My mom is “something” at me about this blog. I say mad. She says “not mad”. She won’t say what. But she’s something. She said I was blaming her for my difficult childhood. In case you think so too, let me be clear: I do not blame my mother for my difficult childhood. Everybody gets the life they get. Yes, I had a lot of pain growing up. But in case you hadn’t noticed, I turned out fucking great!
I also feel I should note that my mom is not insinuating anything about my personality that is particularly far-fetched based on her experience of me. There was a very long period in my life when I did blame her for most things, and everybody else for everything else. I had no concept of responsibility. I was a victim of life. Life hated me. And it was everybody’s fault but my own. I can see how she might come to the conclusion that I wanted to get righteous and lay blame. She has known me my whole life, after all. But she is mistaken about the point of this blog. I’m different than I was growing up. Inside and out. Not that I’m cured of my defects. But I don’t lead with them anymore. And I certainly don’t want to use this blog to foster them. I want to scrutinize them. I want what I write here to be an exploration of honor, not a manipulation of people and feelings. I want to expand my integrity, not make excuses.
The thing about blame is that it takes away responsibility. If I blame my mother for my life, I give up my power and freedom. Thankfully, I have already learned that this is a fallacy. That no other person can be responsible for my life. Even if I want them to. Even if they want to. Even if I don’t “take” responsibility for my own life, I can never escape its consequences. I guess that’s kind of what makes a life a life. It belongs to one person who is responsible for the whole thing.
I have a lot of emotions. I feel things very deeply. I didn’t know how to cope with that as a child. (I’m still figuring out how to cope with it now!) I can remember being about 4-years-old, in bed under the covers, having some overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t manage. I don’t even remember what it was, or what brought it up. I just remember that I said to God, “This has to get easier, or I’m not going to be able to do it.” I meant life. I meant feeling.
Who’s to blame for overwhelming feelings? Maybe it’s chemical. Maybe it’s my personality. I don’t know why I got this intensely sensitive heart. But I did. It makes me an excellent friend and a fabulous babysitter. It made me eat myself to 300 pounds. How I dealt with it, good and bad, was up to me. And no, I did not do a very good job of dealing with it for most of my life. But it’s my sensitive heart. They were my ill-judged coping mechanisms. And I paid the consequences for them with my life. Which, frankly, is exactly as it should be. Because then I got to change.
For years, I believed that I was fat and crazy, and that fat and crazy were me. But through some miracle, my understanding shifted. Yes, I was fat and crazy. But no, fat and crazy were not me. That was not my inescapable fate. My past did not have to be my future. I was going to have to change myself in extreme ways. But it was possible. And more importantly, it was up to me. Only me.
Now I want peace in my heart. Who’s to blame if I don’t have peace? Shall I blame my parents? Or my boss? Or my government? Shall I be angry and righteous? My heart will still be sensitive. And I will still have eating disorders. And life will still be life, with its million valid reasons to panic and cry and rage and hate and quit. And a million legitimate places to lay blame. But I’m pretty sure that all of the validity and legitimacy in the world will never make blame into peace. And I’d rather have peace.