth the trouble to me for us to be in contact. Just hoping that it won't all be talking about what was, but trying to build what can be. Sharing thoughts, stories, experiences. I'm not nearly as good at expressing myself in writing as you are, but will try, and hope for an occasional phone conversation.
From me, the next day:
Thank you for reading what I wrote and for taking your time in responding. I really do appreciate the acknowledgement. I know it can't all be fixed in a word or overnight, nor should it be. I'm comfortable with it being a slow process and comfortable with being uncomfortable sometimes. I hope you are, too.
And I want to reassure you that I really don't want us always or only to talk about the past. The reason I wrote to you is that our meeting felt like the chance for both of us to clear the air, and with one thing and another, there was a lot I needed to say that I didn't have the presence of mind or ability to articulate in the moment.
Let's talk soon. I think this is a relatively light week for [wife], so I should be able to slip away for a phone call at some point.
We try to stay in touch for a while, kind of. I send her photos and grey-rock updates; she sends me weather reports (we live in the same city), occasional photos from my childhood, and offers of random junk she has lying around her home. My son is still off the table.
Sunday, June 19th, 2019
Less than two weeks after another in-person visit, my mother calls me, drunk, late at night.
Some time later, she sends me this:
Hey girl, just wondering how you all are. I just finished walking the [local street fair] and came home with my favorite sour pickles.
So what happened to our playdate? I remeber you saying that the 4 of us would go somewhere like the [museum] or [park]. I would love to do that.
"So what happened to our playdate?"
Do you really not remember? Or are you pretending not to? At this point, I'm not sure which is worse.
No [my full name], I don't remember. But I assume it has to do with one of the 2 days since March 11, 2017 when I had a couple of drinks, both of which were while telling someone what is (or isn't) going on with us.
Sunday, July 7th, 2019
This is what I finally sent to my mother in response to the above:
[her full name],
I see that you're still blaming me for your bad choices and destructive behavior, as you've always done. This is the lie that poisoned my childhood and distorted my sense of self, the lie you've told me all my life. Maybe you even believe it yourself. Certainly your nightmare of a mother does. But I am an adult now, and a parent, and I no longer believe it. And you are an adult too, as you were then, and responsible for your own choices.
All I asked you to do was not call me in the evening. It's not complicated or difficult. And yet, despite knowing that it hurts me, you've done it over and over for more than a decade. Every time I've given you another chance, you do it again within two weeks. There's always an excuse or a loophole, always a reason it doesn't really count this time: it used to be that you weren't drinking on that particular night, so I wasn't allowed to be bothered by it. Now it's that this time you were, so you can't be held accountable, and it's my fault anyway.
It doesn't matter to me anymore why you keep doing this: whether it's because you actually don't remember the dozens of times we've had this conversation, or because you want to show me who's boss, or because you have a compulsion to blow things up when you're not getting what you want fast enough. Or because you never stopped drinking in the first place, and you've just been going to meetings and congratulating yourself on how much smarter you are than all the poor saps who are making themselves vulnerable and actually doing the work to get sober and healthy.
I know that you've been through some terrible things in your life. I really hope that some day you'll get tired of lying to yourself and everyone else, decide to take care of your own mental health, and get some real help.
But it's not my job to keep you sober or be your emotional dumping ground; it never was. Putting that responsibility on me from early childhood was an abuse of the natural trust and love that children have for their parents. That you still can't see that means that you are not a safe person for me or my child.
Her response, in its entirety:
Calling me [her full name] was a nice touch.
Monday, July 29th, 2019
A birthday email from my mother:
First off, Happy Birthday. Hope you do something fun and manage to keep cool.
Second, is there anything I/we can do to change things? I am heartbroken, lonely, numb, and stone cold sober. I feel as though I'm just not even alive without you dear girl.
I love you.
What I wrote but did not send:
I have told you as clearly as I know how, in as many ways as I can express it, exactly what would need to change for me to trust you. Every time, you’ve chosen not to hear me and then complained that I refuse to explain myself.
Nothing has changed. You still minimize your drinking and blame me for it, hold me responsible for your emotional well being, and pretend not to understand the simplest boundary. Whether or not you are currently drinking, that is not sobriety.
Grieving an estrangement is normal. I feel that grief, too. “I feel as though I’m just not even alive without you” is not normal or healthy, and is something that needs to be addressed with a therapist.
Sunday, May 8th, 2022
Mothers’ Day message from her:
Just wishing you a Happy Mother's Day. (And wishing you would wish me a Happy Mother's Day.) Hoping you, [wife] and [my son’s name, misspelled in a different way from the last time] are well.
There has been a trickle of contact since then, including an attempt to break the news of my father’s sudden and violent death to me, a month late, last summer (I am his executor and already knew, but I know she was hoping to break the news to me). But I’ve stopped responding. I’m done.
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2023.03.28 20:48 Terrible-Compote My Long Road to NC, part II: the Grandma Experience
We might have gone on like this indefinitely if my wife and I hadn’t started planning a family. I began pulling away and giving her less of my time, with predictable results.
Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
I am overdue with my son. I’ve had some complications and used that as a reason to see and talk to my mom a fair bit less (we live in the same city, but if I don’t go to her, I don’t see her, which suits me fine). I am huge and miserable and spending most of my time either walking to try to get labor started or lying on my side, trying to stay cool.
Hey lovely one - I assume radio silence means all is well?
Yes, all is well. I don't think not talking every day really counts as radio silence. I'm not really up to doing daily updates right now; please trust that I will tell you when there is something to tell. xoxo
No problem sweet, just wanted to make sure that your appointment yesterday went ok.
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
Hi Sweet - is there anything I can do for you? Just thinking about you but don't want to call and get you at a bad time.
Nope, nothing I need besides for this baby to get himself organized and move out.
I understand that you're eager for news, and believe me, so are we. The kindest thing you could do for me right now is to trust that we will let you know when he gets here and let me just try to get through this waiting time as best I can.
I love you.
I do understand sweet one, and I have no interest in grilling you on status or other things. I just miss our talking about everything else in the world, like the Pleiades showers or what an asshole Trump is.
I would love to be able to think about anything else (except Donald Trump, about whom I have never in my life wanted to have a conversation with anyone), but I just don't have it in me right now. Being overdue is a unique kind of mental and physical torture. I will be fine just as soon as he's safely out, but until then, while I don't need any comfort, I don't really have any to give, either.
One way or another, this will all be over within the week. Can you be patient with me for a week?
