Friday, 21 September 2007

Scourging the sewer of my mind

It hasn't all been bad. A lovely life-long friend came to stay which meant taking a week out visiting and doing the touristy things. Catching up, laughing, smiling or having poignant moments. Then we (Mr Doris and I) attended a fascinating weekend conference.

However, after all the fun, one returns to the usual issues of life and over the briefest possible time it feels that one's life has been systematically dismantled but without any visible signs. Everyone here is alive and reasonably healthy; we have food on the table and my Mr Doris obviously loves me. So to add to the inner turmoil comes the guilt for feeling like this when others in the world are struggling to live; to eat; or even think.

I feel like a Jekkyl and Hyde character because there are people in my life who know nothing of this. In some areas I still function and say nothing. What is there to say and in any case, as much as I can be a bleeding heart there is no need for me to haemorrhage all over the joint, so I don't! I am fortunate to have some more than lovely friends who listen to me but a lot of the time I really do feel the need to hide in my shell and say nothing.

In my shell I need to scream and wail and on the whole, it is best to leave me to do that. But sometimes that shell breaks and I lose it altogether, almost. Like this week the kitchen was scrubbed like a shiny pin as the tears kept flowing amidst the occasional audible sob. Something good came of it I suppose!

And who are these beasts that need to be slain? Just the usual ones that rear their heads at times when things are a bit tough. The multi-headed dragon of failure: as a person; professionally; and most painful of all, as a parent. Now that I am "sober" again I can say that this is the most mythical of the beasts and yet the hardest to fight. There are the practical beasts of finance; house selling and buying; education of son; house-cleaning; damage and repairs; car repairs; and so on. None of these are slain but it is possible some are mortally wounded.

Speaking of death (which I do not think is such a great analogy to use above) yesterday I was driving back from an errand when a pigeon was in the middle of the road pecking at something. As they do. I slowed to give the bird a chance to fly up. As they do. But this one didn't move fast enough and as a result my car thwacked it. I felt sick to my stomach to see in my rear-view mirror the bird, a mass of feathers across the road, fluttering its last. What an awful thing I had done. If only.

Then I think of myself as that pigeon. If I don't pick myself up and get moving, instead of scrabbling around in the sewers, then maybe life will come along and deal the final thwack.

Or maybe, sometimes it is out of my control and the cards are up when they are up and that's that.

(Youtube clip removed as it was stopping page from loading properly!)


Steg said...

Still standing? I sometimes think that that's the best any of us can hope for - let "life" do as it will and in any brief respite, give it the finger and scream defiance.
I will not go quietly into the night!

Doris said...

It's having that will to fight back Steg! Sometimes it is just plain missing.

I'm finding my trouble is the "letting go". Letting go and trusting that all will be OK.

On an absolutely good front, one detail has now been sorted. Enough to celebrate even though it just one brick in the wall, (or foundations?) that is at least a few bricks laid :-)

Steg said...

I said nothing about "trusting all will be ok". In my experience it often isn't.
Glad you've found a good front, though, especially enough of one for celebration.

Josephine said...

Actually Steg, and Doris...don't we just have to trust that it will be OK in the end. What is left to us if we don't have/do that? Isn't the real challenge to try and redefine what 'OK' look at the sh*t life throws at us and say 'Right, how can I be positive/adapt/be OK with where I am now?'

Easy to say I know...

Doris honey. Such a sad post, and I see in your words here a side of you that you don't often reveal...

Pushed for time right now...but I'll be back to say more soon. In the meantime...massive hugs.

Josephine said...

Doris...back now :-)

What are the tears about honey? Can you share that? Are they about 'failure?' as you intimate? About lost dreams, or ambitions?

I guess so many of us feel that in some way. I was going to be a famous author, I was going to make a 'difference', I was going to go to Africa and dig wells...Amongst other things.

And then life arrived, and the path I took wasn't what I expected. The Road Less Travelled and all that. And it has, moreorless, been a pretty good one - despite the volcanic, fermenting identity crisis that was bubbling along inside...We travel on the train of life with our backs to the engine, as they (ie CS Lewis) say...

And your life? Look what you've been through? Look at the landscape of your past, the particular challenges you've had, and how you've risen to them. Your kids...yes bringing up children always brings challenges, and unexpected difficulties. But you've done your best, and no-one can ask for more..and you love them and care for them. That is an achievement, a pretty big one actually. Don't take yourself, or what you've managed to do, for granted.

