For you, the dress code is casual.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I've Been Busted... And A Doozy of a Post

One of my best friends came over for beer and the Big Bad Monstuh Burguh for din-din. I fired up the grill and went over the top for the burger -- caramelized onions, proscuitto, jalapeno jack cheese, yada, yada. I made some potatoes on the grill, too. Diced fine with garlic, sweet baby peppers, onions, garlic, and buttuh, all foil-wrapped and grilled long time. All in all, a pretty frickin' sweet dinner. I don't see this friend as much since the kid popped out of the oven and domesticity became tattooed deep into his being, so it was nice to chill for a bit.

We watched Capote, which tripped some interesting switches in me, and I'll touch on that after, but we had a good heartfelt talk afterwards and that was nice.

This is probably the first day in a long, long time that has been a pretty solid day from start to finish. I like the headspace I've been in, I've accomplished a lot, I hung with a couple good friends, I ate good food, I was articulate, I never got emotional. Wow, what a switch from the recent past. I think the estrogen's finally wearing off a little. I suspect it'll be another week or two before I'm closer to who I ought to be, but at least my weekend's ending in a good place, and I'm satisfied with all that's gone down.


First: My friend busted me. I said I was trepidatious about something that was coming up (what, I can't remember) and he looked quizzically at me and said "trepidatious? Don't you mean I have some trepidation?" I muttered back that it was a word and suddenly realized that my friend's a pretty smart guy and he doesn't call me on much, so I said, "Shit." Then I scurried into my bedroom, looked it up in Google, saw a reference to it in a book by Richard Lederer (the wonderful Anguished English) and suddenly knew I was in trouble. Pulled down my big fucking dictionary -- "the tome," my friend calls it -- and sure enough, it serves only as a noun. There is no adjective. "That's fucking dumb," I pronounced. But now I know. Shit! I HATE learning I've been wrong all this time! BAH! This fallibility thing! Damn it all! [smirk] Whatever.

Capote, as I mentioned, tripped some switches.

In the past week, from when I felt I'd hit emotional bottom to now, I've been very contemplative about my life. I've thought back a lot to the time I was raised and just how many headgames were always played in my family. I am absolutely certain I have come miles and miles and miles from where I was some years ago, in regards to pettiness and the things I've done to people in the past, but in thinking of things of late, I've learned I've miles and miles yet to go. Such is life.

It is with some trepidation that I anticipate the looming appointment with my therapist on Thursday night. I know it's going to tap into things. I've spoken of my family history with her in the past, so it's not like I'll show up and we'll scratch the surface just before she announces that "Time's up, we'll continue there next time." No, we'll be probing.

It was odd. I was over at my brother's and we were chatting as I was teaching him how to cook --(I've been schooling him on the fine art of cooking, one nation at a time. We've hit Thai, Italian, and North American, and next time I'll tackle French. Boy's got to learn.)-- and I mentioned that learning he was going to begin therapy inspired me to return myself, in light of the last couple of weeks of emotional insanity. And he says to me, "What are you going to work on, or do you know yet?"

The question stopped me cold. "Work on?" Why, I don't know. I thought my general fuctedness was a good place to start, but now I've decided there might be three separate things that could use some addressing, not including my sometimes inability to handle an excess of stress: my passive-aggressiveness, which has been an issue of late, my difficulty in being trusting towards others, and my tendency to secretly feel like a victim when things don't go my way.

Now these have been issues all my life, and they're probably not going to go poof in a wisp of smoke anytime soon, but if I can become more aware of them I should be able to learn how to overcome them, yes? One would hope.

So, Capote. Truman Capote's downfall came as a result of meeting someone with an identical upbringing who was the same in many ways, including his ability to articulate and his ability to express himself in writing, except for one thing: Truman Capote managed to wedge himself into the upper echelon of the American literati. He was a who's who kind of person, the sort everyone wanted to be around. Smith, however, was a sadistic killer who knew how to write and talk, and evidently even knew how to feel.

I wonder if it all caused Capote to become too conscious of his roots and how much he would never really be like those others in the crowds he always found himself in the midst of, and whether, if some wind had blown differently or some other leaf fell on some other day, he might have turned out the same as the subject he was writing on, the vicious killings committed by Smith.

