Huntress of the Lens


Monday, May 17, 2010

The list

"If it weren't for you, my life might have been something great."
"If it weren't for you your father would still love me."
" You're just like me, you're never going to be pretty, you're going to have to get by on your personality. You better get to work on that, if people really knew you no one would want you."
"You are the most selfish person on the planet."
"The only person you ever think about is yourself, and you've ruined my life."
"There has never been a person lazier than you are."

It's funny how the things I heard as a child still stay with me, as though they're fact. I've lived my whole life trying to prove these things to be untrue about myself, and at the end of the day when the ocean comes rolling back in to take back my sand-castle I still feel like that description of me.

I try to live my life as a compassionate person. I do my best to always be in service to others, and think of their needs as well as my own. For years the highest accolade I sought was "nice" because I knew I wasn't, and I so wanted people to like me. Forget about being pretty, I'm funny and smart and that won't recede with age, but I would have liked to be pretty too, if only a little bit.

I am a hamster on a wheel, spinning it as fast as it will go, trying to be the opposite of the
person I was told so often that I am. I make it my personal responsibility to be sure that no one is angry or yelling, sad, lonely or hopeless, bereft or bereaved. If I can somehow make sure everyone is fine and that I'm doing enough to make sure everything works out just peachy then maybe none of that was ever true.

Then there's life, and other people and all the things they do; the corners they paint themselves into and I realize that I can't make the whole world ok, even if I'm wiling to sacrifice my own well-being in the process. If that were true I could check off "Lazy" and "Selfish" at the same time and reduce the list I carry within myself; the list of how I ruined everything. If I could make it all smooth sailing for everyone I love I would gladly suffer for it, with only the occasional complaint.

I was not allowed to be angry about anything, ever. When things make me feel angry I feel wrong and will send my own self to my room for punishment. Angry is selfish, and I don't want to be a selfish person. I want to be the opposite of the list so I can deserve my space on the planet. This is insane, and it's how my secret-self feels much of the time.

I have never made a fist and hit another person with it, nor have I ever been punched in the face. That is part of Anger, and to be angry is to be self-centered and selfish. Sometimes though? I feel really angry and I want to punch and shoot, rend and rip and destroy. I put myself in isolation and sit very, very still, and I never ever do these things. It is my life's work to make sure that her list about me is wrong, that I'm not that person.

If everything goes as planned my oldest and final child will move out of our home today. I won't have any of my kids with me any more, and their need for me will be finished. I am terrified that I have missed chances to be a better parent, or that like me one of them will find it in themselves to walk away from their mother and never look back. That's not entirely true, I do look back, but only from around the corner and I make sure I'm never seen doing it, at least by her.

I feel sad today. Sad that this phase of my parenting is over. Sad that this phase of my womanhood, with all of it's blood and fertility is drawing to a close. Sad that although I feel young I am not, and only old age is on the menu for future meals.

I could have done better, I might have been someone great and made huge changes in the world. What I did do was focus on one little list and try to beat it. Sometimes I think I have, and other times I know that she was right the whole time and no amount of pretending on my part will ever change who I was born to be. I am wallowing in self-centered melancholy and would not choose myself for company today.

Scarlett O'Hara and I, we will think about all of this tomorrow.

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The fish can fly, the dogs and cats dance together and all the flowers are edible.