I won’t blame the world,
because every time it hurt;
when I went through the worst
I came out better.
I won’t blame the world,
because every time it hurt;
when I went through the worst
I came out better.
Buried at the bottom of a box in the back of my garage: I found it. It was tangled in a mass of other long forgotten jewelry, floating around at the bottom of a jewelry box I received as a gift for my 16th birthday.
The chain that came with the charm my ex’s mom gifted me so many years ago. With it came a flood of memories that I had repressed immediately following the end of our relationship.
I was getting ready one evening to go out with my ex while he was home from BMT over Christmas break. We were going to the mall and he was treating me to a shopping spree. I donned my favorite blue sweater, pulled my hair back and tried to fasten the necklace his mom had given me a few nights before. It wouldn’t cooperate so I asked him for help. He wandered into the bathroom and I pulled my hair off of my neck while he gently pulled the delicate chain around my neck and also fought with the clasp. It stayed fastened long enough for me to grab my coat but as we were headed out the door the necklace fell from my neck and into my jacket.
I scolded him for his carelessness to which he argued until I glanced down and noticed the clasp itself had broken. It wasn’t his fault at all. I was upset. The necklace itself wasn’t something that I would wear all that often, not being my particular style nor taste at that point in my life, but it was still special for the fact that it had been a thoughtful gift. That, and I would be expected to wear it at any and all further occasions with his mother. I needed it to be repaired, which my ex would assure me that he would/could get it repaired.
We actually ended up taking it to the small jewelry shop his mom worked at to have it repaired. The only time I actually set foot in the store honestly. We dropped it off and a few days later he returned it to me good as new.
When I found it tarnished and tangled, the repair is the only thing that stood out to me making it distinguishable from the other chains it was clumped with. I pulled it out of the blob, cleaned it up and added my own personal touch which I felt completed it’s journey.
When I was given the chain it came with a charm baring the wish for happiness in my life. Since I was still heavily meshed in my trauma immediately following the end of the relationship, I missed the significance of the charm itself and gave it away. I’m pretty sure the only reason I ended up keeping the chain is because it was broken… but anyway!! I have this chain, and over the passage of time I’ve discovered something else about myself. I’ve found my happiness, my (sort of decentish) health, and my peace. The other thing I’ve discovered about myself is written on the charm I’ve added here which I think really belongs on this chain all things considered.
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Before she wrote her memoir Candy Apple Butterscotch, Rebecca MacCeile had a library full of dusty notebooks with long forgotten fictional tales. Each one of these short stories encompasses a different world, and different ideas. Most of them are light hearted, some of them are fantastical, and still some of them have echos of her own struggles as she used her creativity to cope with her undiagnosed PTSD.
Take a peek into her raw private texts with Novelties: A Collection of Unfinished Short Stories, meet some of her most endearing characters and get a glimpse into the world of an author seeking to find the “one” story deemed good enough for the masses.
Kindle and paperback editions available NOW on Amazon! Audiobook coming soon!
Copyright R. MacCeile 2018
An overview of the cycle of abuse I’m currently stuck in, although slowly pulling myself out of.
My abuser’s usual tactics in Late December-January: “I can’t live without him. Our relationship is worth fighting for. I’m going back to him, and we’re going to make this work. BECAUSE HE’S MINE AND YOU CAN’T HAVE HIM BACK.”
February: “HE IS THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD WE ARE SO HAPPY AND YOU ARE JEALOUS. I am bragging about how amazing he is to me so it will hurt you. I win, you lose.”
Late April-May: “You are a delusional mess and I pity you. Your life and relationship with him never happened. Gaslighting, victim blaming etc etc.”
July: “My life is a lie, and I deserve better than this. He doesn’t love me. He loves you. He’s keeping secrets from me! He won’t talk to me about you! He’s “cheating” on me!Nothing is okay! Panic!”
August: “I’m sorry, let’s be “friends” so you can tell me what he’s keeping from me and I can learn more about your relationship to manipulate him into doing whatever it is that I want him to do for me that he doesn’t want to.”
November-Mid December: “YOU ARE STILL IN LOVE BECAUSE NEITHER OF YOU WILL PLAY MY GAME. I’m done with this. I’m leaving him and winding him up emotionally so he lashes out at you because IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.”
And the vandalism usually happens somewhere in April-May, and September-October depending on the opportunity or means and how many times my abuser fucks with her primary victim’s fragile emotional equilibrium.
Wash, rinse; repeat. Every year for the past 11ish years.
