…or Nature vs Nurture vs the insanity in our own heads.
I’ve no grand revelations. Not even inspirations. But my brain is full of What Ifs. Those lead to more What Ifs and triggered nightmares. Last night I was in high school and missed one class. Okay, I skipped. Then I found out that my father had come to that class, in full uniform. I had missed him.
And that’s what I did. Missed the auld man… for 61 years.
While we -the husband and I- were there, talking to Dad… still surreal… Mike kept remarking how we are so alike, father and daughter. In some very basic ways, we are. I understand and appreciate nature.
Here’s where the nurture comes in… I’m so different than my half siblings… in so many ways. That has more to do with different mothers; it’s also nurture. What if I’d grown up in his house, with my siblings? Instead of socially awkward I might be adept at interacting with others. Like them, I might have had a wonderful career instead of jobs.
My folks lived through the depression and not in a graceful, Waltons sort of way. Needless to say, it had a profound effect on them and I think they were just happy to keep me fed. College was not mentioned. What I would do after high school? Must have been my responsibility, but I had no idea.
Perhaps I would have turned out the same person if he had raised me, but I keep asking myself “What If?”
I had one yesterday. My first. It was horrible and surreal.
This is what precipitated it:
I wrote about my newly acquired brothers and sisters, right? Really wonderful people. I’ve spoken to them on the phone and we’ve emailed facts and such back and forth. I’m lucky they contacted me and even luckier they want me in their lives.
So one of my younger brothers spoke to my biological father – his father – I’ve been bogged down in labels lately – about me. Such as… we not only know about her but we’ve spoken to her and what are you going to do about it?
I don’t know if he chose to blow me off a year ago from disinterest when I told him of our biological relationship or truly didn’t believe it… or… God knows… but he emailed me and wanted to know if I wanted a relationship with him.
After a year of resentment (that I truly did not know was lurking below the surface!) I flipped out. Here he was, asking. There I was, having a panic attack. I had to lie down with Badger (she’s very calming; I don’t know why) and of course fell asleep. When I awoke, it was over and I was able to write back.
He’s been great; telling me about his life and asking about mine… He signs them ‘your father’ or ‘dad’ and that gets me right in the feels. So the last time I wrote back I told him (because I use his name) that I wanted to call him Dad, but every time I think ‘Dad’ I of course think about my Dad. Adopted. See what I mean about labels?
My biological siblings (paternal) found me. (I was adopted at birth, which isn’t a thing.)
After getting the cold shoulder from my maternal half-sister, this was good news. I was excited. They were excited. We exchanged some info and I’ve spoken to the oldest sister on the phone twice. After that I wanted to fade into the wallpaper.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re very nice, open people who could have just ignored the DNA results. Instead, they said “Hey, we have a new sister!”
I’m sandwiched in between two brothers. One born barely a year before me, one a year after. Logically, I knew it had nothing to do with me, but I was so embarrassed and ashamed. That bastard! I know he was in the Navy, but damn.
Add to that all the siblings are highly educated with great careers. Accomplished people. And I’m… well, I’ve done nothing, I’ve made nothing and I am nothing. That’s what keeps cycling through my head, over and over….
Just to add… Oldest sister asked what I do all day and I was stumped. I fritter. Laze. Loll. I am one of life’s lollopers.
So I would like to hide, yes and thank you very much to you. All in all, it’s been a gigantic mindbender.
When I first started blogging the posts came frequently because, honestly, there was some over-sharing. But like all bloggers, I finally realized that nobody wants to hear about breakfast or see pictures of iguanas riding the dogs.
This is my week so far…
Last day of cleaning the house. Yes, it took all weekend and then some. New houses are remarkably easy to clean and keep that way, but old houses are never really clean. Trust me.
I also met a new cat out in the driveway; a young-ish orange tom. He was pretty scarred from fighting, one paw was hurt and yes, he was on the lean side. After a pleasant chat and pet I walked away. Then he haunted my dreams for two nights. It’s hard to walk away, but if I became involved with every animal that needs help… really, just keeping up with YsD’s needs is becoming ridiculous.
I splashed 8 different paint colors on the master bedroom walls. The man and I don’t agree on any of them. He thought Ultra Bright White appropriate for the closet, but drew the line at blowing out his retinas first thing in the morning – if he could even sleep in an all-white environment. That’s vaguely racist, isn’t it? Well, maybe in today’s world.
Shaved Badger’s butt since she had the Big D for a few days and ohmygosh if I had to bathe that dog’s hind end one more time… It takes two full inches to get from the fringe to the hole, if you’re wondering. I knew you weren’t.
As WWIII approached I drew my battle plan; early dinner, thorough walks and televisions on loud. It wasn’t too bad, but c’mon… when it sounds like mortar fire is coming from mere feet away and your house shakes from the blasts… not too much helps. I sincerely hope there are no combat vets with PTSD issues living close to the ‘festivities’.
