Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Birthday Dinners

It is a tradition in my family to go out to your pick of restaurant to celebrate your birthday. We go out as a family and work to get everyone there to attend. Its not many people; just My mom, dad, Busia, brother, husband and son. Sometimes its hard to schedule but we usually find a way to match schedules even if it means having the dinner a long time from the actual birthday. I'd like to think that birthdays should not be about what you get or where you go but instead a celebration of you, your family and your birth. The problem is neither of my parents are particularly good at celebrating us as people. I wish I could feel as if I was someone my parents were proud of......someone who they celebrated, enjoyed and loved. But I don't.
And since my mom is what you could call beyond frugal (don't get me wrong, its served us well as a family, especially in the leanest of times) going out to eat was always a big deal. It was the one thing that always without fail made me feel like I was special and loved.

So this year with my emotional state being a little frail(no regular job, a baby and a lot of self doubt ) I was really disappointed that my mom wanted us to come over to their house and order pizza for my and Shay's birthday. It would be "easier" she said. How is it that between my parents and my own negative self image I can find a way to make such a stupid thing mean that I'm not important to them, not enough? In any case, that's how I felt.

This is when my lovely husband comes in and once again sweeps me off my feet. He always seems to find a way to make me feel better. Like I am important. And the best part is that its always synchronicitously right when I really need it most. This time it meant that he held a surprise birthday party for me. And it did make me feel special and important. What would I do without him?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Birthing a Blogger

I feel as if this is the most appropriate title I can give this newborn blog's first post. For me, writing has always had a magical lure. It gives you the sense that you really can change the world. You create the new world and paint it with words. It is both scary and wonderful to begin doing something you feel so excited by.

Birthing this blog has begun much as birthing my baby began. Parts of me are completely ready to begin the adventure come what may. But parts of me, the inner fearful parts, refuse to follow. I was so worried and anxious about when the baby was going to surprise me. I've always been anxious about things involving bodily function. What if my water broke while I was in public? embarrassing, I thought! I was induced at the hospital a week and a half after the baby was originally due. I labored and labored for some 12 odd hours. Then I pushed for almost two hours. But still my body and my baby were not yet ready to exist separately. Instead they did a cesarean. Maybe the whole labor process was too overwhelming for me and my body. It's rather disappointing, though, when something that is so basic to human existence requires major surgery. It sort of made me start off motherhood feeling like a failure. I suppose this is life. In any case starting this blog has been much the same kind of experience for me. Starting and stopping, being afraid....deciding to just never publish any of these posts....(How vast is the endeavor of encompassing the whole of your being in a few words? Is that the point? Is completing this task even possible?) Now though I'm starting to realize that I've always learned the most about myself (triumphs and limits) with the whole of my self exposed. Not physically of course, but definitely emotionally. I suppose the same could be said of creating life. Baby's are the rawest nerve, the be all and end all of humanity really. Our most fragile and important resource.

So let me just start with the being I am in this moment. Where's my harmony? I am a happy mother, wife and friend. Of late, motherhood has brought out a reluctant daughterhood. There lies the origin of my recent dissonance. I remember a moment in my 5 year old life in which I explored my naked self in the mirror. I remember being utterly enthralled with my body. My smooth skin. My round belly. At that age I was beginning to understand what and who I was. Including what the difference between Self Esteem and Vanity was. And more importantly which was good and which was bad. It really is as simple as that when you're young. Good and bad, do and don't.... My mother walked in and told me I was vain. And I remember painfully the brand new feeling I had that day. I felt vividly ashamed. I felt as if there was something wrong with me at my essence. It's amazing how seemingly small parental mistakes like that can change the course your life. Shame and worthlessness are feelings I have become intimately familiar with since then. From the time my father promised to come to my kindergarten Halloween party and then forgot. To my parents coming to very few of my school activities. To struggling and failing (in front of several classes of my peers ) in second, third, fourth and fifth grades to conquer the multiplication tables. To being tauntingly called 'Olga the walrus' at recess by my (obviously not) best friend. Being made to feel that I was disgustingly dirty, poor, smelly, ugly and fat by "the cool kids" in my grade. Feeling ashamed at being different because I was the first girl to have "developed" and having no reference for what that meant. That horrid older Indian boy who used to walk me home from school and one day touched my crotch and breasts whilst telling me not to let anyone touch me there. And I'm sure many more times my mind is working desperately to block out.

Sometimes I feel like there has been so much disappointment in my life that I have learned to have no expectation for anything or anyone. If you hope or expect things your are inevitably disappointed so just take it as it comes. This attitude has been both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it means I can truly take things as they come and not get to upset if the world doesn't move like it should. It means I take people for who they are and do a decent job at finding reasons not to judge. But it also means that I feel like I can't ever celebrate he good things for fear they be taken away. (If the cosmos knows your hopes and dreams its easier to crash them). It also means that natural gratitude has been taken from me. How can you be thankful if you can't let anything feel good? Grateful for what?

So I guess that's why I'm here.
My purpose for blogging is thus: to discover and heal all those emotional wounds that have festered unattended for so long. To find that beautiful, kind, curious, intelligent, wise, joyful and nurturing girl that's buried under piles of hurt. To figure out who she really is. To heal her up so she can have the life she wants and so she can be the mother and wife her son and hubby deserve. To make gratitude a foundation in MY family's life. So life, thanks for the so-far, this beautiful today, and as many tomorrows as you'll grace me with.

Extricating a waif

Feeling like a traitor to the self and body that I have and am. When I lost weight I always felt like a fake....Like I could never be skinny. My self dictated that I was defined by that extra weight. Losing it meant I was a traitor to myself somehow. The most horrible contraindication is that I hate that overweight self. I literally hate her. I resent the opportunities she's taken away from me for so many years. Years I could have been happier and had better self esteem. Years I could have gotten more relationship experience that I could have brought to my marriage. Years of shame and fear and constant escape from myself. I have always known what it is that I want to be, who....but I've never been able to figure out how to extricate that person from the fat girl without killing her.