(August 2, 2011) I’m finally ready to release the ties that bind me. It’s got to happen! Change forces itself upon me like a wrecking ball. I realize now that it smacks of insanity to continue living as I’ve lived the first half of my life. Oh, but what a force I must reckon with. Like that tightly wound ball of rubber bands people build to amuse themselves, the layers are deep and made up of many parts, colors and textures. Peeling away at them seems endless. An occasional *snap* of a resistant layer of the bouncy ball sends me yowling in retreat. I get knocked down. I get up again.
At 18 I was out of the nest, escaping the responsibility my family thrust upon me after the death of my first stepfather when I was 13. As the rational thinker of the brood, I had an uncanny knack for finding solutions to problems. However, my attempts at rationality were fruitless. I got chided and criticized instead. I watched my family get caught in the web of dysfunction that haunts them to this day. Back then, I bought into it a little. Why me? Why was life so cruel to me?
Though I lived in fear of someone pulling the rug out from beneath me while out on my own, deep down I knew I was responsible for creating my reality. (I attribute it to all that Nietzsche I read at the end of high school.) Granted, I wasn’t happy with the cards life dealt me. When I was a child I was at the mercy of the actions of others. I didn’t have that “solid” foundation that others grew up with. I acted out. I saw life as pointless. Always an uphill battle. Little did I realize then is that this sort of dysfunction is more commonplace than not. Some of us are better at building illusions than others. We’re all living lies to some degree.
In counseling a few years ago, where I was given the task of “fixing” myself to save my marriage, the therapist told me that a lot of my behavior was “learned”. There was insecurity, leading to jealousy. There was victimization, leading to a self-imposed loss of control. And then there was guilt — anger turned inward — for what, I don’t know. Was it because I failed the impossible expectations? Was it my inability to save everyone from their harsh realities? Was it because I wasn’t the perfect little child, whatever that was? Over the past decades I mulled these thoughts in my mind countless times but never wanted to take pause to look at the truths they revealed. It’s not like I want to blame the parents. You only glean so much mileage out of that one. It’s up to me and me alone to realize, deal, make right and move on. I had to quit playing the martyr, reject responsibility for situations not of my doing and stand on my own two feet. This means for some harsh words, thoughts and analyses — harsh only because the truth hurts.
I have to undo all the silly expectations I had in life. There will never appear a knight in shining armor who will swoop me up and save me from all of this. There’ll be no big hand from the sky that reaches down to pat me on the shoulders and say, “There there. You’ve been through a lot. None of it was of your doing. With one fail swoop, I’ll make all the bad disappear now.” And really, I can only gain so much playing the victim. As a life plan, it’s a dead-end. A line from Naomi Judd’s “Breakthroughs” book, she says, “You’re allowed to be the victim only once. After that you’re considered a volunteer! Making better choices can make you a victor.” (Thanks to my friend LP for sending it to me! Take a peek at Naomi’s book on Amazon!)
In fact, many of the old clichés pop into my head during my downtime. We’ve heard them over and over throughout life but the words have no meaning until we’re forced to ponder their depths. “To thine own self be true.” Yes, I must love myself. I can’t be a good friend or lover until I accept myself, warts and all. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it.” No, I’m not responsible for any family member who repeats a cycle of dysfunction over and over. Whether an addict or another “helpless” victim, they make their own beds and must lie in them, just as I do. I love them. I wish them well. I pray they find it within themselves to take responsibility for their own actions and decisions. I help in whatever small way I can. But frankly, I’ve got a lot on my plate these days. I get no help. I ask for none. I expect none. I gave up on being rescued decades ago.
But tell me, why must we wait until we’re 50 and made a shambles of our lives before we figure it out? Why must we be put down by a disease before we slow down and see the truth? Why must we have a big tragedy, loss of life, home, loved ones before we see life for what it is — a series of decisions made by us and mainly us? I should’ve taken heed to this wisdom 20 years ago. But things come when they’re meant to come. The first half of my life I found it easier to drown my sorrows than deal with my reality. I see now that how I respond or not respond to what’s before me is a true indicator of what drives me. Am I a quitter? A victim? No! I know a complete 180 in my thoughts and actions is what’s needed now. Why, though, do rational thinkers get written off as cold and callous? Simply because people like their illusions. They’re used to them. They don’t like it when you tell them (a line from a recent Sears commercial): “I hope you brought your umbrella, ’cause it’s raining cold, hard facts up in here.”
Medical Update: Mom is recovering at home after a week in the hospital from her laparotomy. Prognosis is good. After researching my condition of dropping HGBs (hemoglobins) and RBCs (red blood cells), I found that national protocol requires a blood transfusion if your HGB level drops to seven (7). My gastroenterologist may have a protocol for what becomes dire and needs some sort of intervention, like, say, a HGB level of nine (9). I won’t find this out until I see him on August 26. The doctor who is supposed to cover his patient load was going to make me drive two-and-a-half hours to see him for 10 minutes to tell me this. Oh, yes, and I will complain on the 26th when I see my regular doctor. In the meantime, I have a blood draw on Monday, August 8. I’ll do what I did last time and have the results released to me from the lab itself. I also found in my research that my elevated Mean Corpuscular Value (MCV) indicates a Vitamin B-12 deficiency (eHow’s MCV signs, symptoms, remedies page.). I now have liquid B-Complex and liquid B-12 to hopefully counteract that. Unfortunately we must be proactive in our own care because of our insufficient wealthcare system.