Hi there. Harriet G. Lerner (one of my favorite women, psychologists and authors) once said in a note to me: “change is the only thing we can count on for sure”–and she is absolutely right.
I was born in l963, graduated high school in ’81, and always believed I should have been born during the “hippy” revolution; hence I seemed and felt just a wee bit at odds most of my life, feeling somewhat out of place. I love the 70’s music for it’s revolutionary, universal and social themes; love the clothes of the late 60’s; and although I never did the drug scene of the hippy (smoked pot a few times in my 20’s) I believe in the revolution they began back then. Needless to say I am a member of “Grandparents for Bernie” and voted for Hillary Clinton November 2016.
Despite this seeming liberal bent, I have spent most of my life fighting against changes; hated all the moving around we did in my childhood; disliked leaving my small protective and secure Tennessee high school –I even wrote a poem my Senior year entitled, “Just One More Year.” I like to consider myself progressive and forward-thinking now, but I have had my moments of being the absolute opposite! In l984, I voted for Ronald Reagan in my first Presidential vote. In l987, I clapped loudly at a Michael Dukkakis rally near Nashville while holding my 1-year old daughter and standing beside my Republican young executive husband. But in l992, the moralistic me voted for George Bush at the last minute …namely because of Gennifer Flowers!
So why am I writing this Blog? Because I have been an object, a subject, and am determined to tell my life story as it has been and is thought, felt, and lived … by me. This is written almost exclusively for my children and granddaughter. You see, long ago, while still in college, I pondered the split in women between the “Madonna” the perfect wife and perfect mother and “The Whore” –the Wild Woman and inadequate spouse and mother. That split, that dichotomy has lived simultaneously within me for decades, and I have battled them more than once!
The title of this Blog was changed from “Looking Glass Deb”, a reference to Alice in Wonderland. A chaotic children’s tale that, if read as allegory, speaks to the split within us and the question we could ask ourselves, “who am I?” –what is my identity exactly? Alice questions who she is– Is she the wild woman descending into the world of anarchy or the Victorian “angel in the house?” — the Whore or Madonna? Alice in Wonderland is a world of chaos found down the Rabbit Hole and reflects the the tension between remaining growing up and remaining a child.
Some of you may know parts of my story, but few know it all.
A little context might be helpful at this point: I lost my Daddy at the tender age of 4 when innocently in love with him as my Ever~after Prince. Childhood sexual abuse, relocation, a home of domestic violence, and extreme dysfunction kindly characterizes my childhood throughout the Southeast with my mother, brother, and stepfather of my school years. They changed my name when I entered first grade to “Everett;” but it was was legally Sheffield all those years, so they could retain the survivor benefit checks. But all my classmates knew me by my stepfather’s last name. I wasn’t chubby as a child, but neither was I Twiggy thin. By adolescence, I was bulemic, taking speed my Senior year in high school to stay thin, or starving myself to be pretty. I married UP at the age of 22 and left behind my Southern Baptist upbringing, learned to emulate my mother-in-law and drink dry white wine; adopted the “rich” dream of my Mother- in- Law, of a French Provencial house in Nashville, a gold Rolex, and red convertible Mercedes Benz.
In actuality, that new dream did not jive with my desire to be a missionary as a teen; and later, to join the Peace Corps when a college Freshman. A tension formed, one that would not crux until I was 28 years old and in the throes of either a major mental crises or conciousness awakening–either way, I landed badly in a Psych ward in Topeka, KS for 2 weeks and into the world of mental illness with a Bipolar Diagnosis; a diagnosis I still live with today almost 25 years later!
Anarchy and a life of strict bourgeoisie conformity defy one another, indeed but are not the only choices allowed these days!
This blog is about my story of struggle, but also about a triumph of coming into myself so that I no longer fear changes, have come a long way from molding myself to please a powerful mother-in-law, and know that I am a descent human being and woman even if I rarely don the church-doors, even if my idea of God and church has evolved much, and even if my perception and sense of discernment have sharpened while in the hell of mental illness and the morbid obesity that has taken so much of my life away and altered the course of it forever!
The juxtaposition and tension between the life of chaos, exploration, youth and my life of ordered conformity, rules, and convention clashed in l992, perhaps even as early as l991. My life as a morbidly obese woman, beginning not long after that, has been crippling, throwing me into despairs from which I never dream I will emerge. Yet, today, I say that in all this…I have learned much.; and the prospect of allowing and embracing change is less frightening!
Recently, I texted my son and said: Life has been unusually cruel and harsh for far too long, but I find myself feeling fortunate these days…
This blog does not begin at my birth almost 53 years ago; rather it begins today in the aftermath of harsh life that has been defeating and difficult at times. Rather than waiting for my Daddy~~ or any other Prince, to rescue me and make it all better;..I gladly accept the responsibility for making it better, for changing my life. This obesity is a formidable foe, but i continue to fight.
More later about how I am doing just that…