I Am That Girl Now

Friday, December 30, 2005

My, it's been a while.

Hello, hello! I've survived the family holidays, am bracing for the New Year's party we're hosting tomorrow night, am desperately trying to convince my cat to stop pooping on the living room carpet, and seem to have graduated from therapy.

More below the cut.

My husband is a genius. I love him so very much. Like many younger children of volitile families, he has developed the talent of reading people and figuring out how they work. This is very, very useful when applied to my family. In this case, he came out with a blockbuster jaw-dropper of a revelation about my dad: that while my dad clearly loves me like crazy, he is completely baffled by me. The things that I'm good at, the things I'm interested in, and the way I see the world are all foreign to him, and when he interacts with me, I never react the way he expects. The parenting techniques that he grew up with worked in some ways on me, but backfired completely in others. He and my sister are a lot alike, and so he understands her a lot more and has an ease of interaction with her that I'd always thought meant favoritism or approval.

It's not that he doesn't love me. It's not that he doesn't approve of me. He just doesn't know what the fuck is going on, and he tries the best he can and never quite gets the results he wants, and he doesn't have the relentlessly introspective nature that I do (my Hub is of the opinion that the rest of my immediate family completely lacks this trait) and so he just muddles along the best he can.

I don't know why this hit me between the eyes so squarely, but really, it seems to have been another huge piece in reconstructing my concept of who I am and how my family works. I am a creative type whose personality didn't work with how my father wanted to raise me, and so I ended up as a type-A, trying desperately for perfection when perfection was defined as "being like Dad" in my mind. I kept trying and trying and trying to prove myself, but I was doing it in such a way that I was trying to push myself into being perfect at things that, if I was perfect with them, would crush my actual personality. I'm just not the type of person who can keep this up. And that's okay.

I think that my ancient frustration with not being understood goes back to the fact that Dad has just never been able to figure me out, and that if I am okay with Dad not understanding me and that he'll probably never understand me, if I manage to switch it in my head so that it's okay and that I am whole unto myself and don't need people to understand me in order for the world to keep spinning... then maybe I'll be okay with all of this. Maybe I won't short out when I get in arguments, maybe I won't panic when people get angry with me, maybe this will be okay.

Regarding food and exercise, a household decision has been reached that a) we're officially, no kidding now, getting the household back on healthy cooking with lots of veggies as of New Year's Day, and b) as of New Year's, I'm not going to be the only one in the house exercising, since my Hub has sworn to take up lifting weights while I jog. I am to remain calm and continue to work on not freaking out about food. This is going to be gentle, but implacable and constant. Hell, most of it we're already doing, this is just making it official.

We have re-invested in the exercise room, replacing the DVD player that shorted out a few weeks ago and upgrading our DVD selection. My sister bought me two very good cookbooks for Christmas. The annual re-working of the kitchen will occur the day after New Year's. New spices have been purchased. Salad has been made and consumed. Life is good.

Really, I ought to go back to my parents' place more often, because if we eat there for a few days we come back home craving vegetables like mad things. It's hilarious. Only my mother can somehow manage to make eating all the wrong foods into such an incredibly dull culinary experience. We got home and went directly to Trader Joe's to buy curry powder and tomatoes and lettuce and apples and balsamic vinegar. Desperate for taste, I tell you. DESPERATE.

In other news, my paternal grandmother has gone shockingly downhill since the last time I'd seen her. She's become one of those old ladies in a nursing home who is so hunched over in her wheelchair that her face is practically pressed against her stomach, unresponsive, drooling, and-- in the few moments I could get a response from her-- looking so, so sad. It broke my heart to see her like this. Granted, she hasn't known my name for ten years, and she's been getting more and more confused and addled as time went by, but she always responded. She was always polite, even not knowing who the hell any of these nice young people were or why they were talking to her or what they were talking about. Even on this last visit, one of her few responsive moments meant noticing my Hub and reaching out to shake his hand in greeting.

I miss her. I really, really do. I'm so sad that back when we still had her mind with us, I wasn't interested in the things I am now, and so I've never had a chance to talk quilting patterns or techniques with her, never had a chance to question her about the doll patterns that she put together (and which now seem to be lost-- I'm trying to recreate them based on measurements, but it's slow going), never had a chance to get any good stories from her on what my dad was like as a kid. My grandma is still here, but she's gone, and now I keep hearing that my other one is starting to lose her mental coherence, too. My grandfathers are both long dead. My Hub's grandparents are all dead. It has just occurred to me that my children are never going to know their great-grandparents at all, and when I grew up knowing several of mine, it just seems unimaginable that they'll be missing that whole generation.

Sigh.

Speaking of kids, we're not looking to get pregnant in 2006, but our current plan is to start trying in late 2007. We'll be as ready then as we'll ever be, I think, and that'll give me enough time to finish my stint on Zoloft and transition off of it for a good amount of time before getting pregnant. (Pregnant. OY.)

Well, anyway. Happy Holidays, folks-- Christmas to them that celebrate it, Hanukkah to the Tribe, Kwanzaa, the Solstice, upcoming Eid Al-Adha, and of course Festivus, the holiday for the rest of us-- and a happy, beautiful New Year.

9 Comments:

  • that is rather darn smart of your husband... that really does make a lotta sense!

    happy festivus to you deary... and all the best for the new year!

    By Anonymous dietgirl, at 2:18 PM  

  • It is so good to read you sounding so positive. In a way I'm sooo glad the holidays are almost over. Time to get back to business! Looking forward to reading more of your journey in 2006.

    By Blogger ms ralph, at 3:18 PM  

  • Happy Newyear to you too!

    Love reading you.

    By Anonymous nienuh, at 4:43 AM  

  • Happy New Year :)

    I'm sorry about your grandmother ((((hugs))))

    By Blogger Angel, at 12:33 PM  

  • Wow, it's been a while and reading back over the entries I'd missed, I became more and more convinced that you are my alter ego... :P

    So glad you have survived the silly season. Here's to 2006. Let's hope it brings some inner peace for all of us.

    By Blogger ladymisstree, at 11:44 PM  

  • i remeber my cat doing that, although the lil shit would go outside and wait to come back inside to go the the toilet! best for the new year, make 2006 ur year

    By Blogger laura, at 12:44 AM  

  • I'm curious - have you read anything by Geneen Roth? Some of your entries sound like you have - just wondering. If not, I think you'd like her books.

    By Anonymous liz, at 11:43 AM  

  • I happened on your blog via Dietgirl, and the funny thing is I immeidately identified with your dad-eureka. I was lucky enough to have two siblings that are also completely different than my parents, though, so we figured it out a little bit earlier, thankfully!

    Accepting that you'll never be able to make your dad happy in the ways you strived for as a little kid, and also realizing that it's totally okay and won't ruin your relationship with him, is an extremely empowering thing.

    It used to make me sad. But we can still play pool to old Roger Miller records, and he still gives the world's best hugs. :) AND I get to persue what I want to persue -- not what he would want me to, which, like you said, is so against my personality, it's not even funny.

    By Anonymous Elaine, at 4:28 PM  

  • Hi Meg --
    I happened on your blog a week ago and it's TERRIFIC. I just wanted to send a note of encouragement, and I hope you update soon. You're a really compelling writer.

    By Anonymous Tami, at 10:09 PM  

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