5:28 PM - 11.17.15
(Just finished the latest episode of Fargo. If you watch it, you'll see a prime example of the kind of work I'd like to be doing. But anyway...)
I believe I said it had "helped", in my last entry, to have talked to a number of people about Thursday's shoot. And it did - I'd certainly say I'm better off now than I was Thursday night, when I was a blubbering mess.
But as my therapist predicted, after Thursday, waves of "bad feelings" would wash over me at unexpected moments (Turns out, this guy is pretty damned good - He also basically predicted I'd have a bad time after doing the scene, while I was still holding on to my "It'll be like skydiving" analogy, a scary thing I'd feel good about "after the fact". And I still think that might be the case...just, clearly, "somewhere down the road" instead of in the here-and-now).
I think I've "shot my wad", so to speak, regarding getting aid and comfort from my friends and family about this - Feels like, moving forward, any residual angst needs to be reserved for my therapist, and this journal (As, outside of that sphere, I craft the event into a funny story, a thing that happened because sometimes actors just have to do weird, uncomfortable shit).
Even as this kind of continues to be a "thing", it's no longer the only thing on my mind...
One thing I didn't mention about my recent conversation with Tony is that he said our Mom has started to "lose it" mentally, that she's herself a good 90% of the time, but then she veers off on some strange tangent in conversations, or deep dives into the past while being fuzzy in the present.
It was a sad thing to hear, in a general sense, because I don't like to think about anyone losing their faculties (It's always struck me as a cruel thing)...but I definitely had a selfish, self-pitying moment (I've been having a lot of those moments lately) where I thought, "Okay, now I'm really never going to get anything out of her...".
And that's an interesting thought, because 1. I don't think I was ever "going to get anything out of her" anyway, and 2. what exactly was the "anything" I was hoping to get?
She can't tell me anything about myself, because, beyond my life as an infant, she doesn't know me (And I already know the basic parameters of that time from reading my case file).
And she's spent a lifetime "putting her past behind her" - I've known her for three years now, and I don't think I've gotten a single letter that, after writing about the day-to-day minutiae of her life, hasn't said, "I don't really have much to write about" (To which I always wanted to write back "Are you fucking serious? You've got 50 years you can catch me up on, if nothing else...!") - so it's never seemed likely she was going to open her heart and soul to me, or even tell me about her past in any great detail.
So hearing that she's starting to slide into dementia was sad to hear, but I don't really think it means "Now something that was going to happen..." - I was going to gain some knowledge of myself, or feel a bond with her as we "opened up" to each other - "...is never going to happen".
Though it does kind of suck to think, "By the time I get back to visit, will she even know me?" (Gregg threw out the idea of my coming back in the summer, when he's hopefully healthy again, for long enough that we can spend some time in Martinsburg, visiting our respective families. But who knows what could happen between now and then?).
Again, it strikes me that I worry, and worry a lot...but still never manage to get it right - I was thinking she might die before I could get back to visit, but for some reason, I never considered that due to Alzheimer's (Or whatever's going on with her now), she might just...slowly...disappear.
Tony did say one thing that does constitute "getting something from my mother" - He told me that she's very proud of me, impressed that she has a son who's a successful actor (I was tempted to put "successful actor" in quotes just now, but she's seen me on TV, so I'm successful, no "quotes" needed).
That was always something I desired, the knowledge that, if my mother knew me, she'd like me, or "be proud of me".
And because she perceives me as successful, it eases her mind a bit about her past, at least that piece of her past - I didn't come back into her life like Chuck, my older brother (An alcoholic, ex-con, drug addict, who only shows up when he needs money), so it perhaps gives her some solace that not every decision she made when she was young turned to shit.
Which is why I can't "unburden myself to her", even if it's without blame or anger (And I can't guarantee there aren't at least residual feelings of "blame and anger" lurking in my tortured psyche) - what's the point of telling her that, in my own opinion, I'm not a success and my life hasn't worked out? That, contrary to what she may now be thinking, all the decisions she made when she was young did turn to shit?
She's had a hard life - I think she should get to feel like some things worked out (Tony's a good guy, his wife Lori is a sweetheart, she has two grandchildren, and if she wants to think I "turned out okay", she should get to have that).
I don't feel a compelling need to snatch that away from her.
Clearly, I know less about "Dad" than I do about Mom, but a not-completely-happy thought struck me when I visited Gregg and heard his memories of the man - "I've definitely got some of that DNA..." - A funny, fun guy, who's capable of great anger and violence.
The differences? I don't really drink anymore (And I never did the way he did), and I've turned that "anger and violence" inward, for the most part, instead of making the rest of the world pay for my internal turmoil.
So, I may not be terribly impressed with what I've done with my life, or how things have worked out...but I'm clearly morally superior to that piece-of-shit.
Tues 11/17/15 (4:30 pm)
Had my weekly therapy session today...
A big takeaway from therapy at this point is that there's a world of difference between intellectually "understanding" how I feel, and actually feeling how I feel.
I've never been comfortable with my feelings. They've always been "too much for me", they've always felt too powerful - I've always felt too angry, or too sad, or too frustrated - and I've never known how to effectively "deal with it" (I think that was one of the appeals of acting - It seemed like a way to use all this overwhelming "stuff" that was bouncing around inside me to good effect).
As a result, I think two things happened - 1. I tried to live my life in a way that those "overwhelming feelings" could be avoided, and 2. When they came up, I became very "intellectual" and "analytical" about them, partly because I'm really smart, and I genuinely wanted to understand and "work through things" (And I was all I had), and partly because I wanted to "keep them at a distance".
So now, in therapy, I'm having to actually feel things I mostly only talk about feeling, emotions I know I'm feeling, but that I study, and analyze, like specimens under the microscope, in order to "figure them out", and to "manage" them.
But I haven't "managed" anything - If I had, I wouldn't be where I am. All I've "figured out" is I've spent a lifetime trying to keep what felt "uncontrollable" under control, which has left me with no energy or ability to do much else.
(Is it weird, that the professional actor really isn't comfortable with emotions? Cause it seems weird to me...but here we are.)
So that seems like "the work of therapy" going forward - to work on actually "feeling what I'm feeling", without killing myself or anyone else in the process.
As I sometimes like to say, "It will be interesting to see what happens"...to say the least.
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