Carry the Zero

Sometimes there isn't a bad guy. Sometimes no one in the show is quite the antagonist, you just have a group of people making very bad, reactionary, decisions. Whether reacting to each other, or their own impulses driven by a greater concept of "true love", the results are the same: people get hurt.

At some point I recognized this. I am trying to break these cycles. It's not like they're helping anyone.

When I went to visit my mother in Houston she stopped in the middle of our movie for a moment and asked me if I had been tested for diabetes. The implication being that I am getting chubby again. Which is completely true. I have been stressed out and eating like shit. Even though I have been out running/walking almost every day last week I was eating way more calories than I was burning and I might have put on a couple of pounds. Literally. But somehow she can tell. Or she just can't help herself. I think it's a bit of the latter because I spend a lot of time "advising" Myex about things I worry might hurt him. I guess at least I know I really love him, because he and my nephew are literally the only two people I do this to. (Also, there was some debate over his attractiveness versus some of my other boyfriends over drinks on Saturday, and I was fervently in support of how gorgeous I thought he was when we first met. No one got it, but I still sometimes see that charm in him.) Everyone else gets long winded rants about myself. My self-loathing also qualifies as self-aggrandizing, I think. It's a terrible impulse to give into on both ends of the spectrum...but I feel a little better about the former. The self-serving self-loathing I think is excessive. It's unnecessary in a way that both hurts me to think, and, probably, hurts my standing with my friend to repeat it to them. If only because of the superabundance of this style of communication in my every day, I hate it more.

So basically we are back to one of the big themes of the blog: communication.

Now that I have recognized this form of communication in my mother I feel more equipped and empowered to stop doing it myself. I know it will take time, but I feel most people in my life will agree it's worth the effort. The people who care about me at least, hopefully, will. And the people I care about. Like Myex. Looking back I spent an extraordinary amount of time in our relationship badgering him because I thought it might lead him to a solution. I didn't notice at all. I had become exactly what I despised.

Adding to the heart-ache of knowing that I was doing what my mother did to me to him, is that I was also doing it to his daughter. At some point, horrifically, I decided it was okay to give a child the silent treatment. Which happened all the time when I was growing up. And to this day, if I get far enough into a disagreement with her she will sink into herself, teary-eyed, and sulk around pretending I don't exist. It's incredibly damaging. I realize it doesn't matter that I was upset about other things, I shouldn't have allowed that to make me target my frustration on her. I want to be warm. I want to be loving. And I'm not. I like the idea of cuddling the few children I care about in much the same way I do the animals in my life- it's a little bizarre that I am not as capable of showing affection to human beings. I mean, not hard to understand, my family does not touch, but, still, a weird-faulty-wiring kind of thing. The impulse is there, but Myex and his ex also spent a lot of time making it clear she wasn't mine. So I guess I broke the connection, too. I do that a lot, and too easily.

Decide something just isn't my problem and so not worth my time.

I don't know if there would have been a way to rationalize in my younger head that she could not be mine but I could still care about her and be warm. I suspect that some of that would have been false, though. Things can be pretty territorial around a child when parental status is up in the air.

As an aside, I wonder if my love for you will one day be like a dried flower. Something dead and ornamental, that I hold onto because it was once alive and held meaning.

Luckily children's hearts are far more resilient than those of adults. The technique is the same, I think. If you listen to them, show interest in the things they like, say hello and ask about their day- they can tell you're trying. And if they like you they'll reciprocate with long stories that kind of go no where but have their own kind of charm. And bad jokes. They'll tell them with a gleam in their eye that betrays their own admiration of their cleverness, something else very similar to adult behavior.

I'm glad the transition to positive mirroring is going well. As much as I resented what she represented, spending time with Myex's daughter are some of my better memories. Taking her for cocoa, to play with other kids, to play in the park, trying to teach her french. I had so many dreams of things we were going to do for her before I was reminded she wasn't mine to plan for...teach her chinese with fridge magnets, take her shopping, teach her to draw.

As I have been writing this I realize that another aspect of my rejection of her might have been defensive. I know there was a horrible streak of jealousy in there because Myex seemed like he would never settle down with me for kids of our own. Which of course is quite likely never to happen since we have broken up, but there was a time that was what I wanted. A future together. And in that time he would occasionally express the desire for a future with his daughter's mother...which was reasonable given the circumstances, but not something that made me secure in our relationship. Given that he wanted that nuclear family I felt intrusive and lashed out. I apologized to her and I don't know if she knows how much I meant it. I think she can tell I'm trying and she's reciprocating. I've always loved her in the way that I knew- with purchases. Little gifts to prove I wanted her to be happy the same way my parents expressed their love. It feels better to slowly be more engaging. It feels better to be joking and kind. To show love with a deeper interaction than that of my wallet.

To be fair, my parents grew up very poor. I think a lot of why they translate money and things to love is because no one was able or willing to provide that for them. They were good people, and kind in their own way, but not effective communicators at all as I was growing up. I realize that their set of circumstances carried on into my circumstances and led to relationships with a lot of poor communication and unnecessary fighting. I am certain Myex has the same problem. Not in the same way, but I know a lot of why things were so hard was because neither of us has seen a functioning relationship. We both grew up in fighting, and for a little while were raising his daughter in aggression.

If I can pull away from that now I think I'll be closer to the person I've wanted to be. I think she'll be closer to a person she should have.


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