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Throwing Spaghetti at the Wall
and hoping some of it sticks is not a great life strategy
Just a short unexpected missive today.
When your life takes a nose dive, you lose momentum, you fall away from your path. It feels like you have lost your footing on the path of your life and like you have fallen over a cliff into a rushing river of hell. You wave your arms wildly, grasping and groping for anything that crosses your path if it looks like it might pull you out of the river and stop you drowning. My life has felt like that since my marriage crashed into the sea of horror and I escaped the fiery wreck with my life and not much else. The death of my former life happened slowly though, over a period of years, like the endless decay after death. When you get old enough you begin to experience the steady decay of living more acutely.
I have reached a kind of weird homeostasis in the wake of my mother’s death. It’s the grief equivalent of when I would call her and we would talk uninhibited for hours and every little thing would be ok afterwards. When dad got sick our lives changed. Mum was mad that he got sick. She was mad at him for getting sick and abandoning her. I was mad at her for abandoning him, and me. I felt she had chosen others over me and dad. And I started to see our entire life together through the lens of that betrayed angry hurt feeling. My mother was the sky, she was everything. I needed nothing because she was it and when she did not choose me I could not understand that and I could not hold in my rage for every other thing that I held within me over a lifetime.
I never considered that mum would have a reaction of her own that would not align with my vision of her as mum. I forgot that she would also have a grief reaction at the unfairness of dad’s illness. I feel like dad never showed up for himself. I feel like he walked out of Guyana and never looked back and left everyone behind and he spent a life time looking after the siblings of a stranger and not his own siblings. It’s like he could not wait to get away. He never shared that part of himself with me. It’s like he didn’t want that part of him to be real.
We could make up a stupid story about race if we want and wank over it for social justice race discourse points. Nah. I hate race I hate the way it distorts our self image. Me with my mottled skin, me with my half brown and half white skin the lines between which shifts around according to UV exposure — do you think I give a toss about your melanin cult? I do not belong to any group — to be liminal means to live in between. The more I strive to belong the more I receive the message that I do not. It hurts and I hate it sometimes. The only child with siblings.
So I have lived my life throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping some of it sticks so I can “eat dinner”. That’s a messy way to try to “feed yourself”, though. I am not drowning anymore, my life is lovely + joyful once more albeit spartan, so I don’t need to behave like I am drowning. Flailing. I can remember to choose me. Stop flailing. Saying no to people and things and the drama and the thoughtlessness of others is saying yes to me. Saying yes to purposeful and compassionate and honest connection that does not siphon the lifeblood from me is saying yes to me.
Perhaps you like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know. (Q 2: 216)
I get tripped up between the thing I think I should do and the thing I am meant to do. The other thing over there always seems more shiny, somehow. Do I remain where I know I do not fit in or belong or do I say yes to me and withdraw? Is saying yes to me and withdrawing the loss or is saying no to me and devoting my energy to a thing that harms me to impress others the loss?
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