Still Crazy After All These Years

Reflections is reading the Artist's Way as our annual book study. We are taking two weeks for each chapter. We started on the first Sunday after Imbolc. So this week we begin chapter three. I wrote the following on our bulletin board to summarize my thoughts on chapter two.

I thought when I began Chapter 2 of The Artist's Way that it would be less painful for me now that I had removed most if not all of the crazy-makers and poisonous playmates from my life ... but alas it was not to be. There was still loads of their toxins still in my system. I dug even deeper and realized that most of my corporate career could be thought of as an abusive marriage. And the reason I kept trying harder (sound familiar) was because I was still trying to appease my number one crazy maker -- my father.

And even though he died almost 16 years ago, his toxic gift is still delivering. My healer elder named it many months ago and at the time it did not make sense to me. But as I read this chapter, it hit me. I am still trying to be validated, accepted and acknowledged by him. My entire life had been molded to fit his dream of a hard working, smart, honest, funny and respected person. This all sounds good on the surface. But despite my succeeding at levels unheard of in my family or within my neighborhood, and even breaking more than a few barriers as a "first", my father never once said, "Well done!" That is because he never intended that model for me. He thought he was inspiring his sons. And to his mind, his daughter completely failed at what he thought should have been my role as a woman.

So instead of congratulating me on winning award after award, or acknowledging all my promotions at work or even bothering to attend my graduation from high school or engineering school, he simply showed me a sink filled with dirty dishes. And I in some kind of robotic response would wash the dishes. And still he was not satisfied.

My mother on the other hand was very proud of me. She constantly encouraged me. In fact it is my greatest heartbreak that when I graduated from engineering school -- THE greatest accomplishment in my life in my book -- she was too far gone with Alzheimer's to even understand what I repeated to her over and over again for a half hour just in case she she could hear me. And so the one person who would have celebrated my successes, was inaccessible to me. While the one present was uninterested.

So what did I do, I worked even harder. And that is why I am a blocked creative. I work myself really hard, because I am trying to win my father's respect.

The truth is ... he did respect me. I found this out a few months before he died. But his revelation came so late ... I had built up a mode of living that even now is hard to change.

So right now, my biggest crazy maker ... is me.

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