Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting Quiet

As I've been getting quiet more and more each day with the mindfulness and the meditation and the staying, I find my mom fills my thoughts more.  I'm thinking about how sad she is, how negative she feels about her life, how her pain affects her.  I notice my urges to change these things for her, and also acknolwedge that I can't, and try to feel my way through to love for her.  When I am quiet and totally in tune with what love feels like, I find that my desire to control or change her just feels like interference, so it's easy to identify.  I don't know if I'll be able to maintain the distinction in her actual presence.  That will be interesting to watch, to figure out if I can stay in love.

There are memories that are coming back, too.  I fear all the time that my memories are gone from me almost as soon as I have them because that just seems to be how my brain works, but as I'm getting quieter some are coming back.  This might suggest that the speed with which I live my life affects my ability to form good attachments and memories.  I don't know yet.

But I was falling asleep the other night and a memory of my mother pulling her panty hose on came to me, me watching her in her bedroom and admiring the concavity of her belly, her telling me how she always sucked her stomach in because it kept those muscles strong.  I sit up straighter just remembering it, before my normal slouch takes back over, a long-ingrained act of defiance.  This thing with the belly is one of the few bits of womanly advice I remember her passing on to me; I don't remember talks about tampons or deodorants or desire.  Mostly she just let me go and certainly I would have resisted anything she had to say anyway, so there we were, opposing forces pushing each other apart, even then.

I first grieve that she let me go so easily, and also think it has made me who I am, and am grateful.

I think of pictures of her, tall and thin, and the whispers in the family, jealous or true, that she didn't eat enough, was maybe anorexic.

That seems possible, or maybe she was very healthy and they weren't, and her not eating cream milkshakes and beef for every meal seemed aberrant to them.  How dare she do things differently.  Who does she think she is.  I think it makes sense that my mom would tightly control her eating the way she tightly controlled her environment because of the way her growing up must have seemed so out of control, the way she was left with strangers when she was just five while my grandmother did I don't know what.  The move from New York to Idaho when my grandmother picked her back up one day.  The marriage to my gruff and difficult German step-grandfather.  The sometimes-insanity of my grandmother, who required her own set of strictures be followed after-the-chaos of the early years.

I think it makes sense that I would do some of the same things, that I am a controller, too.

I cry on and off throughout the days, at odd times, for and about my mother, and for myself, who also lost a mother for a little while at a young age, though I don't remember it, and who feels as if I have lost her again to her illness.  I try not to wipe the tears away so fast but to feel them, let them soak in a little, so that I can know I will survive them just fine and that they might have something to teach me.  I try not to bolt from them.  I remember too, that I am not that little girl anymore, and that my mother is not lost, but changed, as all things change.

I'm not sure why, but making space for the quiet has opened these things up for me, and brought me back to myself also.  There is the not distancing myself from the pain, forcing myself to inhabit my body.    I could maybe call this God's grace?  It's not easy to decide to slow down, to fully experience the boredom, the sadness, the isolation, the loneliness.  And then, it's the easiest thing in the world once you decide to do it, and notice what it brings you.  The other--the dulling and bolting--is much worse, much more deadening.

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