family · love · maturity · recovery · self-care

Family Planning.

(oh, who doesn’t love a little tongue in cheek!)
I spoke with my mom yesterday. It’s a new record. Twice in
6… well, more like 9 months. It went well. Better than with my dad at least,
but I know part is that she was simply excited to talk on the phone with me and so was on “good behavior.”
I’ve had to watch my balance between “maintaining boundaries” and silent
scorn/punishment. Because I can tend to tip the scales toward the latter, still
making my parents make up to me things they don’t know need to be made up, and
punishing them for things they do naturally, as if punishing someone for
breathing.
But, it’s becoming, and had become, time to step back into
our relationship, and hope that this is a dance floor not a boxing ring. I’ve
needed to time to cool off, to solidify my ability to say things like “That’s
not my business” or “I’d rather we didn’t talk about that.” And, as yesterday
at least was proof of, I am becoming better at it.
This isn’t to say there weren’t the few tinges of the same
old, but, they were few, and I wasn’t thrown by them, as I’ve been so easily
thrown into the drama of despair and self pity that my family is nuts, always
has been nuts, and ever thus shall be, amen. Including myself.
There’s been a lot of need for differentiation work. My life
being mine, and not a carbon copy of hers, or dictated by the mandates of my
father. Coming to believe that the life I’m living is actually my own …
well, it’s been harder than … it is for some people.
It’s something I’ve been repeatedly told over the last few
years. Don’t you understand that you are
the one doing the living? Don’t I understand that these are
my decisions to make?
It’s been hard to take that ownership. To believe that I actually am the captain of the ship, or the one
doing the breathing of this body. When much of early life is focused on the
needs of others and falling in line with those desires, the questions as, “What
do I want?” take on magnum
proportions.
Although the aim of school was to accomplish a number of
goals, one of them was to really do what I
wanted. This decision, let me tell you, was NOT supported in some corners of my
nuclear family, and they were
very
vocal about that. About telling me that I was making a wrong decision, that I
was making a mistake. That I couldn’t have what I wanted. And that I was stupid
to think something I did want was a viable option. … Only the first two were
actually stated – the others were interpreted by me, and my fear brain which
loves to tell me much the same thing.
I will here state, however, my mom has always been in my
corner around school. She hasn’t always understood what I’m doing creatively, she
hadn’t always supported it (or been aware of it, is more accurate), but she is now. And she has for a few years.
And part of my untangling my knot of self-sabotage is to
begin to see the support in my life around my creativity – and although it’s a
“nice to have,” not a “need to have” that she supports me, … well, it’s
*really* nice to have.
She’d contacted me earlier this week, perhaps the day after
I had my activating conversation with my dad, to ask about coordinating for the
graduation – my graduation. And, so, I told her I’d call her. And I did. And we
talked, and when it was getting a little maudlin, I kept it light and aimed
toward getting off the phone. And when she mentioned her retarded work schedule
(by which I mean 12 hours straight with no breaks, so that she sits with
clients while eating a Clif bar as lunch… <– no judgment there, eh?) I didn’t tell
her what I thought. I didn’t make suggestions. I didn’t, in fact, tell her she
was doing it wrong.
The thing which I so despise being told.
There were a few other minor things like that, where I
wanted to say, WOMAN you are marvelous and talented and beautiful and
intelligent and hilarious and creative and brilliant – OF COURSE you can find
something nice to wear for the graduation day. Of course you deserve to treat
yourself better than your work schedule. Of course … Well, Of course I love you.
Which I suppose is what it boils down to for all of us. All
of us, in this nuclear family, and all of us, us.
So, yes, it is nice to be having my mom coming out to visit.
To celebrate. She agreed she and my father (and his fiancé) will be cordial,
and that’s all they need to do.
I’m looking forward to putting that phone call in my
experience bank, diminishing the deficit of my negative thinking around both of
our “brokenness,” and letting myself live my own life, as I begin (continue) to let go of hers. 
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