The Lessons in Failure = Hope

Last night I rested in bed – unable to sleep, but still very restful – allowing thoughts to wander through my mind. Our preschooler loves to “read” as most preschoolers do: reciting favourite stories and making up new adventures with the combination of illustrations and imagination. I began thinking about Her/She – the one who tried to be mother and failed.

Why did Her/She fail? I don’t want to fail my child, so this question is very important to me. Her/She started with the best of intentions. Each day I give my best, and at the end of my journey it is my goal to be able to say: “I got it right most of the time; I always did my best”. My best varies from day to day, and one day’s best is not necessarily equal to the next. Did Her/She give her best? I believe she did at the start, but then priorities changed.

Her/She got another child. One who was not a Rose-Coloured Son. The son argued, fought, struggled and caused stress. Her/She found herself defined by this. There is no challenge to a rose-coloured child, only obedience. Her/She wanted rose-coloured children, but it’s a personality she could not love. Her/She loved the abuser. Her/She loved the addict. Her/She could not love the Rose. Even once the damage set in, Her/She ignored the problems, because a rose-coloured child will always put forward a good face.

Eventually, the Son found the Girlfriend who was much like him and destined to be beloved by Her/She. The Girlfriend replaced the rose-coloured child because she too was all that was argumentative struggle. It’s interesting, because now that I’ve moved away from being the Rose-Coloured Daughter, Her/She wants be loved by me. But Her/She doesn’t need me, and I know that Her/She’s version of love is like a poison. The Girlfriend replaced the image of the “girl-child” and Her/She has not suffered from a smaller family. Even in removing my Self, my husband and my child from the situation, Her/She has not suffered from a smaller family. Son and The Girlfriend had a child – a girl version of the Son for Her/She to love. Soon, Her/She will only miss us when she wants, and most moments of most days, Her/She will completely forget that my husband, child and self exist.

Some may find this sad, but I find relief in it. Her/She’s problems should not be mine; I tried while I was there, and was rejected, it’s not my responsibility. But being able to see the picture more clearly helps me to realize how she failed – and in that, how I can avoid the same mistake. Some would think I’m angry writing these words, but the realizations of last night offered some peace. That is a past relationship that cannot (should not) be repaired, but it most certainly has lessons for me to learn and move forward with the knowledge they’ve taught.

My Life Today in 100 words

Describe your life today in a single paragraph of 100 words. No more than 100 and no less than 100. It must be exactly 100 words:

Two things happened this weekend: I finished a very challenging assignment, I watched “The Banger Sisters”. I’m working on an M.Ed. I’ve always wanted to complete graduate studies, but those nagging “you’re not good enough” voices held me back. When I became fed up with not being good enough,this program was one of the early steps in claiming my Self. So why “The Banger Sisters”? Lavinia, (Susan Sarandon) lost herself, becoming a Rose-Coloured Wife and Mother. She reconnects with her friend, Suzette, (Goldie Hawn) to reconnect with her Self. I’m Lavinia. I’m Suzette. I’m both. I’m neither. I am me.

I love October

I love October…

I love the crispness in the air. I love the colours: rusts, burgundy, gold, and evergreen. I love the look of frost on the lawn. I love to see the fog creeping across the fields. I love the view of the mountains in the clean air. I love Thanksgiving, Wedding Anniversary, my son’s Birthday, Halloween costumes and everything this month has given me.

In October, the kids are settled in their classes, but the stresses of exams and reporting has not yet arrived. In October, the campus is still clean and bright, not yet dulled by the wear of the year. In October, the sweaters come out; the steam rises up from mugs of hot chocolate, pumpkin lattés and apple cider.

Pumpkins ripen in the patch and children wander back and forth looking for the perfect one. The corn is ready for harvest, and the mazes are at their tallest ready for the last bit of fun. The cranberry bogs are prepped for flooding and turn into fields of red.

It’s a season that suggests the end of things, but it is the beginning of so many others. Abundance is all around. People cosy in during the colder months ahead, but still come out in October for the last of the weekend farmers’ markets.

The shelves are lined with pickles, canning, jams and chutney for the coming winter. The freezer begins to fill with baked goods and quick pre-prepped casseroles for those busier evenings.

