Easter

The Easter I want

I dream of having a big family. Of everyone coming over for Easter lunch. It wouldn’t have to be Easter – it could be Christmas, or any other Holiday, or no holiday at all.

Me in the kitchen preparing food. We’d have appetisers (may be the little mushroom things, or perhaps the chicken and asparagus ones, or perhaps I’d try something new) and may be a roast for mains and something delicious for dessert (or a few somethings so everyone could choose their favourite, may be with that nice raspberry cake I make) and then lots of lovely fresh fruit and cheese. Oh, and wine, of course there’d be wine. A crisp white, probably from Margaret River or Marlborough – my favourite wine regions.

The house would be full of flowers, and the sun would stream in the French doors over the dining table. There’d be nice music playing in the background. Something upbeat but relaxing.

We’d all sit around the table and enjoy the fare. Everyone would be happy. No one would be snarky. No criticism veiled as compliments. No clearing of throats as a warning that someone’s getting angry to the point of exploding. No complaints about the food.

After lunch, the kids would all play outside in the last of the summer sun. Or perhaps they’d go to the park down the road; it’s lovely there. The adults would sit around the table, talking and laughing. Enjoying each other’s company. They’d say things like, “I’m sooo full, but I’ll just have one more…”

We’d spend a long afternoon like this. Perhaps lunch would roll into dinner, who knows? When everyone finally went home they’d be sated and happy, having enjoyed a long lazy day together in each other’s company.

The Easter I got

In a world first my father wishes me and my mother a Happy Easter. My mother, god knows why, says “Tsk, not now,” which sends my father into the throat clearing. Eventually there’s an exchange of Easter chocolate. I say chocolate, because for some reason we haven’t given anything even remotely resembling Easter for a long time. Even so, there’s usually a mountain of chocolate to share, though no one’s very interested anyway.

We spend the morning in silence. My mother does the crossword while my father reads the newspaper. I read my book, anxiety biting me in the gut in the hope that they won’t start going at it again. I read. I hope the guy I think I might be interested in will call like he said he would. He doesn’t.

There’s no real “lunch” to speak of. Everyone has some sort of leftovers, sitting in separate areas of the “family” room (now there’s an oxymoron!) My father whinges while my mother tells me off for reading and then gets engrossed in the crossword again.

By 12.30pm I’m in the car on the way home, squinting through tears because my life is so screwed up.

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Easter

It’s Easter soon, as most of you know. It’s a big mess for me this year. My mother’s having dental surgery beforehand and has asked me to take her there and look after her when she comes home. That’s ok, ‘cept she’s organised it so I’ll have to spend more time at her place than usual. And now I can’t get anyone to look after my cat, so she’ll have to come with me, which will be traumatising for her and for me. Not to mention Mum’s neurotic little beast. To top it all off there aren’t any respite beds to dump my father in so that mother could come to my place. Sigh.

Anyway, none of that is the point of this post. I was talking to the Wonder Therapist about it this week and she asked, “What does Easter mean to you? What do you think of?”

Oh dear, more tears.

What do I think of? Aside from the smell of fish (which I’m not going into, for reasons already explained), I think of chooks and roosters made of cheap chocolate wrapped in coloured foil.

I think of my father giving said chooks to my mother and me, in a rare gesture of thoughtfulness. I’d get excited – coz what little kid doesn’t get excited about chocolate at Easter? Let alone when her b*st*rd father does something nice for a change?

But the excitement only lasted a second before my mother started complaining about the awful cheap chocolate and the ugliness of the chook.

Then I’d feel guilty, coz I’d liked the chook and the eggs that came with it, but obviously I wasn’t supposed to, was I? Man, so confusing for a little kid.

Other times I’d steal chocolate from the cupboard – the ears off a bunny, or the top out of an egg. I’d sneak them away and gobble them up; stuffing them in hard and fast so I wouldn’t get caught.

Caught or not my father would always get angry and storm off. He’d get drunk and that’s when the trouble really started.

So, umm, yea. That’s what I think of when I think about Easter.

But there’s good stuff, too. When I was looking for an image of the chook in my head I remembered some of the good stuff:

  • In Prep (the first year of school) the Easter Bunny would leave foot prints for us to follow down to the oval where he’d left chocolate eggs for us to share! Finding the foot prints and the little pieces of Easter Bunny tail stuck in the fence – that was magic 😉
  • I learnt more about this “magic” in Grade 6 when I got to BE the Easter Bunny. That was fun, too.
  • Dying coloured eggs in school, seeing the pretty patterns that would emerge from the dyes.
  • My grandmother making me an Easter bonnet for the hat parade. Pretty pastel pinks and yellows and greens.
  • And these cute little chicks that my mother always gave me – though mine didn’t look quite as frazzled as this little guy:

Ah, this one’s more like it, only he was yellow. (I guess G**gle doesn’t run to pictures of fluffy little chicks from the 1970s!).  

 

It’s nice to be able to remember some of the good things, as well as the usual things that spring to mind.

