What the Hell

What the Hell

Thursday, May 30, 2013

On Feeling Unnecessary Existential Guilt

Short post this time.  I just have to say, EMBRACE CHAOS.  My lesson of the moment in my life.  All is not order and "as it should be."  Some days it's all you can do to get out of bed.  High principles and morals are good but some days in the midst of survival, they just don't make the final cut.  And my first step is to throw the peanut butter jar with the remaining gook in it into the trash, not the recycle.  Horrors!  Yet life is too short and brutal to waste this moment washing out the nasty stuff left in the peanut butter jar.  I do want to make a difference; I just am not feeling it today.  This does not make me a bad person or damn me to hell.  It is not all or nothing this life.  Get over it.  You win some you lose some.  Next time I'm having a really good day I'll put two jelly jars in the recycle to help readjust my karma.

Auto Correct and Feeling Unvalidated, By a Machine No Less

I hate autocorrect.  I know others who share my feelings, for various reasons.  It's beyond annoying when you are typing a text message, an email or in the midst of a chat and it "corrects" itself to what it thinks you must mean to say.  How presumptuous.  And how much do we hate it when an actual real life person does the same thing?  Anticipating what we are going to say, or what they think we meant to say, or not listening at all.  Maybe that's the root of it....being blown off, disregarded, not validated.  Because that's what we all desperately crave; it's part of the human condition.  Something a computer or piece of software could never understand.  I have enough issues with feeling like I'm not being listened to; I don't need my inanimate electronic possessions to add fuel to that fire.  On my phone I can't turn it off except to disable it before typing each message; who can remember to do that?  On my laptop I can't find where or how to disable it, although I'm sure there must be a way to.  Surely, there must!  It's not that I always know my own mind; I realize that is hardly even possible on most days, it's just that I don't want a machine telling me what I am thinking.  So there.  I'm thru with this conversation.  And I DO MEAN thru.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On Becoming the Old Lady that I Always Was

I'm finally in actuality becoming the old lady I always was.  Perhaps I'm now growing into myself.  It does in a way feel like that.  I am more comfortable in my own skin than I can ever remember being.  What is inside of my head and visible on the outside of my person seem to better line up these days.  Maybe wisdom and awareness come across as somehow more convincing in an older body.  Anyone who knows me very well remarks how I was born a grown up. Not in a creepy, Benjamin Button kind of way, but an old soul in a young body kind of way.... I was a very serious child who grew into a very serious adult, but with the help of therapy, I'm working on that.  I did not give my parents any trouble; it didn't seem quite fair to put them through that; they were nice enough people. What would be the point?  I did realize after years of therapy that one HAS to go through the emotional separation from one's parents at SOME point.  I did finally, somewhat half-heartedly, get around to it around age 40.  The hardest thing in my therapy has been to identify with my inner child.  I know she's in there somewhere, but damn, she is really hard to find!  So far I have only been able to ascertain that she always wanted a pony.  I bought her a pair of cowboy boots.  She will have to make do.  I'm too old for a pony.  As my aunt reminded me just the other day, "You were always a precocious child."  True.   I looked up the word just to see if it meant what I always thought it did.  It is defined as thus:   "having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual."  Yes, that would be me...the oldest child of the oldest child of the oldest child.  And we first born kids expect a lot of ourselves.  This came up in the conversation as I was relating to my Aunt my newest health challenges..... menopause at age 48, osteoporosis at age 49, and now shingles sliding right into home base just shy of my 50th birthday.  Can't wait to see what surprises are around the corner for me! But it IS somehow appropriate:  the girl who always seemed older than she was; who was more comfortable hanging out with the parents than the other girls at the slumber parties,  the teachers than the students, and friends her parent's age than her own...she would cross the  milestones of midlife at a younger age as well.  Perhaps besides being fitting, it is even a blessing to get these difficulties out of the way now, all the better to get on with the process of life, my dear.  I must make absolutely clear, however, that I prefer NOT to take that final step into the great beyond any sooner than absolutely necessary.  I'm not THAT precocious.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Mother's Ring and Her Legacy to Me

I wear my mother's high school ring.  It's quite pretty, what the hipsters nowadays would call "retro" in design, gold, and harking back to an era of much greater craftsmanship than one sees today.  I always used to admire it when my little sister and I as children would go sit on our parents' bed and dump out either our mother's button box or her jewelry box and go through the treasures found therein.  I've been familiar for years with some of those items....the gold heart-shaped locket that she received from her father that I wore at my wedding, the intense yellow green of the peridot in a birthstone ring, and of course the class ring, emblazoned with the year 1957.  I had "borrowed" the ring back in 1984 when I went away to college, feeling somewhat bereft at not having one of my own.  My father had lost his job during my senior year of high school when his company went bankrupt.  There wasn't money for college, much less a ring.  I went to work full time and saved my own money for college.  My father was too proud to sign the application for student aid and they wouldn't let me apply based on my income because I was only 18 and still living at home.  When I met my future husband at college and we decided to marry, the ring (which I wore on my left ring finger) came off to be replaced by an engagement, then wedding ring, and went back to the jewelry box in my mother's dresser.   After she died two years ago, and my sister asked me which of the jewelry I wanted, and I knew what I would ask for.  I didn't quite know why I wanted it, but I do now.  As adults, I think we all think about the legacy our parents have given us; good, bad or indifferent.  Mine was a mixed bag....most of the attitudes I was handed down have had to be re-examined, re-thought, and eventually discarded as unhealthy motivations.  But a few jewels remained.  As a child I never really thought about the oddity of a young girl who came from a family so poor having such a nice possession as that ring.  Now I wondered aloud to my sister, "Where did the money come from to buy that ring?"  Perhaps I was even unintentionally thinking about the ring I didn't get when I graduated.  My sister had some insight.  "You remember how she got that job at the dime store and worked very hard to help her mom and dad put food on the table and the electricity going; she probably bought it with her own heard-earned money," she said.  I thought about it, and agreed.  My mother was a conflicted person.  She never really allowed herself to have what she wanted.  When we were growing up and asked her did she know that she wanted to have children (us), she would say (unthinking I am sure) "Oh, I NEVER planned on having a family....I wanted to travel and see the world."  Yet, she never did that.  So many of her dreams were never realized because she always put other people's needs first.  That sounds unselfish and generous, but in actuality all it does it dry up and empty out your own soul so that you have nothing left to give to anyone else.  And then one day you get a diagnosis of terminal cancer and realize you have no time to do those things you always wanted to do.  She put up with so much in her life that brought her no joy, thinking perhaps that she "had to" or "had no other choice" and would always be able to do what she wanted "someday."  I have struggled for years trying to understand that aspect of her.  It divided us, specially at the end.  Since both she and my father are gone, I have spent many hours going through countless "what if's" and "if only's" in my mind, trying to find a way that things could have been different.  Fifteen years ago, I moved away, wanting to make sure I didn't make her same mistakes.  I didn't have those children that might get in the way of my dreams.  I think there is a deeper reason why I wore that ring when I went away from home for the first time, at the beginning of my life apart from my family.  But it wasn't until a few days ago, looking at that ring that, resized, now resides on my right hand, that I realized why, and exactly what part of her legacy I had wanted....the part that was willing to work hard for something she wanted and felt she deserved, in spite of difficulties....I finally found a part of you Mom that I am proud of, awed by, inspired by.  I knew you always had it in you.  I just didn't get to know that person.  Maybe she wasn't around by the time I came into the picture.  But I know she's still living.  She's living in me.