It snowed last night. Flakes are falling from the sky, blanketing the world in wintry whiteness. I love hot cocoa so I made myself some this morning. I made myself read more in my Facing Codependency book. Reading is more than recognizing words on the page. I'm afraid I didn't comprehend most of what I saw, I recognize that these concepts are not difficult, but trying to reconcile the past forty years of my life is a huge amount of emotional and mental work so I put the book down after I read past the moment where I was initially overwhelmed. I'm likening this to training for a race or competition where overtraining is just as poor of a strategy as under training. I read that codependent parents may discipline their children severely or not at all. I alternate between the two which is inconsistent and not fair to my children. People who are codependent have a wrong sense of self esteem and skewed perception. I'm not seeing the world as it is, I'm imagining slights that aren't there and resenting people like my mom and my ex as if that's somehow going to help me.
The thing about being a child is you get to grow up and move on from your parents. But since I married into a dysfunctional relationship I didn't have a chance to learn how to have healthier interactions with other adults. Another factor is the continuity of the abuse. I'm still dealing with an irresponsible passively aggressive former partner that I have to talk to about the girls and the house that he own, but I live at. I'm in control of my life, there will always be factors that are beyond our control. Remaining a dependent or in a victim state denies me the opportunity to go forward with my own life. I have to learn a lot of things that I should have been taught by my parents and others. This book is tremendously helpful, but it's a single tool in a box that I can carry with me as I go about my day. Since I don't have good boundaries and I have some addictions I need to start setting some limits for myself about computer time, chores around the house, and how to parent my children in a more nurturing manner.
The book is comforting because it explains why I don't know what I'm feeling. When you grow up in an environment where your needs and wants don't matter you lose the ability to see yourself as a person who has intrinsic worth and valuable. The book describes children as imperfect, valuable, and vulnerable. There are five categories in all, but these speak to me the most. Children and adults will make mistakes. How those mistakes are dealt with can advance or hinder a person. The other day I burned some sausages after I moved my pan from a low heat burner to one that had been used to boil water. After school I told the girls I had some bad news for them. I explained that I had scorched the sausages and asked if they could ever forgive me for this. They laughed and turned the moment into a dramatic declaration where they proclaimed that this was unacceptable and they wouldn't be able to get past the incident.
It was a silly example, I told them that I felt that I was entitled to a pan of burnt sausages considering the wonderful meals I had made in the past. I said something about my family not appreciating the food that I made. I wish I wouldn't have done that, but I have to allow myself to be imperfect as well. Anyone can burn food. I rarely do, it was a way to talk to the girls about mistakes and forgiveness when mom was the one who had screwed up instead of them. That night my oldest put some hot cereal in a mug that overflowed in the microwave. She wailed when she saw the mess, exclaiming that this always happened to her. Intellectually she understands that cereal boiling over is not a problem that only she experiences, but the 'to me' part of her declaration is indicative of her low self esteem. People with higher self esteem see events as happening to others and do not subscribe cosmic forces of the universe conspiring against them as the agent that ruined their cereal.
But when your self esteem is low, things seem like personal attacks against you. The book explains that codependent people are extremists. They are fully committed, or completely disinterested. The other day I got my haircut at a new place. The woman cutting my hair didn't listen or understand what I was trying to tell her I wanted done with my hair. My cut isn't bad in and of itself, but instead of the cute and fun style I was asking her to give me I ended up with a close clipped militant style. This is a simple miscommunication, but I'm the person who has to go home and live with what she did to my head. Looking back I can see that I was partially responsible for the way my hair ended up being cut. When I was telling her that I wanted it very short on the sides and longer on the top I think I even used the expression military flat top. What I meant by that was the overall shape, but she must have taken that to mean I wanted that exact cut and style even though I had told her the top should be piecey and fun.
