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20 November 2004

I'm totally annoyed because, having roused myself to go out to do a necessary task the driveway was blocked by a Uhaul van and the person responsible said, "It'll be a few minutes!" I waited... his few is not MY few... I hate being trapped.

When I was 13, living with my parents and my older sister in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, I got home from school and found the bathtub full of bloody towels. I said to my sister, "Maybe Mum has had the baby." She replied (her exact words: let no one accuse my family of mincing words), "Don't be stupid, it's much too early."
It turned out that my mother, 43, had almost suffered a miscarriage. She had become pregnant by design, because she loved babies, but had some age-at-pregnancy related trepidation.
I was at school when I heard the news of my sister Elizabeth's birth. Deborah was in England, I think... I'm not sure, actually, I'll have to ask her. (Steven, of course, was in Hong Kong with Mummy Barbara and Daddy Frank, living a life of incredible wealth and privilege. My father would only spend money on luxuries, so we had lots of horses but things like the phone and electricity were always being cut off.)
Things were glum, and my parents were in shock. My father named Elizabeth, and we sold the black pony TicToc, who'd been bought for "him." We'd all been sure the baby was a boy named Miles.
Elizabeth was a beautiful baby - so much so that my mother discovered that a woman tried to time her shopping with my mother's shopping trips so she could get a glimse of Elizabeth. Elizabeth survived childhood mishaps like getting squashed in the back fold-down car seat when a truck ahead dropped a window in front of us and my mother slammed on the brakes, and being dropped on the floor when I threw her gaily into the air but neglected to catch her.
As she grew she really had a problem with me. She wanted to kill me and assume my identity, or failing that, just kill me. Once I was sitting in an armchair and E pushed my mug of scalding tea into my lap, another time I was lying on the floor retrieving something from under the furniture and E turned on the hoover and ran over my hair, which was very long, fine, blonde hair. Or was until it was all hoovered up (and extremely painful experience). But, of well - I'm sure the mean things happened in both directions.
Anyway, my parents did the huge control-guilt trip thing on me from an early age, and even though I have tried, I still have difficulty getting a general acknowledgement that E and I are not Siamese twins, or linked invisibly with finite resources so that as one prospers the other declines. I am thinking about this lately because I told Deborah that she had to take over, and she is, and then some friends have organised a meeting on Sunday that includes me but not E, to do some kind of sorting out of people's involvement. I'm grumpy and recalcitrant, and then I think, "But I should feel GRATEFUL that these wonderful people are voluntarily involved," then I think, "But why am I grateful - aren't we separate entities? Friends are doing good things for E - it's between that group and E, I'm not involved." Then I think to myself, "You ingrate!"
So I'm STILL willing to believe enough in ancient parental manipulation to chop off even more parts of me, on the slightest demand. Won't I ever learn? Or conversely, perhaps I should be grateful, am linked invisible, and should just shut up.

posted by - 2:55 PM


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