Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Mom won't read my blog

For whatever reason, my Mom won't read my blog. I understand she has her own reasons, and maybe very good ones, but I don't understand it and at times it is upsetting to me.

1) My blog is my passion, my feelings, my life's work on paper. It's something I love doing and feel like I am good at. It's very personal to me and I think it's an ultimate expression of who I am at my core, where I come from, and what shapes my beliefs. Yet she won't read it. It makes me feel like there is a whole part of me that she doesn't want to know and doesn't love.

2) She says that people whose opinions she respects tell her not to read it because it would be painful for her. That may be absolutely true. My initial hospitalization was very difficult for the whole family and I think it really traumatized Mom. But I think as long as she ignores that whole chapter it will still traumatize her. I have dealt with those memories and processed them through writing and as a result the pain from that time has subsided for me. It's a memory she and I could work through together, a wound that has healed in me and that could heal in her too.

3) There are times in the blog, not many but some, where I find fault with what she believes or what she has taught me about religion. I think Mom and I could only grow in our respect for each other if we could talk about that dissension. I'm sure there are times David Sedaris' parents don't love what he writes about them, but I bet they read it nonetheless. There are things we all don't like about our parents, but through communication comes understanding and compassion, on both sides.

4) I think, okay, what if I am the worst person in the whole world. What if I am Hitler or Charles Manson. What if what I write about is heretical, criminal, hateful (I really don't think it is, right?). But for argument's sake let's just say I rate up there with those devils. Didn't their moms still want to know what was going on in their brains? Didn't Hitler's mom want to see his artwork? I wonder, did Martin Luther's mom ignore his thesis because it was revolutionary and scary and went against everything she believed? On the other hand, what if I am some kind of soothsayer or sage, what if I am Albert Einstein....an eccentric but smart iconoclast, someone who thinks way outside the traditional box. Wouldn't his mom want to learn about his creations? I think I am actually somewhere in between Hitler and Einstein, so in that case, what's the harm in her reading the blog?

5) Mom always says she wishes she knew more about my bipolar illness. She wishes she knew how my fractured brain worked, what the warning signs of mania are, and how to react. Read the blog, Mom, and you will learn about my brain. You will see my post about fear and anguish or sleeplessness and suicide and you will instantly know if I am having trouble and need help. There is no quicker way for her to get inside my bipolar brain than for her to read what I write. She's a big proponent of reading what other bipolar authors write about their own struggles....why not mine?

6) There are some things I really respect about Mom's religious viewpoints. There are some things from her Catholic upbringing that shaped me and that I hold dear in spite of my skepticism for organized religion. Some of Mom's spiritual insights move and inspire me. I like to learn more about her world view. So when, on the rare occasion, we talk about religion, I enjoy the discussion. But often, she will say, "Why do you think that way Hilary? Where did you come up with that conclusion? What molded your perspective on religion?" If she read the blog she would understand answers to these questions. It's not something I can describe in a 2 minute conversation. So I feel like I am having to get her up to speed on my philosophy of life when it's all laid out before her in this blog.

Although I think her refusal to read my blog is shortsighted, it's her prerogative. I can't make her read it. I know that. I just think that if she died tomorrow there would be a huge chunk of me she would not know, a huge chunk that other people I've never even met do know about me. That makes me sad. My writing is a beautiful part of who I am, and many of you tell me you enjoy and appreciate what I write. I know I am helping those out there struggling with mental illness, and her friends have told her as much. Mom has in fact told me that she is proud of what I am offering to other people, but I guess reading the blog herself might blind her.....she'd rather hear second or third hand reports of my work. I hate that she is missing out on this special light I shine. I hope in time she can muster the strength or courage or calm or curiosity to read what I write. I don't ask her to agree with what I write, at all. I just ask that she look at me, all of me.

I would say this to parents out there: no matter how bizarre your child's tastes are, no matter how perplexing their beliefs, no matter how confusing their passion in this life, pay attention. Whether they love Sarah Palin or Spongebob, homosexuality or homicide, Al Green or Al-Qaeda, find out more about where that love comes from. Be curious about your children and what they hold dear. It will let them know you love them no matter what, and you may just learn something about yourself in the process.

Thanks to all my readers out there who are curious, and who do care about what moves me. You mean a lot to me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thank you friends

I have a couple directions I want to go in this post. First things first....

Thank you to so many of you: the one who told me the Jefferson blog post resonated with him ("here I lie, food for worms" TJ), the one who has an adult child with bipolar and told me my writing moves and helps her and that because of my blog she asks new questions during her Sunday School class, the one who told me about the Chopra book she's reading right now, the one who shared with me her thoughts on the everlasting soul and guardian angels, the one who asked questions about my prophecies and just listened when I needed her, the one who tells me he will protect me as long as he lives.....

Thank you for your kindness and love,
your interest and attention,
the insights you offer,
the perspectives you share,
the links you send me,
the caring interactions,
the thoughtful conversations,
Above all, your belief in me.

You all inspire and uplift me. You make me know my writing is worthy and serves a purpose. You're helping me do what I am supposed to do on this earth. Keep reaching out to me, keep talking to me, keep reading.

The next thing I want to talk about is what to do with the people in your life that make you feel miserable. There are people out there in our paths that are filled with self-loathing and anger and fear. They do not multiply the love in our own hearts, they attempt to strangle and suffocate it. They cower in the face of our own strength and confidence. It's as if light and love blind and frighten them. They do not want to believe people can be happy and peaceful and content with self-love. This is because they themselves are bereft of that self-love... And that's because long ago, at some very early age, their own love was rebuffed. Their own love went unrequited. They gave love to someone special and found only an empty heart. They spoke love and only heard echoes in return. Like the Grinch, this rebuff shrunk their heart by three times and they went into defense mode and now they judge and question love when they see it themselves. They lash out when that's the last thing they want to do. It's a reflex, an age old response. It's a vicious cycle.

Here's how you stop it. Decide that you will not be a victim or target of the slings they throw....that their hard edges will not make you brittle. Lavish love and praise and confidence on yourself and tell yourself daily "I am good, I am loving, my own heart knows truth." Line your own nest with kindness and nurture your own good instincts. Because those instincts are dead on and will not be obscured by others' pain or fear. When I can pity them for their own crushed hearts it's easier to parry their jabs and not rise to the fight. I can let it go and eventually, in time and on my own time, turn love back on them without fear of rejection.

Your purpose also is to protect the young from small and starving hearts. Praise your kids and answer their own calls for love... this will strengthen them in the face of unrequited love.

Know that you cannot save or cure those in your life that make you feel miserable. That is not your job and it will be an unending and unrewarding quest. Just cherish yourself. That's all you can do today.

Finally, you know I don't pray. But if any of you out there do pray, can I ask you a favor? Can you pray that I can get some sleep. This waking up to pee because I am pregnant and not being able to go back to sleep can be hell on a girl.

Have a great Monday and a very happy May! Love

God, to have these guys in a room together again....