Monday, May 20, 2013

What I'd Like to Be

I know the previous post was harsh. I would apologize, but it is the authentic reaction to reading those pages in my mother’s journal.  In those pages were far more things than my miscarriage. There were sad things and good things, touching things. Things that remind me how much like my mother I am, in a good way.
One of those things I interjected into the last post, because I didn’t want the whole thing to be so terrible, and the other thing is a secret so terrible that my mother never even understood it. Because I read so many pages in one sitting, instead of discovering it with me, I’m going to split it out into two more posts.  The first post, this one, is about who my mother wanted to be.  The second post, which you can read here, is about big bad dark secrets.
Sat July 15
…I’m reading a book about how to get yourself from where you are to where you want to be.
What I’d like to be:
A creative person who uses her creativity and life experiences to create a safe, fun place for people to learn—to empower people to transform their lives…
Some more synchronicity for you: I am reading a similar book. I’m not sure to which book my mother is referring here, but I’m reading one of mom’s books:
Something More: Excavating the Authentic Self by Sarah Ban Breathnach (available via Amazon, and no I do not get paid for endorsement).  This book is what actually convinced me to write the last post. I didn’t want to, even though that was what was pressing into me as something I needed to do. But I read two parts of the book: the first, about the choices we don’t make, which are choices (of course) we do make (or, in the immortal words of Rush, “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice”); the second, about how, for some reason, we glean more from other people’s suffering and rebound than we do from just reading about the (jealousy-provoking) good stuff.
So there’s a heap of bad stuff for you in the previous post. Salacious, even. 
But this post. . .
This post is about wanting for myself what my mother wanted for her. I actually broke out in goosebumps when I read my mother’s words. This is, in fact, what I want to do with my life and who I want to be. Word for word. I want to use my creativity and my life experiences to create a safe, fun place for people to learn, to empower people to transform their lives. Mom and I would join SARK and others in this endeavor. I went so far as to inquire how to start up a communal farm for domestic violence survivors to teach them basic life skills and more complex skills at their leisure, somewhere where they would be safe from men while they healed (because battered women tend to be codependent, they usually need some time away from men).
I wouldn’t count this project, Talking Back, as fun. I do hope it shows people that we cope with anything, if we give ourselves permission to do it. I wrote at the beginning of this project that I cannot and will not feel ashamed of the things others did to me, and I am working so hard to uphold that.
But I do feel ashamed, of course, and always have. I do spend countless hours on the things I could have done differently. But another item in Something More caught my eye: That just because life would have been different if we had chosen differently doesn’t mean life would have been better.
I have two children. I have a husband I love more than sunshine and ice cream. I would never, ever have been able to connect with him if I had not been through deep, terrible trauma. I just wouldn't have the depth.
Is it worth it? Who’s to say? If Garth Brooks can say his life is better left to chance, perhaps mine was, too.  What I do know is that, having come to this point, having used this evil shit to have 3 blessings, I would like to have more blessings.
I’d like to give something to women whose eyes shut at my past—not in horror, but in flashback.
To you women, whose memories have clamored because of my words: There is hope. There is change. Stick with this project/book/blog (however you are experiencing it). There’s a vital difference coming up in how I handle the past and how my mother did: the difference between acknowledging the acts of others, and giving yourself permission not to wear the Monsters’ shame for them, and hiding the pain. There’s a fungus that infects some ants that makes them crawl up to the top of the grass, then die as the fungus breaks through their heads. The fungus releases its spores from this height and infects new ants, spreading all over this way. Shame is like this, too. It will drive you to go somewhere you can spread it, such as within your own family. And it will kill you.
For all the business-minded people out there, the takeaway from today is “shame=zombie fungus”.

I am exhausted for today, and there’s so much to share tomorrow.


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