Not Ashamed.

I can feel that my hormones are weirding out on me. It’s been over a year, now, since my surgery. I wonder if, at some point, this crap will stop. I’ve been through it enough that I recognize the tiny nuances when they’ve barely started. Today it’s a headache and my body temperature — one minute I’m hot, with beads of sweat between my breasts. The next minute I’m shivery cold, checking the thermostat on the wall because I’m certain a cold breeze has somehow made it through the walls. I hope tonight isn’t going to be filled with hot flashes. It’s so draining on me when my body does this to me. I took a hot bath tonight for awhile after I got home from work, sometimes that helps.

Last night, I was working with my Great Aunt Edith’s photographs again, also known as the “scanning project”. I ran across some school looking type pictures. By the names written on them, I knew they weren’t family, so I figured they must have been friends of hers. Their ages were written on the pictures, the dad was 32, the mom was 28 and the two boys were 7 and 6. The pictures were taken in 1973. I wondered about their story, how they knew Edith. I ran an Internet search and I found someone who I thought might be the person in the picture. I e-mailed her around midnight last night and she replied today, as follows:

“My husband and I bought the 15 acre ranch in 1970 from your great aunt and her first husband. We carried on the fuchsia nursery which she had had there. We remained friends and, after her first husband died, we met her second husband and visited them at their home in the foothills several times. Our boys are 38 and 39 now, so time flies.”

Edith at her fuschia farm …

There was more to the e-mail, but I closed my browser window. As I sat in the tub after reading that email, I just let my mind wander as it may. One thought that popped in my head was “I’m proud of where I came from.” I grabbed hold of that thought and examined it. I’ve learned that sometimes the biggest keys I can turn in my brain come from the internal dialogue that I have with myself. As I examined that thought, I realized that tonight is the first time I’ve ever really felt that way. It’s been a two year journey to get to this point.

When I took the trip back to my childhood state last July, I realized that my parents moved to the country because they wanted us to have acreage to play on and tons of animals to love. I had always thought the reason we moved there was because we were poor. I realized, after seeing the house that we moved from, that we weren’t poor until my dad chose to spend his paycheck on alcohol instead of his family. I also realized that his decision to do that is in no way my fault (classic ACOA). My mom did what she had to do to protect herself and her kids. That doesn’t make my dad someone I need to be ashamed of. That doesn’t make my mom a hero. It makes them human beings who made decisions and who did what they had to do to survive. These are things I’ve known all my life, but last year I understood them. Seeing where I came from made it real.

My dad is gone now, has been since 2000. I’ve chosen to reconnect with his side of the family. I’ve made two trips to visit my aunt (his sister) in the last two years. When I visited her last September, I came home with Edith’s pictures. The pictures she took throughout her life that meant so much to her. She meant so much to me, she passed away when I was 23. So I treasure having the opportunity to get to know her better through the things and people she loved enough to keep their pictures.

I think it’s interesting that I’m learning to love myself through getting to know where I came from. My dad was a hard worker, he tried, but alcohol was stronger than him. My mom is a determined, compassionate, joyful, loving person. Every single person in my family, my grandmothers, my grandpa, every person in my direct lineage — they’ve been determined, independent, hard working, smart people. They made their own way in this world, they never mooched off of anyone. When they were down, they still managed to move forward, one step at a time.

Edith …

I will get through this hormone crap. I will move on with my life. And, someday, when I’ve been gone 11 years … maybe my grandniece will look through my pictures and get inspiration from them.

I hope so.

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27 Comments

Filed under Health/Endo, I have Family, Who I am, Women Before Me

27 responses to “Not Ashamed.

