Just Be Brave, and Always Get Back on Your Horse

What do you do when you feel rejected?

Lately, life seems to be a necklace of rejections, all strung together on a superstrong thread. And it’s not choker-length, but one of those really long flapper sorts of necklaces that you have to wrap around your neck several times. Invariably, it’s those flapper necklaces that strangle you. Have you ever noticed? One loop always gets shorter and tighter, and tighter and tighter, until you find yourself tugging at it and finally unwrapping it entirely and throwing the whole damn thing aside.

Ultimately, I know I will throw the whole damn thing aside. It’s in my genes to abandon the troublesome projects, people, whatever. In a way, it’s a blessing. Eventually, I have the ability to shed people and things and not feel an ounce of guilt about it. It’s so freeing when I actually do it! But because I am a Taurus, it takes me a while to get to that point, and I suffer some idiotic toreador’s stabs and stomp around for a bit. It’s this part that is torture. And sometimes I am my own toreador, and that’s the hardest villain to drop. Myself. I’m the only person I can’t shed, no matter how hard I try.

Perhaps that’s why I write?

When I was young and just starting to write, my mother and stepfather would have some very loud fights. He was like weather in Portland. One minute there is sun shining and it’s like springtime and bluebirds are flying about– and then WHOMP! He would turn into a thunderstorm and lightning would crack through the room, shattering and simultaneously frying everything in his path. He’d throw whatever was at hand– a glass, a TV remote. Doors were slammed or kicked in. One time he kicked the front screen door so hard, the metal bottom bent out like an upside down L and sliced clean through all the pots and plants on the front porch. We hadn’t been there for that. We arrived home and saw the devastation on the porch and expected God knows what inside– but then there he was just sitting on the couch watching TV, chilling.

Living with this had two effects on me, I think. One, I learned how to escape. As a child, you are stuck with your parents, powerless. My only option was to shut myself up in my bedroom and imagine a way out. I drafted house plans and collected maps. I did watercolors of rooms in my imaginary house, drew pictures of my imaginary friends and relatives. I cranked up the Dvorak and Puccini, and rolled up a towel to block the yelling and screaming from seeping under the door.

Everybody knows all the rules-- except for you. Twinkle, twinkle, little bat. . .

God, I hated that house! I still can’t abide those low-ceilinged homes– his was a Weathermaker– from the 1960s. They feel like prison.

When you are a child, you depend on your parents for safety, and my mom didn’t know how to provide that. She stayed until I was 18, and when it looked like I’d be able to move out on my own, and only then did she get the courage to leave him. She just didn’t have the strength to do it without the threat of suffering alone with him. I learned from this– shed toxicity. Just dump it out. When you feel threatened, when someone is harmful to you in some way, go out the door and don’t come back. Do it before it is a bigger problem, because it always gets bigger.

Living with my stepfather was like the World War II in that it was a justifiable war. He was the Axis, I was the Ally– my mom was, I don’t know. Something more complicated. Russia? Poland? Occupied France? Definitely not Switzerland, at any rate. Now, I’m faced with complicated and more modern wars. Wars I’m not even sure I should be in. The skills I learned sometimes work (Let’s escape for two days at a time!) and sometimes don’t (You can’t abandon everything all the time and function as an adult).

How many times do you accept rejection before it becomes an inner war? For how long to you allow the rejection to continue? When is it toxic to the point that shedding is necessary? If only I knew. Do I stop it all before I become a mess, or if I am barely functioning now, does that mean the time is now?

Lately, my daughter has been really into Alice in Wonderland. I mean, really into it. She has watched all of the different interpretations of it and we’re reading it as her bedtime story. In the Tina Majorino version of it, the White Knight says, “Just be brave, and always get back on your horse!” Trite advice, to be sure, but there’s something awfully rousing about his delivery of it. And so this is what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to get back on my horse. But when does even trying to find my horse get ridiculous? Always? Really, always? Stupid White Knight and his British ideals.

In other news, my mother sent me this video. Don’t worry– it isn’t a crude video of a cat pooping into a toilet, which I guess might seem like a funny thing but you know what? I’ve got two cats and a dog and a kid that I can watch poop without having to wait for the screen to load, thank you very much. I don’t enjoy watching things poop. But anyway! The cat in this looks exactly (EXACTLY!) like my Thor. And Thor also is intensely interested in the goings on of the toilet. I’ve never had a cat so fascinated by the toilet. I’ve had cats follow me into the bathroom before, but usually because they want kibble or attention. Thor, on the other hand, almost got sat on more than a few times. Silly thing.

As for writing, I’m trundling along. There’s even conflict, and I’m actually beyond the bit where I think it’s craptastic and want to compost it. I know, right? Writing’s the one horse I know how to find. It’s the rest of them I’m not so sure about.

I’ve been listening to this.

And this whole album, but on my ipod:

Though, to be honest, I like the moodier version:

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