Archive for the ‘childhood’ Category

Breaking the cycle of negativity…

I grew up knowing that my mother was different than everyone else’s mom. It was something I had to learn to accept, though to this day I’m not sure I did until this year.  I wasn’t the easiest child during those early years either. I’m sure I still am not in her eyes. But somewhere along the way from childhood to adulthood, I’ve just stopped resenting her.

This year was the first time in my life that when people asked me of my spiritual beliefs I could truly say that I was very spiritual. Maybe not in the “traditional” Southern Bible Belt way, but I pray and I put faith in more things than I have ever in my life. My head is spinning with change.  Positive change. A word so overused this year but very appropriate to my growing. Discovering who I am was never something I felt I had to journey but somehow I am on one and I’m not as scared as I thought I would be.

I’ve always loved my mother, but one word I can never put to her is the word change. She’s just not a fan. Though her words from years gone by are less harsh, they still hold weight in my heart. She is manic depressive. I have to tell myself that everyday when I think of what she may have said or what I anticipate her saying. Even though she is more well than not through medication, she still is the mother I watched have breakdown after breakdown and I for one was a child who had to grow up fast.

This morning was a breakthrough for me in all of this I’ve just written. No matter what you try to attach to what shapes my mother, beyond her control or otherwise, one word I have to associate with her is negativity. She is a wonderful woman, loving and kind and I don’t say this as a way to insult her passive aggressively. But as I move along in my path in life, and as she has so much trouble accepting much of it, her general words on it all are not supportive. For years I craved acceptance and for years to come I will have to forget about asking or wishing for it. And in growing I have to shut my mind and ears off to words that will no longer help…especially these: “You know IT runs in the family.”

Let me tell you about IT. My grandmother, uncle and mother are very familiar with IT — mental illness.  Suddenly a mention of having trouble getting out of bed or the fact that I have been working on projects to help non-profits seems all to familiar to my mother. “You have highs and lows. You always want to do different things.”  What I reminded her of is that I have a thyroid disorder as I’ve mentioned in this blog before and so does she. The thyroid has much to do with mood and all around general health. And in the mornings that I have trouble pulling myself from the covers, I don’t dread my life. I’m just tired. And through my wanting to help people anyway I can, I’m not overly simulated with mania, I just want to make a difference.

I let her know today that I have to break this cycle of negativity. We have to as our own selves. We have to make our own path and follow it even if it feels scary. Even if your family doesn’t approve. You just have to take YOUR step. No one else can do it for you. And not everyone will applaud when you take it.

Lessons to be learned from The Jazz Singer

When I was a very small child, any time I saw Neil Diamond on television or heard him on the radio, I would say, “Daddy! The Jazz Singer!” I think for the longest time I thought Neil Diamond’s name was Jazz Singer. I don’t really remember watching the movie. I mean, it came out in 1980. I’m 30 years old. But I remember that glittery blue shirt and scarf he wore at the end of the movie when he sang, “America.”  And he seemed to mean every word. In my book it’s America’s song. Or should be. I know this movie is a remake, but who knows much about the 1927 version? OK. That’s a lie. Al Jolson in black face…

But if you don’t know the 1980 movie, here is the long and the short of it: Jewish cantor living in New York sets out, against his traditional father’s wishes, to achieve his dream of being a singer. It’s such a basic plot, but something about it rings so true of lessons we should learn of tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness and being true to yourself. Maybe it’s female hormones, but I’ve just finished watching it on this lovely Sunday evening and balled my eyes out. Oh my goodness, when Neil’s character tries to set things right with his father by singing on  Yom Kippur (the day atonement) and hearing the power of those words I don’t even understand and his father’s expression along with his — oye, I’m getting vaclemped. Talk amongst yourselves while I collect myself. Topic: 2008’s choices of vice-president candidates and potential reality shows about them…

OK…I’m alright. If you haven’t seen it, all of this may seem silly. Actually if you have, I may still seem a little odd and blogging about it probably is odd. It’s just that it brought me back to being that silly little kid who ran after her father and spent Saturdays digging in the backyard for “fossils.” Things were not always simple back then, but the complexity of my life in those impressionable years was minimal. And looking at today’s world, the 80s had more than their share of, should I say, hiccups? But the place we are now scares the crap out of me. Maybe at the brink of when The Jazz Singer came out in theaters, words like tolerance and acceptance were still new and truly mattered. But today they can be, at times, stifled. Sure. We are in a new world where a black man or a woman can be president, but I find the fact that these two things are so landmark has exposed to the world how much we are still so behind in our thinking.

If we were ahead, these things maybe wouldn’t matter so much or be so landmark. Ok. Thinking about that after crying over The Jazz Singer might very well be very, very odd. Now all I need is ice-cream, a DVD of the last season of Sex and the City and a fuzzy white robe and I’m all set for estrogen-land.