Of course I can sweetheart. Just want you to know I love you and would do anything I can to ease your way.
Thanks, Mama. I love you, too.
Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
This is sent an hour before my son is born, which she doesn’t know yet. I find out later that she spent the night before, while I was in labor, blowing up my wife’s phone with complaints that she was missing out on “what should be the happiest day of [her] life.”
Hey Missy - really need to hear your voice, at least briefly.
I send her and my father a photo from the recovery room and let them know that nothing went according to plan, but my son is safely born and I am safe.
Tuesday or Wednesday, August 16th or 17th, 2016
I legitimately can’t remember which night this happens. I refer to it both ways in the following email chain. My mother calls me, drunk, at night. While I am in the hospital recovering from an emergency C-section and getting to know my newborn. I pick up. I am so furious, and so disinhibited by all the hormones and drugs in my system, that I unload on her as never before.
Thursday, August 18th, 2016
[full first name I never use] my love,
I really don't want to be feuding with you - not ever - but particularly not at what should be the (second) most joyful time of my life. I did not intend to pressure you or [wife], but was terribly concerned about how you were, and needed to know.
I love you dear one, and what I really want/need is to pay you a brief visit, give you a kiss, and set eyes on the magical creature you've created.
I don't want to be feuding either, and as far as I'm concerned, we're not. But I am recovering from the biggest surgery of my life right now, and my son is very, very new, and both healing and establishing breastfeeding are impeded by stress.
And the fact that you would call me late last night without regard for A) boundaries we've discussed many times before and B) the fact that I had major surgery the day before AND have a newborn sleeping in the room shows me exactly how much you're thinking about me and [son] as people right now vs. about getting what you want when you want it.
We're being released some time this weekend. If all goes well, I will be ready for visitors—any visitors—after we've been home for about a week. That's what I told Dad, that's what I am telling my closest friends, and that's what I'm telling you [I had already told her this several times before he was born].
Please give me that consideration and let me have this time. Babies don't spoil—in fact, they get cuter and more interesting after a week or two—and your daughter needs time to recover from a very painful and difficult experience.
Saturday, August 20th, 2016
Good morning sweet one,
Hope you and yours are well. Please let me know when you're going home, and no, I won't pop in. Just really want to know how and where you are.
Tomorrow I will be heading up to [suburbs] for [relative by marriage for whom she’s never expressed anything but contempt]'s funeral.
We're home; we were discharged last night. We're in survival mode, but we are surviving.
I'm sad to hear about [relative], and I'll email [her daughter] later today.
I'm going to be scarce for a while. We're not sleeping more than an hour at a time, and I'm still in tremendous amounts of pain, although by all accounts I've been healing as well as can be expected.
I love you.
Sweet [firstname], so sorry to hear you're in so much pain, and I would/will do anything I can to help. Just want you to know I'll be on an 8:00 am train from [station] for [relative]’s funeral. Hope to be home by early afternoon.
Love you. xoxo
Sunday, August 21st, 2016
My mother calls me, drunk, at night. Again. My son is five days old. I do not pick up.
From me, the next morning:
I don't take calls from you after 5pm. This has been true for many years, and you know exactly why. I don't know why you would think this has changed at a time when I'm injured and not sleeping, certainly not if you had my best interests at heart.
Violating this boundary does not make me want to interact with you more. You've done it before, and each time, it pushes me farther away and makes me want to see you less. And right now, I'm less than a week out from the most traumatic experience of my life, and this is the last thing I need. If you actually care about me, you'll respect this.
I've been trying to give you a chance by staying in email contact to the extent that I have time and energy, but I'm getting sick of this. Give me my space, or you won't hear from me at all.
I apologize [firstname]. It's just been really hard not being able to speak with you for so long (except for the brief call from the hospital a week ago). I had a specific reason, as well as dozens of well-wishings from cousins and other family from [relative]’s funeral [I really cannot stress enough how much my mother did not give a shit about this person when she was alive].
I shan't do it again, but really look forward to being able to speak to and see you, and [son].
I'm sorry that my needing space is hard for you. Having major emergency surgery and needing to recover from that while learning how to tend to a newborn and recovering from the trauma of almost losing him is hard for me, and you are making it exponentially worse by making this all about you and by guilt-tripping me for taking care of myself and my nuclear family.
And I called you from the hospital LESS than a week ago, because this all happened less than a week ago. And I shouldn't have had to call you back to tell you not to call me at 9:30 PM with a newborn in the room, the same day I had a C-section. Even without your history of drunk-calling me, which you know makes me miserable, that should have been a no brainer.
As for last night, relaying well-wishings could have been done by email, or at most, by calling the next day. That's a ridiculous excuse. You KNOW how much it upsets me when you call me in the evening, and you know why. And you've done it twice now at the most vulnerable time of my life, after I've explicitly asked you not to. I don't know how to say this more plainly: you're hurting me AND my son by deliberately adding stress to my life right now, which interferes with both healing and breastfeeding, because you care more about winning a battle of wills than about your actual, flesh-and-blood daughter.
If you want to hear from me, back off and actually give me that space. But I make no promises about when it's going to be at this point, because I'm really, really angry and upset at you. And if you call me after 5pm again, you won't hear from me at all.
Thursday, August 25th, 2016
Good morning dear girl. I really need to know how you're doing, and how you're little one is getting on. You are the most precious thing in my world and I worry about you.
I also worry about us - that this estrangement will solidify and become the norm. That has me grieving.
Would love to speak to you soon, and to see you soon.
I love you.
My little one is a very healthy, happy baby, and the three of us are learning how to work together to keep him thriving. I'm healing at the expected rate, which is to say that I'm in no danger but a lot of pain still, and I will be for a while.
I'm still angry because I feel like you've made this time—a time when a reasonable person would see that I have no capacity to do extra emotional labor—about you. But I need to put that aside right now and speak to you from my heart.
This estrangement has been going on for a long time, and it's due to choices that you've made. I don't say that from anger or to hurt you, but because it's the truth. I do love you, very much, but I don't feel that I can trust you, mostly due to the disconnect between your daylight and night time behavior and your complete denial about it. This has been the case for decades.
The 5PM boundary is one way I've tried to deal with that, to keep what's good between us and avoid being exposed to the way you treat me when you've been drinking. That's why I get so upset when you periodically ignore it.
