Who we really are

Who are we, really?

I watched an episode of ‘Once Upon a Time‘ last night, and there was a part that struck a chord with me. One of the characters is told that she will see something only when she accepts who she truly is. After some deep discussion with a friend, she admits that she is an orphan, even though she has met her family.

Once Upon a Time (TV series)

Once Upon a Time (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She realizes that even though she isn’t the same person she was before, even though she is an adult with a respectable job and house, even though she has met the rest of her family, she is still the same lost little girl that she was long ago. She is still an orphan. Sometimes those big, defining things don’t just go away.

Even when we try to move past things, sometimes they linger. Even when we aren’t the same person we were before, that doesn’t change what happened before. No matter what we think we know about ourselves, there can still be scars or wounds from before.

It struck a chord with me because it pointed out something I’d been denying for a while. I never really dealt with the death of my Mother. I thought I did. I told people that I did. I wanted to be done with it. What I  never actually did was deal with it.

I covered the wound with bandages. I kept changing them until it stopped hurting. I told everyone it was better. I never stopped to check and see if the wound was infected. I just assumed it was fine.

As a child, I think that I never knew what to say, or who to say it to. I ‘got over it’ quickly, because I didn’t know how to be appropriately sad. I figured if I didn’t know how to grieve properly, I should just not do it. I should be a little sad that everything changed, (I mean everything,) and I should be sad that  I didn’t have my Mom that I loved very much anymore. I didn’t know how to process those huge feelings.

I’m sure there are things that this affects, but I don’t really know what they are yet. I’m just beginning to notice that there are things about that time in my life that never really got addressed or solved. I was 9, and I didn’t want to be sad about it all, so I just kind of stopped being sad. I’m only now, 19 years later, realizing how bad I screwed that up. I can’t say I should have known better, because I was a child, but I can say that I now realize that I didn’t do all the things I needed to to come to terms with all that happened.

The trouble for me now is, that I don’t really know what to do with this new information. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about how I handled things 19 years ago. Especially when it’s not as if I wronged someone, I just didn’t properly handle my own emotions. So at some point, I’ll need to figure out what to do about it all.

For now, I’ll just be content that I finally realized that I didn’t do it right. I’ll have to worry about the rest later.

A little sad about the things that will never be.

I was just telling you about my valiant garage cleaning attempt from yesterday. Part of what I was doing was going through some

Photograph

Photograph (Photo credit: http://www.robertorey.es)

photographs from my Mother’s side of the family. I’ve mentioned before that my Mother died when I was 9. I’m still trying to deal with that a lot of days. My Grandmother was moving, and had a lot of extra family photos that she wanted to give me the pick of.

I was pretty conflicted about a lot of these pictures. I really wanted to have some of them. I wanted to have the photos and the memories. I wanted the photos of different times in my family’s lives. I wanted some photos of a “happier” time in my life. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time staring at pictures of my Mother, who died when I was 9, hooked up to machines in a hospital. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time looking at pictures of my Grandfather, who died when I was 19, at home in pain from bone cancer. I definitely didn’t want to spend any time looking  at pictures of my step-father, who is still alive and I wish he wasn’t, for so many reasons I can’t get into them now. I’ll share later, I promise.

I managed the sorting and choosing portion pretty well. I took some, left others. I tried to not end up with doubles or very similar ones. I also noticed that my Grandparents got A LOT of portraits taken. I did alright though. I wasn’t too sad or too angry. I ended up with some nice photos. I took them all home in their frames, to protect them. I figured I’d just throw the frames away later. This is what I had to go through in my own garage. I needed to take them out of their protective frames and take them inside. This was the part that got hard.

My family has always kept a relatively accurate photographic archive. Most of the photos are portrait type shots, and they take them every few years or so. That means that through the course of my 28 years, I have seen photos from every hairstyle and fashion fad. I’m not unfamiliar with pictures of my Mother from high school, or myself in questionable attire. What I wasn’t prepared for was the sadness.

When my Mother died, I wasn’t quite old enough to understand. I have enough memories to miss her, but I wasn’t old enough to know what had happened until later. I understood that she wasn’t around anymore, that it was sad, and that she wouldn’t be able to come back. It wasn’t until much later that I began to understand what it means for someone to have died. I only now understand what it means that someone, especially my Mother, died while I was still in elementary school.

When my Grandfather died, I knew what it all was going to mean. I was as alright as I was going to be with his death when it happened. My Grandfather was a vibrant and vigorous  man. He was sweet and he was passionate about so many things. When he got bone cancer, we first thought it would be easier for him than others. He would never show his hurt and he would be the same lively and dignified man as always. The cancer destroyed him. He hurt so much and only showed us a little bit. He wasn’t able to get up and do things like before. He was sad and tired and he was never sad and tired. I was so happy  for him when he passed away quietly at home, because he was in pain and because he was not my Grandfather. He was not, at that time, the man everyone knew and loved. I refuse to remember him that way.

