Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Phoenix

So we all seem to have this desire to grace the planet with our presence.  So many of us spend our lives just fighting to be heard, seen, acknowledged by other people and by Gods.  I sit here, typing at the age of 53, after a few days of deep contemplation and life evaluation (I only blog/journal when I feel like I'm going to be profound which sadly I seldom accomplish but I love to hear myself blabber on and on).   I have realized very few "truths" in my life, one of them being that there are very few "truths".  I do, however, realize that I, hopefully, was completely missing the point of this experience, I've been missing the meaning behind the story but I keep reading the book even though I can't comprehend it. I have had an enlightening week and I feel closer to whatever I am seeking.  My earliest memories are of a very disfunctional family, a child that felt very insecure and scared (me) not knowing what it was to have a real home, or a sense of security.  My father was an alcoholic, frustrated in the closet homosexual (well in the closet when he wasn't out with his man friends) he was full of anger and while he didn't physically manifest his anger, he verbally destroyed us.  My Mother was my rock (though I didn't realize she was made of glass until I was much older) she tried so hard to make things normal for me dispite her own anxiety and struggles, but she failed to fix it because she was to cut down by then to be much more than "there".  I love her with all my heart to this day because she wanted in the deepest part of her for things to be different but she couldn't find her way.  I have always been, had always been, the person that said the past should not be a factor when you are talking about your short comings, you are who you are and you know right from wrong so don't blame everything on your bad childhood just get over it.  I think I was wrong...somewhat.  I still believe that a bit but I have softened.  Conflicts with my family have shown  Recently I have had to step back and look at myself from a different, less flattering perspective and I can clearly see that my upbringing has had a huge influence on who I became as an adult, though a few months ago, I would have denied it whole heartedly.  People teach you about yourself if you are able to learn that you will be a better person for it.  My reactions to things that I thought were "rejection" were so justified in my mind until I really listened, and watched myself from everyone else's perspective.  I was so ready to be rejected and ignored and bullied that I reacted to it, even if it hadn't happened, hair trigger sort of thing.  I also (now) realize that I allow people to walk all over me because I am afraid of conflict that involves the people I love.  Conflict with strangers, bring it on...conflict with my loved ones, curl up in a ball.  Once I really looked at all this, I knew that I react exactly like I always have, I didn't change, I didn't heal, I didn't "become" anything else at all.  I am still 10, hanging on to my Dad's leg on Thanksgiving day begging him not to leave us while he shook me off then walked to his car and didn't stop driving until he hit Florida where he stayed for years...without us.  He did bring me back a transistor radio when he came home 4 years later so all was forgiven.  I am still the 15 year old girl sitting in a dark room with my Mother while we tended to one of her daily panic attacks with the curtains drawn, door sure she was going to die right there because she told us she was going to die right there and it felt like she could go just from fear itself, fear of her own mind and that's the scariest fear there is.  My friends were at Summit Mall, getting hot pretzels at slushies, with 2 straws, looking at boys, I was trying to keep my Mother alive just by being with her because she was so afraid to be alone.  I swore that I would NEVER allow my children (if I should ever have them) to take care of me, to give up their lives so mine would be better and I have held true to that I believe. I don't ask my children for anything...I want them to be free and happy and full of adventure.  Unfortunately 2 of my children/adult children now, have some emotional sensitivities, I believe they are genetic and NOT learned behavior (not 100 percent anyway) because I have fought so very hard to bring them up with love, hugs, and a huge dose of normal, but they are finding their way, they are strong and capable, not always, but they know they can come to me because I get it, I know exactly how they feel, they feel like my Grandmother, Mother, Sister, and me, completely lost and afraid at times, but it's episodic and we understand that it's physical and treatable and we go on, we are a team this family, a really bad team with a LOT of love and the ability to laugh at ourselves.  I realize now what I thought was Ozzy and Harriet (if you even remember) was MY version of Ozzy and Harriet because it was / is so much better than my experience of family that I thought I was kicking some MOM ASS!  I was wrong, tough lesson but one (now) learned. I was so hell bent on my children having a voice, choices, hugs and a warm home with lots of pretty things homecooked meals and lots of dogs!  All the things I thought were the makings of a great childhood, came from my dreams of what childhood should be, things I dreamt of when I was sleeping in the car in a rest area because we were evicted (again), things I dreamt about with my dog laying at my side for 14 years knowing that the only real friend I would ever have would be him...Jaque, my dog who would growl at my dad when he yelled at me for some stupid ass thing like not taking my shoes off when I walked in the house, or then the next week, not leaving my shoes on when I walked in the house (the oils from your feet ruin the carpet you know).  One day my dog got so upset when my dad was yelling at me that my dad picked him up and punched him in the air and down the basement steps.  He survived and he never stopped trying to kill my dad with his eyes.  I remember when Jaque finally left, he was old and sick and going blind, I was 15, he was 14 and we had landed in a home that we would be in until after I was married with children of my own ( my dad settled down a bit and we had our forever home and things were better).  It was almost like Jaque knew I was ok(ish) now and he could go, there was a huge storm and somehow he got out the back door and just kind of walked away and I went to find him because the worst thing was when he ran away it just killed me, but he did that from time to time and we always brought him home.  