Struggle to Understand

Little bits of the past come up, and it’s so painful.  I was remembering when Daddy dislocated his shoulder riding, and Granpappy’s palomino Rey del Oro and how I would call him “Ray Dell” in teenage fashion — or so it seems to me now — I look at that lost girl, trying to… what? be like the popular girls? claim something for my own?  I look back and I see her trying so hard, and my heart just goes out to her.  I want to put my arms around her and hold her and say “there there.”  She was wanting romance and passion and color.  She never really found it, she found sadness and pain instead.  I sit here, lost and sad, at the end of a wasted life.  Part of me knows that’s not true, but that’s an objective observer, not my experience.

Painful painful session with Erica.  I cried a lot.  I told her I was lost.  She asked if she could get closer, I said yes.  She put her feet outside mine and her hands on my knees.  I grabbed her wrist and held on.  She asked if I felt connected.  Not really.  I told her I saw my life stretching away in greyness, like being in the desert, no excitement, no color, no friendship.  It felt a lot like that twilight feeling.   I read her the pages about life “designed by god.”   I asked her why the good times come and then fade and are completely forgotten.  She said something about “shelf life.”  I said I don’t have the receptors for good things because they didn’t get built when I was very young.  How can I build them in now?  There was something about it wasn’t OK to feel good about what I do well, because that would be “thinking I was so great.”  She asked me if I could tell that I had done better with my life than my parents had with theirs.  Not really.  My life right now looks like a wasted life.  Erica wondered if I felt disloyal to have a bigger life than they did.  I don’t know if it’s loyalty or fear — I think it’s fear that keeps me small.  Erica asked again if I felt connected to her.  I struggled, searching, and found “not allowed.”  It’s like Mama Greene, I’m afraid of mother’s jealousy.  I was afraid to build a relationship with the woman who came to take care of us when I was three.  I told Erica about telling R “I just want to go home and be taken care of,” and her saying “Everybody wants that,” and how it diminished my actual experience.  Mother did that all the time.  But everybody doesn’t feel the same terrible lostness and loneliness I’m in.  I think maybe R’s remark was one of the big triggers of this baby state I seem to be stuck in.  I guess claiming that my experience is more painful and deep than most people’s is also “thinking I’m so great.”  No, you are not allowed to be any bigger or feel more deeply than your mother.  I feel like my whole emotional life has collapsed to a flat line.  Francis Weller talks about this, he described our culture as being a “flatline” culture because we aren’t allowed to feel great joy or deep sorrow.

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