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.