Am I on the right track here sweetie? Forgive me if I'm not. I know there are family things too - well, I remember you taking the lead in bringing about some reconciliations and resolutions there? You did that bravely.

And also - for me - you have been a staunch and steadfast friend, seeing past the details of my life and transgender themes which you hadn't come across before to the human issues inside. And you have extended a compassionate hand to me when I needed it - really needed it - beyond what you might have said or done for someone whose blog you simply enjoyed and read. You do this in other parts of your life too, I know you do.

'Failure' Doris? Absolutely not in my book darling.

Doris said...

Thanks muchly for your support and kindness :-) I still have to hold out hope that things will OK and that ALL will be OK one way or another. But you are right that something else happens and things just happen and are not what was wanted. You've been through more than enough with all that is on your plate which I am sure would be hard to consider what was right about any of it. Hugs to you.

I think the main nut you hit on the head was actually the being hard on myself. I am too hard on myself, and even, as much as I would hate to admit, I can wallow in self-pity but in a strange old way that makes it hard for anyone to reach out at me because I would not wish to appear to be full of self-pity.

It comes back to things just happen and it is how we react to them and move on. I used to be champion at that but I have let go of so many things since having the comfort of having a wonderful husband. To the extent that I have let go so much I have lost touch with reality and am floundering.

I've come from being a single parent pulling my life together after a whole lot of cr*p to a place where I have not quite landed. There isn't any feeling of not achieving what I had set out to achieve because quite frankly, I know I am lucky to have survived and gotten into adulthood.

What does hurt is things to do with the kids growing and doing their own things and quite oblivious to me. I don't really expect much of them but in a way I do and I have yet to get that balance. That sense of setting them free to allow them to fly back. But I struggle with my daughter and feel she doesn't care about me. I feel I throw at her things that should have nothing to do with her. There are things I really should leave behind in the past but I find it hard.

It is easy for me to take everything I have done or achieved for granted. It is that undermining that has underpinned my early life - if that makes sense! If there isn't my mother pulling the rug from under me (from my early days) then I feel compelled to do it to myself. It is flaming crazy.

But these issues aren't around all the time, though they seem to be a frequent theme over these last years. Perhaps because I am no longer having to struggle to live, or support young children I can now wallow in all my glory. LOL

I think I have had enough wallowing for a while and may well be coming out of my pit now!

Thank you for your kind words. All true I know ;-) But at times when the funfair ride is going down I find it hard to think of anything good or to keep perspective and so I collapse. Still, thank you for your helping hand up ((hugs))

Chandira said...

So, Doris, you're a regular human being. ;-)

I think you hit on something very important, that we don't really give enough attention to in the pattern of our daily lives and how we relate to the world. Our early life circumstances. They really, really do have a deep and significant impact on how we relate to life. Life becomes a reaction o our own parents, so you're really one step ahead of the game if you can see that one! Most of the population is oblivious to that.
So you catch yourself doing what was done to you? Bingo! Even seeing that much is amazing.

Sounds really simple, doesn't it? But I think people even if they do see it, they stop right there and let it paralyze them.

The trick is not to try to fix it, but to give your attention to something else that you feel is valuable. Do you have a role model? Somebody you'd like to be like? Or a behaviour even, that you'd like to do more of? Fix on the positive, not the negative.
Trust me, dwelling on it doesn't fix it. I spent 30 years doing that. Dwelling on what else there is, instead, does.

I am the Queen of giving myself a hard time, and I learned all that the hard way, after years of self-hating. Finally stopping that, and concentrating on what is greater, has started the process of transcending all that pattern. I can say in all honesty that I'm growing up, leaving mum and dad behind, and finding ways that aren't from my own early life, to relate to the world.

Adi Da has an expression, he'd say you've reached the 'critical mass of bother', and that's vital. People don't. And until they do, it can't be fixed.

Doris said...

Chandira I was away when I first read your reply and you know something, it really jumped out the page and into my heart as I read it.

And what you wrote about not dwelling on the past and instead fixing on the positive, is just how Sabine Dardenne (from the post above) seems to have coped with her experiences. Right from the outset she moved straight on. That is pretty amazing psychology.

Makes me wonder about the whole need to bare our souls and bleeding hearts to therapists ... we are told not to repress those feelings and to get out the anger .... it just completely undermines what I had come to value over the last few decades.

I rather like the idea of "critical mass of bother". Great concept!

Love and hugs to you.