Image Public Domain

this story is like an allegory because there is no such thing as reality, only perception

many years ago i came into the world as a small baby. In terms of the fate of general humanity i had some strikes for and against

For: I was born white in a democracy with two parents. I had no visible disabilities.

Against: both parents mentally ill, working class verging on poor, parents split up in 2 years, drug abuse and alcoholism rampant, parents also experienced parental dysfunction, mother definitely had some sort of attachment disorder that made her unable to parent effectively, mother seeking and finding abusive relationships

as i result of these immediate issues i was neither kindly nor effectively parented as a child.

but anyway I’m 62 now and dont believe in being subject to my past in that i dont feel sorry for myself and i dont use my past as an excuse for bad behavior. one thing i have learned is to persevere and be as responsible as needed when needed. as result of my more than adequate survival skills I have gotten financial and emotional security for myself. i was also able to realize my truth to the extent that i came out in my 30s after a lot of emotional suffering, my own and that of my kids

the problem i think is the most relevant is my “feelings” I know i have them, sometimes i feel them. most of the time they are as thoroughly submerged as some dark and secret sea monster (i imagine them to be similar to the catfish type dark swimmers with a glow stalk floating in front of them like a miner’s lamp)

Our Mother of Perpetual Help

all this no doubt is an element in my ineffectiveness in performing my role as a parent, particularly as a parent of adults. when you cant recognize your own feelings its sort of like feeling around in a paper bag and guessing what is inside. which can, I am thinking, lead to scary things like anger or (is sarcasm an emotion?) just popping up out of nowhere in moments of irrationality or complete emotional shutdowns which are exhausting. as i age my emotional disconnect has made my interactions with my adult kids increasingly confusing. my oldest kid ghosted me about 3 years ago for very complicated reasons I am still trying to understand and internalize at the exact same time he was having a child, who i was never allowed to meet. my middle kid has psych disorders and a substance abuse problem that causes crisis happenings on about a 2 year cycle for the last 15 years and which require my emotional and financial support. my third adult child who is functioning well in the world has come to barely be able to tolerate me and condemns me harshly if i do or say anything he feels is incorrect

and now, to top it all off in terms of painful alienation, both of my granddaughters are teenagers. which sounds like a joke. like you never know when you have it good.

Whistler’s Mother photographer unknown

so of course i invited my middle son and family to come to Costa Rica to visit me in my new home.

the lowest points of my family vacation were: adult kid goes off and buys opioids and gets so high he is wandering the streets for 2 days, remains physically and emotionally incapacitated for 80% of the remaining time, teenagers spend at least 15 hours a day staring at their cellphone mixed in with actual temper tantrums and the silent treatment garnished liberally with angry side eye, stink eye, arguing about every single thing they were asked to do. the absolutely relentless nature of their anger and resentment at being alive and taken on vacation can not be understated and was in its own way breathtaking. my non annoyed self got an impression that teenage anger is refreshing, it is so free-form. however because i spent so much time with my grand kids from the time they were babies it was particularly painful to be hated and ignored; hoping they will snap out of it eventually

PHOTOGRAPH BY JO FRANCES

so i sit here. I survived. i always survive. the question is: what is left behind? to me its a mystery although some mental health expert could probably label it all and spell it out to me, a chart of some sort would be helpful. I have the brain power to understand abstract concepts. the chart might come with some sort of warning, like: don’t try this at home

my nearest guess is that I am in in a dysfunction sandwich and its at least a triple-decker. i will probably never understand and the truth is, it is all relative, my understanding or lack thereof having very little consequence. I am probably getting that wrong but I am too exhausted to try to iron it out.

postscript: today i got a note from my mother: would you come and visit me? I realize we haven't met since you were 12, 50 years ago. I know I was not a good mom. would you come and visit? hilarious, right? well no one can claim i dont learn from my experiences.

I plan to stay home.

Image by Amandoll nevernotamanda@gmail.com

Historically Curious, Queer, Aging, Anglophile, World traveler, lifetime researcher with a sarcastic bent

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