Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I grew up in a strange world.  From parents older than those of most my friends, I was born with three sisters (from my father's first marriage) I never knew, and one (from my mother's first marriage) who was married and gone by the time I was four.  One of my father's set I've still never met, in spite of her relatively close proximity, a mere 250 miles.  Her choice more than mine, though I've never pushed in the slightest for a meeting.

So I was a lone child with considerably older parents than my peers.  Compound the strangeness of that with the lifestyle we led due to my father's work.  See, I grew up traveling the world, moving, on average, every three months.  I never knew what my father did for work beyond a very vague "electrical engineer" or "he works for the government," which was another element that made it difficult for me to fit in with the "normal" child's world.  It wasn't until I had ready access to the Internet that I could finally plug in all the information I had...places, dates, whispered and cryptic references to dad's work...and deduce that he did covert work for our government.  I don't believe he was ever involved in black ops, and almost certainly not in wet work of any kind.  Rather, he worked on the electrical installations of various bases and facilities.  Curious...I actually know more than I'm saying, but all those years of "We don't discuss your father's work" and my father refusing to talk (even in the deepest throes of senile dementia, the integrity of his wall of secrecy remained unbreachable) have apparently made me unable to speak openly...makes my gut tighten to consider the idea.

By the time I was eight, I had lived on every continent but one - Antarctica, and most of that time had either been taught by governesses or simply by reading books and observing the world around me.  When we returned permanently to the States, I had almost nothing in common with other children.  I remember clearly trying to grasp who sports figures, or movie and music celebrities were, with very little success.  Unlike the kids I was finally, actually going to school with, I had been given unlimited access to reading materials, which meant I had zero knowledge of Bobbsie Twins or Nancy Drew, but an extensive repertoire of English children's fiction from the Edwardian period.  Librarians loathed me because I read at a level they were simply not prepared to allow.  My mother had a massive fight over one librarian's refusal to allow me to check out The Last of the Mohicans at age 8, insisting that I was "too young" and therefore "incapable of understanding" the book.  My mother was outraged; I just moved on to other books.  Caring about what other people said I could or couldn't do really wasn't worthy of my consideration until I hit my forties.

On top of all this artificial aging (truly, I was a 40 year old in a 6 year old's body), my parents, both children of physically and emotionally abusive parents (not my paternal grandmother - SHE was a peach), were given an exclusive, all-access 24x7 pass to my isolated little psyche, and they wrecked havoc.

All of this background is simply to give you some understanding of how thoroughly I have never fit into the society around me, and is the crux of the question with which I am currently grappling, desperately trying to find some answer that will smooth my ragged edges; sooth the terrible pain I suffer all. the. time.  Here is my question:

Is it possible for someone to simply be born utterly unlovable? 

Blaming my parents has been a convenient way to deal with my pain for decades, but maybe it's the wrong approach.  After all, at this point the problem is mine, and mine alone.  Maybe I am simply unlovable.  Maybe I was born that way.  Maybe there really IS absolutely no hope.  I don't know.  I just keep trying to find an answer that will allow me to unclench and eventually to love myself a bit.  I'd like to love myself.  If possible.  And therein lies most of my hope and most of my despair.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Long, Strange Trip

My best friend and I are in a rough patch, and one of the things 
she said yesterday was that she was worried about me because I 
am "obsessed with death." I was taken aback, because I don't see 
myself obsessed with death at all, and because I've always 
been obsessed with death. And there you have perhaps the perfect 
description of my strangely dichotomous being. 

I have more death-related memories than any other set except for 
those involving light and pattern.  A large part of that is probably 
due to growing up as I did, traveling the world, experiencing the 
world in a more adult way than most children.  So AM I obsessed 
with death? Perhaps with the paraphernalia and trappings thereof, 
but not with death itself. 

In the past 9 months, seven friends, five of them extremely close
at one time of my life or another, have died. My closest friend on 
the planet for the past 25+ years, my closest friend in high school, 
the boy who gave me the greatest kiss of the last 45 years, 
another dear, dear friend from high school, and a friend from 
another time, another place...all suddenly gone, far, far too soon. 
And yes, losing your friends makes you think about your own 

And so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut said. Life is strangely 
long, and short, both simultaneously. I have begun to wonder, as 
my father did fairly constantly toward the end of 96 years, "how 
long is this going to go on?"  Will I, like him, be the last one 
standing?  Do I have to watch everyone I know and love fall off the 
earth?  How did my father endure the loss?  How will I?  But endure 
I will, for I have little choice, really.  As often as I've contemplated 
it, suicide is not an option.  No, I'll go on, and I will do my best to 
enjoy life for all those friends who die before me. One aspect of 
the recent losses I find comforting is the sense that all those friends are at my elbow whenever I need them, lending me their love.  And that's a very nice feeling.