break heart, to pass

If
2012
has any real importance,
I suggest it is as a year
of vast change …

… when GREAT walls may at last
come tumbling down
& the life & light they stifled,
can finally flood through.

A little over two weeks ago the wall that is my mother, collapsed.

My sister phoned to tell me that body parts had been found on her lawn.

I was shocked
but not surprised.

I wrote a non-haiku last year
to try & give voice
to the screaming of my past that refused to be silenced –

tattered years,
frozen metal mother with grip of death
father looks on, awaiting his leave-taking

Some time ago my sister’s counsellor suggested that my mother might suffer from narcissism. I read a very fitting book & even wrote an article, attempting to lay the pieces to rest.

About six months ago, my sister & I visited our mother’s psychiatrist (of more than 37 years) to try & get further understanding. He told us she suffered from anxiety.  I worked really hard to make that diagnosis fit & even wrote another article.

I’ve actually spent a lifetime trying to understand the woman who gave birth to me.  I never understood why I loathed her so much.  Why I couldn’t stand physical contact with her, even from a very young age. On & off I wondered was she ‘possessed’? Or an emotional vampire. Growing up it felt like she had a hole in her – anything I gave just seemed to drain right through her.

Now we have a different diagnosis from a different doctor.

Paranoid schizophrenia.

… funny really,
I’d have thought her name
might have given them a clue.

She is currently undergoing endless ‘assessments’ – maybe at long last she will get real help, though I’m not holding my breath. The body parts on the lawn were not real, they were hallucinations – sorry were you hoping for a juicy story?

I spent the last couple of weeks in a daze of slow comprehension, going back to the old house again & again seeking something I couldn’t define.

My sister & I tried hard to clean the house but nothing would work, so in the end we pulled up carpets, chipped off the tiles & scraped away the wall paper. We exhausted ourselves in an exorcism of filth, & of the past.

Last weekend my brothers arrived – the four of us together in that house for the first time in years & years. In the evening we replayed some old board games from long, long ago – once was enough to let them go forever.

In an almost last ditch effort to understand this woman, I have read the journals she wrote in the years after my father left …

… taking half of everything as he went.  That was more than 20 years ago. She had once told my sister that she wanted her to read these journals, so I felt no betrayal.

And it’s because of these journals that I’m writing now.

You see I just cannot put the the two people together –

… the one I know & the one who wrote.

I am able to feel very sorry for the worded woman, I can easily make sense of her & her tragic story.

I feel great pity for her as she pleads again & again to her God for help, as she rails against the unfairness of her marriage breakup, the awfulness of semi-remembered sexual abuse & the pain of abandonment by her children.

If I wasn’t one of those children I’d be convinced that they were heartless bastards.

She talks about how she always hated babies. Babies …

… & dolls.

She tells of her father exposing himself to her in the garden as a child & then she seeks & fails to access the memory of what followed.

How her father would urinate in the kitchen sink.

The fear she & her sister had of the stairs, landing & their parents bedroom especially when it was dark.

How her father would make her mother go upstairs & she would then be heard muttering angily, telling him to hurry up, that he was hurting her & the look of revulsion on her face as she walked back down the stairs carrying a rag.

How certain white foods & drinks would make her throw up.

She speaks of how she didn’t think she was maternal but then surprised herself (my sister nearly chokes when I read this out loud to her).  Later she admits that she did not love me. I found a letter in her house addressed to me, I don’t know how long it sat there, telling me that yes she did really love me, yet it seems she could not bring herself to send it.

I think her journals would make a great book – far more real than Anne Frank’s & yet just as fake.

My family has been trapped in cycles of trauma. I intend that that the cycles shall end – this blog has been a great part of that.  If I seem cruel by writing some of the things from my mother’s journals here then so be it, I would rather lay the skeletons out in the sun to dry than let them fester any longer in cupboards unseen.

So I’ve been wondering about our two selves.

The one on the inside & the one we are around others.

The subscribed view appears to be:

that the self we are around others is a mask, behind which we hide our true selves

I’ve certainly seen the split in myself again & again – the ‘real me’ that I am on the inside & the ‘fake‘ person I present to the world.

But after reading my mother’s journals I have to ask:

Is this view a load of bs?

Why should the thinking/feeling me be the ‘real‘ me & the ‘doing’ me the ‘mask‘?

Why does having emotions, feelings, thoughts make something more ‘real’ than having interactions with others, or the world?

What makes the stories in our head more important/truthful than the selves we emit?

Question:

How often have you found your real self with its thoughts/stories to be wrong?

A fuckload of times I’m guessing.

Is it really wise to side solely with such a fallible entity?

You may have noticed that looking in the mirror is a very cold experience. More often than not the eyes that stare-glare back are unforgiving.

Do we really want to inhabit a world kinged or queened by such a person?

If we make the inner world the real world, then we are forced to cater to the ghoul in the mirror.

Now think of what happens when a dear friend greets you … they shine warmth into your eyes ..

… they bring the sun to your world, as you bring the sun to theirs.

How much of the self-wecould-be, is designed to be created by such interactions?

Yesterday I did some gardening for my sister.  As I dug out the weeds & cleared the soil I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps soil may be a very good analogy for the person on the inside of us …

… a magical substance for sure, yet without the external applications of water & plants & insects it becomes …

… dust.

It only comes to life by interacting with the outside world.
By giving life,
it lives.

What if once again we have gotten everything arse about face & the only way we can truly live is through interacting with others & with the world?