Not that I'm comparing myself to either, but there was a scenario of late where I was in a crowd of people all well-connected and politically tuned, and I found myself realizing I had never felt more like the girl I really was as I grew up. Despite playing the role and fitting in well, I felt so far removed from the evening that it felt like interstellar travel just heading back home by night's end.

I was raised in White Rock, which was a suburb in transition back in the day. There were rich parts, middle parts, and poor parts. I came from a formerly poor part trying to become middle class. It didn't work well. Out of everyone in the neighbourhood, I was pretty much the only kid who grew up without a record or some other sordid deal. There was one other girl, but she was an outsider from the get-go, and they had money. The rest of us just tried to act like we did.

Out of all of them, there were kids who became drug dealers, car thieves, thugs, pregnant as teens, and so forth. There were even incestuous relationships I knew of, and lots of home violence. I'm the original good girl who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. I was educated in private Catholic schools and I wonder if that's the only thing that kept me in a different realm. Even my brother segued into bad things.

Every now and then, I'm a little too conscious that I come from a long line of farmers and land-workers with calloused hands and poor diction. My mother's family had some heavy shit go down in her teens, and my father just came from a long line of assholes, as far as I can surmise. (My father's anything but an asshole; he's as kind as the day is long. His folks and beyond, however, are a different tale.) Both were raised with shame and suspicion being the watchwords. Anyone outside the family was not to be trusted. Any act of kindness was to be regarded with suspicion. And one was always to be on the guard with defenses at the ready.

I've been hating the legacy of my family this week, wondering just how far down it all really goes, and whether I'll ever outlive some of the bullshit I was spoonfed as a kid. My mother was fighting her history when she died, and I'm still fighting it today, it would seem.

I was raised with a lot of dishonesty and with people manipulating each other. There was a lot of secrecy, and little trust. I find that I jump on the defensive now as quickly as each of my parents did, and I was hoping it had minimized over the years, but as my recent depression has/had brought out the worst in me, I've learned I've not gained as much distance from it as I would have hoped.

I feel in some ways like I'm starting over in life, as if some great reset button in the sky has been pushed and I've been given a somewhat clean slate. I hope this to be the case, at least. I've not fucked up at my new job yet, thank god, give the headspaces of recent weeks, and I think it possibly holds more potential for me than I may have believed it could. I'm starting new things and pushing in new directions, and I haven't taken so many steps back that I've lost my way. I haven't even gained weight. I think, in the long run, this time will seem lengthier than it really was, and will become one of those times in my life that I can point to as an ongoing example of my resiliency.

That's not to say I haven't faltered and made an ass of myself at all. I certainly have. Still, I'm resilient. I'm just quite imperfect in addition to that, is all.

I don't know. I'm just thinking a lot about the duplicitous lives even the most inocuous of us can lead, I guess. I'm thinking of how Truman Capote got what he wished for and spent the rest of his life regretting it. ("There are more tears spilled over answered prayers than unanswered ones," he once commented.) I'm thinking about who I am and whether it can be consistent with where I've come from, and whether the two need to coexist or whether I can one day gain some distance from my roots. I think the answer is probably not, but that I can learn to amicably amalgamate the two. I'm thinking about how I have more regret than I'd like to imagine. I'm thinking how someday soon this day, too, will be in the past. I'm thinking. I'm thinking an awful lot right now.

But I'm not feeling emotional, and that's a great change. I don't mind being introspective. It's who I am, it will always be who I am. I enjoy the act of thinking, and don't mind pointing my high-powered lens in my own direction. I hate being emotional about it and torn up about things, because that's not very in keeping with who I've been in the past. And I hope it's not in keeping with who I am to be in the future, either.

It's still a good day. It's just a thinking day. And now I'll bathe and do some reading. (I'm reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. Quite good. Some brilliant turning of phrases, and I hope I'm finally at the point where I'm mentally able to absorb some of his way with words. I've been feeling so stagnant as a writer of late -- nothing I've done feels like a stretch, nothing very creative has come, and I've had no original ideas. All I've been able to write on is my life and my emotions, and I'm frankly beginning to tire of the subject, but I've been unable to tap into topics beyond those. I think that tide, too, is beginning to turn, and of that I find myself quite grateful.)