Musical Milliner

May 26, 2014

Disordinata

  images (Revised 9/18/17)

The destruction of a long-term  relationship, leading to her hitting rock bottom.  She is sometimes delusional.  In her addled mind, she sometimes believes she’s lost all of her friends, most of whom were mutual friends of the partnership, her in-laws, her community.

This delusion is the result of wrong thinking. When she has a clear mind, she sees all the people who really care about her, and have been there all along, some since childhood. Once again , they are in the foreground of her life, reminding her of her value as a human being, as a friend, as a mother. Yes, she has lost some friends in the war. Friends who were there for a season, and have moved on. It’s not a bad thing. It just is.

 Back to the delusion, she knows it is all her fault. Of course it is. That is what he says.  His mental illness, his failures, all bad occurrences and recurrences would never be, but for  her decision to recind the contract.  She has ruined his life. Forever. That’s what his family takes as gospel. It’s a family of enablers.

But it’s not all her fault. Get real.

His mother prayed for the demise of his son’s marriage to this unsubmissive woman, this vegetarian, teetotling feminist who breastfed her children forever, and didn’t change her name at marriage. A woman who took off to one of the top summer opera  Young Artists Program for 12 weeks months after her wedding, and the following two summers, and weeks periodically for the rest of the year.

In other words, she was a bad wife according to the mother-in-law, and she fed that narrative to her son, the husband.

Among tha many gems uttered by his mother was the following: “There is nothing wrong with my children, it’s just the people they married.”

Do you get that?

Aren’t we, as women expected to  keep our marriages together? If they fail, is it not, by default, we who are to blame?

Do you get that?

 The meek little wifey model disappeared decades ago. It’s still practiced in fundementalist cultures all over the world, including the United States. Society has evolved and expanded, and some people aren’t able to stretch their imaginations and adapt. They refuse. The in-laws close ranks and believe whatever it that their son or brother, her husband, tells them. And it’s always the kids who suffer from the disconnection. You shun the mother, and wonder why the children will do anything to avoid spending time with those people. The children are loyal to their mother. They observed firsthand the abuse over the years, and how their father’s family did nothing to help.

The same woman once said, “I like my children. I just don’t like other people’s children.”

Does she get that ? Skilled dispensor of passive-agression, her mother-in-law?

Does she wonder why her grandchildren are not in touch? Does she understand they why don’t come around? Of course, that is their mother’s fault. Never mind the children are adults. That is their family culture. Submit, conform, or you can’t play with us.

What am I talking about? I am trying to reconcile how I went from someone with a good education, a prodigious talent, a career, self-respect. A singer with big competition wins A confident woman who collapsed into a beaten down, humiliated, & depressed woman in a violent marriage. How did that happen?  I need to check in, look into this hatbox which I shoved up on a high shelf, and check my compass.  I hate thinking about all of this. But I’m stuck again. What’s working? What’s static?

I am ready to write about these things now. My children are all adults. This is also their history.

(c)GoshGusMusic2014,2017

December 24, 2012

La Sono Viva!

Filed under: music — by Musical Milliner @ 7:55 pm
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imgresTo any women out there who are stuck in a bad situation, you can get out. It will be anguishing.
You will make it. And you will learn who your true friends are, because not only are the marital assets divided, but often long term friendships are as well. Be prepared for his extended family to completely shut you and your children off. Be prepared, in case you weren’t already aware, that his family never really liked you anyway.

Almost four years ago I got to a place of such intense discouragement and pain that I jumped ship. This was the beginning of the end, which has still not ended. There has been a mandated truce, but no resolution. I am no longer living in fear, although I am wary that he will go postal. By all accounts, his behavior continues to be strange and negative, and he says random and odd things which get back to me. He complains to anyone and everyone, often to people he only knows casually. The overall theme is I have made him this way; I have ruined his life.

I am no longer the person I was. I am no longer anxious and self-loathing, nor all the bad things he said I was.

In the beginning of the big change, I was like someone touched by both Stockholm Syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. I knew with certainty I could no longer bear the life I was leading. All the pretension and all the social masks had worn me down. I couldn’t fake it anymore.

At a point some years earlier, I observed how the situation was affecting the kids. They are perceptive and intuitive, and once they realized I had been lying to them, I had to come clean.

Each went through his own process of dealing, and that will continue to cycle back over time. I am pretty sure both were relieved, and at different times informed me that they were glad that home had become a quiet refuge. I’ve also been on the business end of their anger over the fact that the financial situation has negatively impacted them. They know I love them beyond reason,

The good news is I am more myself than I’ve been in 25 years. I don’t have someone telling me on a regular basis how I don’t measure up, and how useless I am, and what a sponge I am. I know better now.

I am thriving. I am at peace, and I am alive!

July 10, 2011

Tirannia

Filed under: music — by Musical Milliner @ 7:23 pm
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“…so he had power over me. That’s all tyranny is: it’s not in a personality; it’s in a set of circumstances. It’s being trapped with your enemy in a limited space- a country or a family- where the balance of power between you is unequal and the weaker one has no recourse
-Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker, 6/6/11.

April 2, 2010

Pace e tenebrae

Filed under: Faith,Kids and Family,meditation,Triduum,Uncategorized — by Musical Milliner @ 1:59 am
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The meal and the Meal was consumed, the feet lovingly washed, the altar stripped, the dishes and wine glasses cleaned and put away as we began a journey thru the Paschal Triduum. It is dark and quiet now, and we rest.
We rest and wait and search deeper into our consciousness, seeking the stillness we often misplace.

A kind and loving man sat on his knees & washed my feet, dried them gently, and looked up at me and said, “Thank you.”

(c)GoshGusMusic (ascap) 2010

August 16, 2009

Intonation

Filed under: Faith — by Musical Milliner @ 12:00 pm
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I follow behind the priest as she presses small bits of bread into palms of upturned hands.

“The body of Christ. The bread of heaven.”

I raise the heavy silver chalice to the lips of the people, and they drink.

“The blood of Christ. The cup of salvation.”

She and I reach the end of the rail, and glide slowly back to the beginning to repeat this holy dance, person by person. We intone these ancient words nearly one hundred times, adding an “Amen” after each of the elements is consumed.

I look at hands and faces. I can see who is at peace, and who is troubled. For each one I seek eye contact. Many are uncomfortable with this intimacy, and gaze down down at the old wood, or turn inward with their thoughts. Most follow our hands in anticipation as we come toward them where they kneel.

And then there are the ones who look into my eyes deeply as I say the words and offer the cup. A few smile back. These are the people who nourish me, who give me their blessing.

I really don’t know sometimes what the words mean. It doesn’t matter, really. What does matter is that we have come to table to share a family meal.

Amen.

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(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

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