It’s no secret here – I didn’t have an idyllic childhood. It wasn’t horrid. But it was far from perfect. And it has skewed my view on what’s normal. I remember in my early twenties one of my sisters was bitching (for lack of a better word because that’s all she was doing) about my parents and blaming them for how she turned out and all the bad “luck” in her life. I told her to grow up. She was a twenty year old adult. It’s not like our parents sat in their cozy bed one night, maniacally rubbed their hands together and said, “Let’s procreate and really screw up some kids!” They did the best they could with their limited skills. If you don’t like something about your life then change it. But quit the blame game. Needless to say, that particular sister and I didn’t speak for a while and to this day we’re not close.
Fast forward twenty years and despite that sage advice I still struggle with my relationship (or lack of relationship) with my parents. This song speaks to me in ways I’m sure the songwriters never intended…..
“I’m just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze and love is a riddle
I don’t know where to go, can’t do it alone
I’ve tried and I don’t know why” – I believe in therapy. It has made me a stronger person, a better wife and a much better parent. It helps me put things in perspective and sort what is real from what is imagined. It helps me to solve the riddles and make it through the maze. I used to be ashamed, embarrassed that I needed this kind of help. Now, I proudly go for my tune-ups. Because that’s all I need right now. Thank goodness.
“I’m just a little girl lost in the moment
I’m so scared but I don’t show it” – My friends have called me Super Mom. One friend wished aloud that she had my “Barney voice.” (Although for the life of me, I’m not sure that was a compliment even though she insists it was!) But I am just struggling through like the rest of you. Only I’m one of those who had a horrible example to draw from. I’m petrified that someday I will be estranged from my children – these amazing souls whom I adore. I wait for the next shoe to drop, the next mis-step that will send them running to the Oprah show (thank God she’s retiring next year!) I’m panicked that my daughter and I will end up just like my mother and I, distant and reduced to shallow interaction.
“I can’t figure it out, it’s bringing me down
I know I’ve got to let it go and just enjoy the show” – My therapist once said to me, before an upcoming, much dreaded encounter with my parents, to sit back and pretend I’m watching a play. Be an audience member – not an actor on the stage. And just observe. No pressure to react or respond. Just observe. What amazing advice for me. The pressure it relieved.
“The sun is hot in the sky just like a giant spotlight
The people follow the signs and synchronize in time
It’s a joke nobody knows, they’ve got a ticket to the show” – And it’s all a show out there. Every uncomfortable situation, every dysfunctional family event – it’s just a show. For all of us. You can engage if you want to. Or you can sit back and observe. It’s your choice.
“I know I’ve got to let it go and just enjoy the show
Just enjoy the show, just enjoy the show” – This is the work I do. My role with interactions with my parents is to observe. Don’t get sucked into their crap. Don’t engage if it’s not productive, honest or real. Sit back and enjoy the show.
“I want my money back, I want my money back
I want my money back, just enjoy the show
I want my money back, I want my money back
I want my money back, just enjoy the show” – And this is my private little joke. This part of the song? It’s my ring tone for them. When they call my cell (once – since I made it their ringtone last winter) this part of the song is what I hear. There have been times when I’ve wished for a do-over for my childhood. But I always come back to this – if I hadn’t gone through what I did I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. And I like who I am. Warts and all.
16 responses to “Tunes for Tuesday – The Show”
Someone once told me, “Do not allow the dysfunctional people in your life make you into a dysfunctional person.” It sounds like you have taken ownership of that advice in your own life. As for me, I’m still working on it, but I am glad to have your example and your reminders. Thank you.
Keep working on it – the rewards are worth it. And if you ever need an ear to listen, I’m here!
I’m not sure why families end up hurting the ones they are suppose to love the most. I fear this may be happening in our house as well right now. Most of the time these are “toothpaste moments.” One hard squeeze and you can never put the toothpaste back in the tube, no matter how hard you try. Life seems to be full of toothpaste moments lately.
Interesting analogy. But so sorry you’re having your own toothpaste moments. *hugs*
Thank goodness you have the sense to believe in therapy.
I think therapy is wonderful because if you grow up “with and around the crazy”, a lot of times that feels like home to you, and if you break away from it, it’s such a big thing–and yet it’s so easy to “catch the crazy” during those brief times you go back home or see those people from your past.
My therapist is invaluable because he reassures me that THEY are the crazy ones, not me.
We need to get a drink together and toast the crazies away! Good for you for not getting caught up with it all!
The Kitchen Witch, in her infinite wisdom, sent me to you and HOW THANKFUL I AM. I depend on therapy to keep me in the flow of the uncrazy and can get a little soap boxy about it when people I love are facing difficult issues. I suppose asking for help officially in any way is a good step – but walking through that door and saying to a professional ‘I need help’ is a brave and empowering act. Especially when you are juggling raising kids, fighting the good fight in this world, trying to make a living, and being creative through it all.
Thanks for the song too – I love it and I’ve never heard of her.
Kitch Witch – they ARE the crazy ones. Add me to your list of people that can reassure you on that subject!
Jane, you never cease to amaze me with your strength and wisdom. My parents, especially my mom, could/can be so dysfunctional. I think she may be bipolar, but certainly she had/has great periods of dark depression which cast a long shadow over our lives as kids. My sister and I, who are not close and hadn’t spoken in a couple years (no reason, but she doesn’t make long distance phone calls and I just sort of stopped), had a 2 hour conversation the other night about our parents. We weren’t blaming, but it felt good to talk to someone who knew just what I meant. We laughed about it a lot. I too, worry about how I am with my kids. I often have to fight the urge to go with the “dark side.” I’m usually successful, but they don’t know how far I’ve come from my own childhood. I hope they do even better. It sounds like you are an awesome mother. Just being your “bloggy bud” has inspired me!
I am glad you don’t let experiences dictate your life, rather you build your life off of them, it seems like. That is a good quality to have, I think.
It’s difficult to do – sit back and observe – choose to engage or not engage. Sometimes the emotions have a mind of their own, or seem to.
Let’s hear it for wonderful therapists. Hmm. I’m trying to think if I know anyone who hasn’t been in therapy… Don’t think so. We can all use a good guide to help us learn. Another kind of teacher, if you ask me.
Observation is a powerful, powerful tool. I love how you tread through this difficult post and end with optimism. That you conclude that all of your experiences, however tricky and tough, have made you who you are today. This is why I come back here day after day – because you are a keen observer and compelling optimist.
I think parents who had difficult childhoods are often great at raising kids; they know how important their actions are to the little people they are molding.
I just love your Tunes for Tuesday. I’ve never heard this song before, and I love it. *hugs* I’m so glad your dealing with everything so well. I’m learning more and more how crazy my own mom is and trying not to turn into her. Please Lord, let it not be genetic.
Fabulous post…I so feel every word. I could really write about some “crap”, but I try to focus more on the humorous aspects. I decided years ago not to live as a victim. I know that everything made me who I am today. Therefore, I accept and embrace my childhood.
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