I know that you're sad and hurting, and it makes me hurt, too. But I don't have what it takes to help you. What I believe it would take is being honest with yourself about your drinking—not hiding things from yourself anymore—and then being honest with someone else. Whether that means therapy or meetings or what, I don't know.
But ultimately, that's not a choice I can make for you. I can only protect myself and my son.
I love you.
I'm sorry you're still in pain. I don't believe I've made this time about me, rather about you and my worry about you.
As for your other main point, I understand what you're saying (and have said before) and I'm truly working on it.. In the meantime, as soon as possible I propose a daytime visit.
I love you.
From me, the next morning:
Still in pain? Yeah, I'm going to be in pain for weeks, if not months. That's how major abdominal surgery works. And stress and lack of sleep make it worse.
You have absolutely made this time about you and what you want. Your claims of worry ring totally false. If it's my physical safety you're worried about, I've already told you several times that I am not in any danger, just wounded, exhausted, and trying to heal. If it's my mental and emotional well being, I've already told you several times that what I need to be ok in that regard is some space and peace, and you have refused to give me that. This makes it clear that it's not about you actually caring how I am, but rather needing to exert control and get the access you feel entitled to.
I will say it again, because you are choosing to ignore this part: hearing from you right now sets back my healing and interferes with my milk supply. These are very real, physical needs, and they are something I have to prioritize above your desire to feel included. I've given you enough information to satisfy you if what you actually care about is knowing I'm ok.
The reasons that "my other main point" is relevant to this conversation are twofold. First, this history (past and recent) is the reason that I find it stressful and painful to talk to you, and while I can usually keep things light and pretend that things are ok (as you clearly wish to do), I just don't have the spare energy to do that right now. The second reason is that you have repeatedly violated that boundary in the past nine days, including on my very first night recovering from surgery and caring for a newborn. Again, if you cared about me more than you care about getting your way, you would not have done that.
I have a very limited amount of free time right now, and I'm not spending any more of it on this conversation. If, and only if, you will actually give me space—and that means no email and definitely no phone calls—then you will hear from me in the next couple of weeks, and we can set up a time for you to meet [son]. If not, that's a choice you are making.
Monday, September 12th, 2016
Are you feeling better today?
Not really, no.
I'm so sorry sweet. What's wrong?
Same as yesterday, plus another night of no sleep.
Wish there was some way I could help. Is [son, who is less than a month old] keeping you awake?
Once again, as I've said so many times already, you can help by understanding that I really don't have the energy to do anything but take care of my kid right now. I just don't have anything to spare. That would honestly be the kindest, most loving and helpful thing you could do for me right now.
Monday, September 12th and Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
My mother calls my wife, drunk, late at night, to ask her to ask me for my father’s phone number, which she has (they’ve been divorced for about 30 years at this point).
Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
I forward the email in which my dad sent us both his new contact info.
Gmail has a search function; "[dad] phone" turned this up. You could also have emailed him.
Thanks. I did and got it from him.
And yet you still called [wife] twice the night before last and once last night..? I've asked you many, many times not to call after five PM. Not me, not her. I'm serious about this.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
Hi Sweet -
[Narc grandma] asked me last evening whether you'd received her check for [son] (I think for $1,000.) If not, please let me know. If so, a brief thank you call ([phone number]) would be an excellent idea.
We haven't had a chance to get the mail in a day or two, but I'll do so as soon as I can. And yes, I'm in the habit of thanking people who give me gifts, and I do have her phone number.
I know you are. I'm not exactly sure when she sent it.
After I receive the check but before I have a chance to deposit it, my grandmother makes it clear to me that the money has major strings attached. I burn the check in our bathtub, with my wife’s blessing.
submitted by Terrible-Compote
to raisedbyborderlines [link] [comments]
2023.03.28 20:41 Helpful_Project7472_ Hills of Palani
- sorry peeps no TLDR :,-)
- copied from sroomery😉 Enjoy
"There are forty different kinds of paranoia," my dreadlocked Hindu guide Vijay began solemnly, while pouring thick coffee and lighting a spleef. "Different types affect different people, but since I am a multiple personality, I have suffered from them all." I was in Southern India, in the town of Kodaikanal, 7,000 feet up in the Palni Hills, and I was negotiating with Vijay to get him to take me out on a magic mushroom walk through what remained of the old broad-leafed shoala, rainforest, that had once covered the Hills.
I was in India to do a story on Zafar Futahelli, the father of India’s environmental movement. Futahelli, an elegant and hardworking man in his eighties, had recently formed the Palni Hills Conservation Society, a group whose goal is to reforest the Hills, which are rapidly being deforested to make way for time-share resorts, new monoculture eucalyptus, pine and Australian wattle groves, and for the building materials and cooking fires of the people native to the region.
The Society was working to save the Hills because they are the watershed for the huge Plains of Madouri, the breadbasket of Southern India. Roughly 20 miles wide and 40 miles long, they rise up from the center of the flat Madouri Plains to a height of more than 9,000 feet. Hit twice by monsoons annually, the roots of the old growth rainforest which used to cover them caught and held the rains like a sponge, letting gravity pull the water to the Plains’ streams as needed over the course of the dry seasons.
It was a good system until the resort builders began to clear land recklessly and lumbermen began to convert the ancient forest to monocultures, starting a chain of events that has led to the plains now flooding after monsoons, then drying up shortly afterward. To make up for the recent water shortages farmers on the Plains have begun drilling wells for irrigation, which have lowered the water table on the Plains, in turn killing the Plains’ natural covering. Summer sun bakes the now dry topsoil and seasonal winds blow much of it away. In short, the Plains don't produce like they used to, so a lot of people are eating less throughout Southern India, and many of them are starving. Just another man-made catastrophe which the World Bank will try to solve with billions of dollars tossed in the wrong direction at interest rates India won't have a prayer of repaying.
Futahelli’s plan is simpler: Replant the Hills. Hire the locals displaced by the newcomers to plant millions of trees of the varieties that used to be there, and in 10 years time the Hills can again generate water year round for the Plains. The little funding the project calls for would come from those people buying time-shares at the resorts. So I was in India to talk to Futahelli and some of the builders, knowing that his solution is too clever to ever be adopted on the scale that’s needed, and after several days of listening to resort builders explain why their untreated human waste simply had to be disposed of in the Hills’ natural marshes—"How bad can the waste from my 145 units be?" one builder asked in the sing-song English of the country. "People must be using the toilet, after all..."—I needed a break.
