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This is really screwing me up. I am not finished October, but I am starting November. My life is in chaos! I tried to add to October, but I am just getting an error message, so I must soldier on. I guess I will continue with Mom's death and the aftermath once I can access October again. I can't have things all out of sequence...Nov. 1, that was yesterday. If I was doing NaNoWriMo this year, I would ahve already started and be writing like a maniac, but Mom dying kind of took the wind out of my sails.
I was on and of the idea of Doing NaNo. I did it last year for the first time without any idea in my head going into it. It was an amazing experience, and I got much more out of it than I thought. Even so, even without Mom getting sick and dying on me, I was on the fence about doing it this year. Why? I have no idea. Or maybe I do. It seems I really hate it when things work out well. I am much more comfortable with failure. Unhappiness is a comfortable place I know well.
I am writing for the future now. Tomorrow I will get up full of energy and loving kindness and I will go to work happily riding my bicycle in the rain. I will take peoples condolences about my mother's death with great aplomb and I will cry and hug everybody with genuine gratitude. I will not try and skulk in the back door so I don't run into anybody, and laugh nervously when people tell me how truly sorry they are. I will not scream "leave me alone" at the 50th person that asks me if I am O.K.
So I did go into work, against my better judgement, and I did graciously accept the condolences of my colleagues to the power of 10. I did not yell at anybody to leave me alone, I did not freak out, and I did not tell my whole life story to anybody that asked, as I have had a bad habit of doing in the past. Writing for the future did help, as I was prepared, instead of flying by the seat of my pants as I have so often done in my life, only to regret my behaviour for weeks.
The obituary for my mother will be a long time in the making. My brother had a brilliant idea to ask myself and my two sisters to write it together, sort of the committee approach. He loves to give us stuff to do, like we're children that need to be kept occupied so that they don't get into trouble. Now the main problem with this idea of his is that we live in different countries. Not only that, my sister that lives in Spain does not read her email, though she has an account, and her phone is quite unpredictable.
So I have already gotten frustrated with waiting to hear form the two of them, and so I have written the beginnings of an obituary. I have sent it off to my brother and sisters to reading, just dreading their responses. It is a thing in my family that everybody feels that they have to outdo each other, the competition for who is the smartest is really crazy making. But I decided I am not going to be offended by anything they say. Unfortunately, because I am always writing for other people, I have made it fairly traditional (read boring).
Funny, I think that "boring" is always what my family expects from me, no matter what I actually present. But with writing, it is what I present, because I write to what they expect. So sending the first draft of this obituary out for "judgement" is not really scarey, as I am quite sure of what the reactions will be. Are reactions can be so easily predicted because we all have really defined roles in the family, and when we are dealing with family, we all tend to stick to these roles. It's almost a game to watch it happen.
I didn't realize I had gotten so behind. Where the hell is the time going these days? Some days I seem to be lost in an almost dreamlike world, others I am so awake, so present, so with every moment, and it feels like every cell in my body is responding to the beauty around me. But I can't seem to have any meaningful control over any of these states...it always, all my life has felt as if it is impossible to have any sort of control over what is in my mind. Control is not the right word.
I never had any sense of autonomy as a child. And during the time of life when most people develop their autonomy, I was living in a state of perpetual fear. It's not what it sounds like. When I was very young, somehow I developed a belief or a sense that it was my job to make everybody feel safe and loved, particularly my mother. I grew up with a feeling, one that I did not really understand, that my Mom lived with a great amount of fear and a great amount of sadness that she never actually spoke about.
Even when my Mom did speak a little bit to me about her sadness and fears when I became a teenager, it was still only in stops and starts and starts. No ongoing narrative just bits and pieces that seemed very difficult to string together. She kept that up most of her life, and in the last years descended into dementia until she died. No deathbed confessions, no conscience clearing, no relief from the guilt and grief that had weighed heavy on her all her life (her adult life I can only assume). I always listened, but never really understood.