I wasn’t prepared for how all of those photos would force me to feel. Make no mistake, they forced it upon me. They forced me to remember how pretty my Mother was. They made me see the happiness in her eyes. They captured my eyes with my Grandfather’s handsomeness. They took my will to look away from his lively eyes and smile. They gave me no option to escape my step-father’s false mask. They refused my attempts to forget that he was alive.

As I took all of those photos out of their frames and gathered them to keep safe inside, I had no choice but tho remember how happy we had been before our world came unglued. I won’t say that my life was better before. I am everything that I am because of the sum total of my life. I was happy before it all began to tear at the seams. I was less happy after my Mother died. Anyone would be.

What I had been avoiding thinking about and couldn’t avoid yesterday was how that all applies to my life from here on out. Those people I love and respect so much will never get to see what kind of a man I turn into. I’m a man now, but I know I’m not finished becoming what I will be. They will never get to see how it happened or what it will be. They will never get to see me have children. They won’t get to see what they become. That’s what makes me the saddest. 

One of these days I’ll come to terms with that. I’ll be able to accept that that is the way it has to be. I think what will help is knowing who WILL get to see those things happen. My still living parents and grandparents. They are the ones that will have to be loving and proud to my future children. 

I suppose eventually I will be able to get past it all. It seems that sometimes the only way to truly be able to be okay with something like this is to look back and realize you’ve been okay with it for awhile now. Seeing that you’ve made that peace in hindsight is sometimes the only way it can truly come into focus. 

Until then, I’ll just have to not be scared to think of when it hadn’t begun to crack yet. I will have to accept that thinking about that will make me sad. Sometimes, I will just have to be sad.

I’m an Adult! I’ll Act Like a Child if I Want to!

Fonzie

Fonzie (Photo credit: anneh632)

I’m feeling especially rebellious today. Unfortunately, it’s not rebellious in a cool, Fonzie-like way. It’s rebellious in that you-can’t-make-me-take-a-bath-if-you-can’t-catch-me way. I fear this is something I will be passing down to my children in the future.

It’s going to sound stupid, petulant and childish but would you expect much else from me? I just don’t want to mow my grass tonight. I hate mowing the lawn. Especially when for reasons somewhat outside my control, it has gotten too long and it’s going to be a pain in the ass to slog through it tonight. I could bag it, but this early in the year it’s growing so fast that I feel like it’s better for the grass to feed on it’s recently shredded brethren. I think I’m growing cannibal grass you guys. Is it wrong that I find the idea of training my grass to feed on nothing but other grass to be a motivator? Probably.

I’m just being stubborn. It’s not that big of a deal. It only takes an hour and it isn’t going to even be hot tonight. Such it the tortured life a mostly-responsible adult.

Back to this concept of my innately ruining my future children. I’m really kind of pondering this now. I mean, I know I am not a model human being. I’m ok. I don’t frequently find myself in trouble with the local 5-0, or have any lawyers on speed dial. I do wonder what parenting will be like.

If there’s one thing I have faith in myself to do properly, it’s be a parent. I always have. I am not a constant worrier that I will somehow ruin my future children’s lives with one small error or anything like that. Sometimes, I do wonder if I will pass on to them the worst parts of my personality.

You know how people who know you really well can see all those tiny little traits in kids that just make them say “Totally your kid. No way it could belong to anyone else”? I just don’t want My Spawn to be identified by things that I view as negatives about my personality.

I tend to stay indoors. I have occasionally attempted to locate a cave that has television and internet in it. I like the dark. I sometimes(always) tend to exist in a natural state of Hermit-tude. The best example I can give you is if I were left to my own devices, I would get up, stumble groggily to the coffee pot, make coffee, wander to my desk, plop in front of the computer in the dark and not move until I needed food or coffee. This is my natural state. It drives The Wife crazy sometimes.

I don’t hate this about myself, but I do want My Spawn to be well-rounded mini-people and I want them to be able to enjoy being outside. I don’t want them to fear the light like some nocturnal beastie. I hope that this isn’t genetic. I suspect it’s not, because I believe my dark-dwelling to be a product of my formative years with my babysitter the TV(kind of a long story, probably needs it’s own post), and my lack of ability to participate in normal kid activities that involve movement due to a medical issue(not a secret, just a long story. Also different post.)

I also tend to be a bit anti-social. I really like Sherlock Holmes’ description in the BBC show “Sherlock“: “[with contempt] I’m not a psychopath, Anderson, I’m a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research.” I don’t know if it applies to me, per se, but that’s kinda how I feel some days. Again, I’m fine with this but I’d rather My Offspring work well with others and not avoid other people.

So I suppose I’m not so much worried about how The Mini-People will turn out, as much as I’m curious to see if I Can encourage them to make better choice than I sometimes do. I should direct them to 450 Good Choices so they can see how much difference a few good choices at a time can make.

So this one was kinda all over. Let’s go with: What triggers your rebellious moments?