My youngest came home for her birthday this week, preferring a quiet time for introspection after a hectic month of transitioning from one coast to another, finding a place to live and work and school, again. It was a treat to hang together for a day. I told her that Joy and I are doing well and took credit by saying our reunion was better because I was doing better. Ezzy looks at me and says, “You’re not guilt tripping yourself anymore?”
Uh, I guess not. (?) I was surprised by her words and felt a tad foolish.
No, I’m not guilt tripping myself. It sounds much easier than it is. It’s like walking a slithering tight rope. Not just a balancing act but attending to and being present with a constantly moving line of truth. I have easily slipped into blaming or defending at any subtle hint to discredit me.
But that last word on Ezzy’s question, “anymore?” We’ll have to see about that.
A recent revelation is the way I tried scapegoating Joy’s father. It was easy to do, but the payoff was sour. He and I broke up immediately after signing the TPR. He felt a duty to maintain a facade of support until then. But when I was confronted by him dating someone 6 years his junior I was devastated. I knew our relationship was a dead end. But I still loved him and was furious that he found it so easy to “move on”. Moving on seemed so different for him than me.
I kept loving him, thinking of him, doing things for him. An older guy took me in like a wounded animal he cared for. He envied the love he saw me continuing to send towards my baby’s daddy.There was a year of wild living after that before I gradually started to clear my head.
I’m lucky to have floated up to safety after having given up on myself.
Many years later, Joy’s call from 2000 miles away, awakened old memories. I told her his full name and his married sister’s name. And off she went to find him.
The little bit I heard about him from Joy triggered some old resentful feelings. He wasn’t who I wanted or needed back then. He just wasn’t. But even after all that time apart there were remnants and feelings of betrayal from his romantic notions and suggestions. I was annoyed that he might do that to her or for her and come across looking better in our daughter’s eyes than I ever would. Jealousy.
There were so many questions to answer. How? Why? Why not… One plausible story is that I fell for a guy that was not there for me. We lived in a society that expected the father to step up and provide for his family. And he was MIA. It was easy to see he failed his responsibilities to me and to her.
Did he really know any better than he behaved? Were we the only pressure in his life? We had come sooo close to breaking up after 3 years of a steady relationship. We started heading off in different directions and BOOM, I was suddenly pregnant.
I didn’t want to involve him. But his sense of doing the “right” thing interfered for a few fateful months turning my plans around. Then we lost our jobs and therefore our room in a rundown beach hotel. “Morning” sickness manifested as morning, noon and night sickness. Living in the van was plain uncomfortable and indiscreet with me throwing up unpredictably.
So he turned me over to my parents. When I asked him why he didn’t show up for his job interviews he was evasive, just like when I asked him where he was living. I don’t know what was going on in his life, his head or why. I think he was spending a lot of time stoned and I was tired of that.
I tried blaming him for a while, trying to deflect the guilt trips. But I was only using him as a scapegoat. His actions were his best efforts to cope with growing up in the 60’s in a dysfunctional family. He’s got a couple other excuses too.
It gets down to a couple of almost adults interacting, in a changing society that didn’t support us taking care of our child, and learning some hard lessons. One of the things I’m still learning is to stop looking at what I or anyone else did as wrong. I don’t get a “do over”. My life is my life. It’s mine and I’m doing the best I know to express loving to all my family.
When I let go of my ego demands, my personality, my opinions and points of view, a feeling of joy and peace expands inside me. That’s what I want to share. I get a loving consciousness and awareness that I am loved by Spirit and by God and that I am safe.
It’s an exercise. I have to do it daily, just like someone training for a marathon.