The grief that I live with right now is the sum of all those years of not understanding. I always, always listened, but made the mistake of never really questioning. I learned that lesson really well. Too well. To the point that I learned to never ask questions of people about anything. Like I did not have the right to know certain things, that it was impolite to delve no matter what the situation. It wasn't until I was much older that I saw clearly how well I had learned that. In her dementia I finally asked questions...too late.
I was back at work for a week after compassionate leave. Sliding through each day in a cloud of disbelief. I think people thought I was doing so well in grieving for my mother. I did not tell them that another lesson I learned is to be able to live in a complete state of denial. I have the ability to be living my life on the outside as if things are completely normal, yet in my mind I live in an elaborate and complex fantasy world. It is perhaps time for me start putting that ability to good use.
I started writing when I was about twelve. I was a very shy child, and often found it difficult to express myself verbally. If my family were having a lively discussion, as was quite common, it would take me ages to put my thoughts together before speaking, and by the time I was ready, the conversation had moved on, and I would end up missing my chance. I learned to listen. The only way I could find to express myself was in writing. There were no time constraints, no interruptions. I could focus on what I was trying to say.
I was reading a lot as a teenager and became fascinated by certain authors. I loved Dostoyevski, Conrad and Gogol, but my favourite was Kafka. I absolutely devoured Kafka. I do not think that I really understood the complexity of these writers when I was 14 years old, but there was something that I understood and was attracted to at an almost unconscious level.I don't think that my motivations for wanting to write at that time in my life had any relationship to the desire for acceptance or even fame. It just was something that I wanted to do.
Somewhere, at some point in my later teens, I lost it. When I as about 15 or 16, I went into a deep state of anxiety and depression. As I remember it, I retreated from life, and felt like I was floating, separate from my "self", even my own body. It was terrifying. Writing tried to save me by showing me me the darkness, but it frightened me so much I clawed my way back to what I thought was the light. I put my pen down then, and have had a hard time picking it up again ever since.
Here I am, thirty years later, still afraid of the dark. I did not have the capacity, the autonomy, the sense of self and groundedness that would allow me to dive into the darkness with some faith that I could come back out again. I had learned from my mother, and from my father in a different way, that the darkness should be avoided at any cost. My fear of the darkness itself, I now realize, far outwieghs the threat of anything I might find or encounter in those deep, dark waters.It is time for me to dive in.
I feel that the words are backing up and clogging all avenues of thought. There is definitely some sort of stoppage whether natural or man-made. Some people call it a block, but I always feel that sounds so insurmountable that it may need dynamite to bring it down. I prefer to see it more like a slowdown...a traffic jam...a stalled car...that time and a small movement or adjustment here or there will release and allow the free flow to continue. I used to think of it as a wall too, but surely now I know better.
Reading your mother's will is weird. We were all so worried about her outliving her money, what with paying about $3500 a month for Long Term Care, I did not even consider the fact that there might be an inheritance. Luckily, the will was very clear about how the money should be divided up. I hate to think of what would have ensued if it wasn't. Not a particularly greedy family, but a poor one. Everybody needs the money. I was thinking of leaving my portion to my brother, or to my nieces and nephews, but even I am hesitating.
So my oldest brother who is taking care of my mother's affairs is going to feel the difference once it is all sorted out. I think he has been enjoying the sense of power of being the one with the information, doling it out as he pleases. It is almost like a game to him. Understand that this power hungry behaviour is not limited to him. We all do it. But I see it so much more clearly now. In all his emails about Mom's will, he has not once mentioned what the estate is worth. It is a test.
I am not even really sure if he is conscious of it, or not, the game is so ingrained. He keeps referring to the fact that her estate is "more that $25,000". However, he neglects to tell us what it is. Are we all curious? Of course. But who wants to be the one to ask? I want to just because I find the behaviour so irritating, but my other brother beats me to it. The game is "who is the most greedy?". So now he can say, in his haste he forgot to attach the statement. Very sorry.