  1. Tony

    :mrgreen:YES!!!!!!!!!!! I am first…I beat grace…hehehehehe

  2. Tony

    I will be there to help you in any way I can, I love you sweetie, XXOXOXOXOXO

  3. How come the only thing I got from this post, is you have voices in your head.. πŸ˜†

  4. Just kidding. I understand the dad thing. I also dealt with a father that spent his money on the demon drink.

  5. Your Aunt Edith is very beautiful. What an extrordinary picture. I’m sure she smiles down on you and holds you close. Hormones are a bitch. I was having some issues back in 2000 to 2002 with night sweats and mood swings (more than normal). The doc’s put me on hormones and I ended up on the hospital from a blood clot in my lung after a month of taking them. I haven’t been on them since. I just deal. Hang in there and becareful. take time for yourself to relax. πŸ™‚

  6. Sometimes talking to yourself is the only way to get a decent conversation….. hope you feel better soon.

  7. Hey Hon, as my good friend Hazel would say, this too shall pass.
    The first step is recognizing the predicament. I have the mood swings, not for exactly the same reasons but close and I always know when it’s coming and I’m regretful afterwards but I never recognize it when I am in a full blown fit. My kids now know that I have 1-2 days a month that I am just a weepy bitch and the best thing to do is stay away from me or at least let me win at cribbage. hehe.
    A nice leisurely bath is very good therapy and a long walk also helps. Take care love, Boo

  8. Hey Hon, as my good friend Hazel would say “this too shall pass”.
    I have the mood swings too, not for the same reasons exactly, but close. Recognizing the predicament is the first step in dealing with it. I know when I’m going to be moody and I’m regretful afterwards but I just don’t recognize that day or so that I’m a weepy bitch when I’m actually in it. My kids have learned to just saty away from me that day or so or at least let me win at cribbage.
    A nice leisurely bath is very therapeutic, long walks help work out the kinks too. Hope today is better for you. πŸ˜‰

  9. I hope you feel better soon.

  10. Caryl

    What an absolutely interesting posting. And the picture is actually a mirror reflection, fantastic and professional.

    I am thrilled for connections you’ve made with your Daddy’s family, and there are more to pursue if you want.

  11. Thou shalt not make Nanner cry in the morning!!! My dear West Coast twin… I also have a great-aunt named Edith!! I am also very proud of where I came from. The pioneers, the war heroes, the war deserters, the alcoholics, the ministers… they helped shape, not just my life, but our very country. You inspire me so much. I’ll see if I can work up any magick with those hormones… πŸ˜‰

  12. Why can’t I post a comment??? :cry::cry::cry:
    I tried twice this morning. Well, if this comes through…Good Morning Jammie. This too shall pass.

  13. cris

    wow jammie, that was really deep, and insightful. i notice that when we look back we see things that wasn’t apparent when we were young.

  14. I agree with RedFred, sometimes, the only one that understands a thing I have to say is me, wait, that’s all the time. πŸ˜‰

  15. What a lovely post. Really, seriously, mean it!
    Now, about that grandniece of yours… what do you think she will think of you once she gets a load of crazy hair photos? πŸ˜†
    Chin up my friend! Here’s to hoping for perfect body temps all weekend long!
    Lois Lane

  16. Well, with your blog, your grankids will have plenty to reminisce about you. They’ll get to see, not only your memories, but see all the people who care about you. Ain’t technology grand?

  17. guess tony wins the earlicking for today 😦

    what an interesting post… love that picture, too…

    hope that you feel better soon… πŸ™‚

    xox, g

  18. Nicely done, dearie. Good post. All the good stuff and all the crap go into making us the unique whatsits that we are.

    Have a good weekend!

  19. No worries beth, the grandkids will get to read some of her friends comments twice!

  20. Oh btw I notice you said Grandkids, where as Jammie said Grandniece….. freudian slip?

  21. Jammie J.

    Tony, *gives big smooch for first comment award* I love you, too. XOXO

    Trashman, because your voices got quiet enough to notice something external? πŸ˜†

    I know you understand what I’m saying here. It’s weird how it affects a person, isn’t it?

    HarleyQuinn, Isn’t she lovely? She was so beautiful, not only on the outside, but her personality, too. I wish she was still here to talk to. She always made me feel so special as a teenager.

