No, it is not a the latest latte from Starbucks. Although it does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it? I'll have a grande lab-o-lahjah with whip cream on top please. Where was I now? Oh right, lab-o-lahjah. It means "style of speaking, tone" in Urdu. From the various writings I have done for workshops, challenges, and posts here, I have noticed that my lab-o-lahjah is sometimes not clear to my reader. I often want my audience to see the story from a certain point of view or only know certain things. Sometimes because it is controversial and I just don't want to get into it. Other times because it is just too painful to put into words, but a part of me needs to share it so I share what little I can and hope that you all will be patient until I am able to share the rest.
The other day I signed up for the Indie Ink weekly writing challenge. This week was my first time participating and I was very nervous. There are some amazingly talented writers over there and I am hoping some of their awesomeness rubs off on me. For my submission, I wrote about a very painful moment in my life and while everyone understood and felt the pain of that moment. No one was able to understand why the pain existed. So I thought I would share the reason for that pain and maybe it would give my readers a bit of insight into why my lab-o-lahjah is the way it is. I apologize in advance because this post will be extremely Lengthy, but this is L so I guess that is ok.
I have mentioned before that I have bipolar. It is not something I talk about a lot but occasionally I do speak about it. I first heard the word in 2003. However, I had originally been diagnosed as "manic depressive" when I was 13. Although, nowadays they use the term "bipolar" as a way of removing some of the stigma associated with manic depression. By the time 2003 rolled around, I was in my mid-20's, a single mother of two, and caring for an ill grandmother. My (now ex) husband and I weren't divorced yet, but he had been in and out of mine and my children's lives from the time of their birth in 1995 and 1996 until then. Then in 2003 my grandmother passed away and I took it very hard. I had a nervous breakdown towards the end of the year and really should have been hospitalized, but I somehow talked my way out of it and into outpatient therapy instead. This was a very bad idea. I was in the beginning stages of a manic episode which slowly grew over time.
I moved to another state far away from my home, friends, and family. I worked two jobs and did the best I could, but I was stressed and in a very bad state of mind. For almost a year I somehow managed to hold myself together. Then in late 2004, early 2005, I began to lose my grip.
I started having delusions. Visual and auditory hallucinations. I started being unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and was starting to be unable to care properly for my children. I was yelling at them constantly. Yelling is too polite a word. I assaulted them with words. They walked on egg shells trying to not upset me. They were good kids to begin with. Amazingly intelligent, polite, and not the typical selfish bratty kids that I have had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting. We didn't have much. No TV. We slept on the floor. No movies or new toys except on birthdays. Their one and only real treat was on Mondays, my off day. I would take them to McDonald's for a McFlurry. It wasn't much but they always looked forward to Mondays.
Then in April of 2005, I didn't pick them up from school. I simply "forgot". How do you forget? Well I don't know, but I did. When I showed up two hours late, they were sitting terrified and worried in the principal's office, and I gave some lame excuse about being ill and taking meds that made me sleep so I hadn't heard the alarm. The principal knew I worked third shift and slept during the day while the kids were at school and because they were good kids and had the appearance of being well taken care of, she didn't report me to CPS (child protective services). Which was standard procedure btw. Instead she gave a single mother who worked two jobs a second chance. Which I blew 12 days later when I repeated the incident. Again I made feeble excuses and she made it very clear there would be no third chance. Next time she would call CPS.
With the threat of my children being put into foster care sitting over my head and the ever increasing delusions and hallucinations I was experiencing, I phoned their father and told him that I was bringing them to him the following day. That he would have to take them for a little while because he was their father and it was just as much his responsibility as mine to care for them. Up until that point, I had never really forced him to take care of his responsibilities. He paid child support when and if he pleased. In the amount he felt he could "afford" regardless if it was actually enough to meet their needs, but that is another post altogether.
He reluctantly agreed and I drove the 22 hrs back to my homestate where he still lived and in the motel parking lot. I said good bye. A part of me knew it was going to be the last time I ever saw them. I don't know why I felt that, but I did. That was 2005. Since then I have spoken to them briefly a handful of times, but that is about it. After I dropped them off, I lost my hold on reality and fell off the map for quite a long time. Once I started to make my way back, I realized what exactly I had lost and fell off again. I have fought long and hard to regain my hold back on reality. It is a struggle that I face everyday. I live with the fact that most likely I will never see my children again. I miss them deeply.
I don't regret sending them to live with their father. I was and am in no shape to truly care for them properly and as they deserve. Whatever wrong he did to me, he has at least given them the home that I couldn't, and that makes up for anything he has ever done against me. I do however love them and miss them very much, and I don't know if I will ever see them again. The only way I am not consumed by the pain that lives in the pit of my stomach is by writing.
I write my pain away. Writing has become my means of survival. This is why my lab-o-lahjah is often consumed with pain and why sometimes I am unable to make the picture clear.