Which is where Vijay and his paranoias came into the picture. Vijay had been recommended by several people, all of whom said he was a bit peculiar but knew the Hills better than anyone. "We can take some very good walks," he assured me, when I approached him about being my guide for a magic mushroom walk. The mushrooms were an unexpected bit of luck. A day earlier, while returning to my tiny hotel room after several hours with some of the opponents of Futahelli’s plan, I had bumped into a shriveled old woman dressed from head to toe in black. She asked me something in a language I didn't understand, and when I started to explain that I didn't get what she said she smiled, reached into the bosom of her dress and withdrew a small package of newspaper. In it were dozens of tiny psilocybin mushrooms. "Take three and enjoy the countryside," she said in very understandable English. "Take six and talk with Shiva."
They were small headed with bluing stalks and had probably been beautiful when fresh, but looked like they’d been picked a couple of days earlier and secreted in her bosom ever since. "Very good, be assured." I asked for six. "I only sell them in lots of two dozen." "Give me two dozen then." She smiled, tore off a bit of the newspaper, counted them out and handed them to me. "Watch out for the police. If they catch you with these they will beat you senseless."
Vijay had no problem with the thought that I would be doing mushrooms on a hike with him. "We can leave this afternoon," he said. "Go to Berijam and camp there. Of course we will not be getting there until early morning as it is nearly 30 kilometers away and walking at night is very slow and dangerous. Then tomorrow you take your mushrooms, away from the watchful eye of the police." "Why not just leave in the morning, go see some of what’s left of the old shoala, and I’ll eat the mushrooms along the way. We can return at dusk." "Oh no. Not here! The police will get you for sure." "How?" "Suppose they asked me what you were doing and I told them?" "You could say we’re hiking," I suggested. "Yes, but that would be a sin of omission, and I have just recently become a Christian. No, I would have to tell them that we were having an hallucinogenic walk, which is very illegal here in India." "Would you also have to tell them what we’re having for lunch? If you didn’t omit anything we’d have to spend the rest of our lives with the officer." "They would not need to know about our lunch. But if we were walking to get lunch, then I would have a spiritual priority to tell them. In this case they are asking why we are walking and we will be walking for the mushrooms. There is the obligation." "Hypothetically speaking, what if I tell you that if you snitch I’ll toss you off a cliff?" "Then my priorities would change. With no physical life I have no more spiritual obligations." "Good. So what time is good for you tomorrow?" "Shall we say 4 AM?" He shook his dreadlocks side to side; for a moment I thought he might topple beneath their weight. "On further thinking, let me suggest 7AM. It is very cold in these hills before then, and I never rise at four." And then he was off, an elfinish vision with crazy hair, disappearing into a patch of eucalyptus trees. The next morning I was up at five. By six I was having coffee at Trichy’s, the only tea stall for miles which also sold a good cup of coffee. Though mist hung from the trees, the morning promised to be clear and beautiful. I breathed the thin, high altitude South Indian air.
Vijay appeared at eight. "A cha," he said. "I had so much praying to do, which is why I am late. I have been sinning so much." I ordered us coffee and asked where he had decided to take me. "To Pilar Rocks," he answered. "The most beautiful free standing stones. There are two and each stands unsupported for more than 1,500 meters." "Will we pass through the shoala?" He shook his head side to side. "The shoala is all around them."
We drank our coffee in silence, then set off along the town’s main road. Despite the damage that had been done, the Palni Hills and the little town of Kodaikanal remained lovely. Prior to its blossoming as a resort area it was known primarily for its exclusive private school for wealthy English and Indian children, and for the summer homes their parents kept there. The homes were nearly all built in British country cottage style, fitted stone with clay tile rooves. If not for the tea stalls and the monkeys that roamed freely about, Kodaikanal might have been a town in the English countryside.
We passed Kodai Lake—surrounded by wretched, two-story brick garden apartments—turned off the road at the famous guru Sai Baba’s summer home, then started up a steep stone stairway leading into the hills surrounding the town. At the top of the stairs we entered an area where locals lived and Indian temples seemed to blossom like flowers, everywhere. Around us children in school uniforms and factory workers in overalls made their way toward their destinations. By nine the morning mist had burned off and I was in the mood for my mushrooms. I suggested to Vijay that we stop for a moment. "Not here! Not here!" he said. "Wait until we are in the church." I had no idea why we were going to a church but waited as he asked and a short while later we reached an old, unused Presbyterian building high on a promontory bluff overlooking a beautiful valley. We stopped and I took out my mushrooms while he rolled a joint. "How do you reconcile the dope with your new faith?" I asked. "I am also Rasta," he said, shaking his dreadlocks. "Good answer," I said, eating three of the little psilocybes. "The will of God," he laughed, starting down a path to a little village not far away. It took less than 20 minutes for the first wave to hit me, and when it did we were in a tiny hut of a restaurant Vijay had insisted we stop at so that he could satisfy the craving for food his joint had brought on. I could not even consider eating: large rats climbed over everything and while the locals and the owner simply shooed them away I was beginning to trip and they seemed to be getting larger by the minute.
"I’ll wait for you outside, Vijay," I said, standing. Though the hut door was only a few steps away I was suddenly uncoordinated and the trip took an inordinate amount of time. Outside, I opened my little package of newspaper, ate three more of the tiny-capped mushrooms, and caught my equilibrium. Vijay joined me a few minutes later, stuffing his rucksack with chapati, Indian bread, for the walk. "We will be going now," he smiled through a full mouth, pointing me down a road that led past colorful shrines to Vishnu and Shiva, and small houses fronted with tall brick fences. At the street’s end was a stand of beautiful old growth forest and my heart leapt at the thought that there was rainforest this close to Kodaikanal. We stepped beneath it and I breathed deeply to fill my lungs with the sweet smell of ancient vegetation. Instead I began coughing and choking: just behind the stand of old growth was a monoculture tree farm of Vicks-Vap-O-Rubby eucalyptus and the scent nearly took the top of my head off.
