You decided to have another baby with him. I cant believe youd lean into this false narrative of a perfect family when it’s so far from perfect. You turned your back on us. On me. Your little sister, who youd raised. Are you brain washed or are you just paralyzed with fear of losing “everything”?
Are you the broken one here or am I?
Are you even hurting? Did I mean anything to you?
You meant everything to me. You were my big sister. Someone I idolized, someone I wanted to be like.
I cant believe youre having your second child with this man. Even after everything hes done to ruin this family.
Now youre trapped more than you were before. Is there any hope left…
Im not sure.
All I know is I’m so hurt.
So tired of this aching heart and this feeling of loss, like you’ve died.
You were someone I thought I could count on.
Now I just have trust issues. I’m broken really, left waiting for you to change.
Not sure that day will ever come.
I guess I’ll just continue to self destruct, not that you care.
You dont even ask Mom how I am or doing.
It’s pretty clear.
And you know, I dont cry so hard anymore.
I’ve become numb, closing up and putting my guard up.
I’ll just drown my sorrows in liquor. It’s what I’m destined for anyways right.
I see pictures of your daughter. She looks so happy and seems so smart.
I’m happy for you as weird as it sounds. I do want the best for you.
I guess I just wont be apart of that. Even though you are wrong for what youre doing whether you acknowledge it or not, I still think you derseve happiness. And if this is what happiness is for you, I’ll swallow the knot in my throat and let it be.
It’s funny how one little thing can send you down a spiral of negative thoughts. Obsessive thinking. For an entire year I didnt know what it was called. Just worrying excessively, constantly, with one worry replacing another in its spot. I’m much better now because of all the therapy I’ve gone through and mindfulness practices.
It helps if I voice those worries or at the least write them down so my brain doesnt have to file it and keep track of it. Otherwise my thoughts will just circle back to it because it thinks it has to “figure it out”. Once it’s written I can forget it. It helps alot… until it doesnt. But, that’s how it goes.
These past 4 months or so I’ve been doing really well. I laugh a lot more and dont take things too seriously. I’m amazed how much it’s helped. I thought I’d never be happy again and I was sentenced to a laugh-less, joyless life. But, slowly I’ve gotten my sense of humor back. And I’m never letting go of that.
Anyways, today something set me off. I started to critically analyze and feel as though all my progress was ruined. That’s not how progress works though. You will never go back to baseline. You have set backs sure but, the longer you work on yourself and have those set backs the faster you bounce back. Sounds cliche but, it’s true.
I got out of the house and drove around for a bit trying to clear my head. I worked myself up and just let myself feel those awful feelings. Then I called up my Mom who I havent spoken to in a long time and vented. We talked for 40 minutes catching up and eventually I went back to the house. I completely forgot about the incident like nothing had happened.
These negative events that reinforce these negative beliefs about yourself arent going to stop. You can only change your perception of these events. Look at it as if this thing happened to someone else as an outsider looking in. And really try. Think of a person in your shoes and what you’d say to them. I think that’s the first step to becoming your own friend. I know a lot of the time I’m enemies with myself and specifically when it comes to those anxiety inducing moments. But, if I were to just have a little smidge of empathy and understanding for myself maybe I’d get through those times easier. That doesnt mean wallowing in self-pity and making excuses, however. It simply means giving yourself a break from the awful critic living in your head.
Try to rationalize with that critic and flip the situation on a stranger. That person is experiencing an presumably awful thing but, how bad is it really? Are you maybe grandulizing it to be something way bigger than it is? Most people truly dont care. Think of all the times you’ve seen someone mess up, embarrase themselves. You didnt pay too much mind and forgot about it later because it’s unimportant to you. You are thinking about yourself and your own worries.
So, stop caring what others think. Their opinion doesnt really matter anyways. Work on the opinion of yourself first. You likely have some work to do. Dont be so critical of yourself and give yourself a break!
I find myself digging up old memories from my childhood. Particularly of kids less fortunate than I was. And when you’re a kid it isn’t always apparent that something is wrong, until you do see something odd or off putting.
I was in fourth grade. This thin boy with shoulder length hair always came to school in the same outfit; oversized hoodie, jeans, and a pair of beat up sneakers. He was always targeted by bullies. Kept his head down, would put his hood up and had angry outbursts often with either the kids around him or the teachers. He was a nice enough of a kid before he started having these outbursts. Very estatic, just wanted to make friends. His name was James.
