36 années

I’m nervous to write. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Either the flood gates will open and I will be overwhelmed by all that I need to say or… nothing… blank stare, blank page, and I will have to face the fact that I actually have no thoughts, no story to tell, nothing to write.

Yesterday was my birthday. 36 years old. Feels different this time. I feel like I am coming into myself. Becoming a person that I can be proud of, a woman with integrity and ability.

But when did I get so fat? don’t answer that.
And why did I check out of my own life and myself for so long? don’t answer that either.

This year’s birthday validated the sense that I am becoming a person deserving of belonging and acceptance. My colleagues celebrated with fancy donuts yesterday for all of us with September birthdays- I was neither the star of the show nor ignored. I got some really thoughtful cards that were very personal. People “got” me. My kids bought me flowers and cake and an actual birthday gift to support my newest hobby. It was really nice.

I’m not sure what else to write about. Looks like I was right- I have nothing to say. That’s not true. I have things to say, but maybe I just don’t want to jinx anything… things are pretty good right now. Maybe I’ll write more tomorrow.

Charlie Brown and Snoopy comic

Brain, turn off… please

I fear I will never have time to think all the thoughts that I need to think. I keep getting distracted. Where is the off button for my brain?

But I can’t turn it off, I need to get to work on my brilliant bipolar book that will perfectly capture the essence of what living and mothering with mild madness feels like. It is my life’s purpose. As if writing it and having it validated will make it stop existing. As if being recognized positively for suffering will make it all worth it.

We write about things that have passed. So maybe if I am able to write about this once and for all, it will mean that it is over. Then I can begin living the next chapter- whatever that will look like.

Besides, isn’t all this crazy supposed to make me extra brilliant? I feel like it just makes me extra confused.
I am a star. no. I don’t need to be a star.

Does everyone feel an unstoppable longing for attention? A longing to be seen and heard – by everyone – by anyone. It’s like all of humanity is just driven to have our existance validated in some way. For someone to say, “yes, i see you, i’m here, it’s okay.”

Am I supposed to learn how to say that to myself? Is that what “practising self-kindness” means?

I really want to be truly seen and heard. I can’t even see myself. I have no idea what I look like. I don’t understand how others may see me. I’m not even sure if it matters what they think. But I can’t stop feeling like my whole existence is supposed to focus on appearing the ‘right’ way.

I just really want to do right by my kids. I don’t want them to ever feel the way that I feel. I don’t want anyone to ever feel the way that I feel. I can’t even describe how horrible it is.

But I worry that maybe by over-focusing on trying not to screw up my kids, I’ll do the opposite.

It’s like I’m trying to teach myself a delicate dance on a (seemingly) fine line between smothering them and making them feel rejected. I’m not sure what the dance is supposed to look like.

But if I can’t do it perfectly, I have failed. I will have failed them. I will have failed myself. I will have failed my mother-in-law. I will have failed my husband. I will have failed anyone who ever tried to help me with anything.  I will have failed the waiter who brought me a sandwich yesterday. I will have failed the tree who gave me breath.

If Oedipus hadn’t feared that his son would kill him, he never would have sent him out to the mountains and the fear would not have come true. Sometimes, a decision that you make to avoid a particular outcome, is exactly what brings about that very outcome.

How will I know if I’m doing this life thing right? Where is my report card? and even if I received one, could I ever believe it?

…This post sounds a bit rambling and extreme but I’m actually feeling fine. I think. I’m sitting at my day job doing great work. I just have a lot of thoughts. I feel like I need some time to think about them all.

Where is my power to stop time so that I can get this all figured out?


I am Harry Potter

Don’t worry- this isn’t some crazy manic post where I tell you I have found a portal to Diagon Alley … This is just a post where I compare my mother to the “Dark Lord” and commander of the “Death Eaters”.

I have been re-reading the book, Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Lawson.

The other day, I read this: “When the borderline mother recognizes the [2 year old] child’s separateness, separation anxiety is triggered and different parts of her personality are split off and projected onto the child.” -Christina Lawson (p.40)

It made me think of this: “When Lily cast her own life between them as a shield,…a fragment of Voldemort’s soul was blasted apart from the whole, and latched itself onto the only living soul left in that collapsed building…Part of Lord Voldemart lives inside Harry.” -Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (p.686)

This may seem like a stretch, but really, it’s the same thing. The trigger for the soul splitting, in both cases, was the healthy emotional reaction of the victim.

Whether it is a toddler learning how to think for herself or a mother sacrificing for her infant, these basic human reactions are intolerable to someone so emotionally damaged as a borderline mother or Voldemort (yes- i just grouped them together), that they basically cause the person to implode and desperately latch on to the most susceptible living soul, the helpless child.

The concept of emotional competence is rooted in understanding emotions as normal, useful aspects of being human. It haunts me that my mother has no emotional competence. Similarly, “Of…love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped.” -J.K. Rowling (p.709)

Harry and I were born into mysterious worlds where tragedies happened before we can remember and the effects ruled our lives. “Children live in terror of [their mother’s] capricious moods; they are the “collateral damage” of a secret war they did not start, do not understand, and cannot control.” – Christina Lawson. “You were the seventh Horcrux, Harry, the Horcrux he never meant to make. He had rendered his soul so unstable… He left part of himself latched to you.” -J.K. Rowling (p.709)

My sister, the scapegoat, is Lily, Harry’s mother. When my mother attacked us both, my sister jumped in the way and sacrificed herself to protect me, she always received the worst spell of all and was the recipient of the most evil curse (ex-communication).

My mom continued to fall apart as her other children grew older and she became weaker and held tighter onto me. As she used me as a shield, I became even more enmeshed with my mother when the curses bounced around the room.

My eldest sister and brother are also horcruxes, perhaps the ring and the tiara. Objects that were quietly imbued with power and elements of evil. They are not actively involved in Harry’s development or growth but they ultimately must be freed from the curse in order to save Harry and validate Lily’s sacrifice.

And where does my dad fit in? I would like to think that he is just a pawn, like the Malfoys, who ultimately rise to help Harry. But really I know he is Bellatrix Lestrange (sorry). A socially inept servant of the evil lord who has blindly devoted his life to my mother’s twisted mission and will die thanklessly to support her.

When I reach out to my mother, her attacks break me down and my belief that I will ever be close to her gets weaker.

Voldemort had to finally kill Harry in order to free Harry. My mother is, at the same time, pushing me closer to rock bottom and pushing me further away from her. When this is over, I will be okay- she will be alone. She just doesn’t understand this.

“ . . . has it gone?”
“Oh yes!” said Dumbledore. “Yes, he destroyed it. Your soul is whole, and completely your own, Harry.” J.K. Rowling (p.708)

Harry Potter

I am… unpredictable…(potential trigger)

So… last week was a bit rough for me (read: it was my time of the month and depression took over) and while I was sitting at the bottom of the figurative well, I read my “I am” poem and wondered if I had really written that. I thought that it would be interesting while I was stuck in the bottom of the damp well, to try to write another “I am” poem that felt more relevant. I’m feeling more alive now but here is what I wrote::

I am dying and invisible
I wonder why anyone is still trying to help me
I hear nothing
I see nothing
I want nothingness

I am not.
I pretend to know that I will be okay. I don’t.
I feel pain
I touch my own bruises
I worry all the time
I cry for every reason

I understand. No, I don’t.
I say this. No one hears.
I dream of rewinding my life to avoid connecting wih the people I love and will hurt.
I try to protect my family from me.
I hope. I have no hope.
I am. I am not.