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Feb. 2nd, 2008

That sleep-attack-after-coming-home-and-fixing-myself-something-to-eat-and reading-maybe-ten-pages thing? Is apparently becoming a habit. Then got up, blearily, and watched DW The Voyage Of The Damned, which was maybe not perfect, but better IMO than the reviews on amazon suggested, with some lovely touching moments.

Went to see The Lion in Winter (play, not movie version) yesterday with some people from work because M.'s in Berlin and I got her ticket. I hesitate to compare it to the movie version because I haven't seen that in probably ten years or more, so maybe wouldn't like it as much now as I remember liking it, but it has left a strong impression and this version seemed a bit... bland in comparison; lifeless. They tried to superficially modernise it a bit by transferring it into a contemporary world of finance, making it all about shares, holdings and CEOs, which IMO just didn't have such an impact and sounded a bit forced at times. I'm perfectly aware that these days there's probably more power in finance/economy than in actual politics, but it somehow failed to convey the brutal power struggle and dysfunctional family politics adequately. Frankly, I've seen that done with more conviction on Smallville. If one was already spoiled for familiar with the plot, this version simply added nothing new or exciting, but generally lacked passion and failed to touch, and the applause was appropriately polite, even and very brief.

Also got & read John Barrowman's autobiography this week, which was better than I thought it'd be. Oops, sorry. Did I just type that? But while I fangirl as much as the next fangirl, I've stopped buying celebrity biographies a while ago and honestly didn't have too high expectations about the autobiography of someone only just turned 40, dictated into an iPod in between a very busy work schedule. But it has a very personal voice and they (I've no idea if it was John, Carole, or both of them) found an interesting structure, jumping back and forth a bit, going on tangents, etc., so it was never boring; chatty, full of anecdotes (some of which one has heard in interviews over the years, but a lot that were new at least to me, too) and often quite funny, although maybe I should say at this point that JB's sense of humour doesn't really converge with mine, which is very typically Viennese: dark, macabre and morbid. And while it's not the most profound thing ever written, it's not shallow: sincerely emotional, and serious and passionate when dealing with subjects that demand seriousness and passion. And John's energy and enthusiasm are infective even in print.

Oh, and look at the preface: To be honest, here's what I really hope - that by arranging the book in this way, you'll feel as if you and I are lounging in our pyjamas on the couch in my Cardiff living room, sharing a bottle of champagne or a pot of tea, with music on in the background, having a blether and laugh about my life so far.

*g* How's that for seducing your readers?

On a personal note, what really struck me reading this is that of all the authors, artists, musicians, etc. that I've fangirled have made more than a passing impression on my life, JB is by a long, long, - long: *cough* ex-NIN-fan *cough* - way the most positive, most balanced and apparently genuinely happiest person.

I mean, I can't even begin to imagine how it would feel to have this kind of easy, unquestioning self-assurance; not to have one's life constantly hampered and limited and fucking strangled by fears and self-doubts.

That kind of love for life, instead of every few months or weeks slipping into a low that makes me wonder why I don't just go and kill myself; the answer being mostly cowardice.

For that matter, to have childhood memories that are positive and full of love, warmth and affection instead of memories of sticking your fingers in your ears at night to block out the yelling and what else might be happening at the other end of the apartment, and never a bit of emotional safety, enough not to not constantly expect things to blow up one way or the other. At times it was like navigating a mine-field.

The one sentence that actually made me choke up was how his parents raised him and his brother and sister 'with the knowledge that we were valued human beings, loved completely and unconditionally, and nothing we'd do would ever be so bad that we couldn't come home.

I guess I'm being a bit unfair here; I'm pretty sure my parents do love me in their way and according to their personalities and capabilities and wanted the best for us, but it's all so tied up in everything else that I have problems even thinking about the relationship between my parents and myself using the word love; I don't think it was ever said either. The ever present expectations that made me a control-freak and perfectionist and still make me constantly question my self-worth and make it near impossible for me to believe that someone would love me for myself; having my body-image seriously and lastingly damaged by my father. Unconditionally? No. Or at least that message came never across. The whole lack of love, or positive emotions, not only in their marriage (which was bad enough for me to grow up with the absolute conviction that marriage was a death trap), but our lives; no hugs, cuddles or physical displays of affection that I (or my sister; at least we've started to talk about all this) remember. No real close friends or circle of acquaintances of my parents either, for that matter. The constant strain (something of an understatement; the one lesson I've taken from this is never, ever, ever make children chose; never make them feel as if they're not supposed to love someone or have to hide their love) between my father and my mother's family. For that matter, my father was barely on speaking terms with his own family; I saw my parental grandparents maybe twice before they died - and because of that, I guess. The whole emotional rollercoaster that makes it so very hard for me to form emotional relationships of any kind; that make me sometimes question if I'm capable of really loving anyone at all.

