Here’s some cheap psychoanalysis, to game.
Girls & boys have to fight their father & mother, but in a different way.
The crossed thing is all about love. Boys love their mother and girls love their dad, that’s it. Boys are weak, they just love. Girls find a husband like dad (in order to repair him), or the opposite of him (to feel secure at least – or challenged?).
My dad was great. He lost his father and grand-father at war. He was a sensitive person, and as a young man he was an actor and a singer. I thank him because of his curiosity, and because he built up a great pack of shelves : books. A treasure for me!
I think he’s been strongly affected by disillusions of life, and depression hit him deeply, for years. He died two years ago.
In a way he made me : I am a curious person, am interested in classic cinema, psychology, philosophy, literature and arts, and I’ve even been a musician once, for theater and dance.
In a way I prolonged what he began but in other ways. I have many more books and I never really stopped exploring culture. I made 2 CDs for dancers – but I stopped composing music. I let go things without bitterness. I just kept this : I stayed a romantic, I suppose… I believed in things…
At one moment, though, you feel, you have to feel the fight, the fatherness (I know it’s fatherhood, but I choose fatherness) becomes toxic. You watch him and his tastes and you’re like : OMG, NO.
It’s a whole story, and there are many ways to live it : you can cut all bonds (or your parents can do it for you if your family’s cursed), you can do “as if” and see them the less possible, you can just argue, etc… All of it, almost, becomes impossible. You have to overtake something, right?
At one moment, YOU become a father, a mother :
Their turn, soon.
Thanks for reading!
Yes it’s me on the left. And I’m on the left of the first photography and in yellow on the last…
It’s snowing tonight in the North of France! I feel like a kid on my balcony in an awe (isn’t snow time in the evening a little magical?). Awe and wonder. The first thing I did is to text my two daughters (who are 16 & 19 years old now) like : “Il neige !!!!”.
Like you, “neige” (just say “nej”) is the verb (it snows) and the snow itself (la neige). Neige is a great word to hear, it’s magical. I have a friend whose cat is named Neige (Snowy, in America, right?). Instead of saying “covered with snow”, we invented : “Enneigé”. Yes : ensnowed…
Christmas is family time, and, well, it’s a sad month for me now, some days…
A funny exercise is to watch yourself with the “two facets” dial. We have many aspects, but let’s play the game of two. Your own two opposite properties.
You like to be alone AND you need your spouse around. You are creative AND you’re lazy. You’re introvert AND in some case you love to be the leader in front of a room. You’re married AND… ooops! Sorry. Too French.
There’s more that we think in this simple AND. It’s a better word than BUT. It includes this : there’s always one facet who needs attention, to grow, to be more complete. It’s one source of happiness. More : you can invent a dance between what you think are opposite qualities. You can invent a braid. A strong, powerful one.
Sometimes I open a book about coding, programming. I remember I spent a whole summer, as a teenager, to optimize a program which had to place the boats on a hit & sunk 10×10 grid. Well : I remember pretty clearly the UNIQUE state of mind which is to program. It’s a particularly strong sort of flow…
I almost got it back when I learned HTML, but nope-too-easy.
I used to make verbs from nouns, in English. I’m sorry. What do you do? I coffee.
And at night, I bed. I’m sorry.
Well, I could say “I’m going to bed” in both, hmm?
To say “To hit a snag“, we way “Tomber sur un bec” : to hit a… beak. It’s to meet an unforeseen difficulty, an “unexpected problem”, right?
I saw in English : To encounter a challenge. That’s a very positive way to say it!
Thus I wonder how it’s “heard” in America, the radioactivity of it. You hit a snag, great, you’ll unfold your powers and move forward? Or is it like in France a bit sarcastic : Haha, you hit a snag, now wait for the backlash! Bim in the nose.
We use it often when a smart-ass mister-knows-everything meets an angry little person who has none of it and has a different take. When fists fancy flying…
Yep, as a casual structuralist, a pattern digger, I like to find “what is common” between things, what is “under”. But after that, the real pleasure is in the differences…
This night I dreamed of a street. It looked like a Japanese suburb. In a quiet evening, I was with my family outside, behind the house. Kids were playing in the garden, though night had fallen already.
Then something happened, far in the city. We heard screams in the distance. Then some people, more and more people began to pass in front of the house. I was watching them from my porch. They were worried, like fleeing something.
I stood up, listening to the night, on the look out for clues. I heard more screams, more people, like a river. I heard someone saying : “People are really fighting over there, phewww!”.