James was a cute kid. I remember I had a little crush on him but felt ashamed to admit it. All my friends thought he was weird. Which to be quite frank, so did I. He started to become less social throughout the year. Seemed angry at everyone and everything.
And that’s around the time I remember him coming to school with cigarette burns on his face.
Someone had taken their cigarette and ashed it out on his forehead and hard too because it had left a bloody crater on his face. At first he had a band-aid covering it but eventually that fell off during the school day. I remember all the kids were kind of staring at him during reading hour. A teacher was called in and asked if he’d go with her to the principals office. He looked scared.
A few weeks had past and the days he was at school I could see the cigarette burn was getting better. But, of course that didn’t last long because a month or so later, another burn was on his face, this time in between his eyebrows. And everyday he became more and more insecure. Hiding in his hoodie, looking down, crossing his arms.
I feel bad now that I’m older and can comprehend it all. I know he could have used a friend.
He had nobody. Every kid steered clear of him, either because they thought he was weird or didn’t want to be associated and have the bullies pick on them as well.
A few more months passed. Now he was starting to have outbursts. He would lash out on teachers because he’d get in trouble for not behaving or paying attention.
It was spring now. He had this awful purple and blue bruise on his throat. Looking back now, he was likely choked, but, to either cover it up and/or to inflict self harm, he started choking him self in class. He would take his two thumbs and wrap his hands around his neck pressing hard on the bruise. He’d choke and press till his face turned red.
He hated himself.
I can’t imagine his home life. To cause a little kid that kind of mental distress… he was only 9 years old…
I’m angry with myself for not standing up for him or being more friendly.
I saw him three years ago. Hadn’t seen him since elementary school. I was with all my friends who also all had gone to the same school. We were at Denny’s laughing and talking, waiting for our order when he walked in. He walked in with his family. He was still cute; long hair, big brown eyes, freckles. He was very tall now, but, still skinny. Suddenly memories came back and I remembered that purple bruise, the cigarette burn, and that sad, angry little boy. My friends remembered him too and started looking. Either out of awkwardness or just plain nativety my friends started laughing “Omg, is that James?!! I remember that kid! He was so weird…”. I was afraid he could hear, he was pretty close. And I didn’t want him to see me if he had, so I tried my best to not look and changed the conversation but I couldn’t stop looking up at his table.
His dad, mom, and his younger siblings were all there. They hadn’t even smiled once since sitting down. They all looked so down and gloom. They’d even sat in a darkly lit booth, so perhaps my memories hold them there in that depressive light. Doesn’t help I’d known all that had happened and why James had to transfer schools as a kid.
He caught my eye. And we kept making eye contact throughout the night. I saw sadness and worry in his eyes. I tried to keep my focus on the conversation because I didn’t want him to associate our laughter to his expensive.
Eventually we left and I hadn’t thought of him since until a few months ago. Something must had reminded me of him.
I searched all social media for him, eventually coming across his Facebook. Still a pretty cute kid. Didnt have many posts but did have one.. “In a domestic relationship” 2018. There were 33 comments. All his relatives were seemingly unapproving of the relationship. They all spoke badly of a women named Billy. Said she was trouble, a whore, and likely had an STD.
I looked her up. She was 26 years old, with a kid and looked as though she had some kind of drug habit. Her bio read “Tired and overwhelmed with life. biopolar disorder and PTSD making this crap hard”. I looked in our area for her name to see what kind of trouble they were all alluding to.
She’s had several encounters with the police, second degree harassment charges, failure to show up to court, etc. etc. I came across James name as well. Both of them had trespassed in August of 2018.
It makes me sad. How circumstances shape a persons life; poor working class families never getting to the latter, never breaking the cycle.
No one chooses their family. We are dealt a card in life, and that’s what you get. It takes real courage and strength to change the deep rooted beliefs in a family. And it just makes it 10x harder if they’re reinforced at school.
So be nice. Be nice to that weird kid, shy kid, or angry kid. You never know what they’re dealing with or the cards they were dealt.
I’m sure you already know that.