Vijay seemed non-plussed with both my reaction and the fumes. He continued walking, eating his chapati, and I followed him into a breech in the tree farm at the base of a steep hill. To one side of the breech was the tiny remnant of old growth; on the other a eucalyptus tree farm a mile long and half that wide which had also been shoala just 15 years ago. But standing in the breech between the two forests was a sacred cow. Of course it wasn’t just a cow, it was 900 pounds of pulsating energy wearing a brown and white leather coat, and it was straddling the very pass we had to pass and taking every inch of it. Vijay caught my arm and explained that hill cows were known for their cunning, and that they could be surly and dangerous, though he refused to be pinned down on exactly how many tourists he’d lost to them. Yes, I thought, I knew there was something about that cow, something about the way it was looking at me, so fiercely. Perhaps this bovine gatekeeper was a sort of test, I imagined, put in place to stump mushroomed gringos. I gathered myself up for it. Vijay looked for another way up the hill. There was none. "Perhaps we are not meant to go this way," he whispered. "Perhaps it’s just a test," I answered. "If I am getting hurt will you be paying the bills?" "Of course." "Then let us make our way. Follow me. Be careful." He took a tentative step. The cow didn’t move. He waited a moment and took another. Nothing. He waved me to follow and we approached with caution. Stealthily we moved in, angled, feinted, then slid behind its hindquarters. Not so hard after all, I thought, but just as I did it let out a bellow. It was no earthly sound, I was sure, no cow sound I’d ever heard. It was more like deep-tone-vibration that emitted from the mouth of the pulsing flesh in glorious and frightening color and began to shake the air violently. The trees responded and began to shake as well, and then the ground and Vijay and I began a racing assault up the steep hill to get away from it, clambering over the vine-covered, root-tangled earth. We didn’t look back until we reached the top; the cow hadn’t moved. The scene was back to normal.
I congratulated myself by exacerbating my condition with three more mushrooms. Filled with our bovine success we confidently moved on into the thick of the Palnis, past pilgrims and peasants, steppe-farmers and their daughters, shimmying past goats and dogs and monkeys, all unusually alive, all beginning to glow, and all suspiciously curious. Two hours and five mushrooms later we’d climbed dozens of hills and reached 9,000 feet. I was out of breath and watching my skin turn colors from the inside. The smell of eucalyptus clung to me like a body suit.
Then, suddenly we could see a clearing through the trees at the top of the next hill and I headed for it. Vijay tried to stop me, but I was sure I was on to something. I bounded over the underbrush of tiny wattle leaves and broke out onto a patch of bright green grass that turned out to be the 13th green of the Kodai Golf Club, which Vijay explained was one of the world’s most difficult courses. "Some of the holes are very difficult because cows graze here, and the balls bounce off them sometimes and get lost. And if a monkey gets your ball he will chew it. Very hard to play." I nodded. Though not a golfer I could see where those would be difficult challenges. "Of course," he added, "there is a course in Kashmir, I forget the name, where there are tigers. I have heard that is also very difficult to play." He spoke with an air of authority and while he did he put on a large cap to cover his locks. "This is for disguise. On the matter of the course in Kashmir, I have never actually met anyone who played there, but that is what I have heard." Suddenly he crouched, issued me a silent warning to keep quiet and broke into a run. I caught up with him on the fairway and asked why we were running. "To avoid the greens police." "I’m a tourist," I said. "I’m supposed to be on a golf course." "You don’t know them. Just keep running." It was useless to argue so I followed. Moments later we caught the attention of several men with uniforms and sticks who began to chase us, frightening half-a-dozen cows and a herd of grazing goats into a frenzied stampede. When I realized they were gaining on me I turned and asked in a shouting voice for the clubhouse, thinking that might slow down my pursuers. It didn’t. I turned and followed Vijay, who was fleeing into the brush at the edge of the fairway. He ran like a man with the devil at his heels, kicking a poor golfer’s ball wildly as he did and ignoring several peccaries rooting at the base of a fruit tree. I had no choice but to continue fleeing, finally beginning to put some distance between myself and the men chasing us. We fled through the scrub brush, beneath some trees and finally ran down a small hill next to a busy roadway and into an open cement culvert that was wet with sludge. We ran along the ditch for perhaps 50 yards before I slipped and fell. Vijay stopped to help me up but stopped short of actually touching me. "That is really too bad," he said when he caught his breath. "This is the waste ditch from some new condos," he explained matter-of-factly. "Very disgusting."
I got up and wiped myself off as best I could. "How is it possible that I'm on my knees in human waste sucking exhaust from every car on the road when this is supposed to be a nature hike?" Vijay looked hurt. He didn’t answer. I took a deep breath and tried to calm down. I meditated a moment to see if there wasn’t a bigger picture here that I was missing. Where was the Great Spirit in all this, the oneness, I wondered, eating three more mushrooms. Was it possible Vijay had a plan? Perhaps he wanted me to walk in the shit so that I would understand India better, or the pressing need for conservation. Perhaps it was something like that and I was just too simple or stoned to see it. Yes, I thought, that must be it. I decided to keep a lookout on my sensibilities and continue to go along with this guru guide of mine, this man who had such a master plan concealed in his behavior. We hadn’t yet gone near shoala, but somehow this would pay off. Yes, a walk through human sludge was exactly what an arrogant Westerner like me needed. Vijay started off again, walking now as the greens police had evidently given up the chase. I ate two more mushrooms and fell in behind him, through the shit and slime, alongside the roadway. We walked for miles, kicking discarded beer cans and food wrappers. But somehow it all seemed to be making sense now, now that I had given myself up to the secret plan of Universe, and I found myself laughing, grinning, running to keep pace with my madman companion.
The road curved off and we climbed out of the culvert and up the embankment to the two-lane asphalt; to our right sat the squat, thrown-together, wretched sludge-producing condos. I decided to melt them with my X-ray vision, but before I could a bus careened around the bend and nearly took me to my next incarnation. I jumped back and breathed a lungful of the black smoke issuing from its tailpipe. It was followed by a car, and then another, each one taking the turn too wide, all of them honking insistently, and we hugged the near shoulder of the road as we followed after them. An hour passed and still we trudged along the roadway, past stop signs and dangerous curve signs, past herds of goats and an overturned truck, my guide answering my question as to why we were taking such a dangerous path when we could just as easily walk in the woods with a cryptic, "Why must one assume that the path one is not on is a simpler one?" The sky turned overcast, the busses and cars passing us became a nearly constant stream. I wondered where they were headed and why Zafar Futahelli’s group wasn’t also working to outlaw the diesel fuel that filled the air. Before I could answer those questions the road took a sharp left and there, suddenly, unexpectedly, reaching to the sky were the two pillars of Pilar Rocks. Strong, bold, magnificent and covered in a thick white mist. Nearly unidentifiable except for the parking lot signs on the road below me, in which dozens of busses and cars sat with their motors idling, blowing noxious black smoke and belching tourists by the hundreds. Near them, adjoining the parking lots, was a wall lined with chi stalls and tourist stands.
