Since the start of February, I've been eating only about 600 calories a day, which consists of pretty much nothing but one or two yams a day in one meal at the end of the day. The idea is to do this for two weeks to change the gut bacteria and burn the fat. I think I've lost about a dozen or so pounds so far. This morning I weighed about 254 pounds. I'm down from around 270 pounds a few months ago, and from around 290 pounds a year ago.
Friday morning I called Jackie, just wanting to see how she is doing. She had posted a link on Facebook to an article about epigenetics, rats and the effects of high nurture vs low nurture on development. She had mentioned that the results seem to support the same conclusions that Pete Gerlach is teaching. She and I talked about what we are learning. Jackie is listening to Gerlach in the car in the mornings. She mentioned that it "opens her up," but that this can be hard because it brings up memories of painful things. I told her that this is the idea. We have to learn to handle the damage and the ineffective ways of dealing with life and relationships that our parents taught us. I started thinking about what I had been learning and how Crystal and I had made so many mistakes in raising Shannon and her. She started pointing out that it was to my credit that most of the issues she was considering involved things with her mother. I pointed out that this was not the most relevant point. She was defending me and I did plenty to cause her childhood traumas and she should not ignore that. Considering that, all the things I could have done better when my daughters were little, had I only known and managed to have internalized what I am learning and internalizing now, made me sad. It was a wave of sorrow that swept over me and made my eyes water. We talked for a bit longer, until Jackie was pulling into the parking lot at her job. Shortly after that, I wrote a text message to Laurel on Skype:
I was talking to Jackie on the phone this morning as she was driving to work. We weren't talking about anything heavy or contentious. I started feeling so sad. I felt it somewhere in my torso (it's hard for me to localize this stuff like you do!) and in my head, which is not to say that I was just thinking it — I was feeling it — in my head, like a tension headache coming on. It made me cry. Guilt? Shame? Anxiety? I don't know, exactly, but I know in what it is rooted: I've been doing SO much wrong. Still feeling sorry for myself, too. I'm afraid if my daughters figure stuff out before I do they'll be too angry and not want to talk to me. Irrational fear? Jackie still defends me in favor of telling me that her mother is "more of the problem."
Laurel was off-line and probably still sleeping. We had stayed up talking on Skype the night before. After that, I got ready and hit the road for work.
On the commute I was reflecting on the conversation with Jackie. I had been thinking of things I now know that I did very wrong and how they have hurt my daughters and I was awash in sorrow over that. I was trying to get a handle on where that sadness was originating in me. Of course, it receded and ebbed, shortly after the conversation with Jackie was over, but thinking about it in the car was starting to bring it up anew. I was thinking that I didn't know if Jackie could tell I was leaking while we were talking, but I was, and I could feel it in my voice. She didn't say.
Anyway, I was reflecting on this and I started thinking about the first time Crystal and I ever gave Jackie a time out. This is a confession, not a boast. It shames me. We told her that she had to leave the room and go over by the wall for a few minutes. Jackie balked, of course. The understanding between she and us had broken down significantly before we decreed that she needed to do time out. Crystal was getting frustrated, and seemed to be floundering around and yelling at Jackie (we were/are non-spankers, but sadly, not verbally empathetic as often as we should have been) and I didn't want Crystal to decide that maybe spanking was the only way to address the problem, so I took Jackie by the hand and lead her out to the hall and stood there with her, holding her hand up, in mine, so she couldn't leave, until her "time" had expired. She was angry and frustrated and crying, and trying to pull away, and there I was not connecting, not engaging with empathy, no curiosity, not present for her. So awful. So very awful. I wrote Laurel an email from work, explaining what was going on in my thoughts in the car that morning. I told her: "It's making me wet-eyed, sitting here at work, typing this, which is pretty remarkable." I continued:
I was thinking about her being angry, frustrated, perhaps scared, even. We weren't listening. I got to thinking how I understood what she must have been experiencing and feeling all those years ago because I remember how it sometimes was when I had been punished as a child. I was forbidden from acting out and lashing out physically and breaking things or of being loud or yelling, on pain of additional "correction," but my parents didn't mind if I went away and "dealt with things quietly". I remembered being in my room on more than one occasion and screaming into my pillows and crying. I could feel that rage, with my face red and my head, full of my pounding blood, feeling like if I just screamed a little harder, it would explode into pieces. Sheesh! Of course Binkley is angry. Of course he goes around with his "Howard Beale mask" on, raging about Tom Brokaw and the world situation, because big people are allowed to express their rage. In fact, Binkley was pissed because Brokaw was opining that Edward Snowden return to the U.S. and face the charges against him, even though what he did exposing the NSA was right. Of course Binkley was saying: "FUCK THAT SHIT!" Holy crap! It makes sense! My poor Jackie, I was teaching her to be a statist, and I didn't even understand what I was doing. ACK! I think I need to share this with her.