I had a bad day the day I went in to get my hair cut. I had a new stylist. I didn't care for the woman who checked us in, there were many factors that played into me ending up with a style I had to pay a lot more than I had bargained for, but I contributed to this strange exploitation of myself by cancelling the hair cuts we had scheduled with our main person and backing out on my mom because I couldn't go over to her house that day. I'm scared when my mom cuts my hair, but for some reason I can't say that to her, there's probably a lot going on emotionally that I can't articulate. My mom makes me feel guilty and ashamed of who I am, I feel very vulnerable when I'm getting my hair cut by her. I have to sit there and hold still, in the back of my mind I'm recognizing the duality of scissors as both helpful and destructive depending on who wields them.
After my computer got wet I went to a martini bar to watch baseball. What I learned from that experience is that I use baseball as a tranquilizer. Because I became a fan while I was a member of Twitter and the baseball community there has been very supportive and encouraging I'm able to relax on a deep level. I become immersed in the game and can sit and watch it intently regardless of what is going on around me. The way I was treated was interesting. There's a bartender that I developed a crush on, I was furious with the bartender who kicked me out because she was closing early during the last game of the World Series and I haven't been back there since. I can't prove that she would have kept the game going if a man had been watching, but I have the feeling that she enjoyed giving me a sickeningly sweet smile when she explained that she was so sorry, but she had to skedaddle.
Baseball is a narcotic for me. I can watch anyone play. I have my favorite teams and those I dislike, on Twitter I follow people who are fans of teams I don't routinely watch. A guy at the bar said he hadn't ever met anyone who didn't follow any specific team, but loved the sport enough to keep tabs on teams throughout the league. Since I have friends who will sit and watch their team and then flip to other games the way I watch doesn't seem odd to me, but a lot of people here in town can't comprehend watching a game that doesn't feature their favorite team. Baseball makes me feel safe and loved. I have a sense of belonging when I'm watching, even when I'm watching by myself. I find the field to be soothing, there's a predictability about seeing the players in the same spots, watching the pitcher warm up with the catcher, it's like a lullaby with a few dramatic bench clearing moments.
The game has a musicality on TV and in real life. It can be hostile and corporate, but it can also be nostalgic and romantic. Whenever I think about having a partner or getting married again I picture someone that I can watch baseball with who will use the eroticism and sensuality to deepen our relationship. It isn't the hot guys although they're part of what I love, there's something about the totality of the experience. The clouds in the sky or the pink streaks of the sun setting behind the stadium. I feel as if I'm a small piece of a much greater whole, that there's an affinity between baseball lovers, a transcendence, a recognition that we are blessed, special, chosen, imperfect, but that doesn't matter. I feel as if it must be what heaven is like in the sense that everything seems right even when all is not.
I want to wrap my arms around it, hug it, kiss it, love it, comfort it when it mourns the passing of its own, rejoice when someone is called up for the first time and celebrate the milestones. I need to marvel at things that have never been done before, history in the making unfolding before me on my computer or in front of my own two eyes. I watch ideal baseball where winning and losing are not what drives the game, but a sense that nations need entertainment and this silly game with a ball and stick takes our minds off of our jobs, problems with parents, children, school, politics, what have you. The sex appeal isn't the players, for me it's the brains in the front office, the larger live chess game of converting a pile of prospects into an ace or closer for your team.
It's the smile you see on a Rookie of the Year's face. The smirks, the slaps on the ass, the signs, the old fashionedness of it all, the ridiculousness that we should take this spinning diving ball seriously. The concrete masses, the pain of an injury, the blood, seeing the sweat drip from a hairline, the sorrow that surfaces when a player is suspended, the physicality of fights, the stupidity of arguing a strike zone call regardless of the illegitimacy of the call. The despicable nature of the food, the swill of beer, you can't have the good without the bad. The layers of literal garbage as you exit, the piles of burning coals, the drunken fans who stumble toward their cars wearing gear they paid too much for at the store. I love it, I hate it, it's an addiction and a hobby, may I remember to treat it more like the latter and less like the former.