Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Emotional Healing at a quarter to 1.

My favorite books are a diverse group.
Everything from Calvin and Hobbes to Bukowski to Blue Like Jazz. 

After reading up on flowers poisonous to cats (Roo was trying to eat a daffodil), I was reminded of one of my favorite books: White Oleander. That led to looking the movie up on Netflix, and at 10 o'clock at night, I made the (probably unwise) decision. I'm feeling like I'm coming down with a cold and really should have been in bed by 8. Anyway, I watched it, and so many memories and feelings came flooding back. When I would think back to why this was one of my favorite books, I was often stumped, since I'd read it so long ago. Now I remember. I'm not sure I really wanted to, but I do. 

Everybody's got their broken past. Everybody's got their story. 
I think that growing up being the oldest with a single mother is hard for a lot of people. Seeing Astrid's relationship with her mother at times made my heart hurt because it felt so familiar. (Certainly it wasn't so extreme, but still. There were traces.) In the ways her mother acted around men, her unwillingness to grow up and be responsible, her selfishness when choosing her wants over her daughter's needs. It was painful. But also healing. Healing in the way that her mother redeems herself. In the way that she looks at her daughter throughout the movie. There is love there. And in the end, she sacrifices her own freedom so that Astrid can be free. Broken people hurt others. That's the bottom line. And, we're all broken. (That's what I'm throwing in there.) Her mother was a very broken woman, and I'm pretty sure I believe that she was doing the best she could given that. And I know I believe that about my own mother. My mom is an amazing woman, and a truly amazing mother. I know she has always done the best she could despite her own brokenness. And I know that a lot of the brokenness she experienced came from her parents. It's such a cycle, I guess because we live in a broken world. 

Life is so extreme. It is breathtakingly and unbelievably and truly beautiful. And wonderful and amazing and such a gift. But it is so so painful. It is unbearably painful even to the point of surrendering one's own life just to be free from it. That's so crazy to me. There is so much beauty, and so much pain in life. All in the same breath, even. 

So, because of this broken world, people are broken. All of us. We all are. And, I tend to lean toward the idea that we all do the best we can given our past and circumstances and genetics. Getting back to the movie though, I think it was healing for me to watch it. And probably for the best that I happened to watch it so late at night, because it's when I'm my most motivated- so I felt motivated enough to write about my reaction to the story. 

My mother has sacrificed so much in her life to become a mother to my younger sister and I, and now to my youngest sister. Here's some history. I'm the oldest and she got pregnant with me accidentally, while she was in New Orleans on vacation. She has quite an amazing story, actually. Anyway back home in New Jersey, she made up her mind to put me up for adoption but then changed her mind when she had me. Imagine? She changed her mind. 

At the end of the movie, Astrid asks her mother to let her go and not ask her to testify so Astrid can be free from all the pain her mother caused her. When her mother agrees, and lets her go, meaning that she must continue out the rest of her life in jail, that's just like when my mom changed her mind and decided to keep me. 

From my perspective, I'm so much luckier than Astrid, because my mom sacrificed her life- all her hopes and dreams and freedom- the instant I was born. Everything that has come after has been her trying her very best to love me through all her brokenness. 

((I truly don't expect anyone to read this, and am actually hoping that no one does! I initially started writing this on here with the intention of just saving it as a private post, just so I'd have these thoughts written out. But I feel like posting it publicly will be sort of healing for me. I'm acknowledging some specific pain in my past, and also acknowledging that the source of that pain was just loving me the best she could. I think posting it publicly is allowing me to say it out loud and acknowledge it. Besides, this is a secret blog for the most part. That does make it a bit easier. It's not like all 700 of my closest friends and family are going to read this with their morning cup of coffee! Blah. Tangent.. I'm starting to not make sense anymore. Time for bed. ))

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