I do this thing now: dropping people immediately if they get angry at me for no reason -- I was thinking about it the other day -- wondering if actually it was those people trapping me that I was put off by. I see now that those two things go hand-in-glove -- the same people habitually made me feel trapped then became angry at me when they couldn't hold me. I think that's a symptom of mental illness, which I shied away from vigorously in the post-marriage years (no wonder). I can remember talking with another newspaper reporter who told me she had just been diagnosed as manic-depressive. I said, "Keep away from me, then." I was trying to survive and understood I was endangered by those people who had strange boundaries -- probably due to my childhood training in sacrificing myself upon demand (and the demand came frequently). As I was talking with Frank about this I said that as terrible as my ex had been for me, I was probably equally bad for him. I'm me, so my sympathy has to be with me. So I chafe against that idea even as I voice it. But attempting to look at my life as objectively as possible leads me to that thought. And -- every cloud has a silver lining -- it means that what I said to that other reporter was closer to kindness than cruelty.
On another note, when Lucia discovered I thought space aliens were boring, she was surprised. I was surprised she thinks they are interesting. It has nothing to do with my belief or disbelief -- I honestly have no idea if there are visitors from Outer Space or not, but it just seems as though I've seen the crummy old photos a million times, and the personal accounts are all similar. So why would I be interested? I am pissed off that the aliens don't beam me up and cure the ms. Can't they make themselves useful? I have no interest until such time as they do.
Lucia thinks I'm being mean in the things I'm writing about my mother. I don't think I am -- I certainly don't think I missed out, somehow, on a perfect childhood -- we all have experiences that are unique, and the only unfortunate part about it would be if we never examined that unique experience. Plus an individual viewpoint can make the memory of anything skewed. It's all pretty funny, in a way. I've always thought that being mentally ill, that is, having problems in the very organ you are depending upon to solve the problems, would be the worst -- however I now see that everyone has that same difficulty to a greater or lesser extent.
Lucia was interviewed on NPR, and I missed it. At some point I hope I'll catch up with a tape of it. Go to www.luciaperillo.com for Lucia's groovy blog and other things.
Mum's just feeling awful, so yesterday I took E grocery shopping, looking at apt. buildings (not going in), then I resubscribed to her antivirus update program and cleaned up her computer so she's in good shape. She's very helpful. The social worker meeting was good, but we can't quite get her to understand about her apt -- that it has to be affordable, on the ground floor, and things might come higher in the pay priority than things she's used to and wants. I was explaining to Lucia that cable isn't a frippery if you are Down's Syndrome and TV is part of the way you interact with the world. Still, my sister thinks she is somehow wedded to her digital cable. Uh... you might have to have...BASIC, E (Don't throw a fit!). She wants to be in Crowne Point, but I explained that they might not have a ground-floor one-bedroom available next month -- if not there are two complexes next door. We'll see. But we need to see pretty damn soon. I'm chronically exhausted. I am going to see "Frida" this afternoon -- as it may be the only time I can do it It can be a jaunt for E. Lucia, Connie, and maybe Susan are coming, as well. I wish my mother had called the onc people yesterday -- but she sees the onc on Wednesday, anyway. She's not draining out of the (sutured) hole into her lung, anymore, which is good. And she seems to have less coughing, etc., going on. But she's nauseous and exhausted, can't really eat as things taste "bitter," and her heart is still fluttering around like a panic-y bird. I was telling Frank about my marriage, on Friday, which he said explained a great deal, and was rather important. I've been going to see him for years (5? who knows) and had never told him about my husband having visions of killing me, me coming back from a show of my paintings in New York and finding he had been sleeping on the floor with a knife alongside his pallet, me getting a restraining order and having to face him in court (and the judge signing the order even though he had no real evidence to do so, and making it perpetual in response to Vance's sarcastic remark that it was fine and "why don't you make it perpetual as long as you're at it." The judge could see.), and finally Vance committing suicide five years after we split. I was scared of him -- he was very big. And mean. The meanness grew right out of the mental illness and the bad things his dad did to him -- when he was taking his meds he was nice. Mentally ill people can twist the verbal knife, however, and aren't held back from twisting the real knife, either.
