thoughts in shoes
monday, march 13, 2006

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"Bridge of Wings -
Where He Waits"

Pui-Mun Law

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© Davide Guglielmo

odd title, yes, and a lot to go into this that may not make sense, so bear with me here. i have said before that this journal, while it does get read, is my place to work things out for myself, and this is one of those times when i really need to process my thoughts, hopefully in a good way.

so, yes, home today. not so good for the pocketbook, usually, but probably a good thing for me today, for a couple of reasons. for one, i have a sonogram tomorrow that i'm not at all looking forward to, so a relaxing day beforehand is probably a good thing there. working has it's very good moments, but it can be stressful as all get out as well. it's also good because saxy and i had another fight last night, one that really made me question his ability to adjust to parenthood. yes, he's been a parent for, what, 8 years? 9 years now? but it just hasn't seemed to really sunk in everything that means. the unwind time was much needed for me. i "get over" fights quite quickly, and move on--refusing to remain in that angry place for long, but i still sometimes need space, especially when it seems a big deal, and this, this was definitely a big deal to me. and today i chose to do something i rarely do: i ordered a movie on our cable service.

this is an odd step for me. i'm a reading and music person. or a writing and music person. or a ps2 person. tv isn't my thing. movies are beautiful. they are entertainment. they rarely make me think, and even more rarely make me think and me in any deep way. i've had movies bring up issues i probably would never have considered without them (the constant gardener), but this definitely wasn't that kind of movie. the movie was in her shoes--a movie definitely up my entertainment ally, and equally certainly not my husband's. so today seemed as good a day as any to watch it.

in her shoes is about two sisters. their mother was mentally ill and killed herself. after her death, dad raised them alone and shut out mom's family. the older girl is the responsible one, the protector, and has become a lawyer. the younger (cameron diaz) is flighty, flaky, can't hold a job to save her life, has problems with alcohol and reading, and is a thief. there is a split between the two (don't want to give it all away), and, in the process of stealing money, youngest finds out that their grandmother is still alive. off she goes to grandma, and the film follows the two on their separate lives until they come back together and finally realize how much a part of each other they are. this would usually be one of those films he'd tease me about; one that makes me cry. only it didn't make me cry this time. it made me think. it gave me a perspective that gave me . . . hope.

one thing i've been worried about is becoming my mother. she's a paranoid-schizophrenic, which has a hereditary component. she was brilliantly artistic, and i think i got a good dose of my creativity from her. but i've always worried that the creativity also came with her problems. not that i'm brilliant, and i do sometimes think deficiencies in other areas of our lives is the price for brilliance, but . . . i can't shut the stories down in my head. i wouldn't call them voices, they don't speak to me in that way, but they are always there. i use them to fuel my writing, when i can.

this movie got me to thinking about how the whole mental illness thing works itself out in the children. i wouldn't call diaz's character mentally ill, but she was definitely out of step from the norm, and i could see that the older sister was protective partly out of fear: what if she's like mom? so, i wonder if maybe the mother's mental illness has worked itself out in this way in the younger girl.

what if my mother's mental illness has worked itself out in me, just not with the paranoia and schizophrenia? what if that's why i can have such huge swing in emotions (no, i'm not bipolar either--been tested; just adhd)? what if that's why it can be so hard for me to stick to a plan sometimes. how many times have i tried to get on the diet and exercise routine i know i need? how many times have i tried to establish a routine and failed? i know not everything could be the illness' way of working itself out in me, but it does make me wonder if maybe i don't need to worry so much about becoming a freak in the future. it sounds odd, but i've even been concerned about making myself like my mother just because i'm worried about it--the self-fulfilling prophecy, you know?

i've got this illness in my genetics. and i know my mother was starting to show some symptoms of it by my age--stupid shit with my stepfather. but in my genetics doesn't make it destiny and maybe i can finally let this one go. maybe the emotional swings, the flightiness, the creativity, the obsessions, and a dozen other little, bizarre pieces of my personality are it.

just the thought of it is enough to make me cry, god knows why. freedom? maybe. probably.

the other thing that the film got me to thinking about was change. the younger girl couldn't seem to change until she was with her grandmother. she gave up alcohol. one of the people she came in contact with encouraged her to read. she found something she was good at. she changed while keeping the heart of herself. what if all she needed was the right kind of input to make those changes?

what if all saxy needs is the right kind of input to understand the whole parenting thing that he's not "getting" right now?

i'm not saying that saxy would change spectacularly and suddenly be the perfect parent. but he says he's trying to change, and yet the same issues keep coming up, over and over and over ad nauseum. maybe he just needs to learn it in a different way to be able to take the steps so that this junk comes up less often?

i'm not even sure where to start looking for . . . whatever it is he needs. but thinking there's hope for him, that he can take those final steps he's having so much trouble with, is so much better than thinking that he'll never be able to be a good parent.

i guess maybe in her shoes was something of a tear-jerker after all.

and very, very thought provoking. this entry may end, but i have a feeling all this thinking is going to be going on for awhile.

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Since July 9, 2000

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