I was appalled. I was tagged and weaving. Worse, I soon found myself the curious object of attention to dozens of tourist families. They flocked to my side, lined up near me and posed as if in conversation with me while friends and family took photographs of them with their gringo friend. Whole families absorbed me into their Pilar Rock snapshots. Some even pushed me into positions they thought would look more conversational, sitting me on a rock wall overlooking both the Rocks and the parking lots, telling me to smile or talk or turn this way or that. I went along with the game, imagining some ancient ritual with foreigners I knew nothing about—perhaps there was a story of luck associated with taking photos of outsiders at Pillar Rock. Certainly there had to be something more than that my guide had simply walked me into a tourist trap. So there I stood, and sat and posed, waiting for direction from Vijay, but I soon realized my guide was nowhere to be found. He’d wandered off and lost himself in the crowd. I’d been abandoned. I slipped down from my perch on the wall and into the nearest chi shop, where comments were made about the smell and look of my clothing and shoes. And all the while the insidious Hindi-Christian-Rasta guide of mine stayed hidden from me—me, ripped out of my mind, being fed cupfuls of bacteria and sludge, up to my ankles in Indian refuse. But why? Wasn’t Pilar Rocks his idea? What happened to the shoala and why weren’t we in it? Dozens of questions flooded my mind, but they were too complex for anyone with five uneaten mushrooms to consider, so I ate what was left and decided to remain calm. This was India, after all, so I knew I wasn’t lost.
Instantly the recognition of that calmed me down and I decided that as long as I was here I would try to get a closer look at Pilar Rocks. But the mist which had been gathering just a few minutes earlier had now fully enveloped not only the great stone monuments but the tourist busses as well. Everything was being enveloped in white mist and disappearing like a ghostly visage. Where are you, my intrepid guide? I wondered. Pour me another cup of that sludge tea, my good man, I’ve got enough bacteria in me to infect a small village. I’m a biological warhead. Point and shoot me, I’ll infect the lot!
Suddenly it hit me and I knew—knew—where Vijay had gone. I felt it and knew I was right. I left the chi shop and slowly worked through the mist to a stand of trees the tourists were using as a latrine, moved past a squatting family and called out his name. "Over here," came the feint reply. I headed toward the sound and nearly bumped into him. He was sitting on a stone, rolling another joint. "I knew you would be here," I said. "Less tourists. I like nature," he commented. "Me too. Let’s find some. I’m hoping you thrust me into the pit of snakes for a reason. Did you?" "You are a tourist. I thought you wanted to be with other tourists." "I wanted to go to the jungle. The shoala. You brought me here. Are you insane?" He moved away, out of reach. "You are going to be yelling at me now, aren’t you?" "No. I am going to forgive your lunacy. But you are going to get me away from here and take me to the jungle. I am going to walk with the shoala beneath my feet. No roads, no drainage ditches, no diesel fuel, no tourists. Only jungle." Without a word he stood and started up a near sheer cliff of loose boulders. I followed up the incline, forcing my wobbly feet one in front of the other, nearly falling, nearly dying, and finally reaching the top of the hill. "There," he said, pointing 30 yards to our left. "There is the shoala."
Indeed it was. Beautiful, gnarled ancient trees clustered with hanging vines and flowers, thick, dark, wet, ominous and beautiful. "Let’s go," I said, already forgiving him the first five hours of the day. "In there?" he asked incredulously. "Of course. That’s why we came." "Oh, no. It is very dangerous. There are wild animals and snakes, and crevasses in the earth." "Let’s go look at them." "They are very deep. If you fall in you will never get out." He hated me. I knew that now. We were walking on a scrub path littered with paper and beer cans, not 50 feet from a rainforest at nearly 9,000 feet, but he was not going in. "Too, it is not allowed." "No one will see us." "Like the golf police?" "That was nothing." "Still, that is how it is." And then, diverting his attention to the path we were on, he fell to his knees. "Look! Some wild animal has passed here recently...yes...follow me quietly. No laughing." And he was off and running, the banshee who hated me. "Yes...an animal. Large...possibly dangerous...." The track he’d seen looked common enough to me but I took his word since I realized I was not thinking clearly any longer. Somewhere along the way I’d stuffed my pockets with sticks and stones which must have seemed important at the time, and I began unloading them. What were they doing in my pockets? I certainly didn’t remember doing it. Perhaps the tourists had made me little presents. Strange. I followed after him... "Yes!" he suddenly said. "An animal. I am sure of it." And then, further on, another 20 paces, we came on it, a mangy dog sleeping in the dirt. "Look! A jungle dog!" he announced. Taking no more, I dashed into the shoala despite his protests. I filled my lungs and ran through the thick underbrush, catching my clothes and hair on vines and branches, then tumbled on a tangle of roots and came to rest at the foot of a small shrine to one of the people who had investigated the crevasses without benefit of a rope. A plaque on the shrine at the yawning mouth of the black hole read: "Dedicated to my father SHEN BAGANADAR May 12, 1955 Body recovered, May 13, 1955 From a depth of 500 feet."
I peered into the hole and wished him well, then praised Shiva that while Shen had bought it I had only window shopped. "You see I am not fooling now," I heard Vijay say from the top of the embankment I’d fallen down. I looked around. It was finally beautiful. Even to be in a rainforest which had been chopped to bits, a piecemeal patchwork of old forest interspersed with eucalyptus, wattle and pine, it was still rainforest, thick with vines and new and old growth and moving underbrush alive with things. My little Rasta was off rolling another joint but I was practically dancing, making my way to one edge of the cliff the forest stood on, looking out onto the only uninhabited piece of India I’d ever seen. Utterly inaccessible cliffs, sheer mounts fronting strange vapor covered valleys, home of the few remaining spotted panthers and mountain goats in all of Southern India. A verdant landscape of living moving things and dancing trees, filled with white-faced macaques and Ghandi monkeys, rooting boars, snakes and a host of birds. What wonder! What splendor! I pictured the entire Palni Hills covered with this sort of vegetation, and imagined what the dry Plains of Madouri must have been like with forests like these draining out into year round streams. How golden and green those plains must have been a generation ago.
Reality began slipping and I found myself picturing giant sponges like these hills dotting all of those places where greed had gotten the upper hand and left desert where there once was forest. I imagined us piling up all the beer cans and papers we throw away and instead of tossing them into holes in the ground to make land fill, piling them into heaps in the middle of deserts until the heaps were 9,000 feet high and 20 miles long by 40 miles wide and then covering the piles of garbage with dirt and planting millions of trees on them and watching our trash turn into sponge, bringing verdant life back to those dry places. Sponging the Sahara! Sponging Death Valley! Sponging the Gobi!
