I went to the christening of my younger niece. I was in my mid-twenties. Her sister was around 24 months. At some point, I think after the ceremony, Siobhan wanted to toddle in one direction, and I wanted to move on- to the party after, probably. I told Siobhan off, firmly. No, come this way. My sister’s friends whom I did not know told her she could go where she wanted, which irritated me; I don’t think I replied.
Primo Levi says somewhere about people in the camps who tried to obey the rules, and thereby survive, and were doomed because the rules were designed to kill slowly. I have it on codex, so the search function is limited to riffling through the pages to see if anything reminds me of it, but I would like to find it, because I may have distorted my memory of it to fit this idea as well-
that my seeking to obey rules is the mark of the low-status primate in the pecking order, and that I naturally enforced it on Siobhan as I had had it enforced on myself, perpetuating the pattern. That is, my upbringing unconsciously fitted me for low status, deferring to others. This produced anger in me which I could never express because expressing anger was impossibly Bad.
In the medical centre, there was a little boy whose parents were teaching him to talk back. When we get home, we’ll bake cookies.
-You’ll bake cookies, Daddy.
-I’ll bake cookies to eat them all myself says Daddy, joke-triumphantly.
-Say “Whatever, Daddy” instructs Mummy. I caught a whiff of power games between the adults, which would only improve the child’s learning of this dynamic.
-Whatever, Daddy, said the child, exaggeratedly, mockingly, giggling.
Deference, submissiveness, whatever. I grope towards understanding, go off on odd directions, have a model which is not internally consistent, try to untangle the mixture of my trauma and anger. My mother did not want me as a baby, and now I feel tolerated rather than accepted as a woman. “God will not test me beyond what I can bear”? I don’t believe that, actually. I am an evolved being: we will not each overcome the world. All that is necessary is that enough of us can breed to sustain the population over time.
I knew I ought to meditate, and I did not: perhaps because I expected to feel all Spiritual and lovely while meditating and feel good afterwards, and was always disappointed. Now I kneel in my ritual space, and feel my anger or my fear, and get up confused. One gloss I could put on this is that I feel my anger, and its energy, or my fear, and its vulnerability and increased perception, so that if I can sit with it rather than blocking it out, it will benefit me. But that is to predict where this process might end, which is futile. Better to just go with it, which is my old way- head down, obey the rules.
This is my 900th post.