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My brother and his girlfriend of about 2 years broke up this week. At the risk of sounding callous, I'm relieved that he left her. I have nothing against her as a person. It's just that up until the past year, I've never seen my brother so chronically stressed out, angry, and generally unhappy. I became especially worried last month when he revealed more details about their relationship. She allows her son to hit him. At one point, she'd screamed a bunch of nasty things at him because she was off her meds. Yeah, I didn't know she's bipolar. Not that being bipolar is a dealbreaker, but it adds more complexity to the situation. I should know. I've dated a schizophrenic before. Why did my brother and I both date mentally ill people? It can't be a coincidence. I wonder if it's something we learned from our father growing up. My mother's own mental illness is questionable — something nobody else in my family ever talks about — and my father has stuck with her and dealt with it. I don't know how he deals with it. Perhaps my brother and I both learned to be loyal to a fault from watching our father stay with an unwell person.

The other news is my grandmother passed away. I'd mentioned in a previous log how sick she'd been. My brother and I ended up visiting her one more time after we learned she'd been put into palliative care. I'm glad we went. She recognized me this time and told me she was glad I was there. My bro and I reminisced about the time we'd spent at her home when we were kids. She lay in her in bed listening to us, covered with a crocheted blanket, surrounded by photos of her loved ones propped up on the dresser, the TV stand. She looked peaceful. I hope she felt peaceful when she later passed away. 

A friend at work gave me an update on an old friend of mine who I'm not close to anymore but who I still care about. She's in an abusive relationship. It has escalated to the point of physical abuse. He slammed her arm in a car door. He'd yelled obscenities at her after getting angry for reasons that made no sense. They keep breaking up and getting back together, a textbook example of the cycle of abuse. He's a seriously disturbed person, and I hope she leaves him for good.

What surprised me the most was my ability to empathize with her. My ex wasn't quite so blatantly abusive, but he played mind games with me and put me down a lot. And I put up with it. I kept trying to make it work. I wonder if she feels the same way I felt: understanding on an intellectual level that she doesn't deserve it, while feeling as if she does. Being quick to blame herself. Second guessing herself. Wondering if maybe he's right, even though she knows he isn't. I'm probably projecting right now. Still, I think she would understand exactly what I'm saying. And that's scary. I used to look down on women who stay in abusive relationships. Now I see how women (or men) could end up like that, regardless of how smart they are. Anyway, we're going to try and get her out next week for a girl's night. I want to reconnect with her and be helpful in whatever way I can.

As I do with my other depressing logs, I'll end on a lighter note. I'm doing a 5km Santa Shuffle this weekend with my friend and her husband. For those who haven't heard of a Santa Run, it's basically a fun run where the money is donated to charity, and the people in the race dress up in Christmas-themed costumes. My costume is going to be half Mr. Claus, half Mrs. Claus. I found a santa pajama onesie for adults, so that's what I'm working with. I've already cut off one arm and am fashioning it into a skin-tight arm sleeve for Mrs. Clause. Once that's done, I'll cut off one of the legs and sew a basic mini-skirt onto the one side, which I will then cover with glittery ribbon. I'll wear running tights underneath. If I have time, I'll do male drag on the one side of my face and apply lipstick/eyeshadow/typical "female" makeup on the other side of my face. I'm more excited about the outfit than I am about the actual run. I think it's really helping me to do more creative projects. It's one of the few things that makes me feel happy. 

On that note, I need to go get dinner ready. I'm making a beet salad to go with the pasta. I'm making my own marinara sauce, and I have plant-based "meat" balls in the fridge that I made two days ago. No, there's nothing weird in them. They're tasty. I'm hungry already just thinking about it. 

Thanks for reading.