I sat at cliff’s edge and felt the forest around me for as long as sunlight held. It was just a speck of ancient deep green surrounded by a more modern world. Still, it was thick and lush and full of life and mystery. A person could spend days, months even, in that little rainforest and not learn all of its secrets. It was the same in every beautiful spot in the world, I thought. People find something extraordinary. They want to be near it. They build their homes and condos and resorts and hotels until very little of the original is left. It was just our nature to smother things.
When the crevasses became difficult to see, I headed out with my wild-eyed guide who was sure we were going to die in there, back to the scrub brush road and the homestretch. The road back was as asphalt as the one enroute. We stopped at every chi shop we saw for tea as Vijay tried to tack on the hours to increase his pay. I went along with the madman until my bladder began to float, then paid him off and zeroed in on getting back to town, back to my room, back to my own worries about conservation in the Palnis, and back, of course, to the old woman who’d sold me the mushrooms.
submitted by Helpful_Project7472_
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2023.03.28 19:53 almost_homeless UPDATE and wine review from a former beer snob, now wine noob.
I’ve linked my original post. I decided to go with a 2019 Faust Cabernet, paired with an American Wagyu New York strip. Im terrible with taking photos and have none to share with you. Opened and decanted for a bit before the first pour. I got busy with food prep, so close to an hour of decanting before I caught a break. Upon first pour, I know I’m dealing with something different, the color is dark and rich, what hit my nose is only what I can describe as a bouquet of aromas.
What I got on the nose with some time was blackberry and cherry, a bit of leather and wood spice, pencil shavings, a bit of minerality, and a bit of herbaceousness and flowers. Almost no alcohol detected despite the higher abv.
The taste was wonderful, it didn’t blow my mind like I expected, instead, it’s changed my entire approach on what I appreciate and will seek out in the future. The balance and delicateness was what was most surprising to me. I was expecting a giant fruit bomb wrapped in a slightly smoky leather bag. Instead the taste was electric. What i got was a ripe, unsweetened cherry spritzed with a delicate perfume, is the best description I could give. The tannins were so smooth and lingered longer than any wine I’d ever experienced. Delicate was the thought I kept returning to as I drank the wine. What a great experience it was. It paired with my medium rare steak wonderfully. Again, I’m a wine noob, I’ve been trying to develop my palate in this world. Some of my descriptions may be off the wall.
Thanks for all the advice in my last post, a few redditors have been a great help and this sub as a whole has opened my eyes to the world of wine. I’m looking forward to trying all the recommendations from the last post I made.
submitted by almost_homeless
to wine [link] [comments]
2023.03.28 19:31 Jaynes_Gems Would I be able to get feedback please?
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So I’ve just created my fansly account and I’ve been debating on my tiers and here’s what I think I’ve settled on. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated (ie. does this make sense? Do you think the pricing is ok?). submitted by Jaynes_Gems to Fansly_Advice [link] [comments]
I was also going to run a half price sale for the first few weeks while building content.
Thank you in advance!
2023.03.28 17:40 Fuzzy-Monitor-8113 Lie of Vision
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“ The eleventh of February: submitted by Fuzzy-Monitor-8113 to creepypastachannel [link] [comments]
This recording is the property of 'Local Medal Mental Asylum' anyone that isn’t a staff is not allowed to listen to this record. You have been warned.
Patient No. Fifty-nine, Claire Dean. Age: twenty-two. Birth date; unknown. Date she was brought to hospital: The eleventh of February. Following audio will contain the recording of staff, Michael Cox, reading the diary of the patient, aloud.
‘The third of February:
Dear diary… Haha, I love starting like that. Anyways, remember when I told you that I was going to ask Mike out? I DID TODAY, AND HE SAID YES! OH MY GOD I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! WE ARE GOING TO GO ON A DATE AFTER FOUR DAYS! But… What should I wear? I want to look as beautiful as possible, maybe a dress? Of course It’s going to be a dress what am I saying, just which one? Red one? Maybe, the black one my best friend bought me on my birthday. Oh, God, I also have to wear a make-up. Or maybe I don’t… GOD I AM SO EXCITED. He is so handsome and and I just, I am just so happy! I guess I will be spending a lot of time in front of the mirror. GOD, I am excited. Let’s hope that I won’t mess this one up. I will write tomorrow, I am kinda tired and to be honest, too excited to write right now.
The fourth of February:
Hey there! So, I met with my best friend Alice to tell her about Mike yesterday. She also got so excited for me. She is great. I also asked her about what I should wear. She told me to go with the black dress. I have a feeling that she picked that just because it was her present. But, I also think that black looks better on me. It matches with my dark brown hair and light brown eyes. Gotta say, I looked at the mirror for almost TWO WHOLE HOURS TODAY. I am not even exaggerating, I literally spent TWO HOURS, just changing the make-up and clothes again and again. At the end I came into the conclusion that, the black dress is better and I was going to go with just lipstick and some powder. With that out of the way, oh I forgot, I am also going to wear my black heeled shoes. That’s kinda it. I hope nothing bad happens. You know everytime I go on a date, some shit goes wrong and ruins it. I can straight up cry if that happens with this one. Because Mike is a prey that exceeds me and I am not thinking of losing him THIS early. Anyways, that’s pretty much it for today.
