12 November 2017

alien in Brabant

some people i know {virtually, mainly} describe their existence as if they've been accidentally plonked here on earth by aliens. that's how at odds they feel with the people around them, people they've grown up with, family members even...
i regularly feel this way about my life - aliens left me here, with no instructions manual - "go figure it out by yourself, mate..."

last night i spent an evening with one of my dad's cousins, a lovely, bubbly, unmistakable member of the Heijkoop clan, with their strong-willed women and kindly, compliant men... i was asked to come along with my mum, and so we drove off in her car after i'd finished work. i drove cos my mum is scared of getting lost. of the dark. of driving and getting lost in the dark. once inside her house, my dad's cousin made us feel very welcome, as if we'd only dropped by a few weeks before, only we hadn't seen the house yet. as she showed us around, i was struck by how similar it was to my place - slightly chaotic, filled with too much memorabilia from Life and people once in it. and as we got talking, the social confidence of the cousin felt like a breath of fresh air... she has no qualms about who she's talking to, will happily talk to anyone, doesn't care what others think of her, and finds things in common, to make you feel like you're okay... she felt more familiar than my own mum, who was engaging in pretty narrow-minded rants with the cousin's husband, and as i sat there, i thought: who is that woman?! how was i raised by this person?! how are my brother and  she related to me?!

it's true that {although i've felt at odds with society as long as i can remember} my family only really started to feel alien to me once i moved to England, and got to know the people who became important to me there. once i got to know ex, and his family. once i learnt how to be strong-willed myself, and to feel confident socially, and about being me, and that the things i was interested in, intrigued by, really liked, were unfamiliar to the rest of my family... this freaked them out. understandably... it freaked me out a little as well, but it also felt like it had to happen. and i'm happy that my dad kind of got me again, eventually...

the problem is: my mum has an issue with strong-willed women who are not under her spell... she needs people to be under her spell for her to feel she has 'power'. cos that's how she's learnt to feel okay enough. enough people think she's awesome, and in many ways she's a pretty amazing person, to have dealt with what life has thrown on her path. and i'm happy for her that she does have quite a few people in her life that feel she's great, and tell her so. i just wished she'd think of herself the way those other people rate her... but she doesn't, and unfortunately, she'll feel thrown off balance by those who don't get her that way... unfortunately, i'm one of those people...

it makes me feel sad, to know this. and it makes me feel a bit insecure when i'm around her. i don't know how to be her daughter... i wish i knew how to make her feel good about herself, but the merest thing will throw her off course and it annoys me to see her berate herself, to see her so negative, and scared and freaked out, and narrow-minded... it annoys me that i have to dodge her comments, aimed at people and things she despises {in which i can often recognise myself}... i know it's her innate fear coming out, but still...

there's probably something i'm having to learn from this...




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