August 20, 2017 (Sunday)

by Yule Heibel on August 19, 2018

The “regret” theme continues, miserably tinting this entry.

Feelings of worthlessness, not feeling loved by the most important person in a baby’s and a child’s and a young girl’s life; being alone and trying to prove something (my own viability?) …and failing. And then feeling guilty about failing, about trying in the first place. Did I ask to be born – to a woman who couldn’t show affection, a father who was a choleric? I don’t recall asking for it. Why feel guilty then? Why not feel outraged? Or smug, to boot (as in, “Hey, I’m still alive, but you mofos are dead!”)? Because neither emotion fills the hole, makes me whole. Neither replaces the missing love.

I suppose it can only be replaced by love I give.

I get tired, though. Which is what I think (being tired) when I think that maybe I should add another “to-do” item, like keeping a gratefulness journal. Would I tap a well of self-love? Maybe.

Gratefulness. My family and what it taught on that subject, aiaiai… Always, always, always as a child, when I was a child, I recall that gratefulness was disdained at home as something for the (supposedly) weak. My mother mocked it, ridiculed it, made my sisters mock and ridicule it, too. Both parents did. My parents walked around with Empire State Building-sized chips on their shoulders. Both shoulders. Each. “Grateful? Ha. For what,” they’d sneer.

…Oh, I don’t know. How about that you’re alive, that all of your seven daughters are healthy and well-formed and reasonably sound in mind and doing well – despite your regular abuse, abuse both physical and emotional? Is that a good enough reason to be grateful, just a little bit? How about that you’re not in jail, that you’re healthy, too? Is that a good reason? Oh, but gratefulness is for the weak, for the Christians, too – and there was no love lost on anything religious in my house, either. Well, I’m not Christian, but I am weak. So maybe gratefulness is something to take for a whirl. I don’t want to suggest I haven’t already just because I haven’t codified it into some kind of journaling routine. I am immensely grateful for all the things that are good in my life (my kids, spouse, e.g.), and I have a remarkable (I feel) resilience toward adversity; it’s more than fatalism, it’s a sense of comfort around transience, too. However, I do fall into these pits of despair, feeling weak and bereft of any kind of power, super or not.

And while I’m not uncomfortable with transience, I don’t like drifting, either. It would be tremendous if W. and I could articulate goals, but if we can’t, that’s not the end of the world – as long as we at least have systems, frameworks for action, daily action which adds up to a long-term plan. Long-term, ha. How much time do we have? Well, all the time in the world, in a sense…

I had an interesting exchange with K., who’s a real “glass half-empty” kind of person. Compared to K., I’m Pollyanna. She liked a video I also saw and liked, but not for the reasons I did. She liked it because it confirmed her worst expectations and fears (a sort of “the end is nigh” stance, which is her usual attitude toward the world). Me, I liked it because it gave me hope to see someone intelligently describing a situation (a bad situation of escalating violence, say, and where it might lead if it’s not reined in). When I see intelligence, I see love. And when I see love, I see that nothing is inevitable. I guess that’s an underlying “engine” for me (never really thought of it exactly like that before). When I see stupid, I despair. When I see smart (real insight, empathy, brainpower), I feel heartened. <3-ened. I feel (and see) love. And therefore hope. That makes me feel grateful.

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