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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

May 9-15, 2011: And Then I Got Angry

Betrayal or the feeling of being left out often becomes hurt.  Hurt often becomes outrage.  Outrage turns into plain... rage.  It usually takes a lot to make me truly angry, but when it happens, it has happened.  Very little can be done to make it unhappen.  Like an infection, it creeps in and taints my mood, the way I process information, and the way I conduct myself.  It festers.  It is a nasty, disgusting feeling.
After my mother dismissed my crisis.  I was hurt, for the entire day.  It was my fault, really.  I'm always slow in the mornings, but still, rationality had gone to hibernate by that point.  I felt listless, but I at least tried to mirror my old self.  I made a few dry jokes, smiled where appropriate, forced myself to remember that it was Mother's Day and I that I ought to be respectful.  The following day, however, was an entirely different story.  Monday morning, I woke up blind and angry.  At my mother. 
For once, my furrowed brow was not an expression of confusion, frustration or concentration.  Just this once, my frown was actually me thinking in my head, "You mean old lady, you!"  Don't laugh.  I habitually call people exactly what feel that they are when I'm angry.  I don't make up fancy names for them or use the common expletives like "A-hole", "B***", or whatever this means "@&%@)$*@&!*"  No.

As a child, the very first time I was angry enough to want to call someone a mean name, I decided that the common mean names just didn't work and swearing was a filthy habit for people who didn't read the dictionary often enough to realize that the most hurtful words are the ones with 4 or more syllables that tell an actual truth.  The truth is the most important part.  It can't be truly insulting or truly vent your frustration if it's not true. Mean (read: irritable and/or insensitive) Old (read: older than me) Lady is the absolute meanest thing I could ever bring myself to call my mother. 

It's hard for me to stay angry for long.  I tend to get sad instead.  I tried to be more understanding of her angle in this whole thing.  I had endangered the timeliness of our arrival at church and she didn't really know what was going on.  Still, it upset me because I had tried to tell her and she didn't believe me.

It isn't the first time it's happened.  I decided that it was safer for my peace of mind and my health to just...accept that my mother doesn't always understand me when I try to tell her I have a problem.  This incident was something that I would have to take care of on my own, all on my own.  I could, ask her for advice on where to go to get help.  I could ask her for help and support once the problem had been diagnosed or resolved, but it was largely up to me. 
When you are small, it's hard to convey the seriousness of 'mommy I hurt here'.  You don't know how to communicate that something's broken in your body.  You just know that it hurts.  Kissing boo-boos, lecturing your kids about too much TV, and telling them they're faking has never helped anyone's medical conditions. (Some people actually do that.  There have been articles about child abuse cases where the parents just gave their screaming, bleeding child a bath and a tylenol.  Thankfully, this has nothing to do with anything that extreme)  Those are easy outs.  Those things don't actually fix ANYTHING.

At this point, I realized that I was well and truly an adult.  I didn't have a real job, but I was still an adult.  I was no longer dependent on my mother believing me when I said that I was sick.  No one could tell me what was wrong in my body but me.  So, I said nothing else to my mother about it.  If she didn't believe me enough to try to help me, it was up to me to find a way to help myself.  I started a journal, documenting my symptoms.  After a while, I worked up my courage and asked her what eye clinic had the best, most state of the art equipment and doctors available.  It surprised her, but she gave the information willingly.

It surprised her again when her nosiness lead her to leaf through my desk planner and she saw the notation stating that I had an appointment on the 16th at 3:00pm. 
A strange hush came over her.  She spoke to me with a wide-eyed, still somewhat disbelieving tone.  "You were serious?" When I told her yes, she said she didn't know that I was serious.  It sparked an argument which, now that I think about it, was more me yelling at her, screaming all of the frustrations that had bothered me since the morning blindness first occurred.  And this time, she listened. 

That made me happier than anything.  She listened and we resolved that I would attend my appointments and when I needed my mother to come with me, I would ask her to.  We both worked out that the whole blow-by-blow of what was happening would likely drive my mother out of her mind.  She was like that shortly before and after she was diagnosed with hypertension, so it was likely to happen again.  A certain level of disengagement would allow me to be an adult and minimize her stress levels.   That was our little plan. 

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