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I sat down and wrote the first draft of this post a few days ago as I was trying to process what exactly was going on in my head. In the process of finishing it and hitting the publish button I had my eureka moment so I decided to revise and revisit it later.
This past holiday season has been a rough one for me. As dates and memories passed by I became frustrated and generally in a sour mood all around. For some reason my ex’s mom had been on my mind a lot in the midst of my emotional frustration and at first I couldn’t understand why. That only added to my frustration.
I never developed a relationship with my ex’s family. We were pleasant and polite, but being only one of the revolving door of women in and out of their son’s life no one took the time to get to know me, and I didn’t make much effort to know them either. Yet even still, there are several poignant memories I have with each of them. Most of which occurred during the two holiday seasons we spent together, which is really the only time I ever interacted with his mom.
In total, I believe I only spoke to/interacted with his mom maybe ten times in the entire two and a half years we were together. I can’t recall ever having a conversation that lasted longer than a few minutes, and the majority of the conversations we did have she was fairly critical of just about everything to do with me. My appearance, my job, my lack of social skills… you name it, there was something to be critiqued and “fixed” to meet her standards. She never came across as warm, maternal or caring in the slightest. BUT she was extremely observant and knew just what to say in minimal words to leave the biggest impact. My ex inherited this skill among his other more endearing personality traits from her.
When she gave me small trinkets as gifts for various occasions each one had a specific meaning behind it. I won’t call them sentimental because we never formed a relationship worthy of sentiment, but there was motive and purpose behind each. This woman who never really knew me still took extraordinary care to choose something for me during the holiday season. Or at least made it appear that way, even if she just grabbed something from the sale bin at the small gift shop she worked at.
Why did that hit me harder this year than any year before? Well it’s a culmination of several things really that have been building over the past few years with my current step mother in law. I’ve been with my husband for almost eleven years now. We have children together, our marriage has survived things that many other modern marriages would not, and I love him more and more each day. I’m not going anywhere. Still… to this day she has no idea what a decent sentimental gift for myself would be. And I’m not talking about her generosity at all. My in laws as a whole are all very generous when it comes to gifting things. The gifts we receive as a family unit are exactly what we need. It’s just that she asks me every year what I, personally, would like. One year I gave specific answers, which I didn’t receive. The next year I gave general ideas which were also ignored. Last year I stopped answering all together and got soap. Like… come on. I’ve been part of the family for over a decade and you still can’t figure out what would make a meaningful gift?
Yet my ex’s mom, who had no relationship with me what so ever, saw me for a total of less than 48hrs in two and a half entire years could figure me out enough to gift me things that held value for me? It stung. It stung a freakin lot this year in particular. The third year I’ve had to argue with my mother in law about my “gifts” for the holiday season only to get a giant lecture about how “family” shouldn’t be about gifts. Well no kidding!
It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if I arrived for the gift opening during the holidays and received whatever she intended to give me. I don’t need sentimental trinkets, high end appliances, or anything truly expensive. I do have brands which I prefer over others, but if money is an issue there are always gift cards. Don’t want to spend $160 on a pair of boots for me? Don’t have to. Gift Cards come in any amount. I get what I want, you can contribute what you’re able. Problem solved. I will appreciate the amount no matter how small or large.
What makes me irritated is to be asked five different times what I would like only to be ignored and given whatever the hell she wants to give me regardless. If you have a gift in mind? Give the damn thing, and I will happily accept it. If you ask me what I specifically want, yet don’t get it? Don’t be surprised if I’m disappointed and irritated when I don’t receive it.
The real kicker this year is that what I truly wanted more than anything else was time. I asked her to watch the kids so I could have a few decent nights out with my husband, or work on projects around the house that I can’t do with the children under foot. That’s what I really wanted. I got told “no” immediately upon asking for that, so I went a different direction and got denied that one too; then to top it all off I got given the one specific thing that I said NOT to give me because I don’t freakin need it! Icing on the irritation cake right there.
The entire fiasco made me miss my ex’s mom and her gifting abilities, which is why she’s been on my mind so much this holiday season. I’m not kidding myself into thinking that she cared about me beyond social obligation, but she sure could fake it in all the right ways. It makes the fact that the family I’ve been a part of for ages can’t seem to figure me out sting just that much more. How am I supposed to be able to judge how people care for me when the ones that don’t leave behind lasting memories and the ones that do give me soap?
