Another Year Older

Posted on February 22, 2010


I’ve been obsessed with the Mumford & Sons album “Sigh No More,” which is where the last post quotes lyrics from, and will explain why once again, I’m using song lyrics as I write. I can’t stop playing the album, it’s either Mumford and Sons or the new Sade album “Soldier of Love.” Today though, it’s all Mumford, I’m ringing in my 27th year with a fresh perspective, on myself and the world around me. And as much as I’d like to tell you that today I’m in a fantastic place and everything is peachy, I cannot do so without a lingering feeling that things are not as they should be, pleasantville is only quasi pleasant, and I question what I can do to keep myself safe and healthy and maintain the boundaries I need in order to keep moving forward.

weep for yourself, my man,
you’ll never be what is in your heart
weep little lion man,
you’re not as brave as you were at the start
rate yourself and rape yourself,
take all the courage you have left
wasted on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head

Thursday night, after leading a meeting up in Thousand Oaks, Angel and I were driving home and my mother called. She kept asking me if I am okay, she always repeats herself when she’s been drinking and the slurred speech is always a dead give away. She started to tell me how uncomfortable she feels around this time of year, to which I replied “I would feel uncomfortable if I was about to give birth to myself as well.” She paused and said that part of this year was awesome, it was the divorce, us leaving on March 13th that made her feel uncomfortable and she asked if I wanted to know the story of us leaving. As if she magically knew what I’d just written in my blog, and it would have to be a magical thing she knew because I’ve asked her repeatedly to keep away from here. I love her, unconditionally, and she is incapable of reading what I’m actually writing. In my post about EMDR I wasn’t asking for the details of the day we left, I was coming to the realization that those details don’t matter. I don’t need them to remember what I felt, to feel what still lingers today. I was speaking openly about how some things can never be explained, and no amount of justifying will excuse the events of those days. I didn’t want anything. I was thinking aloud. And in doing so I came to my own conclusions about that time in my life. Because I knew her response wouldn’t suffice. It would be “I’m sorry I fucked you up so much. I regret everything anyway and had no choice.”

but it was not your fault but mine
and it was your heart on the line
i really fucked it up this time
didn’t I, my dear?

Maybe I’ve become too accustomed to the language of recovery, but the words I need her to say are not words she knows how to say right now. Because she is unhealthy and doesn’t know how to be accountable for things that have gone wrong in her life. We are alcoholics. It is our nature to place blame. I did/do the same thing until I work my steps, until I can see my part in something I’ve done wrong, in the way I’ve hurt someone, at which point I can openly admit my behavior and actions were selfish, or arrogant, or self-seeking and fear based. I set myself up for failure, because I expect her to respect my wishes in not reading this page, and then when she emails me with a quick paragraph saying how she had nobody else to depend on, I get frustrated that nobody is accountable. I am accountable for my actions in those days. I never told her how much it hurt me that she wouldn’t come home. It was selfish to think she would just know… she had a lot going on then. I have to let myself off the hook though, because I was a kid. And abandoned. And lonely.

tremble for yourself, my man,
you know that you have seen this all before
tremble little lion man,
you’ll never settle any of your score
your grace is wasted in your face,
your boldness stands alone among the wreck
learn from your mother or else spend your days biting your own neck

Ever since then I can’t help but think about what would happen if she were anybody aside from my mother. Would I stick around? Would I wait it out? Would I allow myself to be in this vulnerable position, a place where I feel emotionally abused, stuck in the washing machine or re-traumatizing my inner child, or would I say “I hope you find the willingness to seek help. I love you no matter what, but for now I can only love you from afar because it hurts me too much to stay this close.” Maybe the reason she doesn’t get help is because she hasn’t had to face the consequences of her alcoholism. Maybe my part in that is not following through on my recovery, the promise I made to myself to stay away from unhealthy people who do not wish to become healthy. One of the biggest problems in the relationship with my mom is my inability to separate her feelings from mine. The enmeshment runs so deep I didn’t know it was happening until I started the work of undoing it. When a conversation between mother and daughter goes from “I hurt” and “I’m sorry you hurt, it will be okay,” to “I hurt” and “Your hurt makes me hurt, I wish I could take away all your pain,” things have become unhealthy. I was afraid to have feelings because I knew they would hurt her. I never wanted to hurt her. I still don’t. But I also don’t want to hurt myself. That’s part of the amends I’m making to myself, participating in self-care. Perhaps loving her from afar is self-care. I have to speak with Dr. Reef and Jill about this tomorrow and Tuesday. So it’s 3 hours until I’m officially 27, it’s 12:17am and every other year my mom has called me around 5am to tell me that x years ago she was giving birth to me. Every other year, every year past 16, I’ve been drunk on my birthday night out, and I don’t remember what I did. I remember one party as a child where kids started opening my presents and I bawled, but only because of a picture. And I remember one birthday where I told an ex-boyfriend I didn’t want him to spend the night, because it’s my birthday and I can do what I want. The selfish behavior seems so obvious now. This year, this 27th year of my life, I’m going to remember the little details and not because they will justify feelings later down the road but because it will allow me to experience the feelings as they arise. It’s going to be a good year, even if it’s been a rough end to the last.

but it was not your fault but mine
and it was your heart on the line
i really fucked it up this time
didn’t I, my dear?