I’ve always had my head in the clouds. Always been searching for Heaven on Earth. Always seeking the person who “had it all together.” The one who knew how to successfully reconnoiter this crazy thing called Life. I’ve yet to find that person.
As always, C. S. Lewis expressed it best.
that nothing in this world can satisfy,
the most probable explanation is
that we were made for another world.”
― C.S. Lewis
“It was when I was happiest that I longed most…
The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…
to find the place where all the beauty came from.”
― C.S. Lewis,
For years, I idolized renowned author and illustrator, Tasha Tudor. My mother introduced me to Ms. Tudor’s artwork when I was just a little girl. Her paintings of idyllic flowers, gardens and rosy-cheeked children charm me to this day. I want to live in her paintings. When I feel sad, I escape into the books by Tasha Tudor.
Not only did she paint this ideal beauty, she also seemed to live it. High in her Vermont idyll, she raised goats and corgis, hollyhocks and raspberries, cabbages and chrysanthemums. All the while, she pursued a lifestyle straight out of the 1700’s. Raising her own food. Weaving her own clothes. Tasha Tudor was “authentic to the skin,” as historical re-enactors call it. She was almost an idol for me.
Surely, she “had it all together.”
Or did she?
Death of an Idol
The lie lasted a long time. It took nine decades for the illusion to disappear. In fact, it took her death at age ninety-two for the idyllic fantasy to disappear.
Only then was it revealed that she had disinherited three of her four children. According to the Boston Globe, “…Tudor’s youngest child, Efner Tudor Holmes…says…they stopped talking to each other in 1996…”
Sounds like No Contact to me.
Efner Tudor Holmes went on to say, “Some of the last words she [Tasha] said to me were, ‘Oh, will there ever be a cat and dogfight when I die.” One assumes she was referring to her vast fortune.
Sounds like Triangulation to me.
“Tasha went on to say, “But I don’t care. I won’t be here to see it.’ ”
Sounds like Lack of Empathy to me.
“It bothered her – but not enough to do anything about it. I think there’s a side of my mother that was very cruel. And that’s the side of her that I’m wrestling with to this day.”
Sounds like denial, denial, denial to me. And I should know. I wrestle with my own denial of my parents’ sporadic unkindness to this day.
The Boston Globe goes on to say, “She divorced two husbands who did not hew to her agrarian dream.”
Sounds like control to me.
“’She was totally involved in fantasy. She wanted to live in her own little world,’ said Thomas Tudor, the third of the children.”
No normalcy, no reality…hmmmm, sounds like a narcissist to me.
Hardly Ideal, M’dear
Like all narcissists, it would appear Tasha Tudor had an “official” story that was wildly divergent from reality.
To outside appearances, she lived the art she painted. Gorgeous children, a peerless garden and a back-to-Nature lifestyle.
But in reality, she hated babies, didn’t bother to cook supper for her four children, disinherited the three children who went No Contact with her and kicked two husbands to the curb along the way.
Hardly an ideal nor an idyllic life!
The same dynamic plays out in every narcissistic family. There are so many ideals, idylls and idols vs. the truth. The “official” story vs. reality.
The challenge is to believe the right one. To kick a beautiful fantasy to the curb in exchange for an ugly reality.
This is perhaps the biggest challenge we face in our healing journey. This is the stubborn root of denial. This is our Waterloo. It will make or break our recovery. If we cling to the “official” story, we’re doomed. If we accept the ugly truth, there is hope for healing and freedom!
This is the challenge. Let’s rise to face it.