I grabbed the kids, my wife : “Hop hop! Everyone inside!”. Then… I woke up, in a grey mood, with this word in my head : “Varnish“.
Civilization as a “varnish over something” is a classic metaphor. Depends on what you think about : over opaque nature, over barbarism of men, over… absurdity?
Fragile varnish, chipping off prone.
Well, cities can burn, wars and earthquakes – or revolutions – can fracture the skeleton of social structures enough to push entire counties to different strange Middle Ages.
It’s probably why many humans are fascinated by “after the bomb” or epidemic (or zombie) movies, when one or a little group of humans has to gather to protect themselves against… something.
As a bookseller I see that many people buy books about survivalism. How do you do when there’s no electricity anymore?
Social collapse can also lead to other things.
When the Russians arrived in Berlin in 1945, it was about another kind of survivalism. German people (mostly women, kids and old people) had to find food, water… and find hideouts not to be raped… For months.
Isn’t our health a similar varnish? We move forward, full of trust, until…
OK. How will I finish this article? A boring “Don’t take things too seriously” quote? I don’t think so. No, let’s BE serious. One day, we will maybe HAVE to be seriously serious.
No : let’s invent a meta-story full of paradoxes and lessons. Oui ?
An author lives with wife and kids in a wealthy neighborhood. He writes a novel about a family trying to survive after a nuclear war (no electricity, fires, looters, violent riots, nuclear winter coming).
Our guy has fun and makes progress in his writing, but a REAL terrible earthquake happens, destroying 80% of his city. Chaos ensues (no electricity, fires, looters, no more police or hospitals, etc). Confrontation between his ideas for the book and… reality.
You have a week.
Have a great day!
PS : In my dream, should I have had taken my family out of my house, or was it a good idea to hide inside?
Some recent events in my life made me a lonely man, and therefore a lonely eater.
When I was a father in a family, I was really happy to have dinner-togetherness, to cook for my tribe, to talk, listen, laugh, and feel the family’s energy around the table.
I’ve been very skeptical when I read about how Americans were losing these daily gatherings of all the big cats around the table. “Everyone is having snacks when they want, everybody’s picking things in the fridge, watch TV or eat in bedrooms”, they said. My feelings were like between “it’s not true, it’s impossible” and “oh these Americans!”.
When my daughters were little, some days I went home late, it was almost time to go to bed : I told them stories, kissed them goodnight, then I was happy to have dinner with their mother, but also alone.
I remember good summer evenings. Two cat babies sleeping, mother cat watching a movie, and me papa cat, with a cassoulet, two slices of bread and half of a bottle of Bergerac wine, eating on a tray, on my bed, in front of a wide open double-window (or should I say “French door”, really?), watching and listening birds and trees in the dusk, sshhh.
Not working on thursdays, I remember I was happy to have meal time alone, eating in silence in the kitchen, listening to the rain outside. On my table : a candle, a corner lamp, and a magazine (about movies). Maybe some Brahms chamber music too. Bliss!
Now I eat alone, but I don’t snack. I never snack, and I’m always questioning my snacking friends in America, opening different little colored bags to crinch crunch and croonch while we Skype. I’m like “Where’s your plate, dear?”. They know I eat alone, thus they’re somewhat amazed by HOW I’m eating alone. Well, that’s nothing special, but I… I’m sorry… I can’t snack. It would kill me under a blanket of depression. It’s almost : “I’m French therefore I need a plate”.
I know better, OK : I have more time, in France. We work less, we move less (distances are… different here – I go to work by bike), and… errr… I think we think that food time is worth it, too : I eat alone but it’s cooked, sliced, prepared, organized. Just a bit. I need it.
Awweee sorry for my bad English. I’m wobbling, I know it. Pardonnez-moi !
Have a nice day! Bon appétit !
C’est son chapeau!
Yeaaah we’ve all been there, right? You’re in church, at a funeral. You noticed a really ridiculous hat on some old aunt’s head, then you eye-contact with your sister who saw that you saw. You’re done : you get the giggles (is this the correct way to say it?), you can not stop laughing. Go outside and burst, you silly both!
Beware, because it could happen to you in an important meeting!
Attack of the giggles has a purpose : it’s an urgent need to end solemnity.
It’s a dial, and the giggleneedle touches a red slice of it, you’re done. Dring!
It’s a tool :
You are maybe also a ridicule feathered hat owner, you know? Who could be giggling out about what you do, and why? Where are you arrogant, intensely solemn or ridiculous? Examine your so strong recent decisions… Mmhhh?
Thanks for reading!
