Thanksgiving gauntlet

It’s finally done! I ran the Thanksgiving gauntlet this year with not much damage to show for it.

The end-of-year holidays are always a trial for me, as this is the time of year when the Keeper of the Holograms has her holograms working overtime.  This is when we must be the perfect family at all costs. Everybody has their part to play, and if we don’t there is hell to pay.

Today, for example. KotH decided to have Thanksgiving today, she said,  since she had to work and didn’t want to cook on the actual day. That means that I was at the grocery store this morning and cooking all day. Literally. She helped me, so I didn’t have to do it by myself, but still it was all day.

The tradition for Thanksgiving in my house is everybody sits down and eats together, then we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for.  Normally, I don’t mind this; I can give them a few hours and then escape.

Today I had to lead my coven’s new moon ritual, though. It was set up weeks ago, and it couldn’t be changed.  I don’t usually eat before ritual, because it’s easier to direct energy on an empty stomach, and eating afterwards helps to ground you back into your body and “regular” consciousness.  My plan was to sit down with the family when they all did, laugh and joke with them, then go up, take an hour or so to decompress, and then have the ritual.

Note I said that was the plan.

We had a snafu and the cooking had to be stopped for a couple hours. Cooking pushed back=late dinner. When the cooking resumed, KotH was on a speed train. She likes to eat as soon as the turkey comes out of the oven, so as soon as the bird was out, she was hustling everybody to the table.

I would have gone too, but by the time she was getting people to the table, I had to go. I stayed to say grace, and then I took my leave–or tried to.

Script format will show how it went.

KotH: Where are you going?

Me: I have to go lead my group’s meeting (I call my coven a group to her because she doesn’t like the word “coven” for some reason).

KotH: You need to come eat with us.

Me: I’ll eat later. I have to do this now.

KotH: Can’t you leave them to fend for themselves?

Me: This was set up weeks ago, Mom. If we hadn’t had to stop, I would have had time to sit with you guys before I had to do this. Everything got pushed back, so I need to go now.

KotH: Can’t you postpone it? Why is it today of all days?

Me: I can’t postpone, Mom. The day is set, and I’ve known I would be leading for weeks.

KotH: But it’s Thanksgiving! Why did you agree to do it today?

Me: Because I thought we would do Thanksgiving yesterday. I was asked to lead today back at the beginning of the month. I figured we’d do Thanksgiving on the Friday, not today. Even without us sitting down late, I wouldn’t have eaten with you guys; I would have sat at the table with you for a bit, then gone up and did what I had to do, and eaten later. The only thing that’s changed is that I don’t have time to sit with you guys now.

KotH: You could leave them to do it themselves and come to eat.

Me: I couldn’t, Mom. I promised I would do it. I’ve got people counting on me. I promise to eat later, as soon as we’re done.  (I did, too)

 

Now I’m wondering if there was another way to handle that. I can’t see it, even now, but maybe there was. My mom thinks that I have no loyalty, or that I just don’t care. It’s not true, of course, but she thinks it, and I don’t know how to make her see that I do care.

 

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Feeling deserving, step the first: acknowledgement

I have always been reluctant about accepting accolades or titles or awards of any kind. When I was in school, I would always feel a twinge of discomfort every time I got an award, be it a “yay, you are a great helper!” badge in kindergarten, or my high school diploma.

I feel like an idiot for it, but it’s always there. I know that I work for whatever titles or certificates I get; I know that I earn them. I don’t feel like I deserve them, though, no matter how much work I might put in.

I feel like whatever I do, somebody else could do as well. It’s not special. It’s not a huge enough thing to merit getting acknowledged for it. Most of the time, I just do whatever it is. I don’t think about it; it just happens. To be rewarded for something that’s just an automatic response on my part feels wrong.

The ongoing assignment I’m doing is trying to find where this sense of undeserving started, and to do whatever I can to stop it.

Sometimes, the universe answers very quickly

I woke up this morning (technically yesterday morning, but I haven’t been to sleep yet) asking myself which duty is more important: duty to self or duty to others. Where is the right path between the two?

During my morning devotions, I asked for an answer to that question, then I went off to begin the day.

Later in the afternoon, I was cleaning the playroom in preparation for a relative’s overnight visit. When I opened up a toy bin to remove all the tiny, mismatched pieces of toys past, I saw a book.

Now, I have most of my books boxed up. The boxes are closed and taped. I wondered how this one book had escaped confinement as I picked it up and turned it over.

It was The Bhagavad-Gita.

It’s about this prince, Arjuna. He’s having a moral dilemma. He’s getting ready to charge into battle and kill a few hundred of his kinsmen, and put himself in the way of maybe being killed, in order to sort out a matter of kingship. So, of course, the poor guy’s nearly paralyzed with indecision. Should he go out there and battle his kin, or should he just turn around and head home?  He and his charioteer, the god Krishna, have a dialogue and one of the questions that pops up is “Where is the right path between two conflicting duties?”

I did ask that question earlier.

