Whoohoo! I am okay. Went to the doc for my test results. Figured either way, she’d want to see me. I was dreading it. I knew the chances were low, I knew I had none of the signs, but after seeing C die slowly for years from colon cancer, I think I had reason to be concerned. Had a substitute doctor, actually. Mine was on holiday for a week. But she was very nice, and spoke very clearly. I did the entire appointment in Dutch, and am proud of myself for staying calm enough to use my language skills. I’ve a referral to a dietician. Ooo! Always saw dietician on those placards at the doctor’s office; physio down this hall, dietician down that one. Never been sent to a dietician before so I don’t know what to expect. All I do know is that no one’s gonna shove anything up my ass to ‘just take a look around’, nor will they make me swallow gross radioactive goo so my insides light up on an x-ray. And for me, that’s enough.
My bro took me shopping at the mall after my appointment. I noticed his sneakers are falling apart and I saw a sale advertised for cheap canvas shoes, so I suggested we go and take a look. Walked around the mall three times. My feet were sweating in my orthopedics, and by the time I came home I found I’d built up a blister on my pinkie toe (weird place to have a blister, and incredibly painful). I also did something else; the nail on my middle toe was bloody. Must have popped another blister or something. Not happy about that, but I’ll accept that my feet sweat a lot and in warmer weather I just can’t wear my specially built heavy leather shoes. We did not find shoes for T, nor sandals for me (nor anything other clothing to tempt either of us into spending a bit of cash), but we did raid the cheap DVD store and found a second hand copy of Blade Runner 2049 and bought some really cheap (€1,49 each) T-shirts to replace the worst ones in our collection.
Oh. And it was ten p.m. before I remembered to take my pill. *sigh* At least I remembered to take it…
Feels a bit like I’m on holiday. This huge, tilting weight that threatened to crash down on me just got moved out of my life. I don’t have to prevent myself from thinking about it because I’m okay. No more appointments to dread, no more tests to worry about.
I think I’ll find something extra special nice to do for myself this weekend. A little celebration, just for me. Yes. I deserve that. And I really want to emphasize the positive with myself: I faced my fears and went to the doc. I did not do what C did and just ignore it or pretend to myself it wasn’t happening. That’s the one thing that kept me moving forward: saying over and over to myself that I’m not my mother. I am stronger and braver than she ever was.
I am the woman my mother wanted to be.
…Whoa. Take a minute or two to absorb that.
Gods. Admitting that means I have to tip my hat to C for teaching me what she did. I grew up getting nagged over procrastination. C was on my ass for everything important, reminding me of deadlines and pushing me constantly. It’s made me into the nervous wreck I am today. And I’ve been damned angry at her for decades now, because it’s obvious to everyone she had signs of colon cancer for years and she chose to do nothing. She, a nurse and the family medical expert. She, who nagged me every day about procrastinating. She, who pulled the famous ‘do as I say, not as I do’ shit on me. But she never taught me the way she thought she was going to. She thought her nagging and constant harassment would make the difference to me. But she made the difference. I saw what she did, how she acted, and resolved to never be anything like her. So if she procrastinated on the medical side of things, I sure as fuck won’t.
…And I see it, now. I see how C pushed my Dad to take care of his diabetes and heart problems. I see how she cared for everyone as best she could except for herself. I see how worthless she felt. It was there, in every move, every word.
The difference between her and me is that I’m willing to admit to it. I’m willing to talk about it. I’m willing to own it.
But if a parent’s real wish is to have their children do better than they did, if a carer’s real desire is to make sure others don’t fall into traps and problems they’ve encountered… Well, my mother accomplished that on some level. She did not manage to convey a sense of self worth to me or my siblings. She did not manage to make us feel safe or loved. But her example – right up to the day she took her own life – has stood for all of us as…well, as the thing we measure ourselves against. My oldest brother calls my mother a coward for committing suicide. Or, he did that once then reverted to the lie that C died of colon cancer. My sister hated my mother for years, called her a martyr, and always argued with her. She desperately tries to not be our mother, but she does so with no understanding and thus is doomed to repeat a lot of C’s mistakes.
…Holy crap. I think I’m ready to let go of that measuring stick. I don’t need to compare myself to my mother anymore because I’ve already surpassed her.
I am more than what she was. I am braver, smarter, stronger, happier, calmer. I am, truly, the woman she wanted to be.