“Those faces you see every day on the streets were not created entirely without hope: be kind to them: like you they have not escaped.” – Charles Bukowski
Today, I had finals. My mom came along for the ride and waited in the car while I was taking my tests to get some paperwork done. Afterwards we got McDonald’s and headed back to the house.
We were just going to stop in to grab a few things and then head to Walmart for grocery shopping. But, when we pulled in one of my brothers friend comes out wide eyed and pointing back to the house saying “uh.. something just happened” in a panicked voice.
My mom runs into the house and tells me to call the police. I call, tell them the address, and the situation “we have a 17 year old kid here that just passed out unconscious”. As I’m walking into the house taking everything in, I’m in shock.
All his friends are running around, up and down the stairs with ice in their hands, one is on the phone with the police as well. His best friend comes up to me to tell me what happened. “He was walking in from the garage after smoking with us and then he just fell and hit his head, then he started to have a seizure”.. I’m in shock because as he’s saying this I’m looking at my mom frantically trying to get ice under his head and keep him calm. He was on his back, flaying his arms and feet trying to get up but had no motor control to move them, he was also trying to talk but it came out slurred and completely inaudible. He was scared because he kept trying to scream but the only thing that’d come out was an off putting moan like you might here from a mentally underdeveloped person. I look at his jeans… he peed himself.
The police are still on the phone. And I suddenly get snapped back into reality “you can hang up the phone, because I’m talking to them” my new step brother said. I hang up and walk into the room and kneel next to him. He’s freaking out but trying to keep everything under control. Finally he’s able to kind of make sense and form words. “It’s.. fine.. *mumbles* I’m.. fine”. My mom reassuring him “I know buddy everything’s going to be okay promise me this is it, no more smoking okay? This is it, no more of this. This is it.”. He’s still resisting and is embarrassed his friends are there so he keeps tensing his body and putting his arms and feet up a little as if he’s going to trying and stand up but can’t. I put my hand on his head and tell him to “relax, just relax, it’s okay” reassuringly. He does a little bit and calms down. He hugs my mom who is still over him holding ice on his head and panicing. He’s more coherent now and says “I can’t see, I can’t see you”. And starts to work himself up again. My Dad suddenly walks in and says to my brothers four friends standing near the entrance “hey guys how’s it going?”. He walks in and I see on his face he isn’t registering what’s happening. “Dad, something’s going on right now” “you got to…” He says “what do you mean?”.. I point to Colin whose laying on the ground next to me. He looks over to the boys and says “who is that?” confused and concerned. “It’s Colin”. He walks over clearly now realizing what’s happened. I get up now because I hear police cars and the ambulance arriving. I go out to move my car, as does the other boys so the ambulance can be closer to the house.
They check his vitals, his spine, and pupils and quickly load him on the stretcher. My Dad and I get clothes, while everyone else seems to still be in a state of shock. Then we all get in our cars. I go with my Dad, my mom goes in her car, and all his friends pack themselves in a car and we follow the ambulance.
We arrive and we all walk up to the hospital together. We get in, everyone’s still on edge, worried about him. We walk in and sit with him. He’s able to speak now and can talk. They hook him up to an IV and they take blood for testing. Everyone finally can relax.
He’s okay. He’s coherent, tired, with a huge bump on his head but, other than that, from an external perspective he looks and acts like himself. They change him out of his pee soaked pants. And one by one his friends come in. Then all of them come in and go over what just happened.
My brother says all he remembers was hearing himself trying to speak and not be able to, and it just made things scarier. He thought he was stuck like that. He was freaked out because he couldn’t see anything and voices of his friends calling his name kept coming in and out like an echo. “It was like in the movies, I couldn’t see and I just heard your guys voices trailing in and out” “it was freaky”.
His friends eventually left and it was just my dad, Mom and I. He had a little headache, and kept seeing stars, but other than that he was himself again.
I’m relieved. I headed back to the house after giving everyone a hug goodbye. I have a chemistry exam to study for tonight. His tests came back in about an hour ago and thankfully came back saying no brain bleed and no tumor.
