So I know it’s been a few days since I have been able to write anything but my name. I have been in training to be a field agent for a life insurance company, so I have been running pretty hard the past month or so. Unfortunately, because it is all commission-based, I have not made any money yet, but that will be changing in the next few days. One good sale will help me out of a financial crunch. I owe everyone I know right now. (I owe, I owe, so off to work I go….) Once training is over (today is the last official day, but my “release meeting” isn’t until Monday), I will actually start making money. Until then, I am really stretched, which stresses me out. Especially when you take into account that I have a mental health issue, where one of the primary symptoms is spending money you don’t have, on things you don’t need, and it literally is a compulsion to do it. Keeping busy helps, so I haven’t really had to think about it too much yet. But I digress….
It will be a year ago on Mother’s Day this year that I found out that I had Detachment Disorder when I was very young. (Yes, I know it sounds like a weird thing to find out on that day, but it wasn’t as strange of a conversation with my step-mother and brother as you think.) A few summers ago, my step-mother told me some new stuff I didn’t know about my dad, and it makes me wonder what else I really don’t know about my early childhood. My biological mother’s brother has been very accommodating when it comes to answering questions about what he knows, but there are many things NO one seems to know, too. So whenever I have a question, or she remembers something she feels I ought to know, my mom tells me what she can. I think there are a lot of things that my dad kept from all of us, too, and that is extremely disheartening and frustrating at times.
I have always struggled with remembering timelines properly. I think that stems from having a series of traumatic events happen rapid-fire as early as when I was born. Having a biological mother with serious mental health issues, and not having her be properly diagnosed until towards the end of her life, I guess it is to be expected that having a child was going to be too much for her. I see photographs of my parents before I came along, and she looks so happy with my dad. Other photographs of her with the baby (me), however, show her as being markedly depressed and like the joy has been sucked out of her.
My father never even told me her name until I was 16, and even that was when I “accidentally” saw my birth certificate. (And that was because he handed me a file with my name on it, and told me to put it in his office. He had to have known I would look in it!) I didn’t know then, but her mother, my grandmother, had shown up on my family’s doorstep earlier that day, asking to see me. My dad freaked out, told her “no,” and pulled all my papers to make sure everything was in order. Seeing that it was, he handed me a ticking time-bomb by giving me that file. I confronted him about the secrets he kept from me, and it was the only time I can remember really fighting with him as a teenager.
We had one other knock-down, drag-out fight about a year before we found out he had a brain tumor, too. That was because I was tired of feeling like a second-class child of his because I was a girl, and I was infertile and couldn’t give him grandchildren. He always treated my half-brother so much different than me, and when I pointed it out to my dad, he was really unaware he was doing anything wrong. But after thinking about it for a few days, he came to me and apologized. He said he was always harder on me than either of my brothers because he knew what I was capable of. He and I spent the next year or so actually having the best father-daughter relationship we could. It made the shock of him dying so unexpectedly much easier to handle.
Last Mother’s Day was extremely liberating, in a strange way. I found out a lot of things that I did not remember, as they happened to me when I was so young. My first solid memory is when I was about four years old, and my first traumatic incidents happened before I was a year old. Although some of the things I discovered were not fun, there were some that were extremely interesting and explained a few things. For example, apparently my dad had me see a series child psychologists and therapists to help me connect to my step-mother. One had them do a “rebirthing” exercise, where they wanted her to sit on me and practically suffocate me. She refused. I never did like to be held down, so my parents were not keen on forcing me to do something like that. They took me to a “psychic therapist,” which shows me how desperate my dad must have been to help me integrate. He was a Pentecostal minister, for Pete’s sake. My step-brother is 9 years older than me, and he says he remembers all the therapists, because they made him go as well. He described to me in detail how the psychic therapist was for him. And us together. That was crazy to hear about, trust me. It also explained why my dad was so distrustful of therapists and counselors. I can’t say that I blame him for that, considering.
I was also sent to two kindergartens, which I do remember. One was in the mornings, and was the standard class. In the afternoons, I went to a different school and attended classes for children with difficultly fitting in with other children. (When I was anxious or upset, I bit everyone. I bit my mom once, and because Dr. Spock, the renowned pediatrician, suggested it, she bit me back. She then proceeded to sit in the car after I went in the house with my dad and cried for 45 minutes, feeling like a cannibal. I didn’t even produce a sniffle. I was one stubborn kid.) I have vague memories of that school. I remember finger-painting and learning the words to “Here Comes Santa Clause.” I remember that in particular, because I learned the difference between “paws” and “pause.” I was so proud of myself, and I think my dad explained to me what a “homily” was when I told him about what I learned.
Weird things, memories. I wonder what this Mother’s Day will reveal? I know one thing: I am very grateful for my step-mother, and even though I can’t physically be with her on Sunday, I know I will be having a long, heart to heart with her on the phone. She is nothing short of my hero. But that is another post….