Sunday, October 27, 2013

House Rules by Rachel Sontag

Passages that stop you, keep you from going forward so you can begin to travel inward--inward toward experiences that you thought only you had. A difficult past, the yearning to just get out of your current condition with the current condition being home. Knowing your day-to-day isn't normal as you hear, "There's no such thing as normal. You think you have it so bad?"

Yes, I do in fact. Thank you for asking. 

I am getting real tired of hearing my counselor say, "I think we can all agree that our parents did the best they could." No, lady. We don't agree on that. My mother was a real bitch, obviously, because I'm in here once a week. Who goes to counseling once a week with parents who did the best they could? That was her best? Pity. If anything, she has gained my pity.

Marriage is on the horizon and I have to make a choice whether to invite her, the sorry mother who did the best she could, or the mother I wish I had, the mother who loved me on occasion when she wasn't belittling me or telling me how bad I was, telling my sisters, friends she doesn't even have anymore, her on-and-off-again-drug-addicted boyfriend, how bad and selfish I was. 

Guilt and shame as a child morphs into guilt and shame as an adult. It only must find the point of reference that hurts the most and is easiest to resurrect. From sitting in my room playing with cabbage patch kids wishing I could run away from the fighting and shouting, to deciding if I want my mother as a guest at my wedding.  

House Rules is ridden with highlights and scribbles in the margins (mine, just to be sure we're on the same page). Halfway through the book and I am affected in some kind of way, a way which keeps me highlighting and remembering and getting mad all over again. All I've ever wanted was to get away, to run away from what I knew and who I thought I was because of where I came from. Now I realize it's only through transformation that I can escape. Time-consuming, painful, seemingly neverending transformation.

I'd rather just read.



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