Yohannon (yohannon) wrote,

From The Ashes

You know, there's something about the tales that your mother tells that can bring forth all sorts of buttons to be pushed. Think of these obnoxiously elaborate self-destruction or arming mechanisms that abound through tales of espionage or science fiction.

It starts with the story that my mother was telling about how I wasn't allowed to walk around the block when I was still living in Queens, when I was but five years old. We were eating at a local steak house (I was determined to treat both mom and Catt to a mother's day steak dinner -- ironically, they wanted prime rib and grilled chicken, respectively), and I expressed some surprise when mom said this, as I recalled that I walked around that block dozens of times before we moved to Sayville when I was six.

Turns out that, when I was told that I wasn't permitted "off the block", I interpreted that literally as the BLOCK. In my precocious little mind, the block was a square, therefore I was limited to that square. I even confirmed it with mom in '68, asking her if I was okay if I never crossed the street. She agreed, and it was 38 years before she realized that she had fully blessed the loophole I had found.

I NEVER crossed the street without her presence of her or another adult. In my mind I wasn't even stretching the boundaries, but fully complying. I wasn't even being sneaky about it. To this day I can tell you the details of that block... but can only vaguely describe what was across the street, that un-passable river of asphalt. Catt took it as a cautionary tale in regards to the future with Lilly, but I'm certain that my daughter will be equally dense about her interpretations of some other rule, probably in a direction that none of us can suspect -- ADHD or no.

After all, while the strength of the disorder is the ability to see a different perspective, it can not give use the ability to anticipate them ALL.

But that's not what I meant about the buttons. I mention it merely to illustrate the rush of memories that such stories have.

Earlier, while we were back at the apartment complex (shortly before a sudden summer storm rushed through, and immediately after Lilly's very first experience in the pool -- pictures will be forthcoming!) mom triggered a sudden rush of unpleasant memories when she said "Wait until the first time they say they hate you... that will break your heart". I think she was responding to the comment about the first sigh/eye-roll that all children learn in response to the unreasonable demands of the elders.

How does one describe the memory of that moment? I know I was the oldest, and the first to declare such a hatred. What my mom doesn't know was that it wasn't said in anger, but in a cool, calculated way. I remember the details of that moment, what I was thinking, and exactly what I was trying to accomplish.

My mom was in agony -- she was suffering from pleurisy to the point that she was unable to climb the stairs to her bedroom, and so was sleeping on the couch in the den. I was within months of being expelled from school as of the second grade, in large part thanks to a cast iron bitch named Mrs. Rollner (there's a MUCH longer tale there!). I was 7.

I don't know where I got the idea, but I thought mom would be better off without me around... so I was determined to do everything I could to get her to send me away.

In short, I lied like a rug and said I hated her. Not in anger, screaming it out as I slammed the bedroom door, but in a brutal, malevolent coldness. And it didn't work.

That didn't stop me from doing the same thing over and over again for the next 30 odd years.

Every time I manage to get close enough to someone for long enough that, inevitably, SOME part of my various personality disorders reared their ugly heads, I would resort to pushing the people I cared about most as far from me as I could. To my eternal shame (though perhaps no where near the level of burning guilt borne of my first, failed attempt) I actually succeeded fairly frequently.

Not that I'm letting these feeling cripple me as they have in the past. For one thing, to balance out the reminders of the horrible bits were the reminders of the things that I glossed over in terms of what was done to ME. I often allude to my rabid distrust of the medical profession, psychologists (especially that lower for of the genre known as the SCHOOL psychologist) and the public school system (the latter which could be abolished tomorrow to my public jubilation), but even when I discuss the reasons for that open skepticism I leave out horrific details my mother was happy to recall. While some might think this cause for a personal pity party, it serves in this instance to give me some CONTEXT for my life, the decisions I make, and the feelings and reactions that drive them.

Michele commented in my last post (something I am grateful for) that my choice to medicate was a good one overall -- and I agree. I do wonder what I would do if prevented from getting the meds, which was usually a much stronger motivation for trying to get off of them. Aside from a dwindling impression that medication is a crutch (after awhile one has to concede that crutches are NECESSARY for some situations, perhaps even in a permanent way), there was the paranoia born of the prospect of not being able to take them for whatever reason. I felt the same way about glasses -- and when given the opportunity 10 years ago to dispose of them through the miracle of lasik surgery, I took a chance.

Which I suppose is the moral that I didn't acknowledge with every previous attempt to wean myself from whatever pills were keeping me focussed and stable -- you have to replace one tool with another. I suspect I might live to see devices that could address all of the issues I'm currently dealing with using a combination of crude chemical adjustments, drugs that will in the near future will be viewed with the same horror as we view the medical practices of 50 years ago.

Until then I guess I need to find new routes to that damned muse who, even with a calmer mind and more sophisticated way of expressing myself *, still manages to cut through like a brand new one year old' who's just discovered the fine art of the temper tantrum's wail.

Gah, it's nearly 3 AM. Maybe a better metaphor would be the car alarm that goes off every 5 minutes or so, waking you from a sound sleep (or keeping you from getting any in the first place) until you get your ass up out of bed and you go kill it. Preferably with a large object. Like an anvil through the hood.

I'll go into more detail about the stay in AZ and other fun facts about Lilly, complete with the obligatory photos (mercifully behind LJ cut tags to insulate these of you prone to sugar shock). Suffice it to say that:
  • Erika, she ADORES the hat!
  • Kim, you already got the pics of her with the inflatable pool toy you got her... she TOTALLY loves it!
  • Typical child: When presented with a multitude of pricier gifts, it was the $2.50 half-off sale priced stuffed squooshy elephant she delighted in
  • Oh, and the paper was a toy too, wasn't it?
Goodnight all. See you back in California tomorrow night.

* Name that movie!
Tags: personal
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