Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Blowing through the jasmine in my mind

My old place in San Francisco had jasmine all around the front door. (The tree limbs are the magnolia tree.) Now it only exists in my mind. With a bunch of other stuff.

I had a long chat with Zombie Mom after yesterday's post. I said, "Now you understand why I feel fat now." She said that I was just too skinny back in the day and that I look healthy now. Many family members have said the same thing. For years they had been telling me that I needed to gain weight. OK. So maybe my doctor was saying the same thing as well when I was in high school. I'm now at the weight he thought that I should be. (I just checked my BMI on a NIH site. Apparently I am now at the low end of the range for normal. My weight up until about five years ago was always in the underweight range. I knew this though.) So I guess Zombie Mom and I are struggling with opposite body image issues, but in some ways they're similar. We are both now at weights that others consider to be "healthy" but when you've spent most of your life outside of that range, it's hard to see what everyone else does.

I also talked to Zombie Mom tonight. One thing stuck in my mind from that conversation -- storytelling. When we were in college, Emerald used to tell me that I was a wonderful storyteller. I think it started with a chair. In the photo featuring the red mini and black boots, there is a chair to the left of me. That chair was a rocking chair. And for many years, my mother would sit in that chair, I would climb onto her lap, and she would read fairytales to me. This started long before I myself could read. By the time that I could, I had memorized many of the stories. One night at a college party, I entertained people with the retelling of some of these fairytales. I simply could not believe that they had never read Hans Christian Andersen -- my absolute favorite. I also took a class in college in African literature. The professor was really into the oral tradition in the tribes of Africa. It's the same in the African American community. Over the years, I have sat and listened while my elders -- my great grandfather (whose parents were born into slavery), my great aunts and uncles, my grandmother, whoever -- told their stories. And they all got stored away in my memory. Many of those people have now passed but their stories haven't. Whenever I am with family, I share their stories. Somewhere along the way I became the keeper of my family's history. I have also been doing research since about age 13 to see what is true. Perhaps one day I will write it all down. I worry. I have no children of my own. Who will keep the stories when I am gone? (And yes, perhaps this could have been a post on its own but I decided to throw this into the general hodgepodge of this post.)

I went into Tuesday with mixed feelings. A lot of folks, including some relatives, forgot my birthday on Monday. I also work with people who are nice but don't do anything for birthdays. It was the most anti-climatic birthday I have ever had. If it had been a "big" one, I probably would have been depressed. Oh yeah. I'm already kind of depressed so I'm not sure how that would have worked out.

My dad shared too much information with my mom on Monday when she called him. Now she's screaming stuff like, "I want my money back." This would be the money that she contributed to their joint finances when they were married. Have I mentioned that they have been divorced for over 30 years? I shared with my father the joys of caller ID. "When I don't feel like talking to her, I just don't answer the phone." Remember? She knows nothing about boundaries. That means that everyone else in her life must establish them. He also said that she doesn't really listen to people. I pointed out that those were my exact words to her last summer -- right before I called her a "fucking bitch." Because sometimes she really can be one. We care about her but she could really benefit from some therapy. There's only so much the rest of us can do.

Saturday night I'm heading out with the girls. I hope this will make up for what has been a rather blah birthday season thus far. OK. I did get that fabulous Kate Spade bag last week but that's not enough. One of my friends backed out of the dinner thing because I wouldn't allow her to bring her boyfriend (?) along. I don't know what the guy is at this point except that he is her baby's daddy. And I can say that because (1) they are not married, and (2) when she found out she was pregnant, he disappeared from the scene. He just returned late last year because now he wants to be a father. The kid will be three later this summer. Oh, and my first time meeting him? Kind of came off as a pompous ass. So I figured that I would be selfish. It's my party as the saying goes, after all. Having a guy around on a girls' night? Totally messes with the dynamics. Especially if it's some guy you don't even like. So yeah. My friend apparently now only goes out when he can join her. I told my therapist on Tuesday it just seemed weird to me. "I don't want to be in a relationship if it means that I can't have an identity that is separate from the other person. It just doesn't seem healthy."

For years my grandmother has been sending me a check for my birthday as well as Christmas. For years I have not been cashing those checks. I mean, she lives on Social Security. Instead I have been shredding them. My mother finally shared this with my grandmother after this past Christmas. Tuesday morning I called my grandma to thank her for the card that she had sent. (I have told my mother that I have never once doubted in my life that my grandmother loves me.) She told me that I was to cash the check and to treat myself to something this time -- perhaps gas in my car. I laughed and told her that her check would not fill the tank of my car but it would buy me dinner. As the day wore on, I remembered how Monday's dinner was so uneventful. That made me think of the shrimp at Gregoire. So I got home and ordered two entrees -- the shrimp and the curried lamb chops -- as well as my usual potato puffs. Now I have dinner for two nights. When I went in to pick up my order, the cook said, "Hi." And that got me thinking. Now that folks can recognize me on the street, perhaps I should lay off saying stuff about guys who I may meet in everyday life who I find attractive.

OK. Brain empty. Now I'm set to watch some TV and to read some more Dexter. Although tomorrow night is such the better TV night. Because hello. Season finale of "Farmer Wants a Wife." Hmmmm. I need to check when "I Love Money" starts so that I can be sure to add it to my DVR schedule. Oh, but tonight is a new episode of "Flipping Out." Cool. A reality show about featuring a person who has issues with boundaries. But I'm not related to him.

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