Monday, August 9, 2010

Dear Ned Lamont

I realize that you are running for governor of the great state of Connecticut and I understand that in order to win the office you have to have your name out there and you have to spend a lot of money, energy and time in order to persuade people to vote.  However Ned Lamont you do not have to call my house EVERY DAY FOR TWO WEEKS to ask for my vote when I already told your campaign worker that I would certainly consider voting for you on election day.  Seriously Ned Lamont, once I have spoken to your volunteer (ok I'll give you two phone calls) kindly check my name off your list and move on to the next person.

I do not need a phone call every day to have you remind me that election day is Tuesday and that I should vote for you because you are better than ALL OF THE OTHER CANDIDATES OUT THERE.  You're the only one with integrity, you're the only one that isn't motivated by greed, you're the only one who wants to see the great state of Connecticut be the best state EVER!!

Not only that Ned Lamont but your phone calls do not identify you on my caller ID, which tells me Ned Lamont that you don't want me to know it's you calling because then I might be inclined to ignore the phone call.

I guess what I'm trying to say Ned Lamont is that because you have crossed over the line into harrassment YOU CANNOT COUNT ON MY VOTE THIS COMING TUESDAY NED LAMONT.

Not only that Ned Lamont but because of all of your phone calls I am seriously considering un-registering myself as a Democrat.

Take that Ned Lamont.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

That Old Familiar Feeling

There are those of us who are referred to in the clinical literature as Adult Children of Alcoholics, ACOA for short.  So many of us exist in a daily state of busyness. Our lives are full of things to do, tasks to complete, responsibilities to be met. We must always be doing something. There is generally no free time to be had because there is so much to do. When we get a free hour we’re looking around for an activity to fill that empty space. Got a free ten minutes where’s the vacuum cleaner?

We work extremely well under pressure, in fact we thrive under just the right amount of pressure. We seek out professional responsibilities that allow us to make use of our confidence and competence under pressure. Our employers love us, glowing reviews, pay raises, promotions. We are people who get it done and we’re not afraid to mix it up, in fact we welcome the opportunity to mix it up. It’s a challenge yes?

We’re probably high-achievers and to some degree perfectionists, at least that is how others undoubtedly see us. Those same others might also envy us our high energy level, our high degree of competence, “how do you do it?” they ask. “Oh I don’t know, I just do it, it’s just the way I am” I might respond. I don’t even think about it. It is what makes me go.


There are those people out there with advanced degrees in psychology who do not necessarily envy those of us who exist in a daily state of busyness and achievement. In fact they probably have an entirely different perspective of that propensity to seek out busyness, pressure, too much work. I suspect in many cases that these people with advanced degrees might suggest that perhaps we are running from something. Running from our feelings. Running from our pain. Running from our memories. They may be right, at this moment I cannot say.

Life is not either/or.

I would like to posit an alternative theory and my theory goes like this:

Those competent, high-achieving, perfectionists are not running from something but rather running to something. They are running to an old familiar feeling. The old familiar feeling that is a fluttering, a nervousness, a feeling of always being on edge. This is what they know because this is what they had growing up. This feeling of edginess, or rather of always being on edge is where they are comfortable. It is what they have always known… and when it goes away they notice. They might not know exactly what it is that's missing but they know something vital is no longer there. And so they go searching. For that old familiar feeling.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Failure of My Mother

A young woman grows up in a family, one of four children of two parents, Mom and Dad – second generation Italian Americans - parents who love them and worked hard for them. Two parents who modeled good, strong American values, hard work, loyalty and responsibility to family and country. European immigrant values coming to the land of the free and the home of the brave. The country where hard work, strong ethics and for the women the ability to cook a fabulous spaghetti sauce and stand by their men are paramount.

This young woman feels different, feels that she is missing something, some vital piece or part of the normal human machine, the normal ‘girl’ mechanism that dictates her desire to date boys, to talk about boys, to be with boys, to LIKE boys. The desire for a home and a family of her own one day where she cooks for thirty family members at Christmas.

“What am I missing?” she asks of herself every day. Her younger sister, her brothers, they all got the ‘gene’. The “I want a home and children of my own someday” gene. What line did she miss getting in when they were handing out that vital part?

She wanders through adolescence, graduates high school, goes to college and the whole time she feels different, she knows she is different. And that difference is shameful. Oh she goes through the dating motions, it’s what girls are supposed to do yes? But her heart isn’t in it, she’s just doing it because she thinks this is what she’s supposed to be doing, this is what she’s supposed to like and want. She becomes isolated, she keeps her thoughts and her fears to herself. Nobody wants to hear this, nobody EXPECTS to hear this from her, least of all her mother. This is not the way she was raised… to be like this.

How could she possibly tell anyone when they don’t expect to hear this from her? She cannot stand to think about the response that she would get from family and friends. How could she be like this? They won’t understand and she cannot find a way to explain. She doesn’t know how to explain, nobody ever talked about such things in her family. Why would they? There is no precedence and besides this is so ABNORMAL.

She begins to distance herself from her mother. If she cannot talk to her mother about the most vital part of herself, the most personal, the core of her being what have they got to talk about? Her mother speaks of the life she knows, what it means to be a woman, where her family is everything, the very center of her life. She loves them, she cooks for them, she cleans for them, she wants what’s best for them which is of course a home and a family. That's what it's all about right girls?

And so in her isolation, alone with her feelings of defectiveness, of shame, of abnormality she knows the disappointment her mother would feel in her oldest daughter.  In her isolation alone with her feelings of defectiveness and shame and abnormality she comes to realize that she is the failure of her mother.  How could she possibly ever find the words to tell her?