The Son of the Cockroach Lady

February 1, 2012

Caterpillar stairway leads me to the basement so I can hide from the monsters called reality. Comfort in the dark corner with worn warped plywood Grandpop set up as my office years ago complete with a make shift desk to draw on and read comic books. 1002 Niagara Rd. The invisible dog Grandpop warned me about never came to me. Was he teasing or crazy? I’ll never know. I liked it there hiding from hippies of my dreams that were going to hurt me somehow. My dreams, visions and creativity flourished, as an 8-year-old’s should.

It was much less scary than the House on Haunted Hill, The House by the Cemetery, The House by the park, The Last House on the Left, The Last House on a Dead End Street, The House that Jack Built and my former house on Monitor rd where I lived with my paranoid schizophrenic mother. The House of Cockroaches. The neighbors called her cockroach lady. I was the Son of the Cockroach Lady.

It was (is) a small part of Camden NJ. A village they called it. Fairview Village. Nice enough to my childhood nightmarish recollections. It was a big wonderland filled with talking gray trees, shimmering golden green grass, and dirty shirtless white kids that called my name and eventually called me names.

Daddy gone, mommy in crazy hospital, I moved on Niagara Rd with Grandmom and Grandpop. I got fat and didn’t like school. Too many children. Too many rules. Too many teachers. I made fun of myself after being made fun of for being fat. I wore pants that were labeled Husky. Kids called me Husky. I went to the basement or sat in front of the TV and I would draw and draw and draw.

The neighborhood worsened as I got older. I got worse as the neighborhood got older. I escaped when I was 11-years-old.

Now I am back. I feel more afraid than I did as child. I took a walk yesterday to see the 2 houses I lived in and they were different, smaller, odd. The entire neighborhood shrunk in size, grew in population and crime. I was almost the scared scarred little white boy being stared at and made fun of once again. I wore levis instead of Huskys.

Monitor Road House -in the middle


Not About Me?

August 10, 2011

I seem to write about the same thing when it comes to personal stuff. It’s either about my conditions, my personal life and me and me and me. That’s what I know about most. I feel the most. If you haven’t noticed or read anything I’ve written before you know that am extremely self-absorbed. Most of the time I don’t mind. I even like it. Sometimes I wonder if I could be different.

 

I stopped going to 12-step meetings 6 months or so ago. The one thing I forgot about was the contributions I should be making to others. Doing things for others. Then again did I ever help or do anything for anyone without seeking the rewards. Even if it was to avoid the feeling of guilt I rarely do things for people without secretly wanting something in return.

 

I found that the greatest feeling in the world is to give to someone freely with no expectations yet it has always been the last thing I think about doing. Interesting.

 

I’ve never considered myself a selfish person. I am very giving if I am asked. I don’t always think to offer. I know I’m not the most important person in the world and “it’s not about me” as I’ve been told over and over through my 19-year stint in the 12-step program. I’ll help you out if you ask most of the time.

 

Today was a test, learning experience and some fun rolled in there. I woke up late not feeling well mentally and physically. My face hurt. I was stressed over the usual things. I felt depressed. At one point I was ready to cry. Meanwhile I had a commitment to meet a friend of almost 20 years. Her and her husband and friend moved years ago to Texas and I see her once a year or every other year when she is in New Jersey to see her family. This was to be the first year her daughters came to meet “Uncle Fishbone” as they’ve heard me referred to for their 11 and 12 years. Fishbone is an old nickname that I only hear from my friend.

 

As the time for our meeting approached I felt more anxious and my face pain kept coming and going. I debated back and forth whether I was going to be able to make it or not. I was feeling depressed and agoraphobic. I took a shower and got ready to go to see if I would feel better. I felt worse. I waited to the last minute and finally gave up. I texted my friend and cancelled. She understood and was disappointed. I was disappointed also. I ran out of cigarettes and had to run to the store. As I was leaving the store I felt better. I had to see my friend. I changed my mind. I was feeling a little better. I texted my friend and asked if it was cool if I changed my mind. No response. I drove home and she called just as I pulled up to my house. She was still going to the diner and I was going to go. I went.

 

It was a fun time hanging out with an old friend and 2 pre-teens. Her daughters were a trip. They were funny and intelligent and I had a great time. My friend told me I seem like the same old Fishbone to her. For better or worse I took it as a compliment. I felt great and a great 2 hours. We even talked about how everyone thinks about themselves more than anyone else. Not just kids.

 

I came home and crashed hard. Between the anxiety and face pain earlier in the day and the excitement of socializing I fell asleep hard and fast. I woke up later in the night and stayed up all night. I woke up the next day feeling pretty good and productive.

 

I wish I could remember that it’s not all about me. For now, I’m going to keep writing about me.


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