Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Taman Vanscoy's You Forgot to Leave Me

Fellow Sagitarians might enjoy today's iGoogle horrorscope [sic]:

"Although you might be stressed from a variety of relationship situations, they are showing you a path back to your own issues. It could appear that someone is trying to push you around or maybe you are playing the role of the tough guy. Either way, go the extra mile to define your boundaries -- and then stick to them."

Do relationships ever lead anywhere except back to our own "issues"? I mean, once the heroin-aspect of a new best friend or lover has waned. Still, I've been thinking about this boundary-thing & how it gets messed up so easily. I told the Good Doctor Miller that I have no sense of self in relationships. If someone likes me, I'm likeable. If someone doesn't like me, I'm unlikeable. If one person likes me & another person doesn't like me, I'll side with unlikeable.

Lately these "issues" have made me positively hermitic. No one in my little world to like or dislike me. Which is where food can so easily come in -- it both likes & dislikes me.

I'm about to leave for five days with the Aged P's in lovely suburban Phoenix, 110 degrees & they essentially don't leave home these days. For 48 summers, my parents meant Flathead Lake, the 90-minute drive through farmlands with the Mission Mountains peeping beyond, then the big climb that crests with the Missions above St. Ignatius blue as blue & always There. Past Nine Pipe Resevoir, which the painting I've skeletonized reminds me of & the last shot to the moment the family still plays "I See the Lake!" Ask anyone in my family what is the quintessential moment that says Montana to them & it's that first sight of Flathead in the crotch of the dry hills above Polson.

No more, alas, but my mind & heart turn to Montana this time of year & just as quickly I have to turn them the other way. It's gone for me. No home to return to. The Lake would betray me by being an unreliable destination.

I've also been thinking about self-esteem & how that IS these "boundaries" everyone likes to bandy about on Oprah & Dr. Phil & wherever else we turn to watch people worse off but essentially a lot like us. It comes mostly from the everyday obligations -- I walk my dogs well: check. I eat correctly: check. I write -- especially that: check. I do the dishes & pay bills & take a shower: check. Try to do a good turn: check.

Basics. Good places to lean on in hard times. Next week I'll be unpacking dusty boxes from Montana & furtively throwing out photos & books & whatnot. I want very much to do this without going apeshit with food or frustration with my parents. Self-esteem from esteemable actions.

It's also occuring to me that I'm going to have to challenge myself & soon. I don't know how but I need to do a New Thing, a Hard Thing. Out of the comfort zone. Into the pixilated marshes of uncertainty & the quicksand-shore of the first steps of mastering lessons. What I'd MOST like to do is canoe the Yellowstone River around Pompey's Pillar. I want to push HARD against the prison bars that are not boundaries, push harder than the dating thing or the going to the movies thing.

Something that's mine alone.

Or maybe mine & Daisy's.


Maureen said...

Yes I believe your relationships ALWAYS reflect, like a mirror, your issues. But on the good side they also ALWAYS reflect your growth.

Maureen said...

I was too lazy to look for a contact and the one on your profile did not work. IF you are interested, I do teleclasses. I have a class on boundaries that I can do over the phone. If you are interested email me. Special rate for you: No charge. In exchange for the excellent reading material you've given me.

PS I rented the movie: The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Your jacket photo on your book: Passing for Thin reminded me of Janeane Garofalo. Now some of the things your wrote about make sense

Lori G. said...

I'd love to learn Latin; heck, I never could even understand Pig Latin (the joys of being an only child in an isolated area). You've reminded me that I need to step up and take myself out of my range. Since athletics is out at the moment, I need to figure out something else to do too.

Maybe while you're out with the parents, you can schedule an hour for yourself after doing things like going through photos, etc. like going to a pool, shopping, or something that takes you out of the house for a little bit. I find getting away, even to go to Kmart, is conductive to good mental health.

Unknown said...

I think that a new hard challenge is a boffo idea and one that takes you away from the distraction of boys who aren't really sure what they want. Their unsureness is Not About You, it's just to easy to post a profile on some stupid dating site without realizing, "Hey, if someone follows up on this, then there's some expectation that I will be along for the ride." Feh.

The aging p's thing can be so heartbreaking. My inlaws' 50th reminded me of how old they really are and how they are likely going to need more assistance from their Ungrateful Sons (and, more likely, from their Unfortunate Daughters-in-Law) to get along in the near future. My own parents are younger, but heavy smokers who already have some warning signs of more serious things to come.

I sometimes wish we could throw the brakes on the whole thing and just pick a place and stay there. But usually I'm the one wanting to charge forward into the hopefully bright future, until I have a reminder that you always lose something with everything you gain.

Helen said...

I'll be thinking of you next week and hoping that you get some time for enjoy, to think, to relax, to maybe just have a teeny vacation. I'm relatively close to AZ...if you can't take it anymore, it's just an 8 hour drive! ;-)