I read the Gita in college, but that was long ago. Since it was just there in that toy bin, I think I need to read it again and see if I can find an answer to my question.

 

Open-mindedness? What’s that?

I expect my family to be open-minded about some things. I don’t know why I always expect this, but I do. I always end up disappointed.

Yesterday, I went with the Bestower of Righteous Silliness and her husband, Preacher Man (who is making his first appearance in this blog)  to visit a cousin who is recovering from surgery. We went to lunch and spent some time talking about everything.

The talk eventually wound around to another younger cousin and the family’s suspicion about her sexuality. I don’t know why this is news, as my own mother is also seemingly obsessed about it.

My cousin asked rhetorically why so many people were “experimenting” these days.  BoRS and Preacher Man were going on and on about how such things were a choice, and absolutely wrong since God “wouldn’t allow such things to be going on anywhere in his creation”.

I wondered if they’d never seen the studies done on homosexuality in animals. Animals–excluding the fact that humans are animals for the moment–don’t have the type of brain function needed to make such a choice (at least I don’t think so; if anyone knows anything to the contrary, I’d love to know about it). So it has to be built-in, like eye color and hair color.

As far as God not allowing such a thing…Please see the above. If you believe God created everything, including the animals, then God would have to know what went into the building of each animal, right? If it was impossible, then it wouldn’t be seen in the animals.

When they considered (very gingerly) that it could be something genetic, my cousin and BoRS were very quick to say that “it hasn’t happened in our family” before, essentially putting the blame on the genes of our younger cousin’s father.

I wonder why it’s considered such a horrible thing. Why it’s such a bad thing that this girl is “experimenting” (even though I think she’s not).  It’s who she is, who she’s always been. Why are they acting like it’s some kind of personal affront?

Once more with feeling

The question this morning is: how can you begin to love yourself? Yes, back to this question again.

People say you should. People say it’s essential to a healthy self-image. I agree, but exactly how do you start?

I look at myself and I don’t see much there worth loving. My cat loves me, but my cat is a little silly. I have people in my life who love me. I don’t know why, but love me they do.

If all these people love me, there has to be something there worth loving, right? So how do I find it? Maybe the right question is how do I begin to see myself as someone worthy of loving?

Telling myself that I’m a lovable person just isn’t working; every time I say that, I look in the mirror and say, “No, I’m not.” I have really good reasons for thinking that.

I know how I am. I know my faults; I’ve a lot of them. I know I’m an odd person, just ask my mother. How can I help myself love this oddness?

I have been asking for help with this for a while.  Maybe the answer’s always been there, but I can’t see it; maybe I’m not seeing the trees for the forest. Maybe the answer is terribly simple and easy; I have a habit of always missing the simple things.

A ramble, I guess

I wrote out a list of truths in my last post (thanks for the very supportive comments, readers. I really appreciate them).

Now I feel like writing rebuttals for every one of them, but I won’t. The rebuttals are sitting in my head, screaming at me to write them down. I won’t do it, though.

So, what are you going to write in this great, jumping-up morning? you ask.

I think I’m going to write about when I was a little girl.

Recall, I was my parents’ Child, version 1.0. I learned things early; according to the Keeper of the Holograms, I walked early, talked early, learned to read early. I guess it was a relief to them, after the hell of my babyhood.

But when the later editions of Child software came (the Bestower of Righteous Silliness and the Lord of Lassitude, namely), it was like the parental doors shut and left me alone. I didn’t notice it in very early childhood, but once I was attending school all day, I saw it more.

I had always felt that my parents didn’t particularly want me around, always underfoot, but I thought it was a general reaction to being the parents of three small kids.

I don’t know if I can describe what it feels like to see in your mother’s head that you are a burden to her. That she wishes you could go away and do something other than wanting to sit near her, like the babies.

I know parents get harried and annoyed. But when you’re six, you don’t understand that; all you know is what you know and/or can sense.

I used to write stories about girls who ran away and found their real families, families who had been looking for them and loved them forever and ever, no matter what. I used to hope that I was adopted and that, somewhere, someday, my real parents would come get me and take me away. I used to pray for it. I know all kids think that, but for me it was a fervent hope, for years.

I still feel ashamed for admitting that. It’s not something everybody knows.

Anyway, I was always on the outside of the family circle, looking in. The Keeper of the Holograms says that this was a choice I made, that I could have changed it at any time. I could probably change it now, yes. But then? What could I have done?

 

I’m sorry; I don’t know what I was aiming for, writing this. Looking back and crying over spilled milk never helps. Goodnight, all.

A list of truths

I have no idea why I’m writing this down. Maybe seeing it in black and white will help.

1. I was emotionally abused for years. Maybe it’s still happening.

2. This is not my fault. None of it is my fault.

3. I am a resource to my parents, a thing to be used and then tossed when no longer useful.

4. They will never see me. I need to accept that and stop living in denial world about it.

5. I am a good person, no matter what they may have said.

6. I have lots to offer.

7. It’s okay to want good things for myself.