17 January 2003
I was talking to Frank this morning about Charlene. I said it had made me think about the survival strategies I had as a child. One thing I did was throw my energy into things to get approval from my parents. I'd work myself to death to get a word of approval that was, alas, only a temporary fix. When I write "to death," I'm not joking. I had hours of work I did every day without being told. During one period I would become so dizzy while cleaning the stable that I had to sit down. My vision would go black and I'd get nauseous. I'd sit for a few minutes then get up and push myself for however long it took. I wound up with rheumatic fever: ill for 6 months. It took me years to get over an automatic reaction I had when something dropped, or spilled, or so forth. I'd sacrifice ME so the floor, or whatever, wouldn't bear the brunt. Like I was expendable but everything else was precious. So as whack as it sounds I had strategies to help me get what I needed -- I just needed something that made me sacrifice my physical self. I always thought I was used as a buffer between my parents, too -- as if they were sharp glass shards and I was a sponge wedged between them to keep them from damaging each other. I was cut to ribbons on both sides. Oh, well -- no one's childhood was a picnic! I have to think about these things, whether they are correct or not, but you don't have to read it.
15 January 2003
I picked my sister up and took her home. My mum is feeling terrible -- coughing, weak, no appetite, can't sleep because she's coughing, etc., etc. E had instant messaged me yesterday saying her computer wasn't working and would I fix it -- it was ALL messed up to the point of Windows starting but unable to run anything. I discovered (I had never looked at it much before even though I fix it every so often) that Windows XP has a "system restore" function that will go back to when you wish to restore the settings, etc. and... fix the fuck ups. I was super happy as I'd thought I'd have to reinstall Windows, which takes ages. This computer is fab -- a good choice for a Down's Syndrome person who tampers with things (and for almost anyone, especially people who don't have someone to fix things). Yahoo! I was happy to be told by Mr O'Keefe that Charlene does NOT have a science project about space aliens. I'd thought, "They sure don't make science projects like they used to." Apparently (and he says she plays people against each other, or something like that) she thought she would stand a better chance of getting some time in my room (why kids want to be there I'll never know) if she said it was a science project she wanted to make into a webpage. I thought about it -- clearly she wishes to be special, and has learned some survival skills that seem to help her get her foot in the door -- so I guess she's right -- she stood more of a chance if I thought it was a science project. It's given me a lot to think about -- she may be a TAD mendacious, but she's willing to lie in order to get MORE work rather than less. She got her mother's permission to email using my address, so we were emailing students in China with me ragging on her the whole time about spelling, punctuation, form, etc. Then she was researching (in a fashion) aliens from outer space (in which she believes) -- it's too bad I find the space alien thing so boring -- I'm sorry it wasn't really science. Now, however, I can beat on her and make her do some original-ish alien drawings, and explain about copyrights, which she won't understand. Maybe she will write an alien lifeform story. I've got these add-ons, lately, which is ok, especially since I'm starting the yearbook. I'd like to get the Walla, Leticia, Shawneen contingent doing pages -- that is, the little sisters of star art students who don't want to be left out contingent. Erika cracks me up. And poor Gene Cooper (I can't help but think of him as Gene Krupa) is trying very hard -- he asked our principal months ago, and Mr C said he would talk to me but never did. Gene keeps asking me, so I talked to Mr C but that doesn't mean his teacher will EVER release him. I guess more will be revealed, as Marilee says.
14 January 2003
My mum is finally home! Yesterday at 6:15 I rang E and reminded her to GET UP AND GET READY FOR WORK. This morning I rang...rang...rang...until 7:25 when I left and went to see if she was in bed or at work. She had left -- but I was frazzled and late for work. I wouldn't've called if she hadn't missed Friday -- too bad she couldn't just pick up the phone (giving me the finger, I'm sure). Still, it was the best possible outcome. Exhausted all day. Tiff came midday -- she will work in my Movie Studio. I have a huge number of two kinds of extra kids -- ones who come and ask if they can do something specific, then work their way into being around all the time, and the others who say, "I want to be in art PPPLLLEEEEEEEZZZZZZZ," but don't do anything specific except plead. I told Becky that Erika (6th grade) is my "constant companion." I'm not sure how it happened -- but she took photos and made a class webpage, and is now working on another webpage of her own written work. And Charlene (4th)-- wanted my help emailing children in other countries... and is now magically making a webpage based on her science project (sadly, it is about aliens from space -- they don't make science projects like they used to).
