Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Repeat After Me: I Am Not June Cleaver...

Anyone who actually knows me can tell you....June Cleaver, I ain't. Yet...she and a host of other TV moms were my role models, the mom of my fantasy life.

I've mentioned having a crazy mom...and that hit a note of recognition from a few readers. My mom has (at the least) schizo-affective disorder and at the most, a few other charming mental illnesses to boot. The best way to describe schizo-affective disorder is this:

If I were to go to my mother's residence to give her a ride to a doctor appointment and be tragically struck down by a big ol' truck as I tried to get in my car and lay bleeding and maimed in the road....this would be my mother's response:

"Lisa! You're hurt! ....... Now how am I going to get to my doctor's appointment????"

The most characteristic traits of schizo-affective disorder are a complete lack of compassion and total self absorption. Now, while mothers the world over are accused of this kind of behavior daily...to actually have a mother with this kind of mental illness can be pretty devastating to a child.

A past therapist suggested that I raised myself with the aid of television. I scoffed at the time....but as I continued therapy and began to really look at the way I think, I realized she was pretty damn close to the mark.

I saw June Cleaver, The Brady family and The Partridge Family as "normal." Their TV lives of always happy, white-picket-fence-ness were what I perceived as the way it should be. Not only that, but I believed if I tried hard enough....I could become them.

Needless to say...that's a pretty lofty goal...to attain something that isn't even real!!

Hey, tho, it saved my life when I was 5 years old and couldn't adjust to constant insanity.

Perfectionism, depression, and a low self esteem were the results of that distorted thinking, however, and here I am at 40 years of age saying to myself "I am not June Cleaver...and hell, I don't even WANT to be June Cleaver!" whenever I have those moments of not being able to let go of how things "should" be.

So, on this Thanksgiving Eve, I am thankful for several things: All the usuals (family, friends, blah blah blah), as well as television...it gave me something to hold on to when I could have easily gone into much more devastating avenues to hang on to myself, a good therapist...God bless you David...., and the internet, which has given me 4 or 5 nice women who "get" what I'm talking about.

Happy Turkey Day, y'all.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Turkey-day, dear!
Rachael
http://yarnagogo.com

Bron said...

I was a warm person raised in a cold, disconnected family. I knew what I wanted - a June Cleaveresque family life - and damned if I didn't grow up & get one. I married the right man (the second time around) and had the children/home/life I wanted. I wasn't concerned with outside recognition (career/acclaim) I wanted to fix what was broken in my childhood.

Score one for the dysfunctional becoming functional again.

Yeah - I get it.