I am constantly dreaming of houses and it is easy to assume that they all represent my state of mind at any given time. At this exact moment I don’t have to be asleep to know the state of my house. It is a quaint shack set in the heart of the dust bowl during the depression.
Standing on the front porch one can see for miles. Windmills turn slowly like deflated soccer balls, hot air with little to no humidity offering nothing more than chapped lips. The wood of the house is worn and faded, not warped but ageing with grace with a silent grey tint to the grain. It is a modest house.
The curtains flutter outside the open window offering color against the dull, brown scene of dust and tumbleweeds. They are a floral print that adds charm. A visitor might assume the curtains were the inhabitants desperate attempt to add charm to ruins but that is not the case at all. The house itself is plain, even dull; but its foundation is sturdy. The decor is not fancy, not thrown together out of desperation; it is modest flares of color against the muted tones of circumstance, a depression like era. New colors added every so often as times change and the economy shifts.
No, these curtains don’t flutter lifeless and pathetic in the stale breeze. They are a reminder that with each day times change, things get just a little easier.
My subconscious does not have to gently remind me of where I stand mentally; I am consciously aware, and I am ok with it. I know what is happening as it has been happening for a very long time and I am just now finding my peace with it.
The floral curtains I described above represented my desperate need for a mother; not even my own mother, but all that having a mother entails. Its like a julia roberts movie where she plays an awkward, socially inept waif standing in a ballroom in her jeans trying to dance and do fancy ball room stuff. I watch mothers and daughters in normal, healthy relationships and I am dumbfounded, I dont understand. I used to get jealous and think how lucky these daughters were to have that kind of relationship; that it must be a rare occurrence and they should consider themselves lucky. But that is not the case at all. The more I see of the world the more I realize that it is my own relationship with my mother that is the rare occurrence. Our relationship is not the norm like once believed.
I feel a mike drop coming on. Like someone just got told off or put in their place and its now time to walk off stage. But, I want to be gentle with myself as it is an old scar.
It hit me yesterday that I am mourning my mother as if she had died. The mind is funny like that, serving to protect itself by any means possible; even if that means mourning the living. Following this realization I also came to understand I was holding on to something that would never come to fruition.
Years ago, in college , I had to interview a psychologist for a psych paper. The paper was over borderline personality disorder and the one thing that stuck with me, 20 years later was his response to the question, “do borderlines ever recover?”
“With age they tend to mellow out, and yes, some do recover”
I have held onto that quote for a very long time, holding out hope that one day that would be my mother. I would have forgiven everything, removed every tear from my memory in order for that quote to become true. Surprisingly, it did sometimes. My mom’s illness is like a raging storm in the middle of the ocean. Every now and then, twice to be exact, the storm quieted and the sun came out. She acknowledged everything she had done and even apologized. As said before, I dropped all my pain off at the pound like an abandoned puppy and opened my heart back up to her. But the ocean is unpredictable. There is always another storm brewing. Just as quick as she was to ask for forgiveness she was back at it, disowning me as her daughter and telling me I was dead to her. What a mind fuck right?
It is not all doom and gloom though. When someone dies the living go through a period of mourning and then they move on with life. As macabre as it is to mourn the death of the living it allows one to move on; no longer holding on or being tied to false hope. It allows for new hope to bud and to become more than just floral print curtains fluttering in the dust.