Lisa and I met when I was in the fourth grade, she in the third. Seems I was both resisting and hoping at the same time that she would become my friend. We were both shy, awkward girls, but where we truly bonded was the common thread of our abuse. She, at the hands of her mother, myself under my stepmother’s heavy hand. Not to mention any other kind of horror that can be inflicted upon a child – we could open up a t-shirt shop from all the been-there-done-that’s.
Flash forward thirty-two years later, and we still have common threads, but vastly different lives. I’ve always had a need for independence – maybe I’ve been financially reliant on others, but my spirit, my mind, has always stood on its own. I’ve been mistreated by many, but never for very long. In my few relationships, they may have been maddening at times, but never abusive. If there was ever any dysfunction in my relationships, platonic or romantic or familial, I’ve given as good as I’ve gotten.
I don’t like confrontation, but will speak my mind when the need arises. I’ve spoken said mind for and against those around me, and my honesty has landed me in hot water more times than not.
So, what I have never understood is how Lisa and I could come through all of the same kinds of terrible things, but be such different women. I won’t lie, I get so frustrated because I can’t seem to light a fire under her ass to stand up for herself – to me, to her mother, brother, her son. She seems to think that I beat on her emotionally as her wretched blood ties have, but when I ask for examples of my bad behavior, none can ever be provided with accuracy.
Lisa is like the animals in the rescue commercials - full of love for the right person, kind as can be, willing to play if you'll just throw the ball, but has those big eyes that whimper "Why do you want to hurt me?" Used to be she was also the most honest person I ever knew. Used to be...
But I digress.
I’ve been reading the memoir of author/actress/self-professed-loon Carrie Fisher. You may recognize her from her little part in the Star Wars saga. The book is entitled Wishful Drinking, something I’m quite familiar with. In it, there is nothing she doesn’t lay bare for a laugh or a self-inflicted jab. It’s been comforting to see her approach to many of the issues that we share, but one thing stood out to me in a shining epiphany. Something that, for the moment, is allowing me to feel a sense of “I’ve done all I can and it wasn’t good enough, but it’s okay anyway” and not feel the failure that has needled me these past few weeks.
Fisher was talking about herself and her brother, Todd, and drawing on the same parallels that I see between Lisa and I, and this is what she’s finally figured out: “It’s not what you’re given, it’s how you take it.”
Smack. There it is. It’s like someone finally threw a can of V-8 at my head.
This is what I’ve been trying to figure out all along, but for some reason it was like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree.
Is it just in the genes? My mom was a survivor, so was my grandmother, and with that comes a defense stronger than any army. Lisa’s mother and grandmother are a rotten pair, but she broke the cycle, if only by throwing herself on the cross to stop harm to anyone else. That’s her nature, as shouting out against injustice is mine.
Neither of us are wrong or right, it’s just how we took what we were given.
© Kymberlie Ingalls
Post a Comment
Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.