As a child, I thought that my mother was indestructible. The introduction to the idea that my mother would one day leave me was issued very early in my psychological development. Around that time, my first grandparent died. Mortality was being challenged all around me and not understanding the full consequences of death, I was very accepting of certain things. Of course, by acceptance, I mean escapism and avoidance.
I don't quite remember learning about my mother's brain tumor, nor do I remember how it was broken to me. I do, however, remember that her surgery happened in September as she was hospitalized during my brother's birthday.
My mother spent a lot of time with these searing headaches and after a scan, a tumor was located on the left side of her brain.
As I was so young, I didn't understand the gravity of the situation. It was possible that my mother could have never woken from such an invasive procedure. It was possible that she could have been paralyzed.
At my age now, I understand how incredibly lucky I was. There were a myriad of complications that could have occurred that I couldn't have possibly fathomed at six years old.
I did know that something was wrong. I must have, because I was obviously being distracted wherever I went. I would stay overnight at a friends house and they would keep me busy until they needed a break and then I would pop in the Chipmunk Adventure on their VCR and watch as Alvin and Brittney rock-battled in the Parthenon.
I remember visiting my mother in the hospital, seeing the staples in her head and being terrified. She tried very hard not to cry because she couldn't remember my name but she could feel that I was a part of her. She smiled and tried not to make me uncomfortable. The left side of her mouth didn't lift until the right was completely up, her lips pulling into an unintentional half grin. I tried not to be terrified. I knew that my mother was in there somewhere.
I had read so many stories, had thought up so many intricate plots where all I needed was to whisper a secret word and her memory of me would be recovered. After all, a kiss could wake a sleeping princess. A toy could become a real boy. Six chipmunks could go on a whirlwind balloon adventure.
I brought a book of fairy tales for my mother to read to me. I loved books. I loved stories. I loved to listen to my mother’s calm and steady tone, always speaking her words with conviction. She would never falter, never question the correct pronunciation. She would simply bring a tale to life. I had missed that every night I was without her.
So I shuffled around her bed and slid unto the space she had made for me. She smiled and asked me what I wanted her to read and I turned to Rapunzel. She started out slowly and shakily and then eventually stopped. I waited for her to continue and looked across the room at my father. His eyes were bloodshot from the increasing lack of sleep he had endured during my mother’s procedures.
A fresh set of tears formed in his eyes and I could swear I could feel him crying until I realized that the side of my face was wet. I looked up and my mother was silently crying. I asked her what was wrong and she admitted that she didn’t know what the next word was. I remember a choice swimming in my head – cry with her or be strong. I chose the latter and started reading to her.
I could feel her body relaxing next to mine as she let me continue reading. At six years old I felt the overwhelming urge to take care of my mother. Something inside me focused all of my energy on getting through the story and enjoying my time with my mother. There was time for tears on the ride home.
I believed that I needed to take care of my mother.
I just realized that it's not as much about me, but it's very indicative of how I live my life. I constantly worry about my parents (as they had me when they were older) and have put a lot of my life plans on hiatus.
I finally made the decision to make a change in my life by moving to Portland.
Honestly, the decision for me to move happened after the first Starfish Circus. I had split my West coast vacation between Portland, OR and Los Angeles, CA and was so happy when Greg and Dave announced SFC. Hell, I even dressed up like a fucking gryphon tamer for the show (corset and laughter? not a good mix).
After the show, we shuffled over to the speakeasy and I had a conversation with Greg (that he probably doesn't even remember) where I talked about things that I wanted to do. I said "I fucking loved Portland. I think I might want to live there" and his reply was "fuck it. Do it."
It was that blind endorsement that made me think "why the fuck not?"
So I have been trying to save up some money to get out there and have planned on moving this summer and now I'm starting to freak out. It doesn't help that my anal retentive dad has sent me a laundry list of things that he wants me to think about. Things that a simpleton would think of. It struck me that my father might believe that I'm an idiot.
Granted, my track record wasn't always great, and my past isn't something that I'm proud of... but I have tried so hard to rise above the shitwad that I was. It's a severe blow to my psyche to feel that instead of supporting me, my father is worried that I'm going to crash and burn.
I'm 28 years old and I still feel like a child. My entire life I have had my parents to fall back on. I think that's part of why I want to move so far away. Here, I feel like I constantly have to explain my tattoos, my lifestyle choices, my decisions. I shouldn't have to feel like I need my parent's stamp of approval for things but I get so stressed out thinking that I've done something they hated.
But I need to do this. I need to take all of this one step at a time. The step I need to take now is to stop this fucking panic attack that has been plaguing me for the past two hours.
I have succeeded in so many things in my life but all that is playing out in the forefront of my mind are the countless failures.
I'm worried that I won't have enough money to move then continue to push it back further and further. I have put all of the things that I have wanted to do on a backburner because of seemingly innocent comments from my parents. "You'll never make it on Broadway, so it'd be a waste of money to even try out for AMDA."
Don't get me wrong. I love my parents. There are so many wonderful things about them. Right now, my brain is negative and pointing out all of the things that I haven't done and attributing them to comments made by my family.
I will never sing on a stage in NY. I will never sing with a live band. I will never sell any of my stories. No one reads my site. I will never be happy.
fuck you panic attack. I'm going to prove you wrong, because I am a spiteful bitch and you're making my eyes water and my nose run.
Christ... Am I the first person to have a panic attack when introducing myself on these forums?