Things have mellowed out somewhat in recent years to the point where I sometimes wonder if I'm misremembering, except my sister remembers too, as does my aunt, and there's the occasional flare-up that serves as a reminder that, yes, indeed, it's been as bad as that.

I know these kind of what-ifs are a bit pointless, but seeing the therapist and actually talking to someone about all this has made me wonder (and regret) for the first time what my life might have been like, what I might have been like, under different circumstances. Maybe I have to let myself grieve for that before I can move on; I hope this is what it is.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 3rd, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
I have similar what-ifs for similar reasons. I also feel angry, sometimes, at all I missed out on and the number of hurdles I have to jump to get to "healthy", just because of the family I was born into. It's enough to make me scream...and sometimes I do.
Feb. 3rd, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
I guess the problem is when you're growing up in it, the most fucked up situation becomes sort of normal, because what else is there? If anything, i tried to ignore the possible impact (which obviously didn't work); it took this long (and therapy, apparently) before I even allowed myself to feel anger ot regret.
Feb. 3rd, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
I don't know about your temperment or your family situation, but I know my temperment and upbringing make me automatically trust whatever people in authority tell me, even if it makes no logical sense to me. For example, I literally had it beaten into me that if what I say about my thoughts does not match what my mother said about my thoughts, *I* am wrong, because "a mother knows what she's got". So even if I had been exposed to other families--my family has always been insular, so I was not--I would have dismissed the other families' dynamics as "not normal", simply because my mother insisted he way of raising us was not just right, but was God-ordained.
Feb. 3rd, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
Not trust, especially, but obey/accommodate them to avoid conflict as much as possible. I hate it (I have an incredibly hard time dealing with authorities, I hate even being stopped by the police for something as trivial as crossing a red light with my bike, because it makes me feel so helpless and powerless), but I mostly do it regardless.

So even if I had been exposed to other families--my family has always been insular, so I was not--

Same here. It's actually something the therapist asked me, but there never was a real point of comparison for me.
Feb. 4th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC)
Not trust, especially, but obey/accommodate them to avoid conflict as much as possible.

Wow, yes, that was my experienced, too. I have a naturally compliant temperment, so that kind of conditioning really set me back in terms of asserting myself. I've had to work very hard to get to the point where I can stand up for myself in the face of anyone I consider powerful. I still don't quite believe *I* am powerful, but I am closer to believing it than I used to be. I know that if I keep at it, I'll eventually come into the full understanding of just how much power I have in life.
Feb. 3rd, 2008 01:08 pm (UTC)
This had a very serious and personal impact on me I would like to discuss it with you, but not in a blog thread. May I ask you to get in touch with me via e-mail? My address is in my user info. I honestly think I could help.
Feb. 3rd, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
That kind of love for life, instead of every few months or weeks slipping into a low that makes me wonder why I don't just go and kill myself; the answer being mostly cowardice.

You rememberthat thing I wrote once about hope, how we all have it, and when we say we don't, we're just pushing it away? Well, I think THAT'S why you don't go and off yourself. You're not a coward, you're hopeful. Still. You still want to know what?s around the corner, you're still not willing to give up on better days and a better you. And that takes a lot of courage.

And I think you're right about grieving - it's absolutely necessary.

Argh, what I wouldn't give for a coffee date!!!
Feb. 3rd, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
I guess you're right about wanting to see... if it's only to watch the next TW episode, read the next book that catches my interest. I'm not sure if that's exactly brave, though.

It sometimes feel as if there are two parts of me struggling - the one that absolutely loves life and can look at the gulls circling in the sky, or enjoy a book and be absolutely content in the moment, and the negative one that makes me incapable of even seeing any of that. I wish I found a better way to deal with that, maybe consciously influence it a bit...

And please don't worry about me; I was a bit angry yesterday, because reading that brought things up again, but I've been really in a good frame of mind for the last couple of weeks. :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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