Today was church.
My feelings on the church (Church) are a conundrum. On the one hand, it is a comforting and often uplifting ritual. It drives me to the scriptures. It forces my contemplation. It keeps me grounded. On the other hand, I feel like the institutional church has become a laughable disaster in its own right. I look around me and know that the people are loving and trying to maintain themselves in an “upright lifestyle”, but I no longer feel the sense of belonging I have felt in the past at church meetings.
My father is a pastor.
It is a part of me that I consider integral to my identity.
Lately I have been talking with my Mother on the phone regularly about my current introversion versus the apparent extroversion of my youth.
I just finished Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother and I realized that the extroversion of my youth may well have simply been me playing out the role my parents needed me to fill. False self vs. True self. False self = a creation by the true self in order to protect itself from pain. Pain = your parents not accepting you for who you Truly Are.
In theory, no one is accepted by their parents fully – so no one is Who They Truly Are. I’m not sure what this means and I don’t have the energy now to explore it, so I’ll just go on with my day.
After church we went out to eat – something I love and my husband hates (because of the money spent). And then we went to rehearsal, where I learned that we (my husband and I who are currently acting in a play together) will be traveling to New York to work off-broadway in July. This will be my second NYC acting gig. The first was also Off Broadway. This time will be slightly bigger time as it will be for a festival with an international reputation of merit. I was shoot the moon happy about this at the first announcement, but as the rehearsal wore on I felt Depression creeping up on me.
The usual: non-acceptance by my mother. It’s almost laughable how things in life line up.
She will not understand. She will not be excited for me. She will wonder why I am still wasting my time since I have so little talent.
I will hang up the phone mortified, wronged, angry, and unable to do anything about any of it.
Maybe, like Bechdel, I should return to therapy.
After rehearsal it was back to the bus. Back to the grind. Back to trying to be the Perfect Mother and Perfect Wife while juggling the need to be Myself. I read books. I went for a run. I neglected everyone and tried not to feel guilty about it.
My son is currently at a “scary story” telling session with a friend he met this past Friday. I have not made an effort to meet the friend’s parents. I’m aware this makes me irresponsible and selfish. It is 10:30 at night and he is still with them.. I called him on his cell and he seems fine.
I sent Ed (not his real name) down to get him a few minutes ago.
As soon as he left and The Little was in bed I realized with horror that she might never have an experience like this.
The feminist in me is enraged about it.
How little girls can’t have the same freedom as little boys because we rightfully fear more for their lives.
She’s smart and savvy and I don’t trust anyone around her.
I know that’s rape culture oriented and I know I’m feeding into the machine, but it’s harder when it’s your own daughter.
I still have all this anger at my own parents about how they didn’t allow me the same freedoms as my brother.
I remember he had a party once and a bonfire in the back yard where all of them were drinking beer from coffee mugs. My parent pretended not to notice.
I was infuriated. I had never even been to a party with alcohol, let alone made one with it in my own church-centric conservative home (and all the boys underage to boot…), and yet I was mistrusted at every turn, stalked at every step, and suspected of everything.
I will never forget the conversation my mother had with me about how I was having sex with my then boyfriend when I wasn’t. She wouldn’t believe me. We’d been dating a little over a year. About a week later I made sure my parents would be out of the house, lit candles, and invited him over for a Penetration Party. I figured, why let her down?