Thursday, January 20, 2011

Flu as an anxiety catalyst

I have been mad at my mom for as long as I can remember for her being timid. I thought she chose it and I caught it from her. Been scared all my life about just about everything. I'm past 50 now and it looks like this is the way I'm going to stay. Got quite a lot of little tricks to get through things. Speaking in public and skydiving are great exercises to help manage the day to day nonsense fears. Good habits can make up for much of the rest. But I struggle a lot with forgiveness. My dad's been gone now for a few years. Not much sense in it, but I think I do blame the both of them. Him and his silent rage and her and her silent fear. I think I got some money from them and a roof and stuff, but for the things you need to live, courage, curiosity, forgiveness, patience and the like, well, I have had to make that stuff up as I've gone along.

But I forget, as a child will, that his parents had parents too. And them their's, and on and on. Each lot makes up it's own rules.

For my mom's mom, it must have been rough. She was having her first child just as the flu was ravaging the world, since war killing looked like it wouldn't do the job. It must have been terrible to have a young child and worry about her with so much death and misery about. This was Venice in the early days. Abbot Kinney was still planting eucalyptus trees and figuring out the canals. And just maybe my mom's mom kinda passed on her worry to her daughter. Like a gift. "Here, Janey, something for you. A misery that I can not bear. A worry factory for you. Crank it up everyday till you forget it's even there. And feast on all the horrible things that might be. Let that be your fruit and pastry. Have Fear, and Misery, and Harrowing Tales for friends and masters."

"The Fastest Indian" gave me some of these thoughts. To the director, Roger Donaldson, I give my thanks. He wrote and had the lead character speak of the anxiety his mother had for him during that flu time in New Zealand, and it reminded me of my mom.

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