The title was tricky to find. I wrote, in my French way, “How do you keep standing up”, but it’s not very very good, right? “How do you keep yourself from falling apart” is better, but, hem, a bit dramatic, no?
So I ask you, readers ! How do you keep yourself together?
So many answers! You can cuddle like a cat, under the warm blanket of your family.
You can drink or use another substance (food? drugs?) to get a little rid of reality.
You can do sports, of course, it works for many people! Run, just run. Buy the good clothes before you run, you need’em. Run after something, or after nothing, it works too. Move heavy rocks. That’s good. Be a fan.
You can try to entertain : be a tourist, watch a movie, listen to some music, cook, read a book, appreciate some form of Art. Be creative, if you can. That’s pretty noble, dear!
Oh, I forgot : work! I’m pretty sure that all workaholics are just big-worried people who run all day to forget they will die… or just the boredom seriousdom of their choices. Be a little solemn with your work. You’ll feel important. It’s VERY good.
You can also spend time with a good friend who, that’s so coincidental, tries also to keep herhimself from falling apart. Then, you both look like two wounded guys in the WWI standing up holding each other walking in the mud.
You can do like me, overthinking your shit, find pattern and structures, inventing rarely effective tools to… keep yourself together, and blog this shit out just to purge your congested head. Color it your way : University-ish, Sarcasm, Humor, Crafty. Guess what I chose today!…
Religion! Your local God fixes everything.
(because, of course, what is interesting here is that does not work, and, blah, you will fall apart, eventually)
In family paradise you slowly realize you’re drowning in your own sugar, juices and secretions. You boil to get out!
Drugs leads to oblivion, but also to stupidity and mistakes. Sports to accidents. Entertain to emptiness. Creativity to the white page. Work means time burning AND money, which can provide “some” happiness, as you know (buying is good do keep yourself together for an hour, and it also works the economy of your nation).
Friends, as human beings, stay a good solution, and they can help you to find (and do together, why not) other ways of
escaping keeping yourself together. Problem is they fall in love with a Prince/Princess, and then you look like nothing in loop.
Religion is good, because it’s mainly following some damn rules. You don’t have to think much. If you feel churchy, the main problem comes from the moment you realize there’s no God (or if it exists, it doesn’t care at all). Then, you fall apart, bim.
No tool here. Breathe. Life is short. Find your own way. Dance with all of them. Ask about others. Be kind. We all struggle, right? Don’t fall. Not today. Not today.
Thanks for reading!
“I miss something, but… I don’t know what it is…”
I think you feel something in the deepest of your chest when you read this phrase. Right ? If you don’t, you can go watch your Christmas tree or go to the gym, you’re good.
The Abandonment Syndrome is in almost everyone of us. You don’t have to be an orphan, being abused, or to have alcoholic parents to suffer this pain ! for this incompleteness, It’s a matter of shades, though…
Mistrust, sabotage behaviors, need of control, excessive moods, etc, and this “hole” you have in your heart, sometimes.
“Quelque chose me manque, mais je ne sais pas quoi…”
Yes, it’s a matter of shades (degrees, levels, what should I say ?). It can be a very little feeling of loneliness if you can’t share your enthusiasm after a great (French) movie, to a dangerous nervous breakdown leading you to suicide or hospital.
I realised a bit late in my life that the biggest joy and happiness were brought to me when I found a mate with whom I could SHARE (which is the key of all this, for myself) things, ideas, glee and jubilation.
This became clearly a flaw. I filled my abandonment with sharing, sharing, sharing. So much that I could fall in love with a brain “made of the same wood” (and it became like an orgy of sparkling ideas each time I talked with this person). When this person is away, you feel like a lonely fool, with all your sharing stuff bouncing in your head, cf this Inner Gold article.
Growing as an adult, I found out there are two ways to deal with abandonment, incompleteness.
1/ Never surrender. Find your mates. Share. Be happy. Life is short. Cherish them. It can be from a distant Facebook friend you will never meet to the biggest love of your life, the person you would marry. Yes it’s a hunt. Yes it’s a terrific source of bliss !
2/ Surrender. Know the irony of life. Recognize the pain you have in your heart. Know it. Dance with it. You’re alone, you’re alone forever. Play as if you were happy. Be happy. Be alone happy, even if you’re in family. This loneliness can be tamed.
You know how I know that ? I watched older people around me. The intelligent, the sparkling ones. They explore the world and its culture, Art, they dig, deeply, they love it ! They don’t need to share. They are all alone. They like it like that. Some of them told me the secret : the hole and the pain, it’s here. They learned how to not care, and not let things get to them.