Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Gasping Goldfish on the Kitchen Floor

Tuesday September 6, 2005, 2:38 PM

I am out on my constitutional's first lap around the block.  It is a warm sunny day, clear blue sky, cicadas humming in a rise and fall pattern, nice breeze.   It's a glorious day, but I feel tearful and depressed for no good reason—none that I know of, anyway. 

Is it something I ate, or not enough sleep or am I just a bad person?

This morning, I had a fight with Graham.  That always makes me feel like a bad person because he is a child and I am an adult and I should be able to control myself better and not get angry.  He is very talented at pushing my buttons, but I am always on the edge lately and my buttons get pushed too easily.

I would like to be able to change that, to be more patient and tolerant and kind and loving and patient, did I say patient?   I want to be more patient, but patience has left me entirely, along with the stiffness and pain.

The Psion computer that I am writing on as I walk has a cracked screen and the touch screen no longer works.   It is impossible for me to change the font or do any number of things that require touching the touch screen.  On PasadaB, the touch screen functions as a mouse, and without the mouse, much of the activities are difficult or impossible

I need to get this computer repaired.

My fibromyalgia hurts.  The pain in my hips hurt.  It hurts quite a bit when I walk.   Like pressing repeatedly on a large painful bruise.  That's what it feels like now.  Sometimes it's much worse, sometimes better, but rarely gone entirely.   It's been bad lately.

This morning I got up early to help get Graham off for his first day of 6th grade and his first day of middle school.   He had a lot of supplies to organize and I had offered to drive him to school, but he said he'd walk or take the bus.  I formatted two discs for him, as he was supposed to have blank floppies and that was one of the things we didn't have.   I labeled them and some of the other things I had not yet labeled.  I was trying to help him organize his stuff.

He couldn't figure out how to carry it all.  I suggested putting some of the stuff in the backpack and carrying the rest in handle bags.   He got out his old backpack from last year {(We  did not buy him a new one, as there was nothing wrong with the old one and we had spent $98 on the first round of required school supplies not counting two pairs of new jeans and   new gym clothes and other fees (like towel fees $14 etc).  I don't know how poor people manage this; we are having enough trouble as it is.)}

The old pack was utterly full of stuff from his locker last year and he sat on the floor hauling stuff out and throwing it away.   All his old papers, his cartoons, notes home from the teacher and principle that he never showed us.    Candy wrappers.  Packages of goldfish, yet unopened, pencils, erasers, pens, toys.   As soon as he thought there was room in the bag, he wanted to jam the new stuff in on top of the old stuff from last year.  I suggested I dump everything out on the floor.   He said it would make a mess, and, indeed, it did.

He wanted to pick everything up and throw it away without looking at it.  Perfectly good erasers, pens, pencils, and unexpired still sealed packages of goldfish.--Pepperidge farm, that is.

Here comes Keith on his motorcycle.  I am most of the way back.   In fact, I am right in front of our house as he turns and drives in the driveway.

I follow him toward the garage.  He gets off his bike and kisses me, sniffs the rose, and goes inside, after saying, "oh look, somebody needs to mow the lawn."   It does need to be mowed.  But I suddenly feel really sad.  One more day before he will be able to start working on assembling my desk, one more day before I can move blue here, one more day before I can sell the Kimbrook house and get divorced and move here.

It's not his fault.  The lawn needs to be mowed. 

My hips were hurting me so bad right before I got home that it is unlikely that I will volunteer to mow it.

He comes back out and tells me his gas tank is leaking and he lost more than a half a tank of gas.  Aiee!  Gas polluting the environment, gas expense at the high prices, and the bike won't run without it.  That's a pretty high priority, too.

Well, moving isn't going to be happening soon.  When I go in, he asks me what I want him to do--right now.   I say he has to make that choice considering the priorities.  I say I want to get moved.  I say I'd like him to set up a temporary desk for me.   Then start on assembling the main desk.  As soon as the other priorities are taken care of. 

We lie down and hold each other until Graham comes in, then interrogate him.  He says the day went well.   He has a little homework, but not much.  He imitates the voices of his teachers, says his life skills teacher is boring.   Says they had to practice handshakes, which Keith and I agree are a good skill.  That she wrote a limerick that didn't rhyme.  He asks me to make him a milkshake.   He calls Jay.   Jay can't play.  Keith goes out to mow.

I never finished my story about this morning.  What happened was, I lost it.   I don't mean I lost the story, I mean, I freaked out.  I lost it at the point where Graham threw away the Pepperidge Farm goldfish packs that were still sealed.   I'd just bought him some of those.  He threw them away with pens and pencils.  I flipped out and got really angry and said that all that stuff was still usable.   There was nothing wrong with it and throwing it away was like flushing money down the toilet and that flushing money down the toilet was like throwing away is Dad's life, his Dad who gets up every morning at 4:30 AM and goes out and drives to work.   I was furious with him and he stamped off, banging his feet hard on the stairs.