There is still concern though. Why does he keep having these seizures? What’s causing them? There’s a potential it could be a heart problem because that sort of thing runs in the family. Maybe blood isn’t pumping fast enough comparatively to other people’s when theyre smoking. Could also be from vaping. You’ve likely heard of it, its all over the news.. “lung collapse disorder” caused by these juuls, and nicotine vape pens. Ones thing for sure though he won’t be smoking for a while now. I know it’s going to be hard because all his buddies do and that’ll be hard on his social life. But, hopefully they’re understanding, and hopefully my brother understands he’s got to take it easy.
My little brother is having a party downstairs right now. Things have changed around here since I left in 2017 to go live with my aunt, dad, and cousins.
Last weekend I made the decision, kind of spontaneously, to move back in with my Mom for a bit. I thought I’d only be staying for a few days but, my whole world has changed and that plan fell through. At my mom’s everything’s more relaxed, no one’s walking on egg shells here, and no one really gets angry or critical because they are dealing with their own shit. Of course, it’s not perfect, but the air here is less heavy than it was at my dad’s.
I do feel bad for leaving them in that house. The tension and negative energy there could be cut with a knife. I guess I hadn’t known how bad it was until I came here. The minute I walked in I physically felt lighter, like a weight had just been lifted from my shoulders.
Also met my mom’s new boyfriend, which I had been putting off because of irrational fears of rejection. He’s a real great guy and I realized when I started talking to him, how silly it was to have ruminated and been anxious over meeting him for the past three months.
Of course, my social anxiety isn’t gone, but, I feel like I have more control being here. For example, I went to go see my niece I haven’t seen in a year. We hadn’t been able to see her because my older brothers drug abuse and relationship fell apart. And for some reason his girlfriend blamed us? I don’t know but she decided to keep Lily from us. She resented us. So, meeting up and seeing her was a nice surprise. Especially since lily is going through a lot. I mean before all this shit happened in my family, she was here almost every weekend and to then all of a sudden be ripped away from us… She’s getting into trouble at school and getting in fights with her teachers, too, mind you she’s only in 4th grade. She’s very angry. She goes to therapy though and that’s helped a lot. But, my brother calling her on occasion makes her so incredibly sad. She cries and cries all day after getting off the phone with her dad. (Her dad, by the way, is having another kid with another woman in Florida). So, you can imagine how she feels.
Anyways, we met at sky zone. Sure, it was a little awkward at first. My mom and lily’s mom got in a serious fight about meeting up a few days ago. But, they talked things out and it seems like they worked it all out while my brother and I played with our niece.
I would have never even considered going if I was at my Dads. It’s sad to say but, even though I hadn’t seen my niece in so long, I wouldn’t have gone because of my anxiety.
I can’t do that anymore. I can’t avoid things that may potentially make me uncomfortable. The alternative is much worse. Lol. If I let my anxiety run the show I’ll probably end up a hermit in the woods somewhere living off the land. … Which doesn’t sound SO bad…. But, you know, deep down I don’t really want that.
Old family friend came to visit my dad this weekend. Went over to have dinner tonight. I felt anxious and that feeling of anxiety didn’t really go away. So, it just affirmed my beliefs of inadequacy and paranoid thoughts of “Does he like me?” “Am I being rude or weird in some way?”, “Maybe everyone can tell I’m feeling uncomfortable… does that make them feel uncomfortable that I’m feeling uncomfortable? Am I making them feel uncomfortable?“.. And it just spirals and spirals, until I’m absolutely convinced everyone is sick of me and I’m bad company.
I even left feeling bummed out. Still do because my anxious thoughts all say I made a complete utter fool out of my self and likely embarrassed my entire family by just being myself (anxiety included). It didn’t help the guy that came to visit was so intimidating. Very intelligent and nice enough of a guy sure. But, his laugh seemed forced. And every conversation seemed just a little off like everyone was analyzing and waiting baited breath. Strange I thought. But, then again that is just my perspective and because of my irrational fears I could be totally spinning that narrative… I’m not sure. It’s like I can’t even trust myself.
But, even though things felt odd over there. I still went. I still got through the evening. And I shouldn’t be so critical because I’m the only one thinking this. And it honestly. doesn’t. really fucking matter in the long run.
God I’m fed up with pointless anxiety. I didn’t die, nothing terrible or absolutely modifying even happened!
So, all in all things are getting a little better. Just best to stay away from my dad’s while everyone, again, slowly goes mad from cabin fever this winter.
