You Don’t Know a Thing About Me


In a little over a week, I will be back in court. Even though I know that the city was lying in court back in July about the grass, I am still very, very nervous. Since, according to one of my cousins, Municipal Courts are basically set up to be revenue sources for the city, it is unlikely that I will be found not guilty. So, I will be told that I have to pay between $200 and $500, plus court costs, and I could go to jail for “not more than 30 days” for the violations.

I don’t have that money. I will not have that money anytime in the near future, but it will still be expected of me. And when I tell the judge that I’m on a fixed income, he’ll suggest two months. If I tell him that two months won’t do a damn bit of good (in a nicer tone, of course), he will say that that doesn’t really matter. I guess once you’ve been a lawyer long enough to be a judge that you don’t really understand the idea of having less than $500 a month in income coming in.

And while I’m dealing with all of this court crap, I’m also dealing with all the stupid family drama. My mom and I got into a really big argument the other night. She threatened to call DHR on me, which I told her that she could go ahead and do. She started saying how they would move her out and suggesting I would go to jail.

I love how my mom’s memory is so great that she remembers that DHR said that she could be moved out of the house if conditions weren’t good enough for her care, but she didn’t remember that the social worker told her in the same breath that I could also be removed from this house if conditions were not good enough for my care. Of course, my mom’s always been good with the revisionist memory when it could suit her.

My mom and I got into the massive argument, which had basically been brewing for weeks now, because she wanted me to take garbage out. She was demanding that it out right that moment. It was about one o’clock in the morning. I don’t live in a really bad part of town, but I didn’t want to go outside by myself in the middle of the night. I told her that I would do it later, which wasn’t good enough for her. So, I took it out. She and started bitching back and forth at one another, which led to me telling her that I some point she needs to learn to get up off her couch and start getting her water and her food for herself from time to time. This fight occurred after two straight nights of being awakened twice to bring her water and food and being ordered to get my father up because she couldn’t walk five more feet from the bathroom to the door to the bedroom. (She can walk to the bathroom most of the time, and that day was no exception to that ability.)

During the fight, she went from claiming that she had fallen the night before to basically admitting that she’d just stumbled. (Bouts of stumbling are regularly classified as falls from her.) I tried to get her to understand that she isn’t the only person prone to falling, and that when I fall, I generally hit the ground. She was then trying to explain how she just can’t walk and she just can’t go back to physical therapy and she just can’t get the doctors to understand that she has problems with things like her memory or her ability to get around. I have a feeling that if they aren’t understanding that she “can’t” do these things or that she’s having trouble with things that it is probably because she is not telling them things properly. She is probably telling them something that she thinks that they expect her to say. She does this on the phone with people and I’ve seen her sit back and let doctors think that nothing is wrong with her. Regardless of what she says, I think she does enjoy having things done for her. And I don’t mind doing things for her if she absolutely cannot do them, but I have a feeling that she can do more than she lets on. I also have a feeling that she doesn’t completely grasp just how difficult she has been, as of late.

I know that she thinks that I whine too much or that I’m lazy. I know that both of my parents think that. I know that friends that I know both online and offline think that, too. And I guess that maybe I am lazy. Maybe two years of being on what seems like an endless shift of care-taking (i.e. fetching things for my mom, sleeping in the living room so that if she needs me I will hear her, sacrificing sleep so that I can make sure that I do actually hear her if she needs me, standing around fixing food and water in the way that she likes, hearing how I’m doing something wrong, hearing how I don’t get things to her quickly enough, and taking care of almost anything she asks me to do, and some things that she doesn’t) has worn me out. Half the time, I feel so damn exhausted that I think that if I died it might actually be a good thing. I have given up on ever having a life. I have done a lot of that for my mom. I could still be hanging out with my church “friends” and doing things that they liked doing (not that I really enjoyed them that much) but every time I try to get away, it seems like I get to go through a guilt trip. Hell, I get guilt trips even when I’m here all the time. I am tired. I am really tired. And I was so tired the other night that I told my mother, among other things, that maybe she should move in with my aunt—her sister, aka the one who won’t talk to me. (This is also the aunt that my mother has recently begun waxing poetically about how perfect she is and how wonderful she is, even though the total contact that her sister has truly initiated in the last 2 years was a Get Well Soon card.)

I guess I have to accept that this is my life. Misery is apparently my destiny, so I guess I should just get accustomed to it. And in case you’re wondering what the fight with mom and the court stuff have to do with one another: I am often reminded that this house, though it is in my name legally and though I can be fined and imprisoned for things related to it, doesn’t belong to me. I am a guest here. And sometimes I really feel like I am definitely unwanted.

I could probably bring it up in therapy, and the therapist would probably suggest I move into low-income housing. This would lead to another fight, my self-esteem tumbling even more, and absolutely no good coming out of it. I can’t go back to school. Even if I could focus, there is no way that I could ever pay for it. So, I’ve got to figure out how to get out of this damn house and out of all of this unhealthy shit before I go off the deep end.

Original Article


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.