Sometimes, life changes. Overnight or in a split second. Nothing is ever, ever the same again. You begin to date your life "BC" and "AD." Before the life-changing event and after it. Life has splintered. Shattered. It's rather like my parents' generation asking each other, "Where were you when you heard Kennedy had been shot?" For my generation it's "Where were you when the towers fell on 9/11?" For some, they'll never forget where they were when they heard that the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens had perished in a plane crash, an event that inspired one of my favorite songs, American Pie. Bye, bye Miss American Pie Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye Singin' this'll be the day that I die This'll be the day that I die
Once upon a time, now about thirteen years ago, I joined an Italian-owned medical device company as their afternoon receptionist. I spent my mornings as a graphic designer and my afternoons answering the switchboard. My predecessor, who'd recently been promoted, was responsible for training me on how to properly direct each incoming call. I felt very intimidated by her. She oozed superiority. Behaved condescendingly. Her shoulders were heavy with responsibility and importance. She exuded the very essence of "professional," knew all the right words, the hip office clichès. Her career star was on the ascendant. Frankly, she intimidated the crap outta low self-esteem, homespun, aw-shucks-it-weren't-nothin' little ol' me. I felt very inferior to her.
"Follow your heart" people advise when you're struggling with a difficult decision. "What will give you peace?" they prompt. Aye, but that's the rub. As codependents, peace lies precisely nowhere. If we choose the path that we secretly want, we risk displeasing other people and that will make us miserable. If we choose the path that will please others, we'll also be miserable. Damned if we do, damned if we don't.
This Autumn found me in a periwinkle blue funk. Life is great and I'm incredibly blessed, but in a funk I was nonetheless. Of course, Seasonal Affective Disorder runs in my family so I blamed it on that and scarfed Vitamin D. Then we adopted two adorable little kittens, Cuddles and Snuggles (Cuddly and Snuggly for short) and suddenly, voila! My funk was a thing of the past. To quote Phil Robertson, I was "happy, happy, happy."
In the movie All Passion Spent based on the book by Vita Sackville West, Lady Slane's children automatically assume they will take over control and management of her life after the death of her Prime Minister husband. They receive the shock of their lives when they discover their mousy, submissive mother has other plans.
Blinky-blinky-blinky! My heart fell when we arrived home on Thursday to be met by the unwelcome sight of the flashing red light on our answering machine. Experience has proved a blinky red light means only one thing: someone wants me to do something for them.
Who taught you about love? Who taught you how to love? What did it look like? How did it sound? Act? Walk? Talk? Think?
How many times did your narcissist insist that you be "sweet"? Accuse you of not being "sweet"? Remind you to be "sweet"? Shame you for forgetting to be "sweet"? It seemed that the end-all-be-all goal for us (especially we women) was to be sweet — because narcissists can walk all over sweet people with nary a repercussion.
No Contact seems so extreme, even wicked, in this "family is everything" culture where PSAs remind parents to "talk to your children." (Wow! I can't believe that actually needs to be said outloud!) But when you think about it, No Contact is a silent, ignored part of the American culture. You might even say that without No Contact, America as we know it today wouldn't even exist!