The conversations Christine remembers and dwells on are years and years after conversations that dug into my psyche and still haunt me. Just thinking about my childhood brought tears to my eyes yesterday, but talking to my mother now doesn't re-trigger the deep hurts. She was saying something Tuesday that revealed her mental frame of where i had lived in the past, essentially saying they were wrong places. In the past, that would have landed on all the other ways Mom had judged me and shown the shape she thought i had, and it would have caused a good deal of distress. Not that that particular judgement is in itself painful, but because other older judgements were so painful, and that would have just added to the accumulation.
Oh look, i thought on Thursday, there goes a distortion. I knew it wasn't accurate, and i also knew that trying to show Mom my frame would be pointless.
I think Mom and Dad have gotten past the all the negative ways they judged and framed my relationship with Christine and now genuinely want her presence because they know she is important to me. I'm sure, though, that Mom uses turns of phrase, like "borrowing" me, that trigger in Christine the cascade where that word frames me as property which lands full on accusations of her "stealing" me.
I think back to an encounter where Christine and I, with Christine's sister D--, met with my parents some time in the year after coming out to them. I did not find my mother's behavior particularly remarkable except that she wasn't her "hostess" self in front of Christine and D--. As Christine, D--, and i debriefed afterwards, hearing D--'s reflection of how angry my mother was a particular moment of clarity. First, "Oh, so that's 'angry'."
Now i think back and try to recall whether Mom shared that part of herself outside of Dad and my siblings -- and honestly, i don't recall her focusing her anger on my siblings in the way she did with me. I think that conversation may have been a rare time of Mom not wearing her hostess mask with Christine. For me, that inclusion of Christine (in the witness of Diana) was the remarkable part; but for Christine, it must have been a starkly revealing turning point, probably with a disturbing quality. "What else has been behind that facade all these years?"
Part of the dwelling on my mom's shaping of me as a child is that i am currently wrestling with the word "lazy." The air conditioning was out in my therapist's office when i last saw her, and the room was sweltering. I'd been out late and hadn't had a full nights rest: the session wasn't particularly engaged. I was talking about how i was continuing to reflect on her observation about me being bored with work, and she said something off hand about us both knowing i was lazy. I didn't disagree, and we kept talking -- although with the heavy lethargy of heat and lack of sleep I did not complete the session.
It's bothered me, though, and resonates back to the way my mother framed me and my father as lazy, and my work to reject that description.
"Laziness is a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to act or exert oneself. "
Lazy (1) unwilling to work or use energy; (2) characterized by lack of effort or activity; (3) showing a lack of effort or care.
Well what do we mean by "work"? A serendipitous gift to my mulling is this NYT article, The Case for Hobbies.
“In thinking about the relationship between work and leisure, I would argue that rather than thinking about how leisure can promote greater productivity at work, a more important consideration is about how work inhibits our leisure time,” Mr. Fletcher said. By viewing work as something we do to support our leisure time, rather than our hobbies as something to lower our stress so we can get back to work, we can actually start enjoying our lives.
“Is a hobby actually leisure if we are making money from it?” Mr. Fletcher asked. “At what point does payment turn that hobby into a job?” For him, this is more about hypotheticals than anything, since when presented with actual leisure time, we either don’t take it or feel guilty about it.
“In a nutshell,” he said, “leisure time spent doing what we want to do is aspirational and when it does come about, it is a guilty pleasure (and I emphasize the guilty).”
So what would it take for us to drop the guilt and take up a project purely for fun? According to Ms. Schulte, most people don’t realize the value in their leisure time until they force themselves to take it, and then they can’t get enough of it.
I vigorously reject the description that i am unwilling to use energy and that i am characterized by a lack of activity. But then the judgements come in.
Is it lazy or efficient or simply procrastinatory to leave dirty dishes on the counter? I tend to think, efficient, because i know that later, when i am waiting for water to boil or something to cook, i will deal with them then (or Christine will, and i will deal with hers). So, on one hand, sure, i don't expend energy on *that* right *then*, and yes, if both of us are engaged with something the dishes do stack up a bit. And, admittedly, lots of tasks get left in staged and partial completion states. All of this my inner Mom voice calls LAZY, but i now think of as being efficient. Certainly, during an ant season the dishes are treated differently.
On the other hand, there are lots of regular tasks that i only get to when they are critical. Not so much lazy as procrastinatory.
I dunno. I sit here and can run thorough lots of less than optimal situations and i could let this spin out of control. Instead of analysis, let me try a reframe:
I think lazy is a useless word. Maybe there are people whose behaviors can be labeled lazy, but i think my therapist (in her overheated office) was not being precise when she used it. I don't think "resistant to doing uninteresting things" is the same as "lazy" -- maybe disengaged, maybe bored. I reject "lazy" as a useful term of analysis for improving my life.
I do note that i've reduced my SSRI prescription to a roughly 60% level (alternating between a 3/4 dose and a half dose). I think that instead of tapering down again next week, i will stay at this level another week.