Sunday, 25 May 2008

Father's Day?

There are days, then there are DAYS.

Wednesday, 14 May was a DAY.

It started off innocuously enough: sunny, pleasant walk into work, morning coffee. I did sense something percolating beneath my (reasonably) serene surface, so I didn't expect it to be completely calm.

It started with my Facebook status: I had meant to type in something light, but my fingers took on a life of their own and typed in "Irim should smack herself for believing that someone who shares so many characteristics with her father could be redeemable." What was it about? There were two answers to that, and over the course of the day, I gave both.

Most of my friends steered clear. Clare, bless her, jumped right in and asked what was up - whether it was family stuff or something else. She got the answer that was uppermost in my mind: the sudden realisation that a male friend of mine is VERY like my father -
very controlled; tends to mask aggression behind teasing/humour; is given to sudden outbursts of anger, but will never admit that he's angry; has a sense of humour, but seems incapable of laughing at himself or admitting his foibles; is alternately emotionally present/emotionally distant.

What makes me really angry is that I've responded the way I did to my father growing up: walking on eggshells, steering conflict away from him (e.g., not telling him, "You idiot, of course s/he had the right to be furious with you; you were totally irresponsible!"), not showing him the consequences of his actions, letting him/his life dominate the conversation, and - the worst of it - checking to make sure everything is ok when he's being distant.

I really thought I'd learned.

From the above description, I'm sure a lot of you are wondering *why* I'm friends with him at all. There's a wonderful side to him as well - funny, protective, thoughtful, and a good, perceptive listener. That's the person I met, became really good friends with and went to when I had family issues. Over the last year or so, he just hasn't been there when the going got tough, and he's more likely to make a snide comment rather than listen.

If it were once, ok. Twice, if it were clear he'd been having a tough time. But this has become a habit, as has his lashing out when he's been drinking (considering it takes alcohol at least 24 hours to clear your system, I'm not sure he's been completely sober in years), and I just can't go there anymore.

I'll do anything to save a friendship, and it takes me a long time to decide I won't take it anymore. This pattern isn't healthy for either of us - and I'll take my full share of responsibility for how it has gone - I should have been true to myself rather than try to keep the peace. After a long exchange with Clare, where she listened and gave lots of support, I decided that I've really had enough. If my friend can find his way to being honest about how he feels and why, I can and will be there. Until then, no. I didn't leave my father's house over a decade ago to replay my relationship with him.

A little while later, another friend asked about my status.

She got the parental answer - that my uncle wouldn't listen to anything I had to say and was pushing too hard towards a reconciliation with my parents.

She asked a lot of thoughtful questions - we talked about my father, then she asked the showstopper - what about my mother?

The mother another friend assumed was dead because I never spoke of her.

My father may be manipulative, but he's overt. My mother invites confidences and betrays them, pulls the helpless tear shower on friends and relatives, who then tell me how much pain she's in - and once I'm within reach, she'll hand me over to my father and join in the nastiness.

I know she's cried to my uncle and aunt and told them how desperate she is to be in touch. Hard as this is to say, because of our history, I remain unmoved.

So her more subtle, covert betrayal has made reconciliation with her more difficult. In a weird way, my father has more integrity; he just is what he is. She is what makes her life easier at the time, and you never know where she really stands.

And yeah, I'm very aware that's what I was turning into with above-mentioned friend. *Shudder*

To top it all off, that evening, an older male friend had a real go via email over something I thought we'd sorted a month or so ago. And he managed to guessed it...just like my father.

A trinity of happenings with my father as the central theme - the universe's way of telling me to wake up and pay attention.

Yes, Wednesday, 14 May was an emotionally exhausting day. But it reminded me of how loved and blessed I am by my friends, how strong I am, and that things are moving forward.

Deo gratias.

Now it's time to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Reason #862...

...not to allow Ruth and me to sit together during mass.

Ok, maybe 863 and 864 as well.

I only went to mass last night because I had to read, which went smoothly enough until I discovered the 4 page sequence in small print after the second reading. I looked over at Fr Richard Nixon (not his real name, just the ex-president's doppleganger) like 'you're joking, right?' and he mouthed over, 'Just the Alleluia', which I found (after flipping another damn page) and read.

Ruth was laughing like a drain when I came down and, accurately imitating my expression
as Fr Nixon began the gospel reading, said, "I saw you say 'what the fuck'."

