Thursday's Child ... has far to go ... (0nm10wn2feet) wrote,
Thursday's Child ... has far to go ...

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Pain, guilt, anger, shame ...

Pain, guilt, anger, shame. All such detrimental emotions. All so very destructive. All so very COMMON. Common, at least, to those of us who grew up with them. Who spent half their lives dealing with them. Who still fight, on a daily basis, to overcome them. Throw ADD into the mix, add a dash of manic depressive ... what have you got? One extremely fucked up individual, some days. Other days, you have a mom-type person. Sometimes, you have BOTH in the same day. In the same hour. In the same MINUTE. Frankly, I think it sucks. I think it must suck to be my kids, too, but they don't seem to mind too much. Probably because the poor things don't have any other frame of reference. Oh, wait. Yes, they do have other frames of reference ... but they tend to attract friends that have it worse than they do. Why is that? Not only that, but most of their friends come here ... there are very few times that my kids actually went to friends homes much. Not even when they were younger.

I never went anywhere when I was younger either. Then again, I was hardly ever invited to anyone else's home anyway. I didn't have very many friends, and the few I had I lost touch with when I 1) left high school, 2) changed jobs and 3) moved. I'm not really a "friend-friendly" type person, I guess. I'm far too opinionated, my vocabulary is far too 'lofty' for most of the people I tend to meet, I tend to 'disappear' for weeks at a time (with my nose stuck firmly in something that I'm doing either at home or elsewhere). I am far too distractable. That's the ADD, but so few people still seem to have any idea what that's like. I can only liken it to trying to talk to several different people on several different topics all at the same time and trying to be coherent too. Some days, its like there is a party-line in my head.

Remember party-line phones? And way back when ... when it was more expensive to have a PRIVATE line, all your very own? With a party-line, you could never tell when you'd be able to use the phone because, at any given time, one of the other parties could be on the line. You only knew if you picked up the phone and got a dial tone. Sometimes, if you were careful when you picked up the phone, you could listen in on the other person's conversation ... a lot of gossip traveled just that way. And each "party" had a different ring, but it would ring on all the phones on that line, so you had to listen for "your" ring tone. I don't think they even HAVE party-lines in the US anymore, do they? This paragraph was brought to you by an ADD moment, by the way.

Whatever. Having a party-line going on in your head is not a very pleasant thing to deal with. You are trying so hard to focus on what needs to be finished at any given moment, then someone disturbs your concentration. You try to get back to the task at hand, but you are still semi-focused on the interruption. Then someone else interrupts, and you get split three ways. With each subsequent interruption, your attention gets split further and further to the point where your eyes glaze over and you can't do ANYTHING. Except sit and stare at whatever it was that you were trying to accomplish in the first place, and wonder how the hell you're going to finish it. At that point, one of two things happens for me. If left alone long enough, I can eventually make myself focus again on the task at hand. If not, then my thought process wanders off to think about whatever I'm looking at.

Usually, I'm looking at something else that needs to be done. So I agonize over that for a while, gaze off, and see something else that needs attention. Occasionally, I stir myself to do those things that MUST be done every day. I take my son to school, I pick him up from school, give his friends a ride home, come home and repeat the agonizing process again. At 5:30/6:00 pm, I glance at the clock and run into the kitchen, trying to think of what I can throw together for dinner before my husband gets home. If I can't think of anything that doesn't require more than 45 minutes prep to table, I give up and tell everyone to feed themselves. Then I go back to the computer ... which was the most terrific invention for people with ADD since Ritalin ... and try to do one of the ten tasks I have going at the same time. Before I know it, its 2:00 am and everyone else in the house has gone to bed or found other diversions. This is where the guilt comes in ... I review what I did or did not accomplish during the day and, despite the fact that I feel as though I've run a marathon, I find that all that expended energy actually netted me very little in the way of results.

Of course, I grew up with my parents constantly telling me that I would "lose your head if it weren't attached," "you could do so much better if you'd only TRY," "you never get your mind in gear before you get your mouth in gear," "you're just lazy," "you don't CARE, that's why you don't pay attention," "you're so much OLDER than your sisters, you should know better," "what good are you if you can't even finish one simple thing?" That tends to make the messages I give myself rather negative as well. Damn, I didn't try again. Damn, what good am I? Damn, damn, damn. Oops, damn, I'm late again. Hell, ran out of time to get that done. Crap, missed that deadline. God, I should have vacuumed the kitchen, at least ... it only takes 10 or 15 minutes to vacuum the whole thing, why couldn't I get even THAT done? Wow, that counter is full of stuff all of a sudden, when did THAT happen? How did that pile of papers on the table get so big?