When he came down, he couldn't figure out how to carry his stuff and I ended up driving him to school.   I was in my nightgown, because I'd asked him if he'd wanted me to drive him and he'd said no.  I was a little concerned about being seen like that, but I didn't run into anyone I knew.

The thing I wanted to think about was the whole issue of throwing things out.  Some of that may come from my Mom and Pa, who were of the depression era.   Some maybe from when I was poor myself.

7:49 PM  I am over at Richard.  I walked here with Graham.   I found a few pennies in my pocket and he has run off to Freezing Point to buy a few penny candies and gum.    My fibromyalgia is really bad, it seems to be getting worse and worse.   I sit trying to stretch my back.  I lean over, pulling and tugging.  All my ligaments are like steel bands, except that they hurt so much.   It seems to be getting progressively worse.  I think I am doing something wrong, but I don't know what.  It could be the ragweed is lowering my tolerance to some other toxins.

It took us 20 minutes to get here.  I should be able to do it in 15, but I was hobbling badly.

That reminds me of my being offended when Heidi told me that Ken asked her why I waddled.  I got so upset.   Then, later, I mentioned how I hobbled when my fibro was bad and she said that was what Ken had meant.  Hobbling is a much nicer word, to me.   It implies an unavoidable condition, and injury or illness, whereas waddling implies great obesity.  At the time, I was fat, but not that fat, at least not in my own mind.   Now I really am getting fat.

I read something about that in that book, Opening Up, I am reading.   It contradicts a lot of what I have read elsewhere about diets never really working, and how each time, the dieter stops dieting, they get even more fat than they were   This guy--I can't remember his name--says "practice makes perfect" and if you keep dieting, keep trying, you'll get better and better at it, and eventually lose weight.  

Nothing I ever try seems to work.  But right now, I think I am going to try something.   I am going to perhaps do an egg diet.  Eggs, vegetables, meat, bran and prunes.  My goal is to see if that diet eliminates the fibro pain.

It is getting too dark t see the screen with the miniscule font it is using and because the touch screen is broken, I can't choose a larger font.

I want to cut my eating back.  I want to lose weight and reduce or eliminate my fibro pain.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005; 9:49 AM  I never finished this entry yesterday, I kept getting distracted and interrupted.   I wanted to explore what it was about Graham's throwing good things away, things that were still useful, that so infuriated me.

Meanwhile, I wanted to say that I started a new diet—let's see how long that lasts.  I remember Rachel Nettleton being so upset about my diet of not eating certain things.   I had posted a reminder list on my computer at work:

  • No chocolate
  • No coffee, tea, mint or other stimulants
  • No alcohol
  • No sugar
  • No white flour, no white rice
  • No milk
  • No soy

(etc).  She said it wasn't good to deny yourself and that I should phrase my diet in positive terms.   "Like eat lots of green vegetables and fruits, meats and whole grains."  Of course, I'd read the same thing.  But I could eat lots of meats, veggies and whole grains and still have a cup of coffee with cream and chocolate.  I'm allergic to dairy and soy, to coffee and chocolate etc.   I can't have them.  Period.  And, believe it or not, I have to constantly remind myself of that or I will eat them!  I tend to "conveniently forget" that I can't have them at all, and think, "oh well, a little won't hurt."  But it does.

People are always trying to give advice and tell you things you don't know as if you could live 59 years and not know whatever treasure they are trying to pass on to you.   Like Keith and the nutcracker.  He told me you could use a nutcracker to open jars you couldn't open yourself with your hands alone.   I've been doing that for years and years.  But I didn't know if he had a nutcracker or where it was.  It's not like it was a novel concept.   Not only did I have like 5 semesters of physics so that I understand the principles of torque etc, I also had a mother and father that were intelligent and knew these things and passed them on.   I don't bother saying to him, "I already knew that, I'm not stupid," because he hates it when I say that, but then when I do it again, he says, "Oh, you remembered," like I was a child he was encouraging.   Which would be nice if it was really something new I was learning, I suppose, but instead, it feels like an insult. "How stupid do you think I am?" I want to retort, but I say nothing, not wanting to hurt his feelings when he means well.   After all, I suppose he has no way of knowing I already know that, since he probably has never seen me do it.  It doesn't work for large mouth bottle, though!   There is a nice device for that purpose, I wonder if he has one.  If not, we ought to get one, since we're both getting old.

