Saturday, August 20, 2016

Putting my story to bed - maturity

I am back from the big a event and a longer than usual visit with my sister.  It all went perfectly and the happy couple are happily honeymooning in a secret location on the coast of Mexico.

The first night as I sat at a table with my life size version of Cruella Deville I felt like I was having an out of body experience. She talked to me between barking orders to her own daughter about how she should be minding her great granddaughter. This is my stepmother of course  the one who forced me out of my own home at 16 with my dad standing by her side silent.

I sat there staring at her for awhile she still looks 20 years younger than her age. This for sure is not an accident many hours and many thousands of dollars on beauty products have made her the person she is today.  I don't think she has had surgery just hours of pampering.

Okay that is about only the venom I can come up with about her.  Truthfully and thankfully this was a final chapter of closure for me. Her daughter, from the marriage before my dad, talked to me about the fun times we had together.  She was six when they married and was uncontrollable and pulled a knife on me once when I was babysitting her. She would get so mad that she turned purple.  I would beg my dad to not leave me alone with her. Fun times for sure.

My sister and I were talking about how bad she was and she mention the time I tried to throw her down the stairs. I corrected this story she had about me.  I told her she was throwing my stuff down the basement stairs and it was crashing and breaking.  I did tell her if she threw one more thing down the steps she would be going down too.  This was the first time I stood up to her physically.

I know I always harp on the idea that everyone has their story.  The stories we have about other people and even the stories we have about ourselves are distortions of the truth.  A memory of an incident that we have rehearsed over and over in our own mind tweaking it ever so slightly each time. We carry this with us and attach either happy thoughts or resentments to these memories. It is just our version of what happened and seen through the eyes of in this case two people that were eleven and fifteen.

The idea of my step mother is my final story.  The one person I had stories around that still hurt me. It is time I put them to bed.  Over the course of our visit she told her own story several times of how her first husband cheated on her and left her. She didn't date for six years until she met my dad. When she was telling this to me I thought "you have never gotten over that have you?" Just like I have never gotten over my story of her the way she treated me and the fact that her rejection changed the course of my life forever.

It isn't easy for me to let this go and to forgive her, not that she is asking, for the part she played in alienating me from my family.  I do take responsibility for building on that alienation instead of returning to the scene of the crime as an adult and demanding my rightful place in my family.

I have spent most of my life with the child inside wanting them especially my dad to see my worth and tell me he loved me and wanted me to be a part of the family.  He never knew how his indifference to me has made me spend a lifetime trying to feel worthy of love.  He did love me and said it the few times we spoke but he was shut down emotionally. His family are all like that people of few words or emotions and I knew I would never get what I wanted from him. I accepted this.

In our minds we carry versions of our stories.  Our own versions and clinging to those versions can keep us locked in a darkroom.  It can keep us busy not living for today and we can find other people that are stuck in the same kinds of hurts that make us feel it is okay to stay stuck.  It does feel comfortable and familiar.  We definitely have a right to feel hurt and what happened to us is unfair but now it is time to move on.

This has been a process of maturity for me I didn't want to admit that I was the one keeping this going. I have given up most of my story and don't tell it too often these days if it might help someone, like here or if someone ask me. This I feel is the last piece of the past holding me back.

It isn't easy living without a story and for some it is unthinkable. I had someone ask me once "I am my story where would I be without it?" I said "free maybe".  This idea of life without a story means for me that I have to find something else to fill that space.  My life feels a little lighter since I got back.  I did have grieve the loss of my stepmother story more lettling go and I may have to put it to bed again at some point but for now I feel free.