For those following, thank you for the patience during our interrupted broadcast. I am on the mend, and life is feeling better.
I read somewhere that we feel like everyone else is an extra in the feature film that is our life. We don’t appreciate or sense that they probably feel the same way about us. Looking around the ubiquitous social media, I had the weird sensation that this is exactly the lens I use when thinking of past interactions – especially those from my childhood.
What is probably worse, is the realisation that I allowed these extras way too much power in my life. And somehow I am still allowing it. What people thought of me then, still colours my thoughts and decisions now – 30 years later and just how the fuck did it get to 30 years out of school??? When I interact with others, I am using that same lens and end up apologising for things I never should. If I receive a compliment, I am automatically looking for the caveat. I was never allowed to be good at anything unless it was because of being given an edge or some stupid teenage reasoning.
So, plainly put, I am still using all the teenage disdain that was pointed my way, to colour how I interact with people today. Those of my past and those of my present. I take on tasks and activities because I want to ensure that the extras in my life can see just how hard I am working. I want them to understand that I am not slacking, this is all on my own merit, and fuck it! I’m worth it!
All I am doing, of course, is just driving myself to burnout and anxiety. Those extras, add depth and colour and texture to my life movie, but they are not the star – I am. I really should stop making them the star. I am an extra in their life story, and I should contribute in a manner that helps them grow, and if I am not doing that, then I need to bow out gracefully. Interesting little side twist to the week that was.
The above being a thought process of itself, good news is that Mother is now safely ensconced in a “retirement village”. It took 5 odd years and plenty of cash, but she is there and her first week has gone exceptionally well. Mother is known to be a bit of a pain in the rear: she grew up spoiled (which she acknowledges), has never really been held accountable for her actions, has no money sense whatsoever and generally just expects me (the eldest) to take care of her.
Example: Mother was an addict while I was young. Prescription medication. She would always have an “episode” that required treatment, hospitalisation or some form of attention if the attention veered away from her for too long. So if I was writing exams, inevitably she would end up in hospital on morphine, because I wasn’t paying enough attention to her. There are many such examples, but I know you get the idea. It was what it was, and for the most part I restrict contact for my sanity.
Obviously the move to the retirement home meant more contact, and my sanity went with it. She would call crying (sobbing, hiccupping tears) because it was demeaning to ask someone for a lift to the shops to get what she needed. When asked where her car was, she had given it to the grandson to use, because he needs to get to work. Why his mother couldn’t help him, is a question no one has fully answered satisfactorily (I only got it would mean my sister had to get up earlier). Telling Mother that this is a consequence of her action only generated more tears and acrimony (because I don’t understand), and me curling in a ball in the shower.
The clincher for me though was last night’s call. She is settled and we were discussing a few things, and I was told that she had to cinch her belt and understand that she had what she had, and couldn’t just throw away food like before. Excuse me, WHAT?!? Here I am breaking my budget and raiding any savings, any money I have lying around, and she is throwing away food because she doesn’t feel like eating it?? Fuck me. I ended our call so very fast, since my temper was the closest it has been in a while to just erupting. R and I are down to basics, making things stretch as far as we can, and Mother, whose rent I pay, just tosses out perfectly good meals because she does not feel like eating the same thing.
This is an “extra” I need to move out of my life story and just have the odd cameo. And even that needs to be super short and carefully managed. She is my Mother and I have no bitterness, nor do I begrudge paying the rent, but fuck me, some respect is deserved. But she has no concept of money, and that is something I really should have remembered.
Besides the drama, we are back in lockdown 4.0. I am still working (stupid hours) and taking care of what needs to happen. Winter is here, so the heater is on, and I am stealing moments of peace wherever I can. Have a good weekend folks!
1 thought on ““Extras””
I really like your movie analogy, as I’m often forgetting where my billing might be in whatever movie I might be in at the moment. I also still let the thoughtless and cruel actions of others in my childhood color my movie sets today. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop that, but I like to believe that I’ve let at least some of that slip away. I hope we can both make progress toward a better place…