My last appointment with T (last week) was partially about Robin Williams, as I felt like it was interesting how it had affected me. RW was a part of my entire growing up years, both in film and on TV, and I was sad. Sad for him and sad for his family. But I also found it interesting how people responded–more about his life and his humanity than how it ended–so we talked about that a bit. Then we talked about how I’ve been kind of stuck on watching (or mostly listening) to Frozen. The songs seem to touch me in some way, and T encouraged me to continue to listen to the songs and “let them do what they need to do for you.” I don’t really like the animation–it in fact is rather offensive to me–but the songs are hitting me right now. So any time I have nothing on the television to watch, I put Frozen on and while I’m doing other things, I enjoy the songs. And it isn’t just “Let it go” that works for me, it’s almost all the songs…even though I don’t necessarily know why.
Once we were finished talking about that, we started talking about my previous homework. T has asked me to listen to a couple of specific Miles Davis songs, to see if that kind of music would move me, but again it was a bust. I see music so different from her (and others, I’m sure) because it’s more a “friend” or companion for me. It’s not about the emotions of the song, or even the words…it’s just about the companionship. I always have something going in the house–the TV or music–because I don’t particularly like silence. Sure, there are times when I will be in silence, but most of the time I like some kind of noise when I’m alone. I have tinnitus, and the way I chose to deal with that is that I keep noise on all the time to keep the tinnitus at bay. So television and music is just background noise…company, that is all. So finding the emotion she is looking for just won’t work for me.
We talked a little about the issues I have with eating–thinking about it so much, and how I not only pre-think it, but then I think about it as I’m eating and after I’m eating–and how that was going. I asked her if I’d ever told her about my grandmother. My grandmother loved us all, and was a huge part of our lives. Being the only girl, I got a lot more of her attention than the boys did, which was not always a good thing. My grandmother had her own weight issues, as did pretty much every woman in my family and in my life. As I was really in the hardest time of my life, pre-adolescence and etc, she was learning how to eat healthier and exercise. She went to extremes (which was “normal” for lots of people during that time period) on a low-fat diet, trying to control her cholesterol and blood pressure and weight. She went to extremes working out as well. And she talked about everyone around her, family and friends and strangers. She talked about their weight and how it fluctuated, and she talked about their size and the food they put in their mouths. And I was always overweight, so she put her hooks into me and tried to “help” me. She took me with her to her aerobics classes, and told me I needed to lose weight and eat differently. This went on for years and years. I never lost weight because I snuck food and I ate the things I wanted to eat when she wasn’t around. I hated dealing with her during those years, even though I loved her so much. I wanted to please her, but I hated that she hated how I looked and who I was. As a child, I had no idea that it was HER who had the issues and that she was projecting them onto me. At about fourteen, maybe a little younger, I was out with my grandmother and my mom. We were shopping for bathing suits for my grandmother because she was headed to Florida for the winter and while there she taught water aerobics to her elderly community every day. So she needed multiple bathing suits and she wore them out. So we went to Loehman’s, which if you don’t know, they were a discount store and their changing rooms were just a big open room where everyone could see everyone. We found her a couple of suits to try and went into the room to keep her company while she tried them on. After she bought stuff and we were back in the car, my grandmother immediately starting talking about some of the other women in the room. How heavy they were, how they didn’t look good in what they were trying on and if they just lost weight they’d look so much better.
I got so mad. I was always the good kid, I never talked back and I clung to my mother all the time. I never stood up to anyone, I never gave my opinion because I didn’t want to have a confrontation. Maybe I was younger than fourteen, maybe I was twelve or so, I’m not sure. But I was sitting in the back seat of the car and I said, “You need to stop!”
“Stop what, darling?” my grandmother asked.
I told her to stop talking about other people’s weight. Stop talking about what they look like or what they should or shouldn’t be wearing, or should or shouldn’t be eating. Stop judging them. She had no idea what I was talking about. I told her she talks about everyone like that, whether she knows them or not. And I said to her, “What if you overheard someone else talking about ME like that? That I’m too fat to wear a bathing suit? That I’m too fat to be eating that bagel? That my hips are huge and my thighs must jiggle…”
I don’t think she got it because I recall her saying, “But you just need to lose some weight and you’ll be so pretty!”
My mother looked at me over the seat back–she was driving–and I think she felt appalled. But she said nothing. I told my grandmother that every time she said those things about other people, she might as well have been saying it about me. Then I fell back against the seat and clamped my mouth shut. It’s possible my grandmother may have apologized and said she would try not to talk like that anymore, but I’m not sure if that’s real or I made that up as an adult to make myself feel better. I only know that things didn’t really change, as she continued to watch my food intake and my weight.
T asked me if I had ever told my younger self that it was not my issue but it was grandmother’s issue. I didn’t answer, but apparently I had a look on my face because T sort of smiled and said that it was clear I didn’t believe what she was saying, that it would make a difference. I asked why she said that and she said that every time she talks about being kind to my younger self, I make a face. I told her I didn’t understand how to do what she was suggesting because I AM an adult, and as an adult I understand what the issues were. And how was I supposed to talk to someone (my younger self) who didn’t really exist anymore. And she tried to tell me that younger self still lives inside me and she’s STUCK because I haven’t gotten past those traumas of my youth. I said I didn’t understand how to talk to “my younger self” in the manner she suggested. So she asked me to try to picture that day and picture all the details. Then picture myself as an adult sitting next to myself as a child. And then talk to younger self about how the things my grandmother was saying and doing were HER issues and not mine. That I’m a fine and creative child, sweet and compassionate, smart and worthy.
I could only tell myself that it was my grandmother’s issue, not OUR issue. Then I cried, and I asked T if I could go home and write this instead of saying it out loud. She said “sure” and asked me to email it her before our next session. I think mostly because our time was up. I still haven’t written it, but I will. I just don’t know how it will work for me or how it will make a difference. But I always promise to try things…and if they work that’s great. If not, I will try the next thing.
Anyone else talk to their “younger self” ? Does it help you?