Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I guess I need a new preceptor because I feel leaden without one. I think E.D. lasted all of six days after Samuel Bowles left for Europe before she wrote to Higginson. She knew what she needed.

Trouble is, I don't know anyone. A few familiar faces at the conservation area, ditto at the library, rarely the same people twice at the supermarket or farm stands. No car, usually. No money in wallet, almost always. Would have made spinach pie yesterday, but no butter. Today butter, and set to make it - out of eggs. That's how it's been lately. How is it that D works so hard, we don't have a mortgage, we own the house and car outright, we don't go out, we don't shop, we don't take vacations - and still there's no money?

I worked hard in earlier decades. I faked it, a lot. I had a sense even in my 20s and 30s that I was going on youthful energy (plus nicotine & diet coke) and that I had an ability to fake it then but that I wouldn't last. I remember imagining myself decades later - the age I am now, I suppose, and older - thinking, wow if I'm not in the mood at age 27 or 32 or 38 - it will only feel worse then. And so I worked really hard, a lot of overtime some years, and socked a lot away - against the day - this day, or this sort of day.

I think I am the sort of person who, like Betty Draper on Mad Men, needs someone lined up before she can go off. It's not a good thing, it's very non-"feminist" - I don't entirely approve of myself, my own complete lack of "get up and go." But there it is. I used to be so resilient, incredibly so, really. There was a lot to be resilient about - a long, difficult childhood in a dysfunctional family - without going into details. There just really wasn't much of an upside to it, and to this day the physically surviving members aren't mostly on speaking terms. Well, my seven-years younger sister is, with my two brothers, both younger than me. Is it fair of me to believe on some level that she stole them away from me? But I do think that. I think she triangulated, big time. I see the geometry in my head quite plainly. But I can't really blame her. It's the way she is, and the way they are - and the family dynamic was set up by my parents - it got set up like one of those - what do you call those things? - my uncle had this "executive toy" - an object, a pendulum - somehow you'd get the steel ball moving, and it would go back and forth and around and around in perpetual motion, ad infinitum. That's what it's been like in my family. There's no "improving" it. Though D when he has too much to drink likes to blame me for the cut-off family relations, leading to yet other big, huge, hurtful fights. In childhood I was the scapegoat and kicking board in a very damaging family - and those relationships in a family are as frozen and unchangeable as any constellation in the sky. Actually the best thing I've ever done for myself - in very recent years - is to completely stop having any hope or expectation for finding warmth, fulfilling contact, understanding or anything from my family of origin. It has actually made my life easier, than trying to look for love (only to be labeled as "needy" - by my own sister, for example) from any of them.

A couple of years ago I did a lot of intensive reading up on narcissism, specifically the "narcissistic personality disorder," NPD, or malignant narcissism. I found it to be an extremely useful framework in coming to an understanding of many relationship dynamics in my life. There's a book by M. Scott Peck (People of the Lie) that's very good. And there's an excellent blog, by psychologist Linda Martinez-Lewi, that I have found extremely helpful and validating (from her homepage, click on "Visit my Blog"). A couple of years ago I even reread Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter in light of this conceptual framework - Roger Chillingsworth - classic cold, manipulative narcissist. I relate quite a bit to Hester Prynne, not for the scarlet "A" but for her free-thinking nature.

Anyway. Best portrait of a fuzzy portrait is a fuzzy portrait - it was either post this or not at all today - but it's my lifeline and I simply cannot sugarcoat. Though I did have an all right day today, walked at the conservation area, spent time at the little town library, took a gorgeous drive back home along country roads in Ghent - postcard scenes - trees are in resplendent fall color, more dramatically so than where I happen to live. And I know that eggs are on their way, so I'll finish assembling the spinach pie, and there'll be a lemon that I'll quarter to help season the organic chicken that I'm about to roast, along with a farmstand squash.

I'm grateful for a lot - and I'm happy to be able to write - I just don't, can't, wear a grin all the time, not in writing anyway. Must one?

(That's the impulse - requirement I guess - in marketing one's self. I don't want to name names, but I think of a couple of very well-known women magazine editors, who - and whose writing - I respect highly, formerly of popular magazines of which their publisher summarily pulled the plug. But in their post-steady-paycheck phases I just can't relate to their seemingly perpetual upbeatedness (as much as I read and think of them quite a lot in very positive ways as role models). I'm sure they must get discouraged and depressed. Don't they? Why is there this obligation to always show the game "nothing hurts" face?)

Ahh, kisses to the lot of you, my saints and angels.

Not Waterboys at the moment - Van Morrison. Love him. Thank you KZE.

Love, Belle

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