Saturday, July 10, 2010

letting go

In b/w moving from the Guardian to the other paper, I had about 6 weeks or so to myself. I thought that I would try to be a grown-up and let go of some shit. One of the biggest pieces of shit was my sister, whom I hadn't spoken to since I found out I was pregnant with my older son, about 6 years before. I called her up and went to see her.

We got back in touch and hung out for about a year or so. Things had changed b/w us, obviously. I was older, and not the baby sister who could be ordered about to do things. I also no longer revered her like she was my world. In my head, she was just my sister, flaws and all.

Then I got pregnant with Le Pie, whose father was a black man with dreads. One phone call from here where she used a derogatory word and I never spoke to her again. I was hardly heartbroken.

During my pregnancy with Christophene, I mourned the fact that my mother and sister were not around to help me. I was angry about that for years. With the Pie, not so much. Despite severe depression, I didn't really care about her or my mother's reaction to the baby.

But that didn't mean that I wasn't hurt by their reactions to me. I cut my sister out of my life, but not my mother. I've always had this irrational guilt where she was concerned, which abated somewhat when the Pie came in the picture, but I always held on to the fact that she was my mother and I should care about her.

But her love was conditional, and it made mine conditional as well. I don't blame myself for that. If you don't receive something from someone, how can you give it back? My whole life, I've believed in one thing: treat others how you want to be treated. When John tries to fuck with me, I used to do my best not to retaliate, but after 5 years, I give back. When my mother hangs up the phone in a tantrum. I stopped calling back, and even hung up once myself.

One morning, a few months ago, I woke up and everything to do with the two of them just fell away. There was no pain or hurt anymore. I genuinely didn't care. I used to be sad that Pie didn't have his grandmother, and she is a good grandma. But now he has John's Mum and she is terrific. I love my sisters-in-law to pieces. I consider them my family. John's Mum treats me better than my own mother, how can I not love her?

I write my mother a letter every couple of months, full of mostly nothing news: I'm studying, Pie and John are fine, it's hot here... etc etc. It's about all I can do now. I say I have 4 brothers and a sister, but so what? I don't know where one brother is, I don't care where my sister is, one brother and I exchange phone calls once a year at Christmas, one brother is in Canada and might be rearing sheep for all the news I get from him and my other brother, my favorite, has been the greatest thing in my life. No one has ever been more supportive of anything I do, not my mother, not my husband, not even myself. At my lowest, financially, emotionally, mentally, he has always been there with "how can we get this done" and never "you cannot do that". I have no guilt about calling him my favorite.

Letting go of shit I held on to since I was 16 made me feel so much different. I actually felt like a different person. My whole outlook changed. I feel so much more open now.

Making the decision to go to law school definitely helped. It was a decision I made on my own. Naturally, John had a say in the finances and the timing, but holding on to it and making it real was all me. I'm not doing it for anyone (at least right now) but myself. I only have to impress myself. I do not intend to fail.

The only other thing, at least the next very big thing, I need to let go off is the battering I took living with my older son's family. A lot of that dissipated over the last few months emailing my son and just talking to him, sometimes in a one-sided way. I want him to be proud of his Mum.

In light of all these things, I'm making some more tangible changes. I've had 5 years at home to get fat and lazy and I loved it. It hasn't been an easy 5 years but medication helped. Reading books and learning about the City helped. Friends visiting and going back to Trinidad this year has been a life-saver. And there will always be GusIda and IdaGus and a snowy day at the Central Park Zoo with a woman I love.

So I'm trying to be less of a sour puss. I've changed my diet and the results have already been remarkable. I sleep better because I eat a lighter dinner and I've completely cut out soda (again) and snack on fruit and yogurt. I've even learned to like nuts! Still not in food, but I ate a handful mid-afternoon during Law Preview and it really helped to get me through.

And I do need to start writing again, exorcise some of the lingering shit. I need to make this my outlet again. Law school is going to be tough, even though I am doing my best to alleviate some of the pressure from now. I need to find something to do for myself as well.