Though the walls demand the *right paint, the need to run to Home Depot is negated by 100° temps. The plan is to remain cloistered, all drapes/blinds drawn like we’re hiding from the Feds. The only obstruction to peace has been the Amazon deliveries. No, I cannot go to WalMart like normal people. Meds would probably help with my overreaching introversion, but I don’t like going to doctors. Ha!
Worked out for the first time in weeks, though. When painting, i.e. ‘really working’, I tend to let the regular stuff slide. As long as the body moves around enough, it’s alright. That’s just a guess, though.
Wonder what tomorrow will bring?
*After a dozen not right paints, I’m willing to roll those walls with just about anything…
I hear voices; the murmurs of experience in my head when push comes to shove.
When taking a pill I always hear my Mom say “It’s good for you!” which enables me to swallow. For some odd reason. (Yes, I’m 60 years old!)
When I’m sick I drink plenty of fluids because I hear my friend Bonna say “Drink fluids! Hydrate!” She never put up with my bullshit and I believe she’s such a good mother now because she had to half-raise me.
And I hear my sister-in-law when my gut is bloated and gassy at 3:00am. “Don’t you have any Gas-X?” My internal reply is invariably YES to her answer “WELL??”
TMI? Here’s more. Bloated and gassy used to be my normal routine. That and miserable diarrhea. THEN I remembered my doctor’s mantra – “Get rid of GMO’s and Gluten”
So one month ago I cut gluten and lactose out of my life. Surgically removed them, more like. It was difficult; I dreamed about donuts for two weeks.
But the first day -well, the day after I started- I felt 1,000% better. I know, but the difference between totally miserable and totally wonderful is so far apart. I was me again! All my energy was back!! My stomach went flat and I could digest again! Over TEN pounds fell off the first week!
And I tested negative for celiac disease.
The internist talked to me for five minutes and proclaimed “You have IBS”. No, I don’t. I may have felt like it for a time, but he can take that crap down the road. There are people out there who really suffer from it and I’m sure they don’t appreciate it being some sort of catch-all just because Dr. Do-Little doesn’t give a shit.
So, hearing voices might be a crazy thing to do, but I’m not giving up on them any time soon. I may even add some. 😉
I was born in California, but my father (from Texas) and mother (from Oklahoma) uprooted the family just after I’d turned seven. We were one of the tumbleweeds rolling southeast on I10 in 1964, complete with a Dachshund named Blacky. Perhaps you saw us blowing through New Mexico, ’53 Chrysler station wagon pulling a cute little camper?
Guess they relocated for the same reasons as other people – be closer to family, maybe have a better life? Instead of renting a nice house in La Puente, they bought a run down shot gun shack in Conroe – but it came with land. They had friends and frequently threw parties in California, but all that changed after we moved. I don’t know why. Children don’t think about those things until it’s too late to ask the reasons. Or maybe that’s just me.
I missed those parties, because they always let me stay up to partake of the festivities. I don’t know if my brother still has them, but there were reel-to-tapes of the fun. I always think of them while listening to Dave Brubeck. My favorite people were always there; Irene and Nadine, the lesbians who gave the best gifts… and the Mexican woman who lived on the next street… whose name escapes me.. that wonderful lady cobbled together the best meals of anyone, anywhere.
So now you know: It’s all about the gifts and food.
Well, poo. This is not about my family. I only started with the move because that’s how I came to live in Texas, about 40 miles north of Houston. That’s where, in second grade, I met one of my best friends.
Her name was Gwen and she and I struck up an instant friendship, as little girls are wont to do. We chased boys on the playground, ate honeysuckle off the vines on the fence and often had sleepovers at each other’s homes.
I went through high school with these people, yet I can only name three of them. Too much time has gone by…
Gwen… and my natural urge is to wax rhapsodic here, about her fire red hair and indomitable spirit… was just another little girl of course, but she and I went through much together. The highs and lows of growing up.
She dropped out of high school in our sophomore year and I saw less and less of the still red hair. I heard things, but discounted any rumor I couldn’t substantiate.. but it was distressing.
I went my way and she went hers. Hers included drugs and motorcycle gangs while my way was all about school and jobs. She did get clean, years later, but the hard living had taken a toll on her health.
I went to Texas in November 2005, right before my mom passed. My brother took this picture of us. I’m on the left. Of course our hair isn’t light blonde and fiery red anymore.
Almost immediately after this, her first foot had to be taken off. Then the second. It’s been such a horrible, pain-filled life since… in and out of hospitals, almost dead several times… until she passed recently on February 20th. I miss her.
I hope she’s running through a vast, lush playground, tasting honeysuckle and chasing boys…
OH, people called her ‘Shine’ later in life, but she’ll always be Gwennie to me.