Saturday, April 2, 2011

Psychoanalyzing a Bowl of Pasta Salad

I woke up with one of those dreams where I knew I needed to share it with someone.  Eric is still asleep so you, my friends of the Internet world, get to mull it over with me as I sit here with my perfect cup of coffee.  I suppose I could discuss it with Austynn; however, he may actually break it down correctly and I'm not in the mood to be psychoanalyzed by a twelve year old for three hours.

Ok, here it goes...I'm back in California, my home state.  I'm on the way to a cousin's picnic.  When I say, "cousins picnic", I must offer some sort of explanation.  These picnics are always on my mother's side of the family.  My grandparents had eight children.  My aunts and uncles averaged four to five children each.  My cousins are all adults and average two to five children each.  And there are a lot of great-grand babies.  I can't even name most of them any more.  Heck, I'm lucky if I remember my distant cousin's names.  You get the picture.  It's a baseball stadium of people. 

I always felt awkward at these picnics.  I tried to hang around the few cousins I knew best but as I grew older, it was more and more difficult.  All of these cousins had babies and I'm just not a baby person.  "Oh, baby.  Sweet.  She just barfed.  Here you go."  Hand her back.  Also, because I inherited my father's lovely dry sense of humor, I had such a hard time communicating with people.  I'm a tomboy at heart and desperately wanted to hang out with my dad and uncles playing poker.  Nope.  Go talk with your aunts.  Uggghh.

The dream.  I was heading to the park with my older sister, Ellen.  Some background.  Growing up, I aspired to be like her.  She's the oldest of the family.  Smart as a whip.  Funny, quirky, and at these picnics, flows in and out seamlessly.  If she had a choice, she'd go.  I was crammed in the backseat with one of my cousins.  My brother Jim was in the front and between him and Ellen was this gi-normous bowl of macaroni salad for the buffet line.  Oh my gosh!!!  I forgot my salad!  It was sitting on mom's counter.  My offering looked nothing like Ellen's -- it never did.  Mine was a quarter of the size.  Just a regular 'ole bowl of elbow macaroni salad with olives, pickles, and mayonnaise.  Hers was was taken out of the pages of Sunset Magazine.  It was lovely.  There were chunks of cooked andouille sausage, some beautiful fresh herbs, and Italian noodles from an import store.  When I asked to turn around, I was told that there would be plenty of food and to not worry about my little salad.

And then, in my dream it occurred to me.  Revelation.  In California, I will always be Richard and Maryellen's daughter.  Though there's nothing wrong with this there's a certain level of behavior that comes from being their daughter that I don't like having to respond to.  I'm Ellen's sister.  I'm not the fun one at the party or the one who makes the best food - I'm just her sister.  I was always the fat one in the family.  I was the awkward one at the family parties.   I couldn't just be me.  

A miracle happened once I settled down with my family in Colorado.  I wasn't looking over my shoulder anymore and worrying about my little bowl of pasta salad.  I didn't feel like I had to go to parties or picnics to make my mother happy or pretend to be the chatty, happy cousin that I never really was. I could go to parties and be grumpy and my friends would totally get me.  I have friends that if their baby barfs on me, I can laugh and say, "No way, take this monster off my hands before I toss her in the sink!" and not offend anyone or have them call Child Protective Services.  I can bring the most disgusting appetizer on earth and they'll tell me it's the most disgusting appetizer on earth.  I like that.  No pretending.  I am who I am. 

Finally, (this made me sad so I won't use names), someone I've known my entire life from California was chatting with me a few months ago and told me she could tell I was on medication because I sounded "weird" on the phone.  When I hung up I wanted to cry.  I wasn't on medication.  I was happy.  I was genuinely happy that I was talking to her.  She didn't know me at all.

For the first time in my life, I feel completely free.  So it took me three states, 1200 miles, and a weird dream to figure that out.  Heck, I could have saved a lot of money on therapy a few years ago.  Also, I'm glad I didn't ask Austy to help diagnose me.  Instead of three hours, it only took several paragraphs.  Who knew that psychoanalyzing a bowl of pasta salad would save me so much time and money?

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Congratulations Breezy! You have come to a special realization in your life and it's wonderful. I'm proud of you for being yourself. It's a beautiful person to be. :) Now, teach me. xoxo