It is all just so sublime. I guess my father is having a good old laugh and an "I told you so" toast with Martini in hand (wherever he is hanging out for eternity). My siblings never gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking that he was not financially savvy enough to make sure Mom had enough money for her needs. Way to go Dad, you weren't as irresponsible as they thought. I suppose if Mom had lived for 10 more years, she might have run into trouble, but the likelihood of that was slim. Good on ya', Dad.
I am angry right now. I can feel it in my bones. They hurt. Like there is something inside me trying to push it's way out and my bones are resisting, but losing the battle. And I have no idea why. Scratch that, I think I have lots of ideas, I'm just not sure what specifically is bugging me right now. Perhaps it is just everything together.
I think it is this angry girl that has been living inside me since I was very young. The one I always ignored, but recently asked out to play. I may regret it.
I have done nothing but talk about myself for the last few months. Like I think I am so interesting. I don't think I am interesting to other people, but I think I really need to hear what I have to say when I'm not worried about who is going to read it. I think this is what is going to save me. I talked a few entries ago about a state of panic and anxiety I experienced when I was a teenager, well every 7 years or so, it returns. The more I ignore it, the madder it gets.
And I think it is really mad right now. And it is not going to let me alone this time until I deal with it. Until I find out what it means and what it is trying to tell me. I have avoided it all other times that it has shown up because the fear of the fear was so great and so terrifying that I would rather live in a state of oblivion and denial than face up to it. But I don't care anymore how scary it is. I am ready to really listen and sit with it.
I do believe that this fear that I have avoided for years is what has caused me to hold back from so many things. Why I have limited myself, held myself short, had no belief. I look at other people and wonder where do they get the courage and belief to do the things that they do? I do not understand. I have never lived with any sort of confidence, and I feel failure and rejection so much that I am afraid to take a step in any direction. I have recently realized that I also fear success as well.
I met the most interesting patient today. Everybody I work with think he's a little bit crazy, but I'm used to that. That happens to me a lot. And perhaps he is a little crazy, but he seems more interesting and alive and thinking than many of the other people that I meet that are so constrained by a certain type of acceptable behaviour. People that spout platitudes that they have heard or read on a greeting card somewhere. This guy was an individual. He thought for himself, and for that reason did not fit easily in to this environment.
Hospitals are funny places. Of course, the staff are supposed to be knowledgeable, so there is an understanding that you are best off doing what they tell you to do. Because I work in a hospital, I know it is a lot easier if people just do what we say, but it isn't always right. Some people who work in hospitals do not know what they are talking about, but are good at convincing people that they do. So, when I meet a patient that is considered "non-compliant", they immediately catch my attention. They are very often interesting people.
These non-compliant patients are quite often assholes who think they are the only people in the world who know anything and need to be in control of everything that happens to them. This can often come about out of insecurity. Often they are people that are considered Type A personalities. It is often to their dettiment that they are non-compliant, as they often refuse medications and procedures that could save their lives. However, they are often people that think more for themselves, and wonder about things, and realize that often what they are told doesn't really make sense.
Anyway, this one patient was very funny, and very interesting. He had already had two heart surgeries in which he had been non-compliant and it had very bad consequences. He was trying to do what he was told, but it just was very difficult for him not to be rebellious. He told me that he was a heroin addict from the age of 14. Even though he came from a good family, he got heavily into drugs and ended up face down in a ditch most nights. When he was 38, he woke up on the downtown east side.
He looked around and thought "what the hell am I doing here?" He walked down the street crying, and found a detox centre and banged on the door until somebody let him in. They told him they did not really have space for him, but he begged and pleaded and cried, so they let him stay. For two months he worked on getting the drugs out of his system. He realized that he just was not like others. He referred to himself as an "excitable boy", and said that he recognized that all his life he was always too sensitive.
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