Tuesday, October 12, 2010

since you asked... oh, wait, you didn't

In one of Martha Beck's books (probably Finding Your Own North Star, since that and the one about her son are the only ones of hers I've read all the way through, but it's been several years so I'm not sure), she talks about two young women, one who had the perfect childhood with parents who showed up for every event, paid for an expensive education, supported her ambitions, etc.  The other whose parents were hyper-critical, demanding, never believed that their daughter measured up, etc.  Then at the end of telling the two stories, she tells you that they are the same person.  It just depends on how you look at it.

My childhood was much like that.  I could tell it to you one way and it would sound like a fairy tale.  I could tell it to you another way, and you wouldn't believe I've survived it.  It just depends on how you look at it.  The way I survived much of the dark side was by building a pretty world in my head.  God, it's sweet in there.  It's one of the reasons I'm so introverted, because when I get into that space, it's so much nicer than what's outside.  But it's not real, and it takes a lot of energy to keep it up.  Every time I let go of a new layer of it, I discover that reality is better.  Grittier, uglier, harsher, but also more true, with a different kind of beauty that is.... well, better.  I'm going to start sounding maudlin about something that is not maudlin at all if I keep going.

But getting there, getting through the letting go part of it, can be ugly.  And frightening.  On the days when I'm dealing with the shit that I've shoved aside, it is practically nauseating.  When i was younger, the world in my head was so disconnected from reality that I had to let it go.  It was either that or go nuts.  (and sometimes it felt like both ways were nuts.)  Now I'm old enough and somewhat wise enough to be a whole lot better connected to reality than I used to be.  And I've also been through it enough times to know that the bad times are often connected to hormones, which takes a way a little bit of their sting.  You can't take it quite so seriously when you know you're going to feel better, no matter what you do or don't do, if you just wait a few days.  But still. ................ yuck.

And that is yet another good thing about being older-- both that I know enough to not take it so seriously, and that I know for sure that if I go through it, if I stick it out, it will be better on the other side.

Gee, get out much, AB?


  1. We were thinking very similar thoughts today!

  2. have I mentioned recently how much I love you, julie? :-)