A series of posts uncovering what is really beneath my anorexia and depression.
Reason 3: My parents’ marriage. And divorce. And remarriage. To each other.
MAKE A DECISION. These people couldn’t decide if they wanted to be together or not.
Marriage – Attempt 1 (1975-1986)
In 1975, they got married on October 11th. As far as I remember, they had a strained marriage. They were as different as possible:
Mama – emotional, hot tempered, depressed (like, really), fierce, determined, kept changing everything around her (probably to make herself feel better or fix things)
Daddy – passive, content, playful, calm, addicted to routine, extraordinarily impressive work ethic (he called in sick maybe once a year)
My view – Mama was pretty scary and Daddy was nice and fun.
It was a bit like this:
They divorced when I was nine years old, in 1987. We all continued to live in the same town. I went to the same school. I lived with Mama and saw Daddy every other weekend.
Mama – all of the things above; also, took care of me, made sure I was fed, clothed, taken to school, cheered me on at kickball games and any other activity (she even painted herself a shirt with a sunflower on it when my kickball team was called the Sunflowers), played with my hair, and scratched my back, hard core depression such that I took care of her, regularly rearranged the furniture and moved us to a new apartment about once a year (always in my same school district)
Daddy – all of the things above, but I only saw him every other weekend; seeing Daddy equaled PLAYTIME; we ordered pizza, watched TV, went bowling, and just had fun; (he paid all child support on time too), had a lot of seizures; we spent a lot of weekends for a while at Daddy’s parents house. I loved my paternal grandparents but they were very proper and I just seemed not quite able to meet their expectations
My view: Things were better. No fighting. I got both of my parents and they seemed to do better apart too.
Marriage – Attempt 2 (1992-1997)
They remarried EACH other on October 11, 1992, exactly seventeen years after their first wedding. I was a bridesmaid. And a freshman in high school. They bought a house in the same neighborhood we lived in before they divorced. Had the last five years even happened?
Mama – most of the things from the first marriage list, and a whole lot of illness; her only kidney began failing shortly after they remarried and she spent five years on various types of dialysis getting worse and worse as time went on; she got to the point she didn’t work and rarely left the house. And rarely spoke. She just sat in her recliner watching TV.
Daddy – most of the things from the first marriage list; either oblivious or didn’t want to face Mama’s sickness; he was fine as long as he had his routine
My view: These people are insane. They should not be married, but what do I know. I think Mama remarried him because we needed Daddy’s stability due to her illness, and she knew him. He was comfortable. No surprises with Daddy.
Homegirl (me) is learning some weird stuff about love and marriage and family.
- Is it okay to be with someone for comfort and security?
- What is marriage really like, versus what the movies want you to think?
- Is love emotional and fiercely fueled, or is it kindness to the point of passivity?
- Why do people love each other?
- How do people love themselves?
- Who is your family?
Ana has poisoned my mind with negative thoughts about the possibility of joy, the reality of marriage, the narrow limitations of “family”, settling, and overall what love really looks like.
Ana convinced me that:
- No boy/man would ever love me,
- I didn’t deserve a “good man”,
- Getting what you want doesn’t really happen,
- Sharing your real emotions in a healthy way is pretty much impossible,
- I can only control me,
- I want to fit in and be as normal as possible.
Ana did her job very well. At 40 years old, I still struggle immensely with all of these. However, JJ and LK have made me start to believe that I can be loved, I can have what I want, sharing real healthy emotion is possible with lots of hard work, I can still only control me (but me, not Ana!), and maybe being me is okay even when it doesn’t fit in or match the “normal”.