This time we never found him and someone told me that an old dog who was sick would sometimes just wander off to save the people they love from the dying process, so even at the end that dog wanted the best for me and I never forgot him, never this day dogs are my favorite companions, I have 3 and they mean the world to me.  One time my dog (Jaque) ran away and was gone for 3 days, my Mother was in the psychiatric ward for an extended stay (again) I was at my Grandmother's and he wandered off and probably headed for home but got lost.  I couldn't get out of bed, I didn't eat and my dad was so worried that he took out an ad in the paper, found my guy and didn't tell me until he came home from work and put him on my bed, I was so overcome with emotion, that couldn't stop shaking and crying, it was like he had come back from the dead and I couldn't believe he was there with me, best day ever.  I remember that like it was yesterday and I remember it because I realized at that moment dispite the fact that my dad's demons made him a terrible parent, that he loved me in his own way and I thought of him differently from then on.  I didn't hate him, I was sorry for his miserable life and the fact that he had to hide himself from the world and live an unauthentic life for fear of persecution and shame, he had to hold my Mother together so she wouldn't disolve into nothing and he had to deal with alcoholism on top of it all.  I couldn't have done it, and there is no blame there now, not for that at least but I would grow to dispise him for mistakes to be made in the future, he turned out to be a shit, overall, just a true shit, but for now I thought he was not so bad.  So I AM a product of my past, and it's OK.  The lesson here is not to live there, not to accept your weaknesses because it's "how you were raised" but to accept that and fight it...pick a different reaction, really look at what hurts you and deal with it like a big girl.  I have never emotionally been "a big girl" I have been that wounded child my whole life.  This week, I realized that she needs to grow up and stop bothering me so that I can teach my children (grown or not) to shut the little boys and girls up and end a cycle of thinking that has gone on for generations now.  I can't fix the genetic issues, anxiety, panic, depression, it's not something I can fix for them and I hate to say this because I am not a prescription drug fan most of the time, but if my Mother would have had prozac when she was going through her breakdowns, she would have been capable of having a life worth living, once my Father passed away my Mother changed, she was fun, ( she was always pretty fun actually she was an aging party girl and all of my friends/cousins adored her she was the true center of attention) and a great Grandmother, and yes she had a bit of "medicine" to help ease the past, but it was way late in the game for her, by that point there were no more dreams of love and laughter, no ambitions, only some cancer that would take 7 years to do her in, but those were the happiest years of her adult life, the last 7...aint it "ironic".  Sometimes, we have physical issues that need some tending and I'm glad we live in a time when that's a possiblity. What I can fix are my over reactions to things percieved, that are not real and that is what I am working on with all my heart and soul.  So I have spent my life trying to be noticed, trying to be something that people would remember because I felt so invisible for so long, I was always just an accidental product of a bad relationship, something to be dealt with and endured because it was the right thing to do...I'm very glad for it actually.  I remember My Mom saying she was so sure she would die, when she found out she was pregnant, she was FURIOUS and scared, she took phenobarbital while she was pregnant, she smoked and couldn't eat, then all of the sudden she said she felt so good, so normal like whatever was wrong with her physical make up was cured by her pregnancy after the first trimester.  She believed I "saved her life".  She thought maybe it was hormonal that the pregnancy hormones fixed her "issues" because both times she was pregnant, she felt wonderful after the first 3 months.  I believe I came into this world just to hold her together and I started in utero, taking care of me mum, but whatever the reason I spent my life trying to win people over and show them that I was worth it, worth the time and the energy to get to know me, I always just wanted a chance and I always got one. I look down at things and I see how unimportant we all are, we are just specs from a birds eye view, we don't matter, we are cells in a sea of blood, bacteria in an ocean, stars in the sky, but I always wanted to be the one little spec that people noticed, so they could love me and I would be special.  The strange thing about being 53 is that no one notices, no one listens, no one finds any value in a middle aged woman, no more sexy, no more edgy, no more cool and trendy, just...invisible so you have to fight harder to stand out and then when you do, if you care to that is, you are just that crazy lady that hangs out at starbucks, with the little hat and the hippie skirts, you are no one, have been no one, will never be anyone ever again and you know's lovely!  Anonymous, just another Mom reading Fifty Shades Of Gray, remembering a life of rising above a predisposition to failure, rising high enough to be the one little light that was a tad brighter than the others for a minute, maybe seen by God or Aliens or Human's just for a second, as my Aunt Dean used to say I was the little engine that could, and for a nano second in an endless universe, I made a mark..... on myself....just on myself, I rose above an endless sea of negative possibilities to raise a family of substance, potential and love and hope.  I have set them out on the world to do the same, to shine for just long enough to prove to yourself that you can do anything and that's all that matters in the end, how you feel about yourself and how much you love and cherish the select few you get to share the time with.  I know the people I have raised to be good and just, talented and hard working, intelligent and interesting.  I know my heart, I know the reasons for my choices that are mine to make (and should not be judged by anyone). I know where I came from and I have no idea where I am going and that's OK because I love a good's how I was raised  :)


Connie Williams said...

Wow...brave and raw and beautiful. Thank you for sharing that piece of your story. I'm in tears.


Cyndi said...

I couldn't say it better than Connie, but thank you for sharing. Love you lots.