Two years ago I sent the first few chapters of my book “My mother is an orange” to a friend for review. My friend is a skilled analyst with all the bells and whistles to accompany her fame so she had the right to tell me that I was full of shit and that I should re-evaluate my perception with regard to my mother. She prefaced her analysis of my over flowing crap with, “You wouldn’t be the incredible person you are today if it were not for your mothers influence.”
As a result, I entered into an eight month odyssey of personal assessment and paradigm changes with a professional psychiatrist that can never be undone. Emotional shifts and perceptions were implemented into my processing that are alive and ticking today.
This period of introspection was directly on the heels of several other people who were hell bent on telling me exactly how terrible I was, many of them folks I once loved and trusted. Since they are train wrecks with dilemmas they have yet to work through, I decided to listen to the professional who is not a disaster, and I’m glad I did.
Last week I was catching up with an old friend who told me about a tragic situation with their child, and I came face to face with a demon I’d locked in a closet for nearly forty years. How I had managed to muddle through my life up to this point is mystifying, and a testament to my personal survival skills. As a result of learning how to process grief and not succumb to anger, when my nine year old self emerged from the closet with the head of a demon as a trophy I had to sit my ass down and contemplate the scene. I couldn’t ignore it, I couldn’t get angry at it, I couldn’t do much of anything except cry.
The sorrow I felt was monumental. I called a dear friend who listened to me for hours and I asked her if I could “energetically” leave my nine year old with her while I managed my emotional distress. In meditation I realized that my nine year old self was dandy. What she’d done to manage the horrific abuse she endured for months was nothing short of miraculous, and I found some clues to the beginning of my body dysmorphia.
Attempting to decipher the pain code in my body as a somewhat enlightened and conscious adult became frustrating. It didn’t make sense to me to grieve for myself in the here and now, but each time I had a “talk” with my nine year old, I had to return to the pain I was authentically experiencing in the present. I couldn’t rescue that child, but I damn well needed to rescue the adult.
In the midst of my reckoning and in my personal circle of friends, I was also witnessing one of the most fucked up collaborations of miscommunication between a group of presumably conscious minds. So much so that I had to keep spot checking myself with others who were not involved in order to maintain a sense of balance. I had a sudden insight in the process and realized that the so called perpetrator of the crimes against consciousness and decency was, in fact, the only one standing in truth. I had the odd place of being the fly on the wall and when it became utterly clear to me that this was why wars start I had a cosmic chuckle and stood up in spite of my personal hell. I was fucked anyway, but at least I could help a friend.
Here’s where my story becomes fascinating. Here’s the hook, are you ready?
For those of you uncommon with my metaphors, this is a metaphor: When I decided to stand up, I was told to sit down. In my house. Not once, not twice, but a few times and in back to back scenarios. The domino effect of being slapped was stunning to my psyche.
My nine year old held my hand in each moment and said, “They can’t tell you what to think or feel, and they cannot rationalize away their inability to respect you, they cannot justify their selfishness and their ignorance is not your problem. Look at them, and have compassion, but most of all for yourself. They take liberties with you because you have let them get away with bad behavior. That’s not their fault, it’s yours. You aren’t nine and trying to protect your mother. You’re fifty and smart as fuck. What are you going to do? This really hurts. Don’t ignore it. Take some time to decide what you’re going to do next, and remember that Love is a verb. Their actions tell you that they do not love you. Don’t waste any more time with them. Please?”
This was a rant. My next real article will be titled, “Five Reasons To Always Post Pictures of Dead Babies On Facebook” and I will probably incorporate some history about how Buddha was given a pretty world to view and the consequences of that when he saw his first old and crippled fellow human. In the meantime, I’m making some popcorn for my nine year old and we’ll go watch something light and breezy, I’m thinking Schindler’s List is a good starting point. Maybe even reason one.