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Saturday, April 13, 2013

BROWNIE POINTS IN HEAVEN

      ida kohlmeyer


The word allow continues with me as the first consideration for about everything that comes up. If it is something concerning somebody else and me thinking about them, this isn't right or that isn't right, I remind myself it's none of my business, and the only thing I can really do is allow. Let it be. Lying down to take a nap earlier today, the word allow was swimming in my mind when my mother popped up, one unfamiliar with allowing, except with resignation. I am not allowed to be who I am when I'm around her. Too many sentences start, "I wish you would...." It always has to do with church or something she believes is a duty that I don't take for such. Even when she's not telling me she's disappointed in my disobedience to her wishes, she carries the long-suffering attitude that speaks without words. She prays. God will make me do it or punish me. I don't have to be away from her to live my own life. However, too nearby, her uncontrollable need to control would keep us in conflict that neither of us wants. As it is, she can use it to ruin every phone conversation before she gets off the phone. Last thing, after a pause just before goodbye, "I wish you would...." She knows I'm not ever going to do her biddings that have only to do with what she wants, no consideration of what I want in my own circumstances. I'm wrong. Whatever it is, I'm wrong. That's all there is to it. That's why the relentless repetition that never ends, the belief that browbeating will eventually take. It may be fifty years, but it's her duty never to stop trying. I call it beating her head against a brick wall, but it's her choice. I allow her to beat her head against the wall over not accepting my own decisions for myself that have nothing to do with her. Like me not going to church. It will only end the day one of us dies.

I don't see myself as one who wills the control of others. I know it has been in my unconscious past, but since I've become more or less conscious, since my life among country people of the Blue Ridge, I feel no need that I'm aware of to control anybody. I don't mean to imply the people in the mountains are free of human frailty. They would be the first to make it perfectly clear they are not examples of anything but just a man or just a woman. An urban friend visiting not long ago could not stop starting sentences with You would love... or You gotta see... or You needta get... to where my head was swimming from all his unconscious commands. I about felt like I needed to take notes to remember all that I needta, should, oughta, gotta do right now, not tomorrow. A few times I complained, "Stop telling me what to do. I'm not going to do any of it." Then I get lectured that I'm not willing to try something new that somebody who cares about me knows I will love. The only reply I had was, "That is a generalization from your mind that has nothing to do with me." I meant it too; it was something of an announcement that I'd heard enough unconscious commandments. There is nothing on television I want to see but the Sunday afternoon Nascar races. Even television news is of no interest to me. It's the entire mind of television I'm repelled by. Not to say the race is different. It's just that I like to watch cars race.

Also, he gave me lectures about being overly resistant to getting told what to do. I added that his unconscious talking just happens to be telling me what I'm to do in every other sentence. I'm expected to find somebody to let me come to their house to watch a tv show once a week they would never otherwise watch, a show I've never heard of. Because it's GREAT, I gotta see it! What if I don't want to see it? Not an option. I don't know what I like. Before he left, we had to have an argument about my super-sensitivity to being told what to do and his inability to talk without giving unconscious commandments. Yesterday in the coffee shop, sitting in peace working the word jumble puzzle in the Winston-Salem paper, I hear, "You're just the one I'm looking for." I said, "Oh good," a variant of Oh God! Seeing who it was, I knew it would be a long list of what I must do, oughta do, am expected to do and she'll be disappointed if I don't. What can I do? I sit and listen and we talk pleasantly. I'm not going to do any of it. It's in another town I don't care anything about driving to, especially for something I don't want to do anyway. I've tried being upfront, saying, in effect, I'm not going to follow your orders. A few months ago I told somebody who is an ongoing commercial after she'd told me about a place I MUST go and see, I wasn't interested, which pushed a button for in-my-face commandments. I think of that an unsuccessful experience. This is America---it doesn't matter what I say. So I listen, let them talk, enjoy the conversation and go my own way. I know their attention is not on me, but on their own agendas, patting themselves on the back for doing their duty as good missionaries. A Brownie point in Heaven toward the pink Cadillac convertible to drive around on the streets paved with gold.


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