June 13th, 2014

corset & bougainvillea

Who asked you anyway, Rob Brezsny?

Cancer Horoscope for week of June 12, 2014:

You have a strong, intricate understanding of where you have come from. The old days and old ways continue to feed you with their mysterious poignancy. You don't love every one of your past experiences, but you love ruminating about them and feeling the way they changed you. Until the day you die many years from now, your history will keep evolving, providing an endless stream of new teachings. And yet at this particular moment in your destiny, Cancerian, I think your most important task is to focus on where you are going to. That's why I urge you to temporarily forget everything you think you know about your past and instead concentrate on getting excited about the future.

Yeah, so, my therapy sessions have been a bit intense this last few weeks. As much as my parents have factored in to who I am, I've actually spent an astonishingly small amount of time talking about them in therapy over the years. I've written about them a good deal, sure. But I've had a very...distant, intellectual understanding of how I was abandoned or abused by them, in various ways, at various times. The actual feelings that go along with those experiences--I've spent the last few months realizing just how far down I've locked those feelings. Being pregnant is bringing them all to the surface, though, in ways I didn't expect.

I guess it's the combination of hormones and feeling more vulnerable than I ever have in my life, all in the context of crunch time at work and lots of physical discomfort of being a baby's life support system. Aside from some early PMS-like mood stuff, I'd been feeling pretty even-keel emotionally for the last couple of months--until about two weeks ago. Suddenly, I'm experiencing bewilderment in so many ways--feeling mistrustful of almost everything and everyone, convinced I'm going to be abandoned again.

I had dinner with MJ a couple weeks ago, and she said, "You thought you'd be doing this by yourself, didn't you? You wanted to be doing this by yourself." And it's true. When I got pregnant a very long time ago, while engaged to a shithead poet in Los Angeles, I understood a little of what my mother must have gone through when she got pregnant with me and my father basically opted out of being a parent. She was crushed by being left alone in that experience, and I suffered for it. She never forgave me for reminding her of my father. I think her desire to be a mother was so tightly linked to her relationship with him, that when that crumbled, so did her ability to parent me.

I've said before that I think choosing to keep me was not the best decision she should have made for herself or for me, and I believe that still. And yet, here I am.

On some level, I figured that as much as I wanted to have a child, doing so on my own would mean not having to dread being left to parent alone, having my relationship with my kid tainted by love gone sour. Unlike me, that child would grow up knowing they were loved and wanted, without condition. It's why I've worked so hard for so long, why I chose to go to Texas, why I sacrificed so much to be able to buy a home--to be able to provide for a child by myself and to not have to risk myself or a child being hurt when the other parent decides not to love us anymore.

Back in December at my first session with this therapist, a black woman about my mother's age, I said, "I just want to know why I can't get over all of this. Yeah, I had a bad childhood. So what? So do lots of people. I'm 37, and I just don't want this affecting me anymore."

She said, "It will always be part of who you are. You cannot 'get over' such a fundamental injury, but you can heal from it. But that means allowing yourself to feel the hurt consciously and move through it."

I turn 38 in less than a month. In October, I'll be a mother. I am definitely not healed, but I'm getting better at drawing connections all the time between my current fears and agitations and what has caused them.