As he reached, "The Gospel according to...", I said, "Oh my god, did you hear me over the mike or did you lipread me (Ruth is a disability librarian)?"

She laughed even harder. "I lipread you."

Then, of course, there was the general naughtiness during the homily.

Finally, (and this was what I was thinking of as reason #862) there was the deacon's incredibly assured and graceful genuflection before the tabernacle whilst carrying the cruets in one hand and something else in the other. Yes, every deacon/priest genuflects when they do that, but he didn't even stop moving. As Ruth said, "THAT was really, really good. That is NOT easy."

I replied, still kneeling post-communion: "He is, isn't he? By the way, you ought to see him in trousers. He's got a really great a..."

Ruth, kneeling and hands folded: "Oh yeah, I can tell."

Ready or not, Hell, here we come...

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Theological truth

In the beginning, the light and the dark were one, God and Satan were a team, and there was a wholeness in creation that was deeper and stronger than perfection could ever be. Man's unwillingness to live with such natural paradox and tensions rent creation in twain, leaving in him a void, a drive to take sides and dismiss the wholeness inherent in the paradox and setting him on a quest for perfection which would never fulfil him.

But nature would continue to remind him of the wholeness in Her in the smallest, qutest and most amusing of ways:


But it was not yet time for man to remember, and this age would pass and come again before another beginning was to come. As has been said:

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose.... The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of time. But it was a beginning." (Robert Jordan)

And in this Third Age, may the beginning come to fruition; the planting come to harvest; and may creation, which has been rent asunder for time beyond remembering, re-weave itself into the wholeness that is the nature granted it by the Creator, blessed be the Name.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Tag, I'm it

I have finally arrived in the blogosphere - I've been tagged for a meme by Reiza. Hurrah!

Here are the rules:

a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.

e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

Check a and b, now let's move on to c.

1. I can ballroom dance. Just for fun, mind you, and not wonderfully well, but I love it. In the early 90s, a set of friendly acquaintances had a ballroom added onto their house instead of a garage, and they had an openhouse ballroom dance session on Sunday evenings. It was great fun, and I learned that there's nothing like the feeling of waltzing with a 6'3" man who really knows his stuff. It's like flying. Oh, and by the way, the box step is crap. Learn to Viennese - it's the only way forward.

2. I wonder if I could run an Abrahamic religion peace conference: I was born and raised a Muslim, converted to Catholicism, and spent four years teaching at a Modern Orthodox Jewish School in the States (and loved every minute of it). I find that my multiple viewpoints add a lot of depth to my spirituality, but make me feel like a real outsider in any one of the religions. Oddly enough, out of the three, my spirituality is probably most Jewish in nature.

3. I'm a Jungian girl. I love archetypes and use them shamelessly. Some of my favourite books are by Jungian psychologists: "Gods in Everyman" and "Goddesses in Everywoman" by Jean Shinoda Bolen and "Women who run with the wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes. I'm mostly Demeter with some mature Persephone, as well as some Artemis, I suspect.

4. I HATE 'The people you may know' feature on facebook. If someone isn't my friend on facebook, I don't WANT them as a friend. If I don't know a friend is around, we'll find each other eventually. I am SICK of seeing pictures of random strangers on my newsfeed page b/c some f***wit at facebook thought if you had one or three mutual friends, you should know about eachother.

5. I suffered toilet trauma as a child. When I was about 3, I was watching television with my parents in the master bedroom. I needed to use the loo, so I went into the master bedroom bathroom, as you do. My mother told to me to leave the door open. Good thing, too - just like a man, my father left the toilet seat up, so when I went to sit down, to my complete shock, I fell in - and stayed there, afraid I'd done something terribly wrong. It took over 3 minutes for someone to come and pull me out: my mother was collapsed on the bed in hysterics; my father was trying to be angry, but couldn't help laughing. I was not impressed.

6. I'm a closet sensualist. My clothes are sensible, my oldest jumper (sweater) is 20 years old. The clothes I *want* are very different, though - I'd love to own satin, cashmere, Lauren Bacallesque seriously sexy clothes, but I can never find a reason to buy them - the part of me that says 'clothes are just functional' always wins. These are my dream boots.

I'm tagging:

Midnight Sidhe (I'm not tagging her blog to respect her privacy)


Sensuous Wife

Blue Eowyn

Da Cute Turtle


Ok, off to let Reiza know I'm done! Hope you enjoyed those random tidbits.