I’m Normal Within My Deviance

How can the word ‘Normal’ evoke both pride and disappointment at the same time?  I’ve always wanted to be normal.  That my feelings, or lack there of, were normal.  That my life isn’t so way out of proportion as the rest of the world.  And still, I reveled in the idea that I wasn’t normal.  That my uniqueness gave me insight, gave me a position as a writer to have a better or different or novel way of looking at life that would be of value to my reader.  But I’m normal in my reactions or someone that has been raised by a narcissist (Mom) and the favored of one parent (Papa).  C was liked best by my Mom and I was liked best by my Dad, which left S to have to fend for herself a lot of the time being the quintessential middle child.  Totally not fair to her.

Lack of connection, lack of intimacy, lack of confidence are all hallmarks of the child of a narcissist. And as much as I don’t want to blame anyone, especially my  Mom in this journey, at this time, blame is the only oar in the boat.  Blame yes, fault no.  I don’t believe that Mom has any control over her self-projecting behavior any more than her mother and her mother’s mother before her.  The clay from which we are founded is colored by all the people before us, what we mold urselves into is completely our choice.  I have chosen to no longer be the lump that pleases my family, I want to be a classical-Renaissance-modern piece of work that inspires and inhabits the space she has been allotted in this life.  The purpose of therapy is to give me the tools to subtract the clay that has blocked the best form from emerging from the whole.  So, I’m normal.  It’s a good foundation to start my sculpting from.

The funny thing is, I’ve known this.  I’ve been told this by dear friends, that considering the family dynamics I’m normal, even better than because I’m aware of it.  But hearing it from someone who has studied and worked with other ‘Normal’s seems to make it that much more real, and solid.  Yea, we’re off on a good start.

Tomorrow Is Always A Day Away

Little Orphan Annie sings that song in the play. The thing of it is, it’s always a day away. It’s never the now. I have so many grand plans for the ever elusive tomorrow that I give myself on a pass for today. I’ll get up earlier tomorrow. I’ll get my room straightened out tomorrow. I’ll find a job tomorrow. I’ll train Sammy how to poop on command tomorrow. I’ll read a book tomorrow. I’ll get my laundry done tomorrow. I’ll shower tomorrow. I’ll take care of my blood sugar tomorrow. I’ll be happy tomorrow. I’ll be better tomorrow. I won’t be tomorrow. Tomorrow exists in that fleeting nanosecond between tick and tock just as the first chime ring in the new day. Then it’s today, it’s now, it’s never. But, there’s always tomorrow.

Safe in Bed

I am blessed to have a Victorian bed.  It is made from church pews for both head and foot boards.  It stands higher than the norm because the Victorians weren’t fond of sleeping with the household vermin so the cast iron bedrails were placed well above rat reach.  On top of that height I have a standard box spring and matrices so I’m even higher than the average bed is meant to be.  And I love it.  It’s my own private island.  These days it has been my retreat, my solace, my sanctuary  from the world.  Some day I’m going to have to find the will, the energy, the medication to leave it behind and go forward into the world around me and make a mark or two.  But for now, I know I’m safe in bed.

The Separate Self

This is the first section in Viorst’s book of Necessary Losses. In essence it’s about cutting the umbilical cord from Mommy and Daddy and learning to stand on your own two feet. However, it debunks the idea that you cut the cord when you turn 18, move out, go to University and then forward in your life through self-propelled societal rites of passages. So not true.

Cutting the umbilici starts the day of birth and progresses throughout life. We are expelled from our mother’s womb, hopefully without incident and brought into a world of foreign sterility, naked and cold we scream for what we have lost.

From the womb we become attached and form a sort of nirvana with our mother who feeds us and gently  ares for us in the harsh bright world we’ve been brought into. Until she leaves us, the first whack at the connection between mother and child. Papa was there eventually to fill in and to help us gain our footing, showing us that we can be one and together within the family structure. This is our first
experience with love; both giving and receiving love. Agape. Unconditional love.

As time moves forward the abandonment because more of an agreed upon  eparation and a coming back together. Again, small gnawing strikes at the ties that bind until we are a single, self-loving, self-empowered human being capable of giving and receiving love without fear of loss of love or self. Like a butterfly who has to push itself away from the chrysalis on it’s own. If you stop to help the transformed to flight it will not have the necessary strength to survive.

How does this apply to me?

  • I trip over the umbilici here at home, so we know that it hasn’t been
    severed.  But not severed by who (or isit whom? I never could get that right.)?  I realized while reading this book about how children from narcissistic parents raise narcissistic kids, and it’s a repeated thing.  I’ve somehow been put into the roll of my Mothers mother, and I am taking care of her the way she has never been taken care of before.  She is completely unencumbered by the stresses of every-day living, she doesn’t have to worry about anything, in general.  She has said several times that she’s the happiest she’s ever been.  This conflicts with my lack of maternal instinct.  Whatever desire I had to be a mother was sated by the nieces and the nephews, I don’t feel like I have it to give now. I’ve learned that love and hate are part of the same process, that thinking about the hate you have for someone you love/like doesn’t make you a bad person, acting on it does.  One must make a conscious decision not to do bad things, our choices determined who/what we are.  Like Newton’s theory of Motion…To all things there is an equal and opposite reaction.  One cannot exist without the other.
  • Despite my best efforts, I appear to be more narcissistic than I want to be.  Though self-love is vital part of ones esteem, it shouldn’t be all ncompassing to the point of drowning.  Therapy, in and of itself, is an indulgence into self, but a necessary one and I shouldn’t feel like I’m being a ‘bad’ person because of it.
  •  Being the person I want to be instead of the person I present to the world is going to take more work than just pretending I am who I say I am.
  • I need to let go of my fearful and childish black-and-white simplifications for  the difficult ambiguities of real life.  This is going to hurt.  Black and white means there is a wrong and a right (where I can be more right than wrong) and a world of ambiguities will never have that satisfaction.
  • I’ve got a freakish amount of work to be ME again.

First Therapy Appointment

Met with my therapist on Tuesday and have been trying to plow through my homework since.  Homework.  It still makes me cringe.  She sent me home with a book called….

Necessary Losses

The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All Of Us Have To Give Up In Order To Grow 

At first I thought she misunderstood why I was there: to prepare for the necessary and eventual loss of my aged mother.  I explained the family belief that my Mom, Dick Clark and cockroaches will be left when the world ends, and that nothing short of a semi-truck will bring her down.  But she corrected me and explained the idea that sometimes we have to let go of a lot, losses in order to gain so much more.  I was game to take on a new reading project.

Dr. L seems like a level-headed woman.  Though she’s not of my faith she seems to know what it means to a practitioner and is willing to work within those parameters.  She indicated there would be things in the book that don’t apply to me, and I should just skip over those.  She laughs at my jokes.  I deflect a lot and hide behind my rapier whit….okay, these days not that sharp….but she laughs at my jokes.  She wants to see me in a week and have the book read as well.  I can’t color and write in the book like I like to do so, despite my financial difficulties at present, I ordered it.  Mom is talking like she wants to read it too.  I’ll have to be a little cryptic in my margin notes. {sigh}

I’m still a little apprehensive about going to therapy.  The uncomfortable intimacy needed for healing is something I run from as a rule.  I felt my anxiety climb with each passing minute leading up to my appointment.  I tend to be a little bulimic about therapy.  I feel if I can vomit out everything as fast as humanly possible I can get to the end and be all better that much faster.  I have to keep reminding myself; there aren’t easy outs, there aren’t quick fixes, there’s no running this time.  I’m in it for the long haul.  I’m getting out of the void.