If you are a Golden Girls fan, you might recall the moment Sophia answers the phone and relays something she remembered. She turned to the girls and said, "I had an epiphany in the can"!
I had an epiphany in the can, too!
Before the epiphany, let me set the backstory. I have always had a rocky relationship with my mother. She's demanding and unreasonable sometimes. We have fought. Not really unlike most mother/daughter relationships. So I thought!
Four years ago:
I went to see a dietician who was kind of this hippie chick. I really dug her. She used to say I need to reach for and understand my inner child. I sought help bc I am an emotional eater. She taught me many other things, but she stuck to the inner child bull. But I continued to eat.
I eat when I am sad.
I eat when I am nervous.
I eat when I am happy,
I eat when I am angry.
My hippie friend said that I had these unresolved childhood issues that I needed to resolve if I wanted to get control of myself. She said my 9 year old self is trying to tell me something.
I rolled my eyes. Whatever.
I lost weight but gained it back. Story of my life.
Fast forward 4 years:
I went back home to see my family at Christmas. Family is always so stressful (long story) but out of some sense of duty and tradition and demands from fam, my family and I go back home to visit my side and well as my husbands side of the family.
My mom says to me that she dug out some old journals of hers and she says they are so funny. She told me "My life was so boring. It's funny what I wrote - just a bunch of nothing." Then she gives me one to read. It was from 1982. I was eight years old, turning 9 that October.
I remembered that year as I read her mundane entries. That was the year my cousin came to live with us. He was drinking and out of control. My aunt and uncle had had enough. I liked him. But he got arrested twice for drinking and mom and dad eventually couldn't put up with getting him out of jail and all that kind of thing.
As I read the journal, with mom, kinda just laughing at the journal. Each day had a one day entry. It was the weather, picking corn, canning, taking/picking my brother and I up from school, us driving her crazy on snow days, that kind of thing. Nothing big. We got to September. My brothers birthday was coming up. There were days of planning his party, and what he was getting as presents. We were not even middle class, so that surprised me. We had zero money. As we continued, I got to October and my birthday. There was nothing.
My birthday page was completely blank. The pages before gave no indication of my birthday or plans. The pages after had no mention of me.
I was hurt. I pointed that out and mom didn't even blink. She was like, well I didn't write anything else in October. I reckon I was busy with you kids. Now mind you, there wasn't anything very busy or hectic about her life in any of these entries. About November she entered a few things and in December she made some entries.
So I let that go. Thinking well, she gave up on the journal. BUT my mind kept spinning. I was so confused about this. I mean, our lives didn't change so I thought maybe hers did I was unaware, being very young and not an expert on life.
I told my hubs about it and he was like, "I'm not surprised. She's always been like that with you. It's always been about your brother." And that is still true to this day. I have family members who used to talk about that, so that's not just me saying "oh poor me".
I've been operating with this journal entry in my head ever since.
I went to a friends house and we always discuss our problems pretty deeply. And I told him about this journal. And as I was explaining this he was asking me how I felt, etc. He's always been my psychiatrist sort of speak. He's my hairdresser but he would have made a great therapist.
Anyway, I felt so invisible. That was the word that came up when he asked me how I felt. Invisible. All thru this journal, the entries about me were about a task - taking me somewhere. Taking me to the doctor or to my grandmothers (I went to her house every chance I got). There was never a word said that reflected joy or pride or anything. Just a chore. I was a chore, a task, a burden.
Well, I thought. There's that inner 9 year old. She's invisible.
But, as I pondered that another thought also came to my attention.
The afore said "epiphany in the can":
She used to hit me. She would get so angry with me. She once beat me into a corner with a hard hair brush. (These brushes weighted a ton, old timey kind of things my grandmother gave us. They don't sell them anymore. They were made out of heavy milk glass I think.)
I had forgotten about that. Every time I sassed her or questioned her, she would give me a smack. And yell. God she yelled a lot. Most of the time with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of her mouth. Classy.
I wondered why those incidents weren't in the journal. Maybe that hadn't happened until I was a bit older. But no other journals were offered up. Just the 1982 journal with my missing birthday. She claims she didn't know that was blank when she gave it to me and didn't know why it was blank. She got mad when I said something about it.
Now, I kinda can explain a little about my emotional eating. I was abused. Verbally, emotionally, and physically. And she still tries the verbal and emotional. I blogged previously about standing up to her. I had no idea that this epiphany was coming.
I always thought I had a good childhood and couldn't understand why I had the same emotional eating and other symptoms of abuse. I get it.
I can take this epiphany with me to the therapist (a real one, when I get a referral from my doctor). I do wonder where all this will take me going forward. What will I do with this information?
So far, I am eating my feelings. Shocker! Clutchin' my pearls!
I hope to get my feelings sorted out so I can heal this wound and think about myself as not invisible. Not a task or a chore. But a person who deserves (d) love and attention.