What if it is only by such interactions that our inner selves can live?

Only when a baby enters
the outside world  …

… can it take it’s first breath.

I’m reminded here of religion & it’s endless focus on the spirit world & the afterlife – driving people ever down & back in, upon themselves …

… Yet I’ve seen my mother’s journals, read her constant cries for help – surely those combined with all the efforts she put into her church for years & years merited her something more than a bed in a mental ward.

Or is she there because she could not/would not relate to the real world? Did she create her own madness by trying to force the world to mimic the one in her head.

Robert Fritz sums things up extremely well:

Reality is an acquired taste

Maybe it’s time to be only half the person we think we are, rejoin the world & give something new a chance to grow within us.

After all, what good is soil without seeds?

the genuine condition is relatedness … a creature apart from a social group is little more than an organic being … The person is to a large extent a set of social interrelationships.  As Bogardus has put it, “As a result of intersocial stimulation he moves up from the biological level.  The interstimulation that occurs between him & the members of the group … explains him more than any other method of approach can do”. ~Ashley Montagu (Growing Young)

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March 28, 2012. Uncategorized.

6 Comments

  1. Mat replied:

    Creator bless you in your situation. It seems you have a good relationship with your siblings and I’m glad for that. It’s funny that I should read during my own family turmoil, but it has inspired me to finally do what I should have done years ago and spread my father’s ashes over his favorite lake. I wish you all the best in these trying times (and they are most CERTAINLY trying times).

  2. Michael Skaggs replied:

    My goodness, you were not kidding about Armageddon and changes coming early.

    Cheers for having that “inner strength” to want to sun-dry those skeletons. It sounds like the ‘house’ has become a skeleton too after ripping away those layers to expose nothing but ‘bare bones’. It’s amazing what power religion has over the inner self, I know all too well about it.

    More planting and pulling weeds will indeed lead to some of that healing. Perhaps this will bring you, Rachel, and Bernard closer together in a way that you did not expect.

  3. recoveringmetalhead replied:

    Your article took me back about 10 years to the time after my father died suddenly. A few things:

    In his alcohol drenched life he accomplished an impressive amount of damage upon my family. As the youngest of six I have a unique perspective as I was spared the traumas directly. Indirectly however I have been required to find out what happened through a process that feels more like divination than learning or communicating. Keep laying those skeletons out in the sun – no matter how many. The more effort put forth to conceal and keep secerets, the greater the negative effects will be on future generations.

    Only after his passing was I told the stuff that was really at the core of the problems in my family which had festered for so long. Strange, I was so accustomed to theorizing and brooding about family stuff for such a long time that when the “truth” movement came along I was ripe for the picking. On the one hand it seems that a life without such introversive destruction is some kind of unattainable fantasy when I THINK about it. Other hand, when I SEE a child smile or HEAR warm words from an old friend it seems utterly natural to share life as a whole with those around me.

    I think your perspective on your current situation is quite good. I think that had I percieved such insighsts a decade ago my life to this point would have had much much much more to do with things like love, connection and true spirit of life. The bad stuff would have been there also but probably in the same quantity or less. And that’s just it, we possess the power to bring the scale back towards balance and maybe even tip it to the good side a little (gasp!).

    Loved the soil analogy. Dirt is wonderful and….aw heck I’ll just say it…..dirt is just plain sexy! ;)

    -Dave

  4. alex robinson replied:

    Hi Mat, I’m very glad to hear you are going to do that, I find each time I do something to clear out the past it shifts things in my present – maybe this will help in your own family turmoil.

    very best to you

    Thanks Michael, the winds of change have been blowing for my family for a while, in fact I’m amazed at how much we all seem to have synced up with each other in changes that are happening. I definitely think my recent rage was part of the loosening of very old bonds. I think if we just have a little courage & step into the hurts we have the chance to break out now & break the cycles – maybe this is what we all came here to do.

    cheers m’dear

    Thanks Dave
    You know I don’t think we could have done this 10 years ago. But I think it’s very possible for us to do it now – I remember reading some zenny type thing about the sculptor who makes 999 strikes on a stone & nothing seems to happen, but on the 1000th that it splits perfectly – I think the last 10 years have been our 999 strikes – we just need to make one more & it won’t take massive energy or pain, we’ve done all the hard work, we just need to keep going.
    I see that ‘keeping going’ as the strength of the feminine/mother energy & perhaps that’s why so much effort was put into destructing it – once activated that energy just keeps going & going.
    I am sorry for your pain, but glad to see you have the courage to drag your skeletons into the sunshine.

    very best to you

  5. Bec77 replied:

    It is so weird, but comforting to read your post as my sister and I are a amid a similar ‘spring cleaning’ and it’s surprisingly positive repercussions.

    Your post and the most recent post over at the Loosh are uncannily reflective of my current situation.

    My sister and I have been stuck in an endless cycle of repeated misery with only tiny flecks of forced joy if one were to peer close enough. All the players had kept there place on this hamster wheel of torture until all of a sudden, my sister and I decided to go with our guts for once and jump off.

    I feel we have gained back control of our own lives, and the manipulation, dictations and expectations that ruled us for so long are finally scattering to the winds.

    Your little proverb means so much to me today, thanks for sharing.:)

    • alex robinson replied:

      Thanks Bec77, that means a lot to me. I am very happy for you & your sister, there are indeed many positive repercussions – & if on some days its seems like you are going backwards don’t worry at all, that’s just a part of mapping out a new path.

      very best to you on your travels

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