End Of. 

After five hours in meditation this afternoon, my mother and I finally reached an “agreement” and settled out of court. I get Jake one weekend every month (that I get to choose), every holiday (like, every single one— Labor Day, President’s Day, fucking Columbus Day— he will be with me), every spring break, every summer vacation (for the entire duration of the summer), every single birthday (mine, his, his mom’s, every. birthday. ever.) and we split travel fees 50/50. A bunch of other stipulations apply too, like Jake is not allowed to move homes or change schools unnecessarily, my mom is no longer allowed to drink when he’s with her, no strange guys around Jake (meaning no more booty calls for my mother— bummer!), Jake has to have his own room within the next 30 days, etc. It’s not a win, it’s not a lose, it just is what it is. 

After a year and a half and almost nine thousand dollars later, this is what it has come to. Make of it what you will. I’m not stoked but at the very least, I get to see him for more than 30 days a year. That’s a victory in it’s own right, though it really shouldn’t be…

§Rainbows & Skeletons§

  

“This is what your story’s about. My precious little boy, can you figure it out? If it helps to know so there is no doubt, just listen to the stories. Not everything is glorious. Some hurt. Some love. Some shout. I fought the world and I lost that bout— but you are what my life is about. I might’ve been gone but I never walked out” — Blue October, The Worry List 

Mediation In T-Minus Five Hours

Mediation is today and I’m a nervous fucking wreck. I haven’t slept in almost three days straight, every time I lay down and get even mildly close to drifting off, I get sick to my stomach and end up throwing up. I was up all last night doing anything and everything I could to keep my mind off this bullshit, and now I’m home trying to do more of the same except now I’m too tired to really even move. At the very least, I should probably try to sleep again and get a few hours of rest in if I can manage before I have to go put on my clown shoes and get back to the circus, but I have serious doubts that peace and quiet are things that will come to me anytime soon. 

In summary, blah blah blah, life is hard, no one ever said suing your family would be easy, pity me, love me, send me your good vibes as always. Will let you know how things turn out— let’s see what fresh new hell will be unearthed today…

§Rainbows & Skeletons§

[Pt 2]  What I’ve Learned From Court Is… 

After fighting a bitter custody battle for my younger brother for a little over year now, these are the things I know to hold true about what it takes to bring a case to court…


-Literally no one cares. Yeah, you’re in the right (as far as you can see), you’re the victim, blah blah blah. And it doesn’t matter. People don’t want to hear about it, they most definitely don’t want to be involved while it’s going on, and even afterwards they’re not interested in the end result. People don’t want to know about your problems. 

-Things will stick in your craw. No matter how thick-skinned you are, some of the things people say will haunt you, whether it’s another lie or god-forbid the truth for once, you will find yourself six months, six years, six decades down the line wondering how someone could have the audacity to say some of the shit that gets said, and in open court to boot. 

-People will rake you over the coals, pretend nothing ever happened, ask you to make concessions for them, turn around and stab you in the back with whatever answer you give, whether you cave in or say no, then they’ll call you evil for being upset about it. 

-In a custody case, when your child/family member(s) is/are taken from you, you grieve that loss, and just as you grieve, so does everyone around you. You all feel sadness, anger, desperation, etc all in different ways and at different times. One of the most important things I’ve learned in all this is that my brother isn’t just my brother, he is also a son, a grandson, a nephew, etc and all these people— aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, etc will and deserve to have their own emotions and their own grief, their own voice, and a way of sharing all of this in a way that they feel heard. Their suffering is just as valid as your own; don’t get mad at people for their desperation, their frustration, their hopelessness. Which brings me to my next point…

-Don’t get mad when people voice these emotions, either in confidence or in open court. Example: before what was supposed to be our final court date (which has now been pushed back to June) my oldest brother sent a message to my mother’s family being somewhat snippy, basically just looking for a reaction, and at the time I kind of flew off the handle about it because from a legal standpoint, I know better than to go spouting off to another party and stirring up trouble where there is none (that’s more of my mom’s deal anyhow). However, we are not law books and we do not live our lives in a courtroom— my brother is allowed to talk to his mother, to comment on all the crazy shit that has gone down, to be angry and to express himself, and to place blame. He is a human being with human emotions, and though it does not help our case out in front of a judge, it does not help him personally to keep everything bottled up and suffering in silence. A lot of people want to treat this as game, and in a way, you almost have to if it means getting what you want and need— but bear in mind that people are not pawns to be played.
 

§Rainbows & Skeletons§

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures..?

Tonight my mother yanked the phone out of my brother’s hand while I was talking to him and forced him out of the room he was in, then got on the line and asked me if I’d give her custody and drop my petition to the court, only to tell me I was “evil” when I said no, which hey— maybe I am at this point. I want what I want, I know what’s best, and making concessions wouldn’t do myself or my family (which does not include her) any favors, so fuck it— no, you can’t have custody!!! Now put my baby brother back on the phone and stop interrupting our conversations!!

Is this a sign of desperation or what?!

§Rainbows & Skeletons§

Mediation 

Drove back to Austin (was in Houston all week with the Fab One to see their neurosurgeon— more on that later) to see my lawyer for what was supposed to be our final meeting before court on Monday only to be told that our court date was cancelled and that the judge has kicked us to mediation. Another delay, another lump sum of money to pay to the lawyer and now a mediator (and I guess I’m footing the bill for all parties involved— don’t know how or why that came to be) just to have the same argument that we’ve already had time and time again over the past year and a half. Nothing to be gained or accomplished, just more busy-work from the judge to avoid having the deal with us— and another couple months I get to spend at the circus. Happy weekend to me!! 