I have a funny ridge on the back of one of my knuckles.  It's been there a few days and hurts.   It is bumpy and looks sort of like a scar.  I rub it absently and then discover it is a sliver.  What an odd place for a sliver.   I dig it out.

I am still not writing about what I had intended to write about, which is my concern about not throwing things out.   Which reminds me about something else that was in that book, Opening Up:  Apparently you only get the maximum benefit from writing about your problems if you are a high discloser.   Some people may be constitutionally unable to disclose at a high rate.  I might be one of them.  Hmmm.

That reminds me of the poem about the crocodile in the therapist's office.  I'd include it if I knew where it was.   I tend to talk about my "traumas" as if they had happened to someone else.  Then I cry—hard about things that happen to other people.   I think that may be my way of processing my own pain.  I seem to have lost interest in talking about that issue, but it is a real problem for me in my personal life as I hate to throw anything away if it has any personal significance or any life at all left in it.

What does it feel like?  It feels painful?  Where does it hurt?   It hurts my heart.  My heart feels heavy when I am forced to throw away things I don't want to throw away, like I am "killing" an old friend or a family member or an intimate.   Things take on personal significance to me. N They become representational of memories and experiences, and I feel as if I am throwing away my life and parts of myself.

That's true of certain items, but others can't fit that category.  What about those goldfish?   They had no personal significance to me.  How could I care about some Pepperidge farm goldfish I had never seen before and didn't know existed?   One thing is that I have a childlike sense of animism.  I think of everything as being "alive" in some way, of having a spirit or life or consciousness of some kind.   Intellectually, of course, I know this isn't true.  Not in a literal sense.  But it is true inside part of me, my child self.   My child self ANIMATES things.  My child self gives everything life and FEELINGS.  And I have EMPATHY for those things.   If I throw away an old stuffed animal, even if it was not my own and has no personal significance to me, I feel as if part of me is being discarded.   Part of my child self.  The self that empathizes with objects.  If you throw away a package of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers, it is sort of like throwing away a school of goldfish that lie gasping and flopping and dying in the trash.

There is truth in this for me, in some instances.  Some part of me really feels this way.   But that is not what was going on yesterday.  At least, that was not the major part of it—maybe some shadow background part.  (I surely have no difficulty EATING goldfish crackers).   (Making them part of myself seems appropriate.)

I think what was going on with me yesterday is that for the first time in my adult life, I do not have a job and I have no income and no money of my own.  

AND I can't make my own money choices.  This is a separate issue, in a way.   Because for 19 years, I have been on my own—I have had no husband or serious romantic partner.  No partner.  No one else to consider.   Any choice I made I made myself.  If I wanted something and was willing to spend the money and perhaps sacrifice in some other way, I could have what I wanted if I could pull together the resources.   I didn't have to consult anyone else; I didn't have to "ask permission."

In addition to that, because we have one job, Keith's, and two households, I have a great degree of "guilt" about money—he works hard every day and with the "hard-earned" money, must make a lot of sacrifices in order to support me, Graham, and himself and the two households (though I am still paying the mortgage and some of the other bills).  

Keith is willing to buy me some of what I want, it's not that he is stingy.  The issues are:

  • Lack of resources and money, in general, due to one income and two households and a nervousness about the lack of funds
  • Lack of freedom to make choices and a sense of unhappiness about this
  • Feelings of guilt over my lack of contribution
  • The feeling that there is no light at the end of the tunnel

I think that those feelings about money may exacerbate the depression mentality instilled in me by my parents.   I feel fearful and upset about all this, and Graham's cavalier attitude about money, possessions, and his Dad's time and energy and his unwillingness to help out in any way without a huge fight just overwhelmed me at a time I was feeling weak from fibromyalgia pain and tiredness due to insomnia.

I don't want to excuse myself from flaring up at him.  I don't think there is ever really an excuse for bad behavior.   But I do want to UNDERSTAND where it came from and to be forgiving and gentle with myself while at the same time, trying not to repeat it.  I wish I could think of meaningful ways to communicate to Graham that money represents time and energy and is not to be wasted.   He just keeps buys stuff and it piles up in his room and gets buried and forgotten.  He doesn't need that many toys.   I think of kids who have nothing and then look at the drifts of his stuff and feel sad—for them and for him.

He hates to listen to lectures.  So do I.  I hate it with a passion.   But if you never think about things or interact with people who have different opinions, how do you grow and change?

Relationships bring up issues. But if you don't deal with those issues, what's the point in the relationship?   If the only purpose of a relationship is to take and never to give, to talk at but never to listen, then one are essentially alone anyway.  Which reminds me of the book, Loneliness, by Clark Moustakas.  I liked that book. 

OK, enough.  I guess I've processed enough for now, and I have other things to do.   Sayonara.   

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

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