October, it looks cold on the surface – as if all is curling up for the hibernation, but it’s really a time of newness if you know where to look.

Okay, Self, I know you’re around here somewhere.

The Purge… part 2

The chill of Autumn was more easily felt this morning, but with it comes the warmth of sweaters, cosy quilts, warm mugs of hot chocolate to wrap one’s hands around.

With a purge comes the cobwebs and the dust, but these soon clear and a new freshness reveals itself. Even as the leaves turn their dying shades of un-green, they are beautiful beacons of rust, burgundy and gold. Mother Nature re-decorating.

My purge continues…

There are two kinds of family, the kind you chose and the kind you don’t. Sometimes the family you don’t instead chooses you. Perhaps you didn’t want to be chosen. Perhaps even in making a chose to have you they didn’t choose you.

I was chosen, but I wasn’t the one they chose. Confused? Well, this is how you become a Rose-Coloured Daughter. You bend, you twist, you shrink, you develop a character which is not yourself. You’re the person you know they want you to be. It’s instinctive.

I was imperfect perfection. I was perfect imperfection. Everything I was, nothing I was; they were the same. Too often I went to bed at night wondering if the next day would be the day they realized I don’t belong there. That day never came. I was very good at playing my role. They still think that character – that shadow of a self, (not even a shadow of my Self) was me.

My gift to my Self and my gift to me is Me.
I’m still un-wrapping it, and I’m delighted in being permitted to receive the gift of Self.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

The Purge… part 1

I signed up for this blogging thing some time ago, and with full time studies teaming up with my Mommy-duties, well, I just haven’t done much of a thing. So now I’m back at work full-time, still have a similar course load, and Kidlet loves preschool aged daycare, do I have more time? Or am I just more organized because I have less time?

The purpose of this blog began with one major goal and a couple minor ones. My major: find my Self. My minor: write, reach-out, connect, share. It’s nearly October, and with 3 months leaving me in their dust, it’s time to write. But before we wander fully into the cosiness of Autumn, I want to take a couple days to purge the cobwebs.

Seemingly in no particular order; however, I happen to be starting near rather than far, are some of the grittier cobwebs from my past. We’ll wander through the vague, not because the memories are vague, [they’re actually quite fresh for having traveled so long in my person baggage] but because this blog is not about naming names and making me judge and jury to punish ‘the guilty’, it really is about finding my Self. And my Self is a bit messy, a hoard of sadness and bitterness, so let the purge begin.

The un-friend:

You hurt me. But I have a history of teaching people that I am a person to be mistreated. And I changed the rules one day. One day I became fed up with being talked down to, I began to stand up for myself. And, boy, were you all mad at me. How dare I change the rules? How dare I go against the status quo? How dare I expect… respect?

You wanted to do what we used to do: go to restaurants I didn’t enjoy, couldn’t afford… sit in the smoking section even though I have asthma and was watching my adoptive father dying from cancer. And make fun of my hobbies and my looks. I stopped wanting to do these things, and even with explanations why I didn’t want to do them, you still thought I was being selfish.

I got tired of your best friend expecting me to pay her way. I think when I put that foot down I really stepped in something. Wow. The fallout. But she was your best, and I didn’t expect you to stand up to her. But I did expect you to have the ability to be my friend too. You couldn’t. It was too much to ask. Instead you married that jerk who had the nastiest things to say to me. The one who inspired nights of me crying into my pillow.

It was time to grow up. It was time to move on. I changed the rules. It was too much to expect of you. I asked too much of you. I’m sorry.

It’s nice to see that you’ve a happy marriage, children you love, a satisfying life. It still hurts that you cannot accept the adult me. I guess it’s hard to move on from the teenage years when they were so easy. My expectations asked you to step from your comfortable path. You weren’t ready. You still aren’t. It’s okay. I forgive me for teaching you wrongly. I forgive you for being unable to learn differently.

Why “Rose Coloured Daughter”?

So many of us were raised for a time different than the world we find ourselves in today.  Our mothers were homemakers, obedient wives, masters in the illusion of perfection – and taught us to be the same.

I was the “good” daughter: unoffensive, quiet, submissive to the ideals of my parents’ generation.  And in my adult life, I arrived at the question that so many of us ask:

Who am I?