    What a scary story about the hormones. 😯 I take dong quai, which helps a lot, but I missed a dose the previous day. 😦

    RedFred, Internal dialogue is different than talking to yourself. The imagery of me sitting in the tub, naked, talking to myself is just wrong. πŸ™‚

    Boohunch, I’ve learned that I have to pay attention to even the smallest sign. Too many years of NOT knowing and thinking I just don’t manage my stress well. Stupid doctors. Thank you for commiserating with me. (hug) I’m just taking lots of ibuprofen today, my head still hurts!

    Optforsoldier, thanks. If the headache would go away, that’d be great.

    Mom, I love that picture of her. She looks so determined and focused.

    Inanna, It’s good to be proud of where you came from. It’s makes the shoulders go back a bit. πŸ™‚ (sigh)

    Boohunch, Thanks for your kind words. I’m sorry you had trouble posting. 😦 If it does that to you again, tell me to check my “filtered” comments. They got stuck there for some reason. Stupid filter.

    Cris, Looking back as an adult has enabled me to see why, as an adult, my mom had to make those decisions. Things I never really understood, things we just didn’t talk about. Not that it was taboo, but more that my mom didn’t know we should be talking about them.

    Angi, Oh, I know. You and I have talked about the arguments we have sometimes with people we’re mad at. Except we’re all alone while we do it. πŸ˜‰

    Lois Lane, thanks for the compliment. About that Crazy Hair? Well, if she’s old enough, she’ll understand. πŸ˜‰

    Beth, I don’t know if future generations will find my blog all that interesting. I was thinking just the pictures. Hrm.

    Grace, Tony got a smooch, not an earlicking. Well, maybe an earlicking, but I’m not telling. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you enjoyed the post. How’s your day off going? xox

    Beth, Stupid computer.

    Nina, Thanks … yeah, it all makes us who we are. The good and bad. The downs and the ups. The moving forward and the standing still and listening. I hope you have a good weekend, too.

    RedFred, πŸ˜†

  22. Wow. It’s interesting that this is the first post I’ve read of yours. I almost lost my daddy to the drink. Thankfully, he managed to turn himself around. We also grew up in a small house with a crummy car. I just never knew that Dad’s money went not to those, but to family vacation. I spent my youth going all over the place, and I’m grateful that my folks decided to put their money there.

    I’m kind of pleased to see that my life is following the same lines. Loner and I just bought a place in the sticks. It means that I commute for over an hour each way, but we have a few acres and a creek running through the yard, and two little boys who need big yards and creeks.

    Your writing is touching. I look forward to seeing more.

  23. wow, a sweet soul searching post, I hope that you will be OK , it’s always intersting to learn where we come from, well to me at least, I know very little about my families though, I wish i knew more really….

    have a good weekend hon~!!!

  24. astroknight

    WooHoo! I’m #26! Now I better go back and start reading! :mrgreen:

  25. astroknight

    Very nicely said, Jammie. It’s amazing the things one learns if you listen to what the voices in your head are saying… :shock::wink::mrgreen:

  26. Jammie J.

    Patty, Did your dad turn himself around by himself or did he get support? It sounds like you and Loner have your priorities straight. And, the property sounds beautiful. You’ll have to put a picture of the creek up to see. πŸ™‚

    Seven, if it’s possible to learn where you came from, it’s always interesting. Edith’s brother, John, is helping me with identifying the pictures, he’s getting older these days, so I’m feeding the pictures to him as fast as I can. πŸ™‚

    Astroknight, you’re hilarious. And you should always pay attention to the voices. πŸ˜†

  27. My Dad had help, of a kind. Mom told him that, if he didn’t stop, she was taking the kids and leaving. I never knew any of this until years later. Apparently, my dad knelt down and prayed his guts out that night, asking God to take the cravings away. It worked. The same approach hasn’t helped me kick the tobacco thing, but maybe that’s because there isn’t as dire a need.

    Yes, I will definitely be getting some great shots of the yard this week. Everything is coming into bloom, and the previous owners loved to plant. Loner is in ecstasy, running around and trying to figure out what each newly-blooming plant is.