Wednesday, February 22, 2012

There's Not a Stitch in This Post.

I just posted this on Facebook as a status update, and so much more started to come out of me that I decided to come here and share a bit. I know from the comments I have received since I first "came out" (as it were) about my mother's mental health issues and passive suicide plans and ultimate success, that this can help someone out there who is struggling and drowning in the sickness of someone they " love, but don't, but do, but wish they didn't, ok, maybe love,  but can't trust or love safely" and so forth.

"Each day that passes makes me more and more aware of how small my life had become, and how much I just want to LIVE now. There's some guilt with that, but when an unhealthy person dies, if you allow it, the relationship that held you in bondage can die along with the person. It's unbelievably liberating. I feel closer to God, closer to me, closer to life. I had expected to feel like part of me had died, and expected there to be more guilt and struggle, but instead I feel like now I can really live."

This got me considering things in a different way. I am so grateful to be alive. There was a part of me that thought I would die with her, as if it would be impossible for me to be alive without this unhealthy extension of my soul. The truth is that in her death is my beginning. I remember the time when, for a while, we did not speak. It was so peaceful. No drama, no chaos, no constant stress; but in the back of my mind I always knew she was alive. And then that ended and we - I really, I am pretty sure Mr. Wonderful would have given this disaster a miss - allowed her back into my life. And true to form she detonated like a nuclear missile in the midst of everything. I started to slip away from me and enmesh more and more with her. For every success I had there was an equal and opposite detonation of drama or danger or fear. I delivered the manuscript for 2-at-a-Time Socks as I was on my way to the hospital to fetch her from her cardiac catheterization for the heart attack she had on the weekend we had set aside to celebrate my success at writing a book. I delivered the manuscript for Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time on the way to the hospital to check in on her after a major spinal surgery had left her unconscious. She had been on the verge of being admitted to a nursing home due to what was beginning to look like a nearly vegetative disaster. Four days later she woke up and asked for french toast, and the telephone so she could call her daughter. You want drama? We had it! 

It felt as if every potentially celebratory or joyful moment had to be accompanied by some stage-stealing drama that made me unable to enjoy my successes. I remember griping about this to friends. I started being cagey about where I was going and when, about what my plans were, what my teaching or traveling schedule looked like. I slipped up when I told her I was going to New York to present at Lion Studio, and she ended up in the hospital that morning forcing the cancellation of my trip, and the event.

I was always very aware that something bad was happening, that I could choose to walk away from her if I wanted to. But for me, for my own sake, I needed to allow some kind of connection, to continue to try to care for her, to try to support her choices without insinuating my own beliefs and thoughts and feeling onto her choices. For a mother/daughter, that's pretty foreign. Most daughters can speak their mind  and their feelings with their mother. I didn't really get why until now.
For me, now as an adult and no longer a child easily made to feel guilt or shame or responsibility, it was imperative that her choices not be a result of anything I said or did. I consciously chose not to control her when I knew very well that I could have. She wanted me to make choices for her, wanted me to be the decision-maker I had always been (although she routinely disregarded my advice) so that the outcome, should she take my advice, would not be her responsibility. I needed the freedom, at some distant unseen point in time, of knowing that I did not force her choice. That an extension or a shortening of her life had nothing to do with me, it was all on her.

Borderline kids very, very often get caught up in feeling responsible for their parents in a way that I don't think even a spouse or parent of a person with Borderline Personality Disorder can understand. It was essential to my healing and liberation that I discover, before her death, that we could be two separate people. 

I still have a long way to go in healing myself, and not every day is wonderful, but inch by inch I begin to feel joy again. Deep, real joy. I am still taking it very, very slowly as I promised myself. I deserve a year of my own. 

I guess the point of my coming here and sharing this is that right now you're out there, readers, and some of you are struggling and feeling like it won't ever end, and feeling guilty for the choices others make, and responsible for people who are not your responsibility. It can and does get better, I promise you. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's That Day Again

We've come a long way from three Catholic martyrs to the mess I saw in Walmart (did you know they sell organic Sam's Club brand coffee?) on Sunday 
(not to mention the scary video from Vermont Teddy Bear), but...
Happy Valentine's Day anyway!

Here we will celebrate in the usual way, which is to say 'pretty quietly', also known as "not much". Sometimes at Mr Wonderful's former place of employment they'd sell flowers on V-day and he would bring some home. His gifts are generally met with concern and/or skepticism on my end. "Who drugged you? What did you do wrong? Please tell me these were free." One year I think he did the big dozen red long-stemmed thing, but I think I nipped it in the bud (heh, I am so funny!) early. 

I did celebrate, in a way. I bought myself a skein of yarn, which I am in the process of 
transforming into a gift (not for Mr. Wonderful. All that pink?). 
Yoshi approves. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, and the color is called New Beginnings. It's the February Limited Edition color at Jimmy Beans Wool, and I may need more of it. I think if it was not for all of this wedding shopping, I'd get some more, because I love it. Love the color, and love the name. It is perfect for this project, which you're not going to see until it's done.

