Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Don't Laugh

So, on the anxiety front, I started seeing a new therapist last night. I like this woman so far (I mean, we've only had one session), and it felt good to finally be able to talk to someone about everything that's going on.

When we started talking about my mother and her eating disorders and her own mental health issues, I found myself laughing whenever I described an event or episode to the therapist. Finally, she told me, "Okay, what you're telling me about your mother is really not funny. And I need you to make a conscious effort not to laugh when you talk about this. You do realize that what you're describing is actually very sad and very sick, don't you?"

And of course, I did. But I think for the last 30 years, my coping mechanism has been to try to laugh about it, because really, if I didn't laugh about it, what was I going to do? Completely lose my shit? Scream and yell? (There was enough screaming and yelling around my house, and I certainly didn't want to add to it.)

I told her about the time that my father called me and asked me to drive to Montreal (a couple of hours by car) to look for some Naya bottled water, because that was the only brand my mother would drink, cook with, brush her teeth with, etc. What else could I do? I called my friend and asked her to go with me across the border (this was back before you needed a passport, a microchip, and a blood sample for your firstborn to get into Canada from New York) to look for some bottled water in Montreal.

I had no idea where I was going, truthfully. I had only been to Montreal twice before, and both of those times, had been driven by someone else. So there we were, meandering along the roads, looking for little towns that might have grocery stores with bottled water so that I wouldn't have to drive all the way to Montreal.

We stopped at one small rural market and found that they did, indeed, have about 17 liters of Naya bottled water. I bought 'em all. The woman at the checkout looked at me strangely as I paid for them, but didn't say anything to me. Either she didn't speak English, or she was just being polite.

We turned around and headed back to New York, while I tried to figure out in my mind how much it was going to cost to overnight seventeen liters of bottled water to Texas. It started to storm, too, and I was trying to pay attention to where I was going on unfamiliar roads.

When we got back to the border crossing, the guard on duty asked us the usual questions: Name, place of birth, etc. Then he asked me how long we had been in Canada and what the purpose of our trip was. I replied, "About forty-five minutes. We were looking for bottled water." And I motioned to the bags of bottled water on the backseat of the car.

The border guard looked in the backseat, and without missing a beat, he handed me my license back and said, "Hope you enjoyed your trip. Have a good day."

But I really wonder what he was thinking. Like, what kind of a lunatic drives into Canada from New York to buy bottled water? If I had been him, I probably would have made me pull over and searched my ass. (Well, not literally, but you know what I mean.)

And when you live a life that's full of stuff like this, what are your choices? You can laugh about it and try to keep your shit together, or you can go off the deep end and scream and cry. I chose to laugh about it.

Now, however, I'm starting to think it might have been healthier to scream and cry. I mean, really - really. Were we all just as guilty of my mother's death at age 63 from multiple organ failure because we humored her strange, bizarre, and destructive requests year after year? Had my father left with my sister and I when we were teenagers, would my mother have died early, as he feared, or would she have come to the realization that she needed to get help?

Part of me feels like while there's no sense in torturing myself with questions like this now, I need to get them out there. Bringing them up is going to be the only way I finally deal with them.

So, while last night wasn't exactly easy, I feel like it was a small step in the right direction. After 30 years of laughing about this shit, maybe it's time I let myself cry about it for once. Right?

Meanwhile, I've got plenty to keep me busy. There's wood to stack, chickens to feed, blogs to write, beading to be done, and dinner to plan. (If I don't use that Swiss chard in the fridge tonight, it'll just go bad, I'm afraid.)

So, onward and upward...

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