And so this weeks view from the chair took an interesting turn.. Humm..Yes indeed it sure did.
We went and saw “Glass Castle” movie, WOW it seemed I was invited to walk the staircase of memories down to my happy heart and then up to my mind where judgement resides.
The reviews say: In the face of a horrific childhood, the Walls kids are fiercely protective of each other, as expected. What’s not as expected is that they still love their parents, too. Frustratingly, it’s not clear if they became happy adults because of their upbringing or despite of it, but that almost seems beside the point. The messages here are that kids are more resilient than we think, that your parents aren’t as crazy as you think, and that love always, always, wins. In the movie, Rex on his death-bed says “You think the demons are outside and you spend your entire life fighting them. Then in the end of your life you find out they had always been inside you.” His daughter Jeannette finds some of his writings one day and one page he wrote “I can’t take drowning in this shit anymore.” WOW and perhaps insert another WOW because this had many moments for me and today I write about them in my view from my chair.. my movie chair.
Ya know how as we age we often reflect on our life, our highs, our lows, how we learned things, how we struggle to try to unlearn things. Today finds me filled with gratitude, wonder and pride for yes indeed I made it this far because of my upbringing and despite it. And perhaps you did as well, ya maybe forget or have buried it deep down inside you OR you may have experienced a loving home. Enjoy my story and grab some kleenex.
And so here goes:
When I look at the photos of my childhood it gently reminds me that you do not know where you are going if you do not know where you came from. That is why I designed two of them and in my past struggles I would look in wonder at these photos and study the face of the little girl on them and she was happy, yet I could not feel her happiness or joy. It has taken me years of therapy, of exploration, of internal work and rework and then more work and today when I look at these photos I feel her love, her excitement, her joy and her remembering how much fun her childhood was – MY childhood was.
For those folks back in the 70’s they did the best they could with families and their own dysfunction. We never knew we were poor, were we? We ran around in the neighbourhood playing with our sibs, our ‘crew and we had perhaps no cares in the world. I have an older brother, Mike, who back in the day we thought was retarded (yikes), today the term is asperger syndrome and he was awkward and yet we loved him and made sure he came with us all the time. Look at us in the photos we thought we had the world in our hands, and truth be told, we probably did and didn’t realize it.
As I sat and watched Rex and Rosemary I was reminded that my dad was a bit of a dreamer himself. What an eye-opening moment for me because now I understand the struggles Gertrude (my mother) must have had in her marriage. I vividly remember my dad going to auction sales on Monday nights, returning with junk or things we could use; with him wheeling and dealing cars, going to Georgina with his friend Ralph to get auto parts et all. Oh yes, today I can see that being married to a man like my dad was probably not an easy one. Add to that the notion that many folks loved my dad because he was kind and sincere and that always made Gertrude mad and he seemed to know how to play her like a fiddle, which would drive her crazy. I remember that often he was away for her April birthday and one year while sitting in her car in the driveway a man came up to her and said “I just bought this car from Abbie” .. insert a WTF is that all about. Ya see for me, I now see that my dad could do no wrong. He was in a business with two other men at a trailer part – 6 mini cottages at Aaron Lake and I actually hated it there and yet I clearly remember walking behind him as he went about things like ‘Sunday morning crapper runs (emptying the outdoor bathrooms); chatting to folks as they entered the park; hanging at the ‘store and selling red licorice and those penny candies. He always made my mother get used items or saying we can do with what we had, now that he is deceased, we insist that Gertrude purchase what she requires and spend ‘your damn money will ya.
As I have said there were plenty of Ahh-Haa memories for me yesterday and yet the most obvious ones that keep streaming in my happy heart and mind is that Gertrude did the best she could with what she had and while her anger often was too much for me, I understand that her life was not an easy one. WOW .. ya read it here .. admitting that you have carried anger in your pocket for so many years that today there is no longer any requirement to carry it. Ya know that saying ‘You are not meant to carry that load any longer because maybe it was never yours to carry!” O Happy Day
This movie was one of love for the moments because these kids didn’t have a gage – a tool to measure how their life was not like anyone elses. AND that my readers IS my point.. We cannot change how or where we came from and if we cut folks some slack we may invite more compassion into our own lives.
How often do we judge our parents and then insist that our children carry our judgement of their grandparents for ever. While I may not have liked some of the things Gertrude did to me (perhaps my story), I do know she is an AMAZING grandmother who worships the ground her five grandchildren walk on. These ‘kids are able to see the good, the bad and the ugly of a lady who for no other reason is now the head of our family. Believe me when I say those kids see her strengths, her struggles, however, all they celebrate is her undying love for them. As adults we may roll our eyes when she does something when we are out, this movie reminds me they are who they are and to embrace it because we cannot change her now at almost 80. I have a few friends who no longer see their mother for many reasons; today, I invite you to ponder if your children are missing out on getting to know your sibs, your mother, your family traits and perhaps an opportunity for them to see what traits they inherited. We laugh a lot and see some traits the kids mirror from their grandmother, like her humour and silliness. It is nice to see all of them together and the legacy that is created. What a shame if your children miss this same opportunity. Perhaps you are not required to control every aspect of your life.
Funny thing about movies, we go to run away from life and then life comes full circle while we are sitting there. Who knew an afternoon would allow me to heal a little bit more.
And for those of you who enjoyed a totally different upbringing, I invite you to go see this movie, it may offer you a glimpse into how the other side lives. It also is a gentle reminder that we have no idea the struggles and demons folks have and what their triggers are. Let’s invite compassion into our lives and pass some on to those we meet rather than giving them a piece of our mind – our anger – our judgement.
Side note: Someone spoke about their mother trading her and her sibs for a life of drugs et all back in the day. When she sees her today, after much therapy and healing she forgave her mother for not being able to give her what she needed, Trixie is cordial to her. Forgiveness in not always meant for the other person, Trixie wanted peace in her heart and ya see she wanted to thank her mother for birthing her so she could experience such an amazing life .. Another ahh – haa moment.. Forgive em and thank em. Beautiful. Trixie has risen and you would be surprised who she is today.
And what are some take-aways from my chair today:
- Just Breathe – You will be Okay
- While we often say the past needs to stay there, some times it bubbles to the surface, be okay with it
- There IS always medicine in the messages
- We cannot offer compassion to others if we carry fear, anger in it. Let it go
- Gentle reminder – it NEVER was ours to carry. Thank you Sweet Baby Jesus
- Embrace your parents – sibs, one day they will be gone and you may miss them
- Chuckle when your parents still show the ceiling when you FaceTime them
- Acknowledge as you look at photos how much fun you had (hopefully) and FEEL that happiness or perhaps learn to feel it.. Yikes emotions again!!
- If we cannot have a relationship with someone, say a gentle Thank You for them bringing you into this world to experience these Joys in each Moment
- Its okay if you wore Rose-Coloured Glasses in your youth – Disclaimer – I just realized I was mad at my dad because he never did get me that bedroom door with a mirror on it. Damn you dad and your friend Neil.. lol
And as always, Thank You for stopping by to read my Blog and view from my chair.
Now get out there and shine your Bright Beautiful Light to every single dang person you meet…