May 23, 2014

Perspective

I went home to the woods this past weekend to attend my nephews high school graduation.  Honey came with me and got to see for real the kind of community I came from.  I can only assume he liked it.

While I was home my mother put something into perspective for me that hadn't crossed my mind before.  You see, I'm aware that I come from a poorer area, I'm aware that being raised in the country has created a pattern of thought very different from those who live where I live now.  I very often preach gratitude and appreciation.  I am quick to tell someone they don't appreciate what they have, you think someone is always going to be there for you.  I simply assumed it was backwoods Southern raisin'.  Then she said this:  "You and your sister grew up with the understanding that your father was about to die at any moment."  See, for us, there was no safety net.  After his first two heart attacks in the early 80's the rest of his, and our, life has been a waiting game.  Every hospital visit, every heart attack after those two, the angioplasty, the pancreatitis, the quadruple bypass at 70+, the kidney failure last year....every time he went in...we didn't expect him to come out.

The first time he died I was about 4 years old.  I get the two episodes confused because I've seen him have so many heart attacks.  The first two were less than a year apart and for one of them he flat lined for several minutes and left his body.  He's had the "near death" experience.  They were able to bring him back and he's now in his 80's.  Anywhoo, for one of the two all I remember is a pretty nurse coming into the lobby, snatching me up and grabbing my sisters hand.  I asked her where we were going...she told me we were going to see our daddy.  I remember running down a long hallway and not much else.  Mom told me much later that pretty nurse got fired for that stunt and one or two similar to it.  Children are not supposed to go in ICU, and they certainly aren't supposed to go into a post op ward.  Needless to say he survived.  He never worked outside the home again, but he has taken care of our home and land ever since.  Now he truly is at the jumping off point, and my sister and I are still playing the waiting game.  It hurts.  You become numb to it after a while.  I know once it happens we'll both be devastated...but it's got to happen.



Mama mentioned something to the effect of not ever having a safety net, no fall back.  She was the worker bee, she was the one who had to pick it up and run with it because if she didn't...we'd have had no home at all.  Had she never said that I never would have put two and two together...that I caution young people to do what they can strictly on their own because I had no safety net.  It was partially because my parents didn't have the money to provide one, but it was also because in my world...people die.  You can't guarantee they will be there to rescue you out of a drunk or drugged out haze.  You can't guarantee they will be there to pay a note when you lose one job and are still looking for another.  You can't even guarantee they will be on the opposite end of the phone line when you need to chat.  It's sort of the curse of being a child of older parents.  My father is old enough to be my grandfather and technically old enough to be my moms father...16 years.

It's a strange and comforting thing to have one of your neuroses explained.  I've been told straight out or it's been implied in the last year that I'm cold, mean, unfeeling, closed up, that I don't trust...most of this is absolutely true.  I've heard pretty much all of it before.  I've always been that way.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to change it or if I'm supposed to figure out how to deal with it or if I'm just supposed to avoid people all together.  We all have a hangup, some of us have many.  They vary in intensity and sometimes we don't even realize we have those hangups until someone or something brings them to light.  Like with me, I knew I had anxiety left over from the Corps and some things that happened as soon as I got out.  I knew that I had some "quirks".  I never saw them as debilitating OCD symptoms until very recently.  The hardest thing about divorcing a spouse of a decade plus is remarrying someone that has to get to know you and pays attention.

Take a few and look up Stockholm Syndrome one day, or PTSD, or OCD, or Anxiety.  Look at the list of symptoms or behaviors....check off how many you match.  Or better yet, ask your spouse/significant other to match up your symptoms.  My sister and I have been conditioned to do for ourselves as much as possible.  We count on very few, we trust few, and those we do count on, we never ask for anything.  It's just the way we are.  We hate owing people.  More than anything we hate anyone having control over us.  I guess that's double for me considering Ex controlled nearly every aspect of my life for 10 years.  So now, poor Honey has to deal with a woman who can't let go.... A man born to provide married to a woman born to be completely independent.  Yeah....I'll just let you stew on that one for a while.



4 comments:

  1. It is simply something the 2 of you will eventually work out together. It may take another 10+years before that happens but I have seen how much the two of you care so deeply for each other and I know things are not perfect in your relationship but if anyone ever says they have a perfect one then they are either lying to you or to themselves either way someone is being fooled.

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  2. :-) thankfully I have good examples around me like you and your husband, my sister and hers and others.

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  3. just now seeing this one. our tendency to be "islands" is also just the way mom and her family were taught. did we EVER see any friends come over and visit our grandmother and aunt? no one other than family RARELY came into that house and that was the way they BELIEVED it should be. remember how antsy and twitchy mom would get if anyone of their circles actually came to visit? and how judgemental and angry she could be when they left? maybe part of it was very hard for her to deal with, esp. after dad got down. she has a tendency to say even now that we allow too many people to be in our home or calls it having people "underfoot" too much. of course then again, she'll contradict herself by saying we needs friends to do things with but I'm not sure she quite realizes what that fully entails .... you and Jamie and your life together will be fine. he LOVES you for ALL that you are, good or "bad" and I think if you look at it, you HAVE begun to be the partners you think you should be. years of conditioning to a certain routine won't fade overnight but each of you have already dropped or gotten around that conditioning and you ARE doing it together. Jamie loves you dearly. and he probably doesn't care "where" or "what" you came from other than it's influenced your thinking. he's not the kind of man to worry about social classes or money or having 3 degrees behind one's name. he CHOSE YOU. YOU to be WITH him and that meant taking you as you are. and you have to remember, the first years of anything are a little stumbly. but you will be fine. better than fine really. it's our nature (yours and mine) to be "islands" and be completely self-reliant. it was programmed into us all our growing up by example and teaching. but we BOTH have wonderful husbands and friends and we BOTH need to quit letting ourselves cringe and draw back from what we've been told is that fire that will burn us if we get to close. we can do it. we've got the tools and the smarts. easier said than done, I know. but if we look, we're already well on our way. ;)

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    Replies
    1. yes ma'm indeed!! ;-) I call it baby steps...it's a slow process but thankfully he's really really patient!

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