I am a sentimental sap, okay? You could give me a damn rock with a story about how it meant something special and I would keep it forever. I wrote a whole book about tiny moments between myself and others that hardly anyone else remembers because they mattered to me. I have an entire chest full of trinkets worthless to anyone else that have been given to me over the years. I don’t want random stuff. I want people to listen to me when I ask for things and not dismiss it with a lecture about being thankful for what I’m given. If that’s the stipulation for receiving a gift from the family then I’d rather have nothing at all.
My faith in the human race wavered today for a moment. On a social media news-site a thread dedicated to a grieving mom was desecrated by the most judgemental adults I have ever in all my days had the misfortune to encounter. I got as far as ten comments into the thousands before I slammed the top down on my laptop and cried. I wanted to say something but my words would be lost in a mountain of cruelty.
I don’t cry. I work around death daily, around pain and around the misfortunes of life and have learned not to cry.
I pulled myself together in the hope that my words will strike home today.
She choked on her words today. A mom grieving her nine year old boy. I sat and watched her as well I could with tears pooling in my lower lids. She spoke of how she…
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I’ve seen an interesting debate making its rounds online in the wake of yet another rash of celebrity suicides. While I didn’t know much of Kate Spade aside from her name, Anthony Bourdain was another significant influence on my life much like Chester Bennington.
I can relate much to Mr. Bourdain pretty much growing up in restaurant culture. While my stay at a formal restaurant has been relatively brief compared to my tenure in fast food, many of the dynamics are the same. It takes a certain type of person to work in food for more than a limited season of their life. Those people, are my people.
Yesterday we, the kids, Hubs and I, left the house for a few hours. While we were gone there was a power surge that triggered the broken switch in Little’s ceiling fan. When we left the house: fan was off. When we came back: fan was on.
Hubs and I thought it was odd so we checked the security system and camera footage. Nothing. Then I got a text from my mother in law explaining they were without power on their side of town. That’s when we figured out the power surge and such. Hubs and I relaxed, but Little was bouncing around at a million miles an hour terrified that the Bad Man has found our house and snuck in again.
TWO HOURS Little would come up to me and ask me if I was certain no one broke into our home every five minutes. I showed her the security system, I explained how it works, I showed her the camera footage from the entire time we were away from the house, and nothing in her mind would calm the fact that the Bad Man had found us and come into our home again.
It’s been nearly two years since my ex made his appearance as the Bad Man in our apartment, and while I’m thankful that Little has finally overcome her nightmares surrounding the event it still boils my blood that the Bad Man made such a negative impression upon my daughter.
The holidays have frustrated me this year…
Let me start out by saying that Hubs works an average of 50+ hours a week on top of his hour commute to and from each day. In addition to working those hours he’s enrolled in classes with me.
I work anywhere from 20-30+ hours outside the home (my schedule varies due to business demands), plus an additional 20+ hours at home taking care of my marketing and author related adventures. On top of school, house work, and making sure the children stay alive and have at least an hour of one on one time with me per day.
Our schedule works because I have it down to a science. I can keep things fairly well balanced with a decent amount of flexibility but it’s not as fluid as things used to be before Little started school and I started working.
This year I’ve organized time for Christmas celebrations ON CHRISTMAS DAY. It’s important that we spend the morning opening gifts at home with the kids, after that up until 3PM the next day the K. Hale Family is available to visit/celebrate all the Christmas things. Considering I’m putting two different online class schedules, three work schedules and one elementary school schedule into account it’s honestly a miracle that I have Christmas Day set aside at all.
Trying to coordinate with my family and in-laws this year has become pretty much impossible. Not because their own Christmas Day holiday traditions aren’t important, but because everyone wants to do their own thing on the actual Christmas Day our branch of the tree is left out of everything else this year. Hubs won’t really come out and say it, but I can tell that it bothers him as his family makes plans we can’t be a part of and doesn’t really give a second thought or try to work with our schedules.
Of course they’re also trying to juggle their own work, school and other activities. It’s not like they’re just picking days when we can’t make it to spite us or something. There just isn’t much discussion about it from our end. It’s “we’re doing this this day because of blah blah blah reason come to it” from his family and even with the most valid reasons it’s disappointing to say: “we can’t for our own blah blah blah reasons” Instead of trying to come to a compromise it always seems to be “oh well. Next time” as they go off and participate in fun traditions and activities without us.
It’s just not working at all this year for anything, and it’s driving me batty. Christmas is damn near here already and the only festive thing we’ve managed to do is put up our indoor decor and watch The Grinch with Hubs’ mom.
I will have my annual cookie baking party after work on Christmas Eve. I’m looking forward to that. Maybe then it will feel more like the season and I won’t be such a grump. 🎄 🎄 🎄