“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.” ― Charles Bukowski
Talking with my therapist today made me realize how much alcohol has influenced my life. It was easy to deny anyone had any problem, I mean they aren’t drunk before noon or belligerent drunk. But, they are wasted drunk, dont remember anything the next day drunk.
Richard tells me I’ve internalized a lot of “constructive criticism” as a kid. I put that in quotes because its more like micro-manage, look over your shoulder, type of criticism. My dad’s not a bad guy, dont get me wrong, he’s probably the nicest person you’d ever meet, but, he has a drinking problem. And drinking makes things unpredicatable in a household. This past year of living with him, my aunt and cousins has really showed me that.
To understand, you have to understand my dad’s life. He grew up in Wisconsin. Lived with two other siblings with his mom. She was a single mother, had never gotten over her womanzing sex addict ex-husband, and was a drunk. She’d cry and cry everynight. She’d tell her little children how awful their dad was. They’d go to bed and she’d stay up drinking, watching tv, alone, sobbing and crying herself to sleep. When they got a little taller, old enough to drive, she’d start to get mean and nasty when she’d drink. Tell them they’d never amount to anything and that they were no better than her beloved brother, Jimmy, who had died of lung cancer. This continued to happen just about every night.
He was a teenager, so of course he got into drinking like everyone else in Wisconsin. Partying, drinking, doing whatever drug came his way. Come on, it was the 70s! But, then things started to not be so fun anymore. Came senior year and he didnt know what the hell he was gonna do. Next year and the year after that. Till he was 23 years old looking around and releazied he’d become a low-life just like everyone else in his hometown. I’m sure you’ve heard the story… So, he goes off to the military and things are looking up for him. He’s no dummy. Smart. Everything comes easy to him. He goes into nuclear egineering school in the navy and comes out able to make some good money. Here’s where the drinking comes to play.
He drinks because he’s depressed. He drinks to celebrate. He drinks because he’s bored. What ever the reason, he became dependent. And since 30 years old he “lost all motivation to do anything.”
Everything you expect, comes along with drinking; anger, frustration, sadness, shame, and isolation. Emotions are heightened, so you can only imagine what happens when everyone in the house drinks till they are glassy eyed drunk. Lots of nights crying, fighting, and collective feelings of guilt or shame. Not a great environment to be in…
Children of an alcohol dependent parent, I’ve come to learn through therapy, are very approval seeking because not only do they feel like they dont have a “normal” family, but, they feel the constant responsiblity to “fix” everything that’s wrong within the family. Or at least thats the case for me. I feel like I have to be the light house everyone can seek out for comfort. I’m an easy going person with my lack of confidence and constant need for approval lol. Enough said.
If you have a parent with a tendency to drink a little too often and in excess here are some traits you might have now as an adult.
1. Are more concerned with others than themselves.
2. Have difficultly following a project through beginning to end.
Oh and I’ll list some of the positives if you are feeling a little down about all the things I just pointed out.
We are very resilient people over all. We tend to be much more loyal, responsible, intuitive, empathic, and driven individuals.
So, some good things came out of it right??
Anyways, I’m learning to seperate myself from the criticism and not internalize it so much. Any micro-managing I do get is translated to “You’re not adequate”, “You’re not smart”, or “I dont have trust in your abilities as a person”. I internalize all of it and can be unrelenting. But, it’s not me it’s them. Their guilt, their shame, and their dependency. They have this impluse to control because they arent in control. It hurts to be constantly belittled, patronized, and criticized but, it’s how I react to the emotion or thought that matters.
Not everythings my fault.
“That’s the problem with drinking. I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.” – Charles Bukowski
It’s easy to assume whatever we are feeling; sadness, anger, or excitement is the foundation of a truth. But, it’s not.
Emotions reinforce what we believe to be true. The problem with this is that its all subjective and dependent on that individuals perspective. Sometimes we trick ourselves into believing something thats just not based in reality. This past week I found myself irrationally anger. I was angry at random people, strangers because I percevied them as judging or critical of me, and without any evidence to support this I became insecure. I criticize myself and am a perfectionist, so it’s likely I’m projecting when I do this.. by judging them and putting them in a box (who they are to me in this moment). It’s easier really to have someone “figured out”. It’s human. We all need to assess the environment and we do this by taking in nonverbal information. It gets screwy though when your inner dialogue and “coding” is fucked up. The annoying thing about all of this is that I knew intellectually exactly what I was doing and why I was feeling the way I was. This feeling of perceived rejection from strangers turns into a truth because our emotions are so much more real than our rational higher self. The emotion that comes over me is resentment and anger. Not a good character trait by any means. So I try to “fix” this by distancing myself from the emotion by thinking of the situation or thought logically.
