Thursday, May 22, 2008

SUMMERTIME!!!! and general noodling - same old, same old

Just got back from the neighbor farm across the creek - bought two gallons of strawberries (a little soggy and diminished in flavor after Tuesday's rainfall) and a small bag of the first peaches of the season!

Sorry - nothing more profound than that, but it's enough: summer is now officially arrived to the NC Sandhills.

I'm getting ready to boil the jars to make strawberry preserves, and I'm going to be eating fresh local squash with my grilled chicken breast tonight, and new potatoes...

Had a very good email exchange with my friend Matt last night, in which he reminded me (kindly, as always) that I fret too much. Consequence of my upbringing - which btw I am exploring in some fiction exercises - and hard to escape, the trying to find balance in so many things and to please so many people at once, even those long dead.

I am the daughter of a distance trucker and a high school dropout. I have shattered all expectations for my adult life - by being divorced, by having a college education, by entering graduate school, by my well-educated friends (who include Ph.Ds and MDs), by a variety of experiences and anticipated adventures (Europe!) -

I got a lot of mixed messages when I was growing up, many of them the consequence of Mom's drug addiction and subsequent character deterioration; like a great many of us who grew up in dysfunctional families, I am a whirlwind of contradictions. I was told to work hard to better myself - and not to get above my raising. I was told I ought to go to college, but I was simultaneously discouraged from it, apart from a strictly pragmatic application (my mother thought I ought to become a nurse or an accountant); I was told I was too smart to waste my abilities, and that I wasn't smart enough to follow my dreams.

Etc.

I grew up in a house so filthy that my mother only washed dishes (even with an automatic dishwasher) only when the cupboards were empty of dishes; the living room floor was hidden beneath piles of magazines, newspapers, books, piles of trash - except for the path from doors to chairs to television. There was no order, no discipline - I was not only not taught or expected to contribute to the order of the house, I was actively discouraged from it because everything I did "worried" my mother and "gave her headaches."

and now I am in a sphere that my upbringing didn't prepare me for - that defied me to reach. That, and loving someone far beyond my expectations, leaves me fighting for balance. I'm afraid of failure, so most often freeze in a reflective stillness (or inertia) - try to put things to words, but that's hard when I'm in unchartered territory.

Matt says, to live AS IF I believe, AS IF I trust - and he's right, I know it, and then I'm paralyzed by the HOW of it, as if there could be only one way and if I don't discover that one restrictive way then I'm doomed to more failure -

What a mess! But it's summer at last, and with the warm weather and fresh air pouring into my house (trailer) I'm feeling hopeful again. I'll figure this thing out, somehow.

Won't I?

2 comments:

Adrienne said...

Matt sounds like a good friend and, yes, you will figure it all out.

Your growing up house sounds like my husbands growing up house--except his was waaaaaaay worse. Stuff piled to ceiling. Entire rooms gone. So here he is at almost 64 and he has a problem with throwing stuff away. Some things just don't go away and manifest themselves in all sorts of weird behavior.

Laura said...

Adrienne - I'm a typical ACOA:
I guess at what normal is.
I take myself very seriously.
I judge myself without mercy (but less so as I get older) -

My mother kept, literally, socks I wore when I was a baby -they'd come in handy some day. Product of the Depression? Of course, when my sister was born, 10 yrs later, she had to have new things... which were also saved...

Some of the things were quite precious, but some should have been given away when they were fresh and in style and could have been appreciated by another mother.

I react the opposite - I tend to throw things away that I regret parting with, later. There HAS to be a balance somewhere! sigh.