Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My family tree has cuckoos living it it

I have spoken regularly of coming from can-do people, specifically can-do women. What I speak of less often, is that I also come from crazy people. Specifically, crazy women.

The craziness varies. We have kooky, charming crazy in the form of my Auntie Melba. Melba was divorced from her husband Angleo, but I didn't know that until I was nine because he was always around. Even though he re-married, Melba and Angelo spoke regularly and he was a regular visitor when she was in the hospital at the end of her life. They did have a son together, but their relationship went farther than co-parents. I've been told Angelo said she was the love of his life but she was too crazy to live with.

Melba lived on her own with a rotating cast of wacky, yappy little dogs and had a number of men friends in her life. None of them moved in and she didn't re-marry. She could grow any plant she wanted, including pot for her friend across the street. She had her own personal strain of tomatoes she'd created through cross-pollination, which she did by hand, monk-style. I understand she stimulated the plant stamens with her vibrator.

When you dropped her off at home after family get-togethers, she go inside to get some random thing to give to you. I once got a really nice nightgown with the tags still on it, when I showed it to my mother, my mom informed me she'd given the nightgown to my aunt as a birthday present ten years before. When I saw the movie "Home for the Holidays" I insisted that Geraldine Chaplin's character was based on my Auntie Melba.

Then, we have scary crazy, this would be my first cousin, a diagnosed schizophrenic who plays fast and loose with her meds. Every so often she has an episode and end up in the hospital. While my cousin is married, she's divorced her husband and moved into the guest house on their property. Her twelve year old son makes sure she has groceries and tries to make sure she takes her meds. It's a sorry situation all around.

Further contributing to her craziness is the fact that she hooked up with a hypnotist a number of years ago who specializes in uncovering repressed memories. My cousin 'recovered' memories of being molested by our grandfather. This made the rest of the family say 'Whhaaaaaaa?" I don't want to come right out and tell her that didn't happen, but....... It didn't happen to my mother. It didn't happen to me. It didn't happen to the other girl cousins who regularly spent the night at my grandparent's house. It hasn't happened to any of the other granddaughters. The chances of just my cousin being abused are very slim.

I understand that if she thinks it happened the trauma to her soul is the same. But she doesn't go to a therapist to deal with it, she acts out and then says she did it because of what grandpa did to her. Her latest episode involved her purposeful overdose, a 911 call to report her own overdose and a three day hospital stay where she said she did it because of what grandpa did to her.

And we have everything in between. Women who would call on the phone, say nothing and hang up, liked alcohol or pills a little too much, have temper tantrums at family gatherings over who has photographs, we got it all! If there are any people who need to do a study on insanity in related females just come to family Thanksgiving.

I was in the kitchen the other day doing dishes and talking to my kids, it occurred to me that I felt very sane. Sane and okay. I wasn't depressed. I wasn't thinking about what a bad mom I am. I've hung signs around my house that say "Let life be good". An optimistic gesture that I'm not quite comfortable with yet, but I'm getting there. But that's a detail. I'm healthy.

I'm SANE. I'm sane in this sea of DNA that wants me to be crazy. I have my sense of humor. I laugh. I eat food. I can handle the little everyday things that pop up. That's more than some of the people in my family could do.

I'm making progress, I'm evolving. I'm going to be able to help my daughter be sane. I'm probably turning my son into a mama's boy, but that's something the world and my future daughter-in-law will just have to deal with.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day: If you want to try out a vibrant color but aren't fond of paying a stylist for just a streak or trying to navigate the beauty supply store is too confusing get a packet of Kool-aid. Take a packet of kool-aid drink mix without sugar in whatever color you desire, mix it with enough water to create a paste then smoosh onto a section of hair before wrapping the section in aluminum foil and letting it sit for 30-60 minutes. Shampoo and you'll have a color streak that will last about 10 days.

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