The back of my ankle was itching like crazy. I leaned over to scratch it and noticed that it was neon yellow. "Oh, my God!" - I thought, - "It's going to fall off any minute now!"
Then I realized that the tumeric compress, that I used to ease pain in my sorry appendage, colored it the hue of an Easter egg. Tumeric is the spice that goes into curry or mustard and gives them the intense orange color. It also helps with inflammation and pain.
My relief was short lived. I was sitting at the Al Anon meeting with seven other people all around me, but I looked at myself and realized that I was not prepared to be in public. Sure, Mr. P. would say that, I was "externally oriented", but I noticed the incredulous looks that he threw my way! You see, I was going to just meet with Doris, give her some stuff to bring to different people at the meeting and go home. My sweater was covered in cat hair,
I didn't take a shower that day and, like I said, my ankle was shining yellow. Unfortunately, I didn't think of all that when I decided to be a hero and go to a meeting, after all!
Externally oriented or not, I was getting some heavy ammunition that evening for my emotional recovery . We read and spoke about the fact that, even though we might blame someone else for our emotional scars, we must also look at our own character and behavior. I listened to people share and thought of the years of my life when the only topic of conversation from my side was Taka's misdeeds. I could talk about it for hours and repeat all the same content to the same person the very next time we talked. People started to tell me: "Dina, what's the matter? You look miserable!" I reveled in their affirmation of my state as a victim and blamed Taka for it.
A few years passed, and I began to hear Taka complain about the same things that I accused him. That gave me a pause. It couldn't be a coincidence! What was going on here?
Even though I didn't meet with a counselor or a therapist at that time, things that Taka said, as well as my own realizations, began to sink in. I suddenly understood the fallacy of my position. "Victim-hood is a choice, not a destiny!" - someone said. We came to our marriage not only from two very different cultures, but with two very different mindsets. As long as we didn't adjust our expectations, we could not start to accept each other. Some things are non-negotiable, of course, like taking care and being kind to another person when they are sick (he) or taking responsibility for one's spending habits (and here I'm talking about myself). Being strong and of good cheer, though, is a question of personal growth! Who owes us anything in this world or, for that matter, in the next one ?
OK, enough ranting! The good news is: we are doing better. We didn't have any disgusting fights or falling out in a long time. Taka is making effort to be kind and understanding (from the level where he is it, will have to be an epic effort!). I am striving to be more disciplined in my spending and responsibilities in the family (it's an epic struggle for me too). I also try to feel closer to Taka and let him know that I am trying.