I had another birthday – that tends to happen each and every year if you’re still about 😉 – and we once again went to my favourite garden centre which is a family run farm with shops and a cafe that is still closed due to the covid.
John and I – masked and ready – face the sharp cold Norfolk winds. However, like last year on this same day there is glorious sunshine. Holding onto the handle of a trolley already filling with goods, I gratefully angle my face upwards towards the golden warm rays. A little warmer and the day would be perfect. There are far fewer people about compared to last year. I think about what those people might be doing instead.
This cooping-up is indeed unnatural and harmful, both to mental and physical health. (Cooped-up: The abysmal conditions those poor chickens in mainstream farming face comes to mind. I could elaborate on that, and I did begin to, and I read it back and it sounds oh so depressing, but it’s reality – undistorted and happening now. How we generally, collectively turn a blind eye to the various suffering around us. The mass denial. This gets to my core and I have to turn it off to go on).
I cannot recall the last time I left the house for myself – there’s been a couple of trips to the hospital for my mum’s appointments. (The two able-bodied adult-children living next door and a couple of miles away cannot seem to get their own house in order, never mind see to the needs of their elderly mother).
Only now – a couple of days before writing this – am I getting a glimpse out of the shutdown of my protective mind. People have always had to cope with being vulnerable and anxious, this covid one isn’t the only kind of lockdown. This little bit of ‘natural gregariousness’ ebbs and flows, and it’s been a long time since it last happened.
I know that if I didn’t have this debilitating pain and lack of walking mobility it’d be a little easier facing the ongoing onslaught of my family. Though, I simply wouldn’t be living here again. I would be working and living elsewhere where I wouldn’t have to face the constant – unnecessary and soul-destructive – stress of their making. But then saying that, I couldn’t just leave my mid-80s mother solely in the care of my feckless, selfish siblings. I know she wouldn’t fare well and I do love and care for her. Like I still love my (RIP) father who no doubt, looking back had narcissistic traits, making him a difficult man to live with. I was the designated Scapegoat for all the problems of the family.
My dad once told me, in the vein of giving advice – the man was always right! – that nobody treats you better than your own family (of origin). Thank goodness this isn’t always true!
I do not like the person I am now. I cannot seem to maintain the warmth, the personal connections for and to my fellow humans and I worry too much; about myself, about the state of the earth, about others’ suffering. I read it’s typical of an adult-child of a borderline mother, to keep one’s distance from others – unless becoming borderline yourself to enmesh with someone. It is a coping strategy learnt in childhood in order to survive. Along with disconnecting from, ‘forgetting’ your painful memories. My independence before the accident was an essential part of my being, I never relied on anyone. When I lived abroad and had to fend for myself with another language and mentality to contend with, I survived beginning with low-paying jobs and eventually made friends and did work I genuinely enjoyed (teaching/translating/graphics). A few of those friendships were precious and am missed today.
There is an exhaustion, anyway, borne of long term illness. Plainly put: When one is unable to see to their most basic everyday needs, where is the energy for anyone or anything else?
By the way, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is treatable but those with it have to want to get better themselves. Those with it have it from childhood because of what they suffered. These people are deeply unhappy, having trouble regulating their emotions, finding it difficult to self-soothe. It can be mild to severe.
They appear vulnerable and childlike, needing your protection since those needs weren’t met in childhood. A main indicator of the condition is splitting, whereby one moment you are God’s gift from heaven and you can do no wrong to the next crazy moment you are treated as the hated enemy. Another indicator are the sudden rages – over nothing. They are very frightening to be on the receiving end of when a small child. Sometimes there are also the spiteful games, the coldness, the unfaithfulness or disloyalty, sometimes choosing one child over the others, dividing up the family. Self-harming, suicide attempts, various addictions, love affairs can be other indicators. At core they’re desperate not to be alone but at the same time push away their loved ones. It makes no sense.
Back to the flowers, beauty and lightheartedness… John had already treated me with some so called ‘rare’ bulbs – PICASSO Calla Lily – I left them on the radiator to keep them warm since that’s how you’re supposed to get them going. But out of sight and out of mind… just hope the dogs haven’t been playing with the new organic ‘balls’.
I’ve lost absurd items to my various dogs before: an entire packet of cigarettes (Sugar the chihuahua), a mouse pincushion (Oscar, that must have hurt you!), thread (Oscar, again in my sewing basket, winding the entire spool of thread around and around the room, encompassing furniture like a giant spider’s web), the brie cheese filling of my sandwich (yes, Oscar again), and a small resin Pegasus statue (Chester loves her toys). Those are just a few of the casualties.
What else did I get for my birthday? A beautiful pink-red Camilla (my 2nd) which I’ll pot up in a big pot with the new mini daffodils. A spiky gooseberry plant barren of berries. I bought this as my mum is fond of them. A small white-green Hellebore. And some packets of seeds.
I’ve recently discovered Bob Ross, who was around in my childhood – but I don’t remember him if indeed he was on UK tv back then. Such a gentle, talented person. I saw him recently on late night tv, something I rarely watch, while John was tidying the kitchen. The programme is called THE JOY OF PAINTING – what an apt title! – with each episode lasting under 30 minutes. I couldn’t believe he was actually painting a beautiful forested landscape with enormous brushes, the kind used for painting a house! He had such a friendly easy manner, encouraging others that they can paint too. I feel calmness in his televised-painting-presence. And wasn’t surprised when I discovered others are too soothed by him – in fact he seems to be more famous now than he ever was while alive. Especially since the covid people need to find ways of coping within their own four walls – while either isolated from others, or overwhelmed by new demands from family, or with added stresses of domestic abuse or debt due to job losses stemming from the enforced lockdown. Bob Ross says we can create our own worlds on canvas, and there are only ‘happy little accidents’. How sad that he lost his beloved wife to cancer and succumbed to it himself a couple of years later. Unsurprisingly, his legacy lives on, and will no doubt continue to, inspiring many future generations of painters with his joy of life and painting. John and I are currently watching THE JOY OF PAINTING on Amazon Video.
So, as birthday gifts I also have a Bob Ross calendar – I particularly like the log cabin paintings – and a book about him, with more paintings and his unique sayings.
We ate fish and chips for the birthday dinner – haddock was great but the chips were awful, refried and brown, not their usual quality. I didn’t get a birthday cake since the oven is broken and I’m allergic (my immune system is worsening due to the ongoing high inflammation) to the wheat in store-bought cakes. In any case after eating, I fell asleep at 7 as the pain is exhausting. But it was worth it going out. It was an enjoyable day.
Below are *free* flower e-cards for you. I believe in sharing free stuff. There’s a Mother’s Day card and Birthday cards etc. If you know some basic photo editing you can add the recipients name and a personal message. It’s either right-click and view image in another tab or a simple left-click to access the larger version. The cards still belong to me in the sense that another person cannot sell them on – they’re completely free to use!
Mother’s Day in Britain is Sunday 14th March and I found a web page link with the mother’s day dates of different countries, here – http://projectbritain.com/mothers/index.html
Enjoy my friends! 😀
.Take good care of You. xo
Copyright Faith McCord 2021
Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.