I polished furniture for 2+ hours yesterday at T’s house. After reading yesterday’s blog, she tried to rescue me from my own same self, and it was nice to be with her. She sold Stella and Dot jewelry. It’s pretty, costume stuff, and easy to polish. I started out with just the visibly dusty stuff but it was both very dusty and very easy to get to shine, so I wound up polishing most of it. Then I found some things I wanted, and of course, T gave it to me. She also ordered me a book about card creating that she saw me reading at the book store. She’s just like that.
The most interesting thing that happened yesterday was our discussion about my parents. I may have ranted about them, especially my “sainted” mother. There are many ways to tangle and even more things she does that annoy the heck out of me that I don’t address because it would be useless. Yesterday, however, was a positive day. T listened to me talk about how my mother went back to work so I could go to Berkeley, without any loans or financial worries. T made a joke about them giving me so much, “but it’s not like they sent you to Europe.” Actually, they did send me to Europe. Only one horrible country in which I will hopefully never return, but to Europe nonetheless.
When I moved to California’s Central Valley I was plopped down in to the Gifted And Talented Education school. I’d always been in these programs, so it wasn’t like academics were super challenging. I was unprepared for the culture shock. In the past, the programs were in working class/ lower-middle class neighborhoods and the kids just wore whatever to school. Shorts when it was hot, Jeans, sweatshirts when it was cold. I like to dress like Madonna in fingerless gloves and crazy tights. By the time we moved, I had pretty much given up on that and wore outfits to school that weren’t really outfits: I’d just throw on any old thing.
Problem was that the kids at the new school were affluent. They were rockin’ the Guess! jeans and Esprit bags and Reebok shoes. I had never even registered this clothes before. I went home and told my mom that literally everyone but me was wearing this stuff. My mom asked me if I wanted clothes like that. I don’t remember my response, but I remember our shopping trip to the now defunct Gottschalks. I needed a red t-shirt for Spirit Fridays. We found a Guess! t-shirt with ugly English Bulldogs on it that cost $30. She was ready to buy that for me, and a pair of $50 jeans. I told her I thought it was ridiculous and I’d rather have three pairs of jeans from the (also) now defunct Five and Ten Dollar Store. I’d dress better and feel better in much less expensive clothes. It wasn’t that I didn’t deserve it, it’s that I didn’t want it, and I sure as heck didn’t need it. I continued in school wearing my own style of clothes, and in that I made a friend, Mrs. Mauditmo, who will last my life time. She didn’t wear that foolishness either, even though her family probably could have bought the school and all of the houses in the outlying area.
Back to the story. T asked if they were the type of parents “who would do anything for their children”? That is exactly right. If moving to Arizona would make me well, they’d pay the moving cost. If group family therapy could pick me up, they’d iron their shirts and go faithfully. If they could buy away this illness they would. They’ve already wished it away but they already used up their three wishes. (She did wear mint-colored Reebok, but that just shows your her awesomeness).
I know most people don’t get that sort of upbringing. I don’t know if I can be that kind of parent. My sweet daughter just told her father, “You’re my birthday cake, with my own vanilla flavor, my favorite.” I want to, but there are limits. Even though my parents never had a lot of money but we had piano lessons, et. all. I am somewhat limited by my bipolar, but if I give 100% of my illness, rather than 50% of non-disabled parents, do I still win? Is this a contest in which no one wins?