When I was a baby, my grandma Jane crocheted a pink and white afghan for my bed. It was perfect for the decor. Flowers scrolled up the walls in pinks and antique whites, shag pink and white carpet covered the floor, and I had a canopy bed with a white eyelet canopy and coverlet. My first memory of unraveling my blanket starts when I was about three or four years old. I pulled each string of yarn completely out of the blanket, watching the carefully knotted lumps flatten. What I did next always had my mom in hysterics. "You tied every piece of furniture together. When you were finished, your room looked like a big spider web. You would lay down on your bed to nap, and I could't even walk into the room to get to you." Years later I would learn this was my way of keeping my abuser away from me.
My therapist told me a year ago the reason I kept my car such a mess was because I didn't want passengers. It had nothing to do with laziness or self-loathing, or liking filth and dirt. It was a defense mechanism. After my diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder, I went to my studio, alone, to work. When I opened the door I had to laugh at the tubes of oil paint I had squeezed then dropped onto the floor. Absolute preparedness. They were still there in case I needed them, and I'd know where to find them. The journey I've taken to recover from OCD is still very much on-going, but I had to evaluate in what ways in my life do I prepare for the unexpected, and by doing so, shun passengers? I've had to recognize that leaving an empty coffee cup in my car in case the emergency arose that I'd need an empty mug, didn't really help me at all. But having friends and passengers on-hand to help me through my most difficult times in life does.
Each day I practice, and my smiles are finally genuine. Today I sent out no less than 20 text messages to moms who have made a difference in my life, wishing them a Happy Mother's Day or Feliz dia de las madres! Over the past few years, these are the moms that I've allowed to be passengers. I was astounded by how easy it was to say something heartfelt and meaningful. Today, as a Mother's Day gift to myself, I will be cleaning out my car!
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