Guilt, shame, blame. That's my ever-present cycle. The only time I really feel at peace with myself is when I'm driving. Even then, I'm probably driving too fast because I'm LATE. Or, I'm driving really late at night, because I had to go to the 24-hour grocery store ... because it took me ALL DAY to put together a grocery list and some coupons. I can't recall a single day of my life, either recent or far-distant past, that I DIDN'T feel guilty, shameful or blamed. Even when no one voices any blame, I can still, in my peculiar paranoid way, hear it. That's mostly because 1) I'm already feeling horribly guilty and 2) I do not correctly register facial expressions or vocal tones and inflections. I'm convinced that everyone I know is disappointed with me for something I did or did not do.

At least I don't get the crap beaten out of me anymore. Which is good, because I think I'm pretty good at beating myself up figuratively anyway. My fondest memories of the abuse range from my father rubbing my nose in the dust on the baseboards because I didn't vacuum properly, to having my arm hanging limply at my side (after he knuckle punched me in the muscle) because his bed wasn't made "right." The really memorable ones: having a hand come out of the darkness of the rec room when I came home from work one night - and slapping me upside the head (my ear was still stinging AND ringing the next day), slamming me against the cinderblock wall and proceeding to hit me several more times until he was satisfied ... getting slammed up against the cinderblock wall outside the house when my mother took offense at my exasperation over her ruined surprise birthday cake (I REALLY messed up that one!) ... getting hit with my things as my father threw them at me in the center of my room ... hearing my mother say "don't leave bruises on her, the neighbors will talk."

The verbal abuse was more insidious. My father really couldn't stand it when I'd have a second helping at dinner, since he felt that I was already well on my way to becoming Two Ton Tessie before I turned 16. Mealtimes were some of the MOST uncomfortable times ... he'd start, my mother would tell him he was upsetting her stomach, he'd continue, she'd leave the table, and then the insults would really fly ... "Yeah, keep eating kid. We'll start buying your clothes at Kalamazoo Tent & Awning before too long." "Hey, kid, with that second helping, you should REALLY start waddling when you walk ... oh, wait, you already do." "At the rate you eat, we'll be painting Goodyear on your sides." The good one was when he stabbed me in the hand with the fork as I reached for a second helping one night.

When I lost weight, it was just as bad. I would try to use make-up and dress trendy just like all the other girls (except the Witnesses and the Adventists) and he'd ridicule everything I tried. "Hey, kid, why is your face orange? You got a disease or something?" "What the hell did you do to your eyes? They look like two piss holes in the snow." "You leaving dressed like THAT? You WANT people to see the crack of your ass when you bend over?" "Your fashion sense really stinks, kid. You look like a sack of potatoes tied in the middle. People like you should wear sacks WITHOUT belts." "Jesus Christ, kid. You look like a slob." "You're not leaving MY house dressed like that." "God, kid, those aren't feet, they're gunboats. Christ, don't buy her shoes anymore, just get the shoeboxes, its the only thing that will fit her soon."

I asked my mother once, "Am I pretty?" Her response was "Well, you're no American Beauty Rose, but you'll do." She would get upset when I wore nylons with runs in them ... especially since the prevailing cure for runs was to stop them with nail polish. Mine would get so many runs that it would look like my legs were polka-dotted. That was back before pantyhose, mind you. I can still remember wearing a garter belt and having to constantly adjust my nylons to keep from looking like I had baggy knees and ankles. I was careless, I didn't take care of my clothes (but I washed ALL the clothes all the way through high school), I ruined my things way too fast to have anything "nice". When I did have something nice, mom would scrutinize it carefully every time I wore it and point out everything I had done to 'ruin' it that day. "What's that spot from?" "How did you get that stain?" "How did you manage to rip that?" I'm still not too careful with my clothes, but at least the stuff I have is washable - I certainly wouldn't DARE buy anything that was 'dry clean only!' Not with MY track record!!

So what did I start this post with? Oh YEAH ... pain, guilt, anger, shame! And hardly anyone that knows me knows these things about me. Hardly anyone that I know today wants to even listen long enough to hear any of this. And there isn't anyone, not really, who would give two shits if they knew. My life consists of "Suck it up." "Life sucks, huh?" "Get over it, people went through worse than that and survived." "So what? It still doesn't mean you know what I'M going through." The funny part is that I'm still only scraping the tip of the iceberg even with all this. Memories going back to my earliest days ... and none too fond either. Guilt trips, violence, screaming, pain, anger, anger, ANGER. Blame, shame, resentment, anger, anger, ANGER. Only in the last 10 years of my life have I learned how to express emotions other than anger. Unfortunately, my first reaction is usually still anger. By that time, its usually too late to revert and express the appropriate emotion - grief, sadness, pain, hurt, loss, fear, need ... those do not exist for me on a primal level. Only anger. Always anger. I'm so tired of being angry.

"Life is one long process of getting tired." - Samuel Butler, Note Books "Life"
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