As I read and reread the poem I posted yesterday, a sense of the kid I once was just comes flooding into my heart and mind.
I remember why that poem meant so very much to me. I’ve told much of this foo history before, but it is so central to finding who I was, who I am and who I want to be.
Like too many out there, my childhood was not great. My mother was mentally ill, heavily dosed on anti-depressenats that she “needed” more and more of each year, and addicted to opiates. My father, though emotionally present in many ways, was unable to hold a job for long and always chose jobs that were commission based, be your own boss type of things, thinking that was the best way to make money.
We were on and off of welfare, food stamps and evicted from almost every home I had ever lived in with them. They divorced when I was in high school. I let guilt guide me in choosing with whom to live, thinking somebody needed to take care of Mom and that somebody would be me.
Actually, when I really think about this, I think in some ways I bought into the idea that my mom was the way she was because of her marriage to my dad. They were bad for each other. They were dragging each other down into an abyss. And, I think I wanted to believe that being on her own, with me by her side, she would be the strong woman I thought she should be. I could help, I would help her to be the independent, strong and healthy woman I needed her to be. She would then be capable of being the loving mom I always wanted, needed and believed was possible. Wow, that was hard to admit to myself, that is a new realization for me. Whoa! And, yes, I see it! I know I cannot do that for MC. The whole point of being strong, independent and healthy is that it exists outside of the vacuum of external pressures forcing your hand. That is what I need to see from MC, that is what I never saw from my mom.
Within a year, my mother kicked me out because I would not enable her to continue with the victim mentality under which she lived for so long. She consistently continued to make bad choices and I was not going to be a part of that anymore. I started to understand my mom wanted to be the victim and was a master at manipulating those around her. For whatever reason, she thought I would come crawling back, begging for her to let me come home. I did NOT! Instead, I went to live with extended family for a couple years until I could escape to college. My mom’s sister took me in. They didn’t really want a third child, could not really afford a third child and my mom accused them of stealing me away, so my aunt also was dealing with some guilt issues. I lived in their back room, which was a storage/laundry room. It wasn’t ideal, but it was the option I had available. I was on the edge of their inner circle, closer to them than most, but not their child. I used to dream for that to be different. I was a good student and knew college was my way out. Of all the fears in the world that I had at that time, becoming my mom was (and in many ways still is) my greatest fear. That poem said what my heart needed to hear. It meant so very much to me.
After my Dad died unexpectedly just after my first year of college, I was so lost. He was always my emotional support, even if he was unable to provide stability and financial support. He thought I would conquer the world, and I believed him. I believed him. Sorry crying. . .The day he died, a part of me died with him. I did not intend for that to happen, but it did. I lost his vision of me and I did not know how to find it within myself. I forgot about that poem, I forgot about the meaning of those words. They are meaningful to me once again.
This may meander as a brainstorm some thoughts here. . .We often hear of family of origin (foo) issues being fundamental to cheaters desire to cheat. I have a difficult time with that. I am not saying that childhood traumas are not difficult and I am not saying that such traumas do not impact our ability to cope. Yet, I cannot help but think, “Well then, why am I not a cheater?” These issues certainly need to be addressed, but cheating is still a choice. I truly am trying to understand.
The only thing I can come up with is that I spoke my mind to my parents. My Dad knew that I thought he should get a job with a salary and benefits and stop with the commission-based shit. My Mom knew that I did not approve of her addiction to prescription drugs. I did not cower, I was not quiet. We had some terrible fights and I did not shy away from those fights. So, perhaps that is the difference. I don’t know.
Then I think about MC and how I let fear of bruising his ego become center to me and my choices. What the hell happened there? Where did I go? That is not the TL that I was as a kid. Where did she go? I don’t want her gone anymore. Since d-day I have been working so hard to find her. Except this time, through my own eyes, my very much older and, hopefully, wiser eyes. I see glimpses.