It's me again, I've been off on another Bilbo Baggins self reflecting journey again. And several thoughts came to mind.
I went home for Labor Day....and it truly was a Labor Day, Mommy Dearest had included a "Work Day" on her itinerary for the weekend. Let's not forget my older brother and his family were out from NJ, (they only come out once a year) and she had us mending fences, painting fences, finishing deck stairs and my personal hell, cleaning out the QVC room.
Ever watch Hoarders? Yah, it was like that. While my mom is able to keep the hoarding to a few rooms...so far....the behaviors are EXACTLY the same. She kept bags, and when I tried throwing them out, she'd find a reason to keep them. Any bags or garbage she had to go through to make sure we were not throwing anything out important, and yes, she would drag out at least 1/3 of the crap and put it in the keep pile. I know anything I put in the garage sale pile will later find itself back in the QVC room. Now I will say, at least it was not piles of old newspapers, adult diapers and old food, but she had boxes and boxes of unopened stuff she had ordered on QVC, hence the room name. Anyway, I did notice that everyone had mysteriously taken the "I'd rather stand outside in 95 degree heat and paint a fence or dig a post hole in concrete with a spork" options as opposed to digging out the QVC room with mom.
Self reflection #1: This is the reason I don't put value on stuff...it may also be the reason I don't put value on people. Living in a home where stuff and money was more important than the occupants, how does one ever learn the value of treasuring other people? Hence two previous marriages and my overall disconnect from most people.
The grands kids have a love hate relationship with mom, and so do her own children for that matter. When I first arrived 10 seconds in the door, it was, "Don't tell Heidi (my little bro's ex wife with whom he as 2 children) anything. She doesn't deserve to be part of this family. You need to back me up on this!" to crying "I loved your ex husbands and Heidi, they are like my own children, I have done so much for them!! I don't understand why they don't like me!!" on the last day I was there. And the rest of the time was spent watching Nana disciplining the grand kids "out of love". And when they started to ignore her, she started to send ME....yes ME...out to yell at them for climbing up the wrong way on the slide. Which of course I didn't do and it made her more mad. As I watched I wondered what kind of thoughts and feelings these kids will have toward her as they get older. Will they remember her with fondness or will it be "Thank God she's gone?" I truly don't know.
Self reflection #2: Sometimes in a dreamy state of wine or half asleep, I wonder if I self sealed my uterus shut. Was that childhood sucking sound my womb drawing closed as I contemplated the idea of being a mom? Perhaps I had extraordinary foresight to see that 1) Either I would end up exactly like her or 2) I would never want to subject my children to a unhappy, unfulfilled, controlling Nana like her. And as a self preserving, "I don't want to get stuck in the middle anymore" move I willed my eggs to dry up at an early age. Who knows.
Work again. This is my constant never ending monkey on my back. I swear I will not succumb to complaining, being petty and picking things apart, as is my example in the office, and true to form I get sucked back in. Next thing you know, I'm down on my knees in the shag carpet looking for that proverbial needle of self, complaining the entire time. And damn me if I don't come up shamed-faced and ragged every time blaming myself. However, after thinking I was the most ineffective, useless student advisor in the world I found some vindication last night. I was asked to advise the Art Club so I attended their meeting. And I'll be dipped if it wasn't just a simple nice meeting, with nice kids and not a drama queen or stew stirrer in sight. They talked respectfully to each other, they listened, they redirected their thoughts politely, they talked about how to give constructive criticism in a supportive way, they were organized, willing and more than grateful to have an experienced advisor that was willing to come to their meetings and get to know them. Wow.
Self reflection 3#: Sooo, maybe it's not me. Maybe I'm not the ass biscuit advisor. The students in our center are hit with so many mixed messages...be strong, stand up, shout out,...but do it dressed as a professional, with good table manners and don't make a scene while doing it. This naturally sets them against themselves and eventually each other. And yes, we do need to acknowledge that these kids come with cultural baggage, they grew up knowing they had to fight because of the color of their skin or their backgrounds,but that issue of respect can overlay that, helping them to focus and get along. But that is not the example given here with certain interactions with our staff. So now to try and work around that. That's the task anyway, the self reflection part is that I don't suck and it's not something I'm solely responsible for. However, I am responsible for my own reactions, and this self effacing negativity demon on my back has got to go. I'm sure I can trace that back to mom somehow too.
Overall, I need to stop fading myself into the background. I need to really start connecting again with people, my art, I deserve to have a life. I also deserved to have children. This sounds wacky, but digging deeper, I may not have thought that I did, and the reality is that biologically this would not be reflected, I have honest problems with my girl bits, but that may have played into my foster parenting and adopting issues (besides the money part). And lastly, instead of hoping for someone else to be or build that wall of respect at work, I can do that too.
This process of growing up never ends, and for me the habit of always looking for parts of me to improve will never end either. Now, I'm not looking for perfection, I'm just looking for a little peace. Perfection asks too much of me, but Peace? Well, now that one I think I can manage.