Something else happened yesterday. I came home at lunchtime because I needed to buy something for Literary Club. I bought it and then had a cup of tea before going back to school. (We have a 1-hour lunch break, which is kind of unbelievable.) When I went to the shop to buy what I needed, I saw there were also some bunches of cilantro and one of green onions, and I thought I would buy that too. Only, the shopkeeper was not actually selling them. She was keeping them there next to the counter for her own family, so it was quite funny, as the shopkeeper doesn’t speak English and this had to get communicated to me somehow.
I came into my house, had my tea, felt really relaxed and went on back to school. As I was walking back to school, maybe because I was really relaxed, I began to think I don’t like this person. I don’t like being this person. I don’t like being this person who tried to buy something that the shopkeeper wasn’t selling and had a good laugh about it. I actually didn’t know why I felt that way. I don’t want to be me, and I really don’t know why.
I went on and taught, but I have been thinking about that again. This morning, I feel really, really angry. I have these baby angry feelings inside me, and it seems to be about being me. It was okay to be me when I was more dissociated and I kind of didn’t know this was me. I am getting less dissociated, and also less depressed, and me is becoming apparent, and I don’t like it. I don’t like being me.
I have no idea why.
I began to think about my family, about my mom and also her mother. I especially began to think of my grandmother, because I felt more comfortable with my grandmother—she never hit me, she was much more competent to take care of me, things got done in her house so that it felt safe to be there. It felt much more safe to be there in her house than in my own house. It was probably easier for me because she wasn’t my mom. My trauma didn’t get stirred up so much, and I didn’t have to figure out how to cope with so many feelings, but it was also just that my grandmother was reliable. Food got cooked, the house was clean, the routine was adhered to. My mother was intensely depressed a lot of the time, or she was having melt downs and these things didn’t always get done. She could not always manage daily life.
But the other thing about my grandmother that I remember is basically she just worked. I don’t remember her ever playing with me or making a joke. I was allowed to play outside with my sister or quietly in the house, but she did not play with me. She told me stories, and I liked that, and some of the stories were humourous, but basically she worked. She didn’t play. She worked and in her free time, for relaxation, she complained. She complained and she gossiped about other people. It was kind of a typical 2×2 approach to life—really quite joyless.
It made me think of my family differently. These were people just trying to survive. For the children in the family, the message would be, “Don’t need interaction. Don’t need warmth or connection from me, because I am maxed out. All of my energy is consumed by the demands of daily life, and there is nothing left over for you.” This wasn’t a family that worked hard all day and then sat around the dinner table and laughed and connected to help them unwind and relax and prepare for the next marathon of hard work in the morning. This was a family where connection was too difficult to manage, and the children had to survive the best they could without much help from the adults. My mother couldn’t cope with that. She couldn’t cope in a family where her parents were too busy to play with her, and where play really wasn’t tolerated because it might interfere with the work that needed to be done.
This was a family living in Detached Mode, and my mother couldn’t do it. She needed warmth and love and connection too much. She didn’t make a good robot. To be precise, as a robot, she failed utterly.
I think that is what is wrong with me. That is what makes me feel I hate this person who is me. I am not a robot. I can’t do it. I can’t get through life just going through the motions. I tried, and I can’t get it to work. It’s not me.