§Rainbows & Skeletons§

“What is there to mediate besides my foot up someone’s ass??” – not a good question to ask your lawyer  

If You’re Wondering What It’s Like to Sell Your Soul…

 I know this is only a legal strategy and a minor aspect of a much larger game of cat-and-mouse, but it’s things like this that just floor me. Between two parties, this exact petition has been filed four times, each time turning the previous filer into a counter-respondent as opposed to a counter-petitioner and so on and so forth, counter-petitioner to counter-respondent, counter-respondent to counter-petitioner, blah blah blah, offensive to defensive and then back again. Keep in mind that it is not free to file documents with the court. We are going back and forth on a motion, paying X amount of dollars each time just to not be the underdog, and why? Where does it get us? We’ve already joined the circus and now we’re giving our lawyers a sideshow to boot while they set up the big top— and yet here I sit in my attorney’s office, clown shoes and all, nowhere near ready to put a stop to it. Incredible.

§Rainbows & Skeletons§

Bleed Out

“You don’t get the point, and you don’t get control, and we both have a chance if you just let go”

 
How is it fair that I’ve payed literally $6,600 to a lawyer and still owe another $500 to them by the end of the month, to do nothing other than give me a chance to see a child that I have all but raised and have been and still continue to be the sole provider for?! How is it fair that since January of last year I have seen said child for 34 days?! 34 out of 485 days I have gotten to see him!!! How is it that an abusive alcoholic who has a different address every three goddamn months, who hasn’t worked a day in their lives, who keeps trying to force myself and the rest of his family out of his life, is allowed to have him?!! Tell me how this is justice!! Tell me why the courts have and are still allowing this to continue! Tell me why I am not allowed to be a part of my brother’s life when I was a better parent to him that his real mother ever could be!! And tell me why the person who has the ability to make this all stop refuses to let go and give anyone else a chance until there is a court order to do so?! Please tell me because I am all out of answers! And money and patience and self-control and sanity…

§Rainbows & Skeletons§

What I’ve Learned From Court Is…

After fighting a bitter custody battle for my younger brother for a little over year now, these are the things I know to hold true about what it takes to bring a case to court…

  • Buy plenty of lube. No matter what happens, nothing good will ever come out of going to court. Even if it’s good news, it’s still bad and even if it’s the right ruling, it still really doesn’t fix much. Always have your anal cavity open and ready to be thrashed for hours on end repeatedly by both lawyer and judge. 
  • Lying is just a thing people do. My mother lied so much in court, I was fully prepared for the day she’d get on the stand and tell everyone myself and my family were full blown ISIS members and that my brother was secretly Jihadi Jon or some other inane bullshit like that. There is no logic or reasoning with these types of people; simply throwing whatever the fuck they want out into the open air and seeing what sticks is apparently much more effective than telling the truth will ever be. It also saves them time and money because then they don’t have to worry about silly things like “evidence” and “coming up with a reasonable argument.”
  • Everything is time consuming. Nothing will ever be done in a timely manner, and you will be paying for every single second you’re fighting the case, in court or out. Both your prison wallet and your actual wallet will be in pain for a long while before, during and even after your court date, so prepare your legs because sitting’s going to be out of the question for a while. 
  • Lawyers are useless. You will end up doing 98% of the work yourself, while paying someone else to be the face of said work and to take all the credit (as well as your money and any happiness you might have had left). You shouldn’t expect that things will get done in a timely manner because you shouldn’t expect that anything will get done at all, unless you’re the one doing it.
  • If you’re sleeping at night and not vomiting at least twice a day from stress, you’re clearly not invested enough in your case. There will not be a day of work that you won’t want to peel your face off because you’re exhausted from all the weight you’re carrying, not a drive home that you won’t want to or aren’t already crying on, not an evening of rest or relaxation, and certainly not a wink of sleep that doesn’t culminate in waking up at four in the morning in a rage with cold sweat dripping down your face. Only when you start having severe panic attacks will you know you’ve devoted enough time, money and energy to the proceedings. 
  • No one actually likes you. Never have I seen people flock so fast to a side that wasn’t mine then when I decided to start a court case against my mother, even if I was in the right. Almost my entire family disowned me and then stabbed me in the back to boot, friends who “had my back” suddenly disappeared when it came time to testify on my behalf, and even random strangers came out of the woodwork just to tell me how evil I was, despite knowing nothing of the case aside from from secondhand information they’d gotten through the grapevine, that were of course all lies anyway. It doesn’t matter if you’re suing the offspring of Hitler and Satan or the entire Legion of Doom, if you think you have friends or family members that love you unconditionally, start up a year-long court battle and see how long everyone sticks around. 
  • You will probably combust. You have to be optimistic about the end result because otherwise you will not make it to that point (also not valuing yourself at all and enjoying some level of self-harm helps, too) but the road to that end is a very painful, lonely journey, and after a quagmire of lawsuits, betrayal and finger-pointing, it is not possible to walk away without some amount of acrimony following you around. If you are as positive as you are bitter, you will break. 

§Rainbows & Skeletons§