So I got my Christmas presents from my friend Jessica yesterday. Getting presents any time of year is lovely and Christmas in July just makes it more special. Two wonderful books were added to my collection. One about cupcakes – yumdiddlydumcious ! One was a journal. A dysfunction journal. This purpose of this journal is self-evident by the title alone. Or is it ?
Now lets take in to account that it’s backwards to you and in a quirky twist this would describe my life anyway. My mother has told for time immemorial that I will find the hard way, the wrong way, the backwards way of doing things. This is true and I accept this about myself. What this journal tells me in its’ pages of wisdom BEFORE I start writing is that you are all just as screwed up as I am ! Let’s all take a collective breath of relief as we realize we are not alone. You knew that already ?? Man I needed this journal.
Within it’s wise pages there are instructions on the value of journaling, how often you should do it, the psychological pluses to writing down all your crap and, the piece de resistance – quotes from other dysfunctional people. Most of whom you’ve heard of which is very reassuring to my “I’m the only one” voice. Gwyneth Paltrow contributes: ” I have a very highly developed sense of denial”. To this we all say “Sacre bleu ! Gwyneth Paltrow has issues ???” To this I respond “Hell yes ! and hallelujah.” Now I realize that merely by being quoted in a journal of dysfunction that this does not automatically make her “one of us” but it certainly helps to know she has her own coping mechanisms for life. Granted that also includes Nannies and assistants to do your every whim and bidding but still. She must feel “conflicted” on some level don’t you think ?
There is also the background story on me getting this journal which I’ll keep brief to protect the innocent. My friend Jessica, who appears to see my true self and likes me anyway, saw this journal in Chapters and thought of me. But when it came home and she showed her daughter, her daughter was horrified ! “Mom” she exclaimed as only a tween can, “You can’t give her that for Christmas !”. So my friend began doubting her choice. We talked about it and she who can take down a 6’7″ lunatic in the throes of a psychotic break without breaking a nail, seemed unsure about telling me. She then began to read some of the things to me that were in this journal and I just about peed my pants laughing it was so appropriate ! The relief was palpable. On both sides actually because this assured me that I might not be the only one who needed this journal….
The type of neurosis that I suffer from varies from day-to-day. It can be narcissism when I am feeling omnipotent and demanding. It can be deep insecurity when I fail to do something correctly. It can be total martyrdom when I put aside MY plans again so that my children won’t be scarred later in life by not spending enough QUALITY time with me. I mean my dad didn’t spend “quality” time with me and I’ve suffered no ill effects ! At all. None. I believe Gwyneth’s quote would be applicable here.
So while the purpose of this journal is to get it out and let the poison of my anguish leak from the gray matter on to the white sheet for my mental health, I wonder if it’s not more multi-purpose than that. I wonder if it’s to give us some perspective on our life and those around us. I wonder if it’s not to provide some humor as a few of these quotes are quite funny and my life can be a total riot upon distanced reflection. I wonder if it’s not to allow us some time to ponder our mortality and see that by putting down our thoughts we leave something behind of our true selves. Something for our children to one day look through (as I sit nearby drooling and staring vacantly, hopefully, so when they look at me as the true dysfunctional person that I am rather than the sane, loving mother I convinced them I was for all those years I am blissfully unaware) and maybe get a better understanding of who we were warts and all. Maybe by leaving this history of our life we divest ourselves of the obligation to wear the mask beyond the grave.
Because I lost my dad so young, I’ve always worried that I won’t leave anything for my children to get to know me if I too meet the same fate. The thought of them knowing nothing about me beyond my penchant for baking and reading saddens me to no end. So if by reading about my dysfunctions I succeed in comforting them in their times of distress, assuring them that it’s genetic and therefore they are still connected to me, then so be it. I will spin out my web of crazy thoughts and anxiety driven drivel and all manner of things that will perplex them and amuse them. I will leave them that peek behind the mask of the mother they thought they knew. Hopefully they will never look at me the same again 🙂