March 19th, 2003

Chalkboard

Pre-surgery Anxiety and General Insecurity

Okay now that I am freaking out pre-surgery, well not really freaking out, just experiencing moderate levels of anxiety, which I think is pretty normal considering this is my first surgery and it is going to be a radical change for me, I am grasping at pre-surgery quick fix straws. I called a hypnotherapist who has an office near my psychiatrist but she didn't answer. I'm planning on begging my psychiatrist for valium or klonopin or something, I don't really like xanax. And now I'm looking on the net for support and came across this thing called EFT tapping which basically consists of tapping on a series of acuppressure points while stating or focusing on your specific problem. You should see how funny I look sitting here and tapping all over my body. No time to take the video course or phone an expert tapper, just gotta learn this technique in ten seconds and apply it to myself. EFT Tapping Procedure

I'm so freaked that I'm even worrying that it will seem selfish of me to be worrying about my upcoming surgery when the whole world is being drawn into a war. One of my kind journal friends suggested that I not worry so much about what other people think of me. Well meaning but so much easier said than done. I come from a long line of self monitoring people. From my Grandfather on my Father's side whose Father in Law never thought he was good enough to marry my Grandmother, to my Grandmother on my Mother's side who desperately strove to be accepted in early Los Angeles society, to my Mother who inherited my Granny's belief that she wasn't quite wealthy or social enough, to me, the adopted daughter who might somehow act out and bring social disapproval upon the whole family.

That's a whole lot of insecurity to be heaped on the shoulders of a little unsuspecting child. The message that I was never quite right, not thin enough, not popular enough, not ambitious enough, not healthy enough, not conservative enough, was conveyed to me over and over again. Every time I got up I was scrutinized, had I brushed my teeth enough, brushed my hair enough, washed my face? Were my nails clean, had I taken a good regular bowel movement (I'm not kidding, I was regularly lectured about going to the bathroom at a regular time and having the self discipline to achieve this), then I was lectured about school, how to behave, what to say and not to say, to know that if I behaved off key that people might be laughing behind my back. When I came home I was scrutinized and lectured about any number of things. Who was I spending time with? My friends were not social enough, not connected enough, why couldn't I meet a better class of friends? Why was I spending so much money on uniforms and school books? Couldn't I just go to the library? And always I was being compared to someone else who did everything better. Why can't I lose a few pounds like so and so who looks so much prettier now? Why can't I dress more like so and so who looks so nice? Why can't I date nice boys like so and so? Why don't I do this or that like so and so? She's really going places. And all of this designed ultimately for my happiness, a happiness defined by someone else, and based upon my being pretty, finding the right man with lots of money, and settling down to a life of golf, bridge, and the right society.

God this is nothing, I have to go but I could go on and on. I'm just trying to make the point that if you constantly challenge someone's belief in themselves, rock them off their foundation by worrying them over everything that they might do wrong, rather than what they do right, you help build a pretty insecure person.

Even now I am still getting this programming. Just the other night my Mother was bemoaning the fact that I wasn't accepted into the three top fraternities at UCLA. Twenty years later, frightened and stressed about my upcoming surgery, she chooses to go off on this hated subject. Why did I have to go out with my hair wet? Why did I have to hug everyone? Why couldn't I have tried a little harder, lost a little weight, known that the girls were staying on campus at night so I could have gone to fraternity parties and met a nice boy? If only, oh if only. Blah blah blah. I am so incredibly sick of it.

The reason I am telling all of you this, is that I want you to know that there isn't any simple answer to a lifetime of this kind of programming. There may always be a little person who floats just outside of myself and monitors my behavior, charts my popularity, analyzes whether what I am doing is good or baaaaad. It takes time and work to be the person you want to be, to separate that out from the person your parents wanted you to be, or the person you became in rebellion against this. So the insecurity is a part of me and I continue to chip away at it. It is a remarkable achievement, a tremendous act of bravery on my part, that I put myself out here like this, despite my almost crippling insecurities. Just admitting this, or telling you that I am afraid of anything is hard, because the gradient between who I am and who I want to be is just so damned steep.

Okay, well of I go to my lazy therapy appointment before surgery. The sounds of helicopters hovering for so long, so close reminds me of just how near we are to war and terrorism and all things frightening.
Chalkboard

Los Angeles Was a Mess of Traffic and Frightened Anticipation

I wish we were all together, giving each other hugs, holding hands. It's so hard being alone in my home tonight with Beau who is so afraid of these incessant helicopters hovering above us. The noise and the whir of these news copters, police copters and military copters, has been unceasing since about ten am this morning. Beau ran upstairs to get my binoculars so he could look at them because he was so worried. I'm about to put him in a bath with a calming fizzy bath bomb. I feel so lucky to live here where I still have water and plumbing and can put my healthy child in a warm bath, while every channel is showing shots of cameras pointed toward the sky. What on earth would it be like to live through that, like London during the blitz, and this is us, my government that is doing this.

We live very close to Los Angeles' Federal Building - and the VA property. Most protests happen here. The helicopters have been buzzing above us all day so it is a very real and surreal reminder of what is happening. In your home you feel the windows and the walls rattling as they pass over, and outside you stare up at the skies.

Los Angeles, or at least the West side of Los Angeles, is a mess. Everyone is upset and frightened, the traffic is unbelievable. Everywhere I went today, after trying to weave my way around all of these jammed and blocked off streets, because of the protests everywhere and the militaristic response to them by the police, people were looking up at the helicopters and talking to each other about this. Even at the dog park, people seemed panicked and disturbed, a woman walked by me with a cell phone pressed to her ear, saying, "Aren't there any kind of nutritional supplements we can get to help build up our immune system in case of radiation poisoning?" People are so scared, and this is here, which is just nothing compared to what those poor innocent people in Iraq are facing right now. Four point five million people and no where they can go where they can feel safe.

I can't stop this crying. Driving on the freeway and see all of these police officers in riot gear, standing on this overpass where no one ever stands, looking down at these young protesters, looking as if they would, what, shoot them, set me off. I'm trying to taper down from my antidepressants, and it is really hard. My doctor took one look at me and got out her prescriptopn pad and wrote out a scrip for a stronger does of Xanax. So to be tapering off medication in preparation for a very serious life or death kind of surgery on Monday, with the anniversary of my Father's death coming up, and all of this tragedy and terror going on all around us, is just well, overwhelmingly heart breaking.

I hate evil and I hate evil people and I hate war. I am utterly torn up and confused about all of this.

I love you,
Jacqui