I have a checklist. Why do you feel like this? Is it rational to believe this idea; that this person is critcizing you or thinking badly about you? Because the more plausible idea is that you arent even on their radar because the truth is they arent even thinking about you. They are thinking about what homework they have to get done, what happened yesterday with so and so, or what they have planned for the day. A quote comes to mind when I’m in this thought spiral. “You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”- David Foster Wallace. But, when this logical nativating of the thoughts doesnt work and the emotion is too hard to ignore, what do you do? I’m trying to figure this out. It’s hard. How does someone detach themselves from their emotions. Thoughts turn into emotion and emotion causes behavior. It all happens so quickly and it’s nearly impossible to stop a thought from entering your orbit. I guess the only real way to stop the cycle is to change the phrasing of your thought… It’s just hard to when you so deeply at an unconsious level believe the emotion thats taken over.
Anyways, just some things to think about.
“As the story goes, George Clinton, the leader of Funkadelic, told guitarist Eddie Hazel to imagine he was told his mother died and later on learned it was not true, this all under the influence of LSD. Once Clinton realized how powerful the solo sounded he faded the bass played by Billy Bass Nelson and drums played by Tiki Fulwood out.”
Spoke with my therapist Richard. I was very transparent about everything. Told him about how I had started drinking again, rehashing old memories, and my lack of self care as of late. Even though I felt like shit the rest of the day. Something got through to me in that therapy session. He read me something he had wrote about my inner-dialogue and thought patterns. He said at the end of the page “You can’t hate yourself into accepting yourself,”….I know. Sounds obvious. But, for some reason it clicked. It’s strange how we all have blinders on to parts of ourselves that we just simply cant see without someone pointing it out. When you self-criticize, something inside you obviously wants you to change some aspect about yourself. And the irrational thing, is that you think this self-criticism will help and change that negative unwanted thing about yourself, but really, it only makes everything 10x harder to reconcile. You go into a spiral of self-hatred and only get worse. Until you, like me, have an apithany. And it always happens. Highs and lows. Constantly flucating like a yo-yo. You get clarity and a breath of air. Then you’re back to self-hatred because somewhere along the way you buy into these thoughts again.. or someone reinforces these beliefs whether intentionally or not. For me, my moment of clarity brought me back to self-care. For me taking care of myself is routine and cleaning/organizing. So, I got home from school and drank two cups of coffee and started cleaning my room that I hadn’t cleaned in 3 weeks. I did all my laundry. Took a bath. Put my night face creams on and went to bed a relatively early time. Self-care is like taking a shower after a long awful day. And for me, that self-destructive “I deserve this,” and “What’s the point” mentality was kind of pushed to the side for now while I loosen the reins a little. Doesn’t mean I don’t have those negative thoughts at all, just means I’m letting myself listen to my thoughts, feel the emotion that comes with it and letting it go.
I would like to know how we get so wrapped up in our thought patterns that we are so unaware of them. I was listening to Alan Watts, Out of my Mind archives and he said something along the lines of ‘If the man or women doesnt investigate their emotions/ behaviors, and why they are doing the thing they are doing they will always be confused. And if youre confused you know you havent let that emotion or behavior run its course, lending you the insight of why you behave or act in that particular way.” It’s seems so simple, and maybe that’s it. The most simple ideologies are sometimes the hardest to fully grasp. It’s right in front of you and you still cant see it. I never fully understood what David Foster Wallace may have meant when he said “Everything I’ve ever let go of, has claw marks on it” until now. Or maybe that’s just me making connections and putting a lot of depth to it. But, either way for this was all able to get through to me, and I listened. It’s nice when that happens.
I’ll leave on a high note.
“Nobody can save you but yourself and you’re worth saving. It’s a war not easily won but if anything is worth winning then this is it.” -Charles Bukowski