Dream, sort of, Part 2: 7.13.2016
It was just now that I realized that I had wrote, in the earlier post (now corrected), that my mother’s 50th was 29 years ago, when it was actually 27 years ago. It’s my father who’s 29 years older than me.
Why does he keep coming up, when I thought this was about my mother?
I haven’t eaten breakfast yet or had my coffee. Gonna go do that.
// You can take the girl out of the working class, but you can’t take the working class out of the girl! //
I was raised by parents who still thought of themselves as working-class (although I’m not sure they realized that, then or now). I believe however that my siblings would say they were raised by solidly middle-class parents. (If they ever thought about it all, but it’s very possible they haven’t.)
The year I turned seven, the bottom dropped out of my world.
My littlest brother’s birth almost killed both he and my mother.
I’ve never been certain if she had postpartum depression with all her children, but it certainly seems likely she would’ve had it with this one, her last one.
As far as I’ve been able to piece together, at some point during this year my mother had a nervous breakdown.
I, at 6/7, was on the cusp of leaving the narcissism of early childhood and realizing that other people are separate from me. That they have their own worries and disappointments.
The year my mother was 7/8, her youngest sibling, also a brother, was born. And that displaced her in her father’s affections, which utterly changed her life.
This can’t be a coincidence. It’s known that familial traumas repeat, generation after generation. I believe nowadays they explain some of it as “epigenetics”.
Right at the age that children leave the narcissism of early childhood, both my mother and I were yanked from being the golden children of our families to being nobodies.
My mother never recovered from that trauma.
I guess I haven’t either. I have been aware, for years now, that deep down I feel that there’s something I can do that will make me likable, again. That if I just try harder, my family will value me again.
That receiving regard is something you achieve, through hard work.
So if I’m not receiving it, obviously I’m not working hard enough.
= = =
I was displaced by my brother, but not the one who was newly-born. Instead, the one who was two years younger. I don’t know why, or how, or what the precipitating incident might’ve been where my mother dumped me in favor of my brother. I can’t ask. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
= = =
I would like to have a life that wasn’t riddled with unhealed traumas.
= = =
I would like to celebrate living long enough to turn 50. No one is more astonished than me, I assure you. I grew up believing I would die before I turned 16. Then 21. Then 25. Then 30.
= = =
I had birthday parties at 25 and 30. Nothing special for 16: not a party; not a special gift.
At 21, my mother offered to do something big, but I was supposed to pick it. I’d never been allowed to pick gifts before, so I was anxious, since she said she wouldn’t buy something she didn’t approve of. I feared if I picked “wrong”, I would receive no gift at all.
I decided on a piece of jewelry, a ring. My parents and I went to the jewelry store. An older man waited on us. I picked out a dainty amethyst ring (that I’d carefully noted my mother approved of). The salesman asked what the occasion was; my mother told him it was my birthday. He said he knew which one — 16!
I was crestfallen to have to say no, actually I’m turning 21. (Something that should’ve been fun and exciting to say!) I felt like he’d outed me as some kind of unnatural baby. But I’d never gotten to pick before! And truly, I wasn’t really getting to pick now either. My mother had to approve, and she liked to think of me as…
Demure, soft, sweet, shy. A little dull.
And of course, young for my age.
= = =
I think I did want that party at 25. It wasn’t a surprise party. But how I envisioned an adult birthday party, for me, and how it turned out… didn’t overlap at all.
I don’t think anybody had a good time.
I mean, I know I didn’t, but everyone else seemed bored, annoyed. Like they wished they were somewhere, anywhere else. And then I got all those dorky gifts — “for entertaining” — that I had to pretend to be excited about.
I had to pretend the whole time.
= = =
My 30th was a surprise, but… I’d had suspicions that something was going on. And then a few days before, I’d talked to my father on the phone (unusual enough), and he was extremely snippy with me. Jumpy. Totally out of character. That really got me thinking.
I already have a poem about the party itself. I don’t want to think about it; I definitely don’t want to write the whole thing out, now.
But… the pretense for getting me into my parents’ backyard was such a horrifying idea that it pushed every other thought (parties, or otherwise) out of my head. So I didn’t register at first what was happening, why there were all these people in the backyard. Why they all seemed to be staring at me. (Absolutely unprecedented.) Why they all clearly wanted something from me.
It all took a very long time for me to figure out what was happening.
I was worried sick about my trees [the pretense].
The party was long, but… I was never quite able to switch gears to being happy and celebratory, when my mother had used such a mean trick to start things off.
I had to pretend and pretend and pretend.
The guest list was padded with a bunch of relatives I don’t even like.
The cake wasn’t special. I mean it wasn’t especially tasty, flavorful, interesting. That’s actually one of the elements that really really matters to me.
There weren’t any special festive (nonalcoholic) drinks.
I was wearing a dorky outfit. (At least the colors were pretty.)
There was no dancing. No music.
Besides Spouse, I had two girlfriends there. They didn’t know each other, but one knew enough of the other not to like her, so it wasn’t a girl group.
= = =
At other people’s parties, people are happy to see each other.
But when I go to a party, no one is ever happy to see me. Even when it’s my party. Why show up at a party where you don’t like the person it’s for?
Oh wait. Since my mother threw some of these parties, I bet she strong-armed people into attending. I bet that’s why they seemed bored and annoyed.
I mean besides the fact that nobody in my family likes me.
= = =
It’s only in the last… hmm, 2 years, maybe… that I’ve started to figure out who I am, that isn’t hedged in on all sides by what my family of origin expects me to be, will only allow me to be. (Even though I’ve been out of contact with my parents since late 2005. It’s taken 9 years to detox as far as this.)
And yet, I rushed into an entire year of planning… a party… when I hate parties. When I’ve never, once, in my entire life, had a good time at a party. Not mine, not anyone’s.
Why did I do this?
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of choosing.
Fear of allowing myself to want what I actually want. (Whatever that is.)
No wonder I don’t feel like celebrating.