The fifth of February:
I don’t know what is happening. Some things have been pretty off since yesterday. I just have to write about it since no one else believes me. Okay, so I woke up, went to the bathroom, everything is normal. When I looked at the mirror, I saw my reflection with black and empty eye sockets with a messed up looking mouth. I know this sounds weird but no one believes me I just don’t know what is happening. I screamed and ran away instinctively. First I tought it was because of my sleepy brain or blurry vision or something like that but no, it wasn’t any of that! I went back after regaining my breath and I saw it again. My reflection was just, it looked really messed up and deformed. Even tough I knew it when I went back for the second time, I still got really really scared. It was my reflection, I am sure, I was doing what I was doing in front of the mirror. Everything was same except for the facial features. I couldn’t believe the idea of that reflection is how my face was looking. Everything felt same, I checked It with my hands, unlike that reflection, my mouth didn’t have skin between my upper and lower lip. My eyelids were still there and I even touched my eyeball to check if it was still there. But no, everything was fine. So what was that creature? Can others see it? What does It want, can It really be me? I am so scared, and confused, it is currently 11:08 I usually write when I am about to sleep, but this is scaring me so much. I just called Alice on face time to show her my reflection. She answered, I showed her and she asked me what was wrong. She said that everything was okay. I still saw it but she couldn’t, even though It was through my phone. I went outside and stopped the first person I saw, ‘Is my face okay?’ The man said that I am beautiful and continued to walk. I stopped a woman and asked her if something looks wrong with my face. She said that there is nothing wrong with it. I went back to home and went in front of the mirror. It was still there. I took a photo of it. Photo was showing the reflection with its messed-up face. I once again, went outside and stopped another stranger. I asked him what he sees in the photo. He said that it is a picture of me. I asked about the eyes and mouth, but he didn’t knew what I was talking about. I sent the photo to Alice and asked her the same thing. She said that I was looking good and nothing was wrong with it. Am I seeing things, I thought to myself. Was I going crazy? Or were they just lying? What if they were decieving me? Okay, I shouldn’t think like that, these doesn’t make any sense. This is not a science-fiction or horror movie, this is real life. I am just, I don't know I'm going to take a doctor appointment for tomorrow hopefully it is something curable, because I don't think I can live like this...
The sixth of February:
Today, I went to the local hospital. I live in a pretty small city, so I was able to get in and see the doctor without much trouble. And no, it wasn't over. I woke up and again, I saw my distorted reflection. I was hoping that it was some sort of a bizarre and absurdly realistic nightmare. But no, no it wasn't. It was all real and it was still happening. I returned from the doctor. But, but he said that everything was fine. I also asked if it was physiologic but he simply said no. No, I wasn't going crazy, it wasn't real either... So what was it, what was it. I'm also going to go to the local asylum now, I lost a lot of money but I just CANNOT LIVE LIKE THIS. I returned. They said that, that... I talked with a physiologist, he said that everything was fine. It was all fine... My mental health was okay, I wasn't seeing things. I asked him if anything is wrong with my face... But no! No no no! He even called me 'beautiful.' I cannot take this. I'm used to being called as 'beautiful' BUT I DON'T NEED ANY SELF-CONFIDENCE NOW! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON I DON'T NEED MY APPEARANCE BEING APPRECIATED RIGHT NOW, I NEED ANSWERS.
The seventh of February:
I cannot take this... Today I went outside. I saw some birds. They were beautiful. I was beautiful. I asked Alice if I was beautiful... She said that I look tired... Then I asked again, she refused. I asked again, again and again. She finally accepted the truth. I was beautiful... I am beautiful... Wait... WHAT!? WHO WROTE THESE!? WHAT THE FUCK!? I DIDN'T WROTE THESE! Or... Did I..? I don't know, I can't remember. Today has been really busy. I went to the cinema with Alice. The... Film... Which film was it..? I don't know I can't really remember, I just know that I went to the cinema with... What was her name? Wait, I will remember give me a second... A-al... Al...ya..? I just... can't remember, my mind had been so messy for the past few days. The reflection thing... Keeps going and I just feel like I am going crazy, I know that the doctor said that I am fine but, I don't feel like it... The physiologist also said that I am fine... So I should be fine... Right..? I am fine... I should be fine, why would they lie? Or were they lying..? Who were they..? Where did I go..? Who was that man that, talked to me..? What did he say..? I remember that some people said that I am... Beautiful... The girl that I went to... Somewhere with, also said that I am beautiful... It should be right! They are right! THEY HAVE TO BE RIGHT! Wait... Who are they..?
The... I can't remember the date... I haven't left the house all day, some people I don't know kept calling me... I didn't answer, they might be scammers, some girl I saved as 'Alice.' I don't know her. Someone I saved as 'Mike' also called. I don't know these people I can't remember them, I don't remember saving them, I don't remember... I looked at the mirror. I remember liking to look at it. I just... Well, I can't remember but, I have a feeling that I like it. I like looking at my... 'Beautiful' face. Why was I looking at the mirror? Where am I? I am in an unfamiliar... Building. There are pictures of some people I don't know. A girl in some of the pictures look kinda like me... Except for her weird looking- light brown eyes. My black eyes and her abnormally skinless mouth were the only exceptions. She didn't had skin between her lips, which doesn't make her look like me THAT much... Except for those, she looks like me from any and every other perspective... She looks like me... Who is she..? Whose photos am I looking at? I really need some answers. What I know and can remember is... I am beautiful... That's what they called me before. So, that's what I should be, right? I am beautiful... Who were they..?
Who am I? What am I doing? What is this notebook? What are these weird-looking drawings? What do they mean? And how can I know them? Where do I know them? WHY CAN'T I STOP? WHY CAN'T I STOP DRAWING THESE WEIRD SYMBOLS?! WHAT AM I HOLDING!? WHAT AM I DOING AND WHY CAN'T I STOP?!
End of the diary. So uhhhh, I guess I gotta read the report. Or whatever the hell this is, I am tired.
clears his throat Ehm.
Police report: People have reported to police that a possibly mentally-unstable girl have been roaming around and telling random people that she is beautiful. Due to her messy and dirty look, people thought that she was homeless. After getting detention because of harrasment, and finally being arrested because of her unstable behavior, she was transported to the 'Local Medal Mental Asylum.' She is currently in monitoring. Her main doctor will be 'Doctor Alan Anderson.' She seems like she doesn't say anything except for the sentence 'I am beautiful.' She had been acting calm and passive. She walks around his ce-... R-room... and repeats the sentence. This recording will be paused, but also, will be updated about patient's progress in the future.
The third of March:
It had been twenty days since we paused the last recording about patient No. Fifty-nine. Patient's healing process (mentally) hadn't been progressed or regressed. But her physical state has been really weird and probably going worse. Patient had developed void-like empty eye sockets that doctors failed to explain. She also developed some skin between her upper and lower lips.
The fifth of March:
Patient No. Fifty-nine had been executed (murdered) due to unknown symptoms and laziness of the doctors. They failed to understand any of the reasons. They didn't knew what they were facing with and it was far too complicated for a small and low-budget asylum to deal with. Doctors got absurdly scared and none of them wanted to try to cure her or even understand what was wrong. Patient no. Fifty-nine was executed with a needle on the fourth of March. Her death was depicted as suicide. Her file got closed. Asylum never talked about it, ever again...
End of the tape."