I remember when I was a kid I did not like this day. First, I had to sign all those cards and lick the nasty little sharp-edged envelopes, and then I had to have a box on my desk decorated for the day, and then at the end of the day we all were suppose to see what we'd gotten. I always felt horrible for the girls and boys who got only one or two cards, and so the next year I would begin obsessing early - what if no one in class loved ME this year? They always did, my box was always heavy enough to denote inclusion with 'the cool kids', but I never understood how I was really that different from the kids who got only one, or two. I sometimes wished I got none so those kids would not be so alone. It always made me very sad. I so hope they don't do this any more. When Ravelry did it and my inbox was crammed with them, I panicked and thought "Oh no. Somewhere out there, someone got NONE", and spent the whole day trying to send one back to everyone who'd sent one to me.

I was recently watching an interview about Richard Simmons, famous exercise and diet guru and all around charming celebrity - admit it, you love his sparkly tush, he makes you smile - and the woman being interviewed said, in effect, "Richard doesn't see size or color or gender. He just sees people."

So if we get to have wishes on Valentine's Day, and we should, right?  Here's mine: 

For Valentine's Day, I wish the whole wide world thought like Richard Simmons. 

Also after Valentine's Day, too.

(p.s. - no flower fields or workers were harmed in the production of the above flower. It's made from coffee filters, using the technique found at Wedding Bee. The filters are oxygen cleansed, meaning no chemical bleach or whitening agents were used in their production.)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

We'll See

Most of the time when I sit down to write lately I end up talking about things that most people really don't want to hear about.

So today, since Jenn Kinzel of the Woolie Ewe says she misses me, I will post what I've done lately, and try not to be all "Oh, poor motherless me". It's a stretch. My birthday is coming up. Last night I had a dream that my mother asked for her summer clothes, and when I told her she was dead she said "Well. I changed my mind about that. Bring me my shorts..." and proceeded to go into a very detailed list of which shorts and which tops (including the one that I bought that was "...not exactly right, but would do"). If you knew her, you'd know that this conversation could very easily occur, exactly as stated above. "Oh. Well. I changed my mind about that."

But I digress...

Lots of what I have done lately is kind of crazy, really. Not a lot of design, that's for sure. I made a tiny quilt, which I decided I hated and promptly gave to Yoshi, who loves it.

I went on a doll clothing spree. Crocheted hat and sweater...

Knitted a dress...

Vest and top...

Mostly American Girl stuff (or in this case Madison from the Springfield Company who did not cost $100) but some baby doll as well. They're not all pictured here lest you think my cheese has truly slipped from my cracker.

And a crochet spree - hat, mittens, and a square from the scraps (??? No clue, but there it is. A square.)

Oh, and I stitched a London pigeon.

And then a dragon for Lillian at New Fortune, since this IS the Year of the Dragon after all, and my Dragon daughter is marrying a Dragon guy in the year of the Dragon, so I feel attached.

I went to Vogue Knitting Live! in New York, and had a ball. I went up to the marketplace only very briefly to see Ron and Theresa Miskin of The Buffalo Wool Co. (formerly Buffalo Gold). I just visited them for a bit. Big groups and moving crowds just were not where my head was at right then and I give myself permission to hide if I think I need to. Things moved really fast here between November and now, and it will take me a while to recover, and that's ok. But again, I digress. Anyway, Ron gave me some yarn, which I fell madly in love with. it's called Sexy, and was hand dyed by the folks at Koigu. And it is SO beautiful! I immediately designed a shawl,

 that sort of has become a wide scarf, and I knitted half of it, and I wrote it all down, and I even named it!

And I was totally on a roll, designing something! First thing "since"! And then... And then I got project ADD. So I knitted these baby pants, and then they needed a sweater to go with, so I started that and....

Most of the time I think I need a sample knitter. Just a simple slave, willing to knit for the sheer joy of it.

I have also been very busy with Girl's wedding preparation things. Now, the wedding is not till fall, so you'd think I had scads of time. The truth is that the "best" venues and ceremony locations get snapped up pretty quickly, and things cost much more than I expected or remembered. As a result we are doing a lot of things on our own. Whoever it was at Vogue 2011 who mentioned the Off-Beat Bride website? You are my hero. This wedding is so DIY it's not even funny. Or at least right now, to me, with DIY wedding things covered half of the surfaces in my house, it doesn't feel very funny. No pictures yet, but I promise a big report after the fete. We must give Girl her privacy... to a point!

So that's it for me for now. Except this - Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and you know what looks great tied around a gift box, or draped around the neck, or a Shiba Inu? Birthday Girl, a crocheted flower chain available in my Ravelry shop for the low, low price of $1 (Shiba not included)!