13 January 2003
My mother is still in hospital. She's in pain, cold, etc. We are just nutzoid. I am exhausted, and I haven't started my workweek, yet. E missed her ride on Friday, which is awful, too, although she must be having a hard time and probably needed a day off.
I just made this for Keats. The photo is the view 5 minutes ago, as mist was simply RUSHING in. It must be hard to have children because children go through (some say) the evolution of mankind as they're growing, so of course they are attracted to things of dubious taste (or, not dubious, but STINKING bad taste) at times -- and you not only have to live with that stuff but you have to BUY it. Keats hasn't hit that stage yet -- but wait til he only wants genuine polyester Anakin Skywalker sheets (or some equivilent marketing ploy) -- oh, well. E and I were driving around Capitol Lake after dark, and she said something about where we were-- to clarify she told me she was talking about "the duck side." Of course, I immediately said, "Come to duck side!" She laughed.
11 January 2003
07 January 2003
My battery was flat this morning -- maybe a door was not quite closed. When I got home from jin shin yesterday I crawled into bed and slept until 5, so I didn't notice. I had to call triple A, and when the man rolled in he was driving the wrecker I have a big crush on. I told him, and he understood and approved. They are in the process of painting an eagle-and-flag on the hood. So it was an ok experience -- I love wreckers. I saw a wrecker parade, once, with wreckers from all over the western US and Canada. That was years ago -- I'd been shopping at Sunbirds in Centralia-Chehalis on the right day, and came out of the store and saw them all. Hundreds. Went to school: Josie's painting a dolphin, Christy emailed two girls in France, Andrew is making a super-complex animated GIF, Sky and Kota started editing their "House of Cats" movie. Tomorrow I have the 8th grade art students. My mum goes in to hospital tomorrow -- they will partially collapse her lung, and coat it with talcum to stop the fluid build-up. Then what? More chemo? S.J. sent me a travel Scrabble game, after I told her I'd said, "All I can do to help you is play Scrabble," to my mum. We play Scrabble in the chemo lounge (I call the big chairs "uneasy boys"), as a distraction.
06 January 2003
Saturday was the Elvis impersonators and movie benefit for the Crisis Clinic at the Capital Theatre. Lucia, Jim, Elizabeth, and I went, and E brought her new digital camera. The whole Elvis thing is something to be pondered -- I saw Lucia making notes, so I wouldn't be surprised if this winds up in a book. She wondered if the Lourdes people and Elvis people overlapped -- I think this phenomenon is actually a pretty groovy way people have formulated to fill their needs. "Elvis" offers unconditional love and acceptance. The problem with Jesus has always been that he's not flesh and blood here and now. Elvis is flesh and blood, is EVERYWHERE simultaneously, is non-judgemental, and offers unconditional love that seems to flow from the humble base the impersonator has built on: he (or she) is not trying to be Elvis, but is trying to behave as Elvis would've behaved -- so the impersonator is not ego-driven, but driven by a love of Elvis. It helps if you're not too smart and cynical. In this case, too smart for your own good! I watched E basking in the whole thing -- and what could be better? These two guys are super-nice.
04 January 2003
Had my welcome party for Trang, yesterday. It was fine -- enough people turned up to make it a minimal-size party, and though I would've wished for more people for Thanh and Trang, for me it was easier. Today Loosh and I are taking Elizabeth to see the Elvis impersonators at the Capital Theatre -- third year! Monday is jin shin (also yesterday, too), then work Tues, Wed, Thurs, and my Mum goes in hospital on Wednesday. She has to have her lung collapsed and talcumed to stop the fluid. If it goes all right she will be out on Friday.