Fear and loathing in…

Well, you know I don’t live in Las Vegas, but “fear and loathing Down Under” didn’t quite have the same ring.

A lot has happened since my last post. Too many twists and turns to describe in detail. What I did want to talk about is this:

Funny how you can be travelling along kinda nicely, if a little miserable, but trying hard to believe in the faith that others have in you, and then you do something that makes you feel completely and utterly ashamed of yourself. Disgusted. Appalled. Filthy and rotten to the core. A dirty, rotten scoundrel*.

Yep, that’s me.

I’m not going into details, but trust me when I say I’m disgusting. I haven’t been able to shower enough to wash off this scunge. I haven’t wanted to write for fear of infecting you. And I certainly don’t want to talk to my therapist about it (though I will, my Inner Compass is good at keeping some common sense, even when the rest of me completely abandons all rationality).

And, yes, it has made me want to do things to myself that I haven’t done for quite a while.

For those of you thinking this is just my Inner Critic talking again: it’s not. She’s very quiet at the moment. She’s just sitting smugly in the corner filing her nails. It’s a shame the rest of me couldn’t follow her lead.

* Use of movie titles unintentional and of no psychological significance, other than perhaps that I am so pathetic that I cannot even to find my own words to describe how I feel.

You were right

Listen up you lot. Yes, YOU. You readers out there. I have to tell you something.

You were right. My d!ckhead boss really was a sexually harassing asshat. I guess I knew this all along but this week really helped to cement it.

You see, this week, no one in my new work team told me how many **** they’d be able to get wearing their new suit. Or how many I’d get in my outfit.

No one in my new team told me that they were thinking of me while naked.

No one in my new team rang me to tell me they were taking their clothes off.

And no one in my new team rang me or texted me at all hours of the day and night while their wife was away.

But someone from my former workplace sent me a text message one morning to ask what I was wearing. Eww…. I immediately wanted to shower. It wasn’t until I got this that I realised what I’d been “missing” all week. Or not. And how inappropriate all that was. And how right you all were. Thank you.

This was a very positive moment for me in a week that was generally filled with Splat!

Splat!

That’s me. That’s how I feel today. Like a bug on a windscreen.

I’ve been challenging myself, and while I’m not ready to disclose details here, I will say that at the first hint of failure, the first whiff of rejection, my inner critic is back in overdrive.

“See? I was right all along. You can’t have faith in yourself because there’s nothing to have faith in. No one would want to be with you because you’re a stupid, ugly, useless troll. I knew it all along – why didn’t you listen to me? What an idiot you were to believe the Wonder Therapist – ha! Now the whole world is laughing at you – what a fool!

You were wrong to open up and think that life could be different. You should have stayed in your icy shell. At least we did well there and you didn’t pussy foot about with all this garbage about ‘happiness’. Get a grip on yourself.”

I wish I had the strength some others have to move on, or to love and care for myself during setbacks like this. But I don’t. The inner critic is racing through the desert in a frenzy of negativity and I am the bug on the windscreen.

For something useful to read on this topic – try Dr Kathleen Young.

Names

Despite my sweetness and light lately, I realised something important this week: my name is a huge trigger for me (my proper name, not my nickname on this blog).

I’d been puzzling for a while why I hate it so much when people say my name, or even when I see it written in an email or something. And why I inject hatred and anger into those emails, even where there is none.

My therapist thinks it’s because when I hear (or see) my name, I ascribe my father’s voice to it – his harsh tone, his accent, the gravel in his voice, everything.

I’ve thought of changing my name, but that doesn’t seem like such a smart thing to do. Actually, a total pain in the proverbial when you consider all the stuff you’d have to change, and the documents you’d have to carry around to prove you really are who you say you are – banking, health insurance, driver’s license, etc etc etc.

My therapist says this might just be a phase, and may be it will pass. I hope so. It’s really hard living in a world where your name makes you wig out whenever you hear it, or see it in print.

Fish

** Caution: Could be triggering **

I don’t eat fish. I hate fish. I know it’s good for you. Omega 3s and all that. But I hate it.

It’s smelly. Slimey. Wriggly. Sticky. Squooshy.

Fish have beady eyes that look at you, even when they’re dead.

Fish have smelly, sticky blood that gets into everything. Scales that stick to you. The knife that’s long and got a big wavy blade. The yellow handle that always smells fishy. And fish have lots of bones. Tiny ones that hurt.

And when you cook it, it smells worse.

That smell gets into everything. Not just the kitchen, but the hallways and other rooms. It gets into the soft furnishings and the paintwork. It gets stuck in your throat and it takes forever to go away. It gets on the hands and it NEVER gets off them.

My father loves fish. And he used to love fishing. Big hands. Sticky and smelly with fish.

I am 7 or 8 (who can tell?). I don’t want the fish. It’s yucky. There’s potato, too. And carrots. He picks up the fish and forces me to eat it. Fish flesh and bones. All mushed up. The smell. The big hands. Smelly hands. 

So, no, I don’t eat fish anymore. I don’t care how many Omega 3s it’s got.