Today, sitting on the blankets below the shade of a few trees with lots of interesting red flowers in the form of bottle brushes and lots of bees circulating above us on the side of one of the fields in the middle of the Metropolitan Park of Guadalajara where we go to run and walk and, now also read and talk or just watch the kids playing or the dogs free chasing each other's tales or sleep in the sun or watch other runners or people pass on bikes... I mentioned to Nicolas and Margarita that although I talk about so many things and projects and health etc. truthfully I don't have faith that anything I say or do will actually cause significant positive change in anyone. That, truthfully, what I've understood for a while is that they are just witnesses... And I mentioned all that I write on my blog has absolutely nothing to do with optimism that someone will understand what I'm saying and respond positively. But, that, when it's all over, you'll still be able to access my writings and be witness to what I wrote and what happened or what didn't happen or what should have happened...
I have this strange belief that when the person as an object in question no longer is here to share with us, that's when we decide that maybe we have lost an opportunity... and maybe it's time that we changed our approach to life... and certain issues, conflicts or ideas.
My life is over. No, that doesn't mean that I am about to die. But, it does mean that we've come to the end times, when one doesn't truly have a future for planning... with optimism and all the energy and resources at hand... With the heart attack and the true lack of access to progressive health care here in Mexico where one can expect the medical practitioners to perform their responsibilities in the name of understanding the problem and finding truly adequate solutions unrelated to their opportunity for increasing the size of their egos or their economic status, I've realized that we do not have the flexibility for planning constructively for the future that we had before March 12th; that I've reached the limits of my limited powers and all I can do is the best that I can do... Although I will not put aside my intelligence and ability to think and research and consider a lot of information and realize when someone isn't doing even half of his job... Put aside intelligence and all of the above and replace it with blind faith in faulty "medicine"?
I've been treated poorly for long periods of my life, especially in my childhood. Childhood is a very large portion of a human's life considering that 18 years are just a little less than half of the years I've lived up to this point. And what my mother doesn't understand... and what my sisters don't understand... and what my aunts and uncles didn't understand is that those are the most important years of human's life for their physical and mental development...
So, if my uncle was beating me when I was 4-years-old when my father was dying... And my older sister Sheri was abusing me in how many ways from the time I was born until I entered high school, since a year later she would leave for college... and if my mother pushed me away the best she could so as not to put herself at risk of forming an unhealthy relationship with "the only man in the house" with the death of her husband (her words in the late 80s), or if she was not only physically abusive of Beth, my younger sister but abusive towards me also, although she would say she was much more violent with Beth... I guess I should feel fortunate... And, maybe she had a point. But, her abuse towards me wasn't only neglect, it was emotional... How many horrible things did she say to me? And if at the same time the children at Old York School and then Central School picked up on my vulnerability and decided I was a fun and easy target too... and, logically the only protector a child knows they have (although that protector may be placed in Rikers Island for physically or sexually abusing that same child) is their parent... in my case, I only had a mother, since my father died when I was 4.5-years-old... and they decide to tell their mother about the bullies in school (and the bullies were popular or became popular with their antics between classes or during recess, so often they had support of the other boys and girls in the classes who were not bullies, but like the game of harrassment and watching the vulnerable boy squirm--a game that Sheri loved playing in the afternoons or evenings or weekends) since the teachers, for some reason or another looked the other way or blamed me for being locked in the locker in the 4th grade classroom... Long winded... Seeking some form of support and refuge in my mother, I told her about what was happening in school. Afterall, you know what happens to abused or bullied people without any form of productively releasing the negativity, without a healthy support system... without anyone to protect them and defend them... especially when it is a child between the age of 4 and the age of 16, when suddenly the kids stopped picking on me... (Bullying has suddenly become a hot international topic; a public educational program espoused by UNESCO explains the high risk of suicide caused by bullying). My mother responded incorrectly: "you're making it up. Kids aren't like that. Teachers aren't anti-Semetic... Beth doesn't experience anti-Semitism from her peers in school... there must be something you're doing that instigates them."
They rolled pennies down the isle. They asked, "where's your beanie?" and said, "go back to your temple!" or constantly reminded me that I killed Christ. And my mother told me that I was inventing. Now why would a 11-year-old invent such things? And how is it that I inspired Todd Golub to have the whole 7th grade class (and yes, I'm exaggerating... not everyone participated) call me Poor Boy? Was it my fault my opthalmologist father died one year into his practice at the age of 34? and that Beth and I wore the hand-me-downs of my cousins whos father (my violent uncle) walked away with $40,000USD (in the mid-70s mind you) of my father's death payment so that they could have a much better life than us, for constructing his new dental practice and putting an addition onto their house and a wonderful renovated basement for social gatherings... etc... while our house was horribly poor... No, I didn't invite that... And I didn't invent that... But, my mother claimed that I invented my experience or brought it onto myself...
Why is the Langston Hughs poem "what happens to a dream deferred" so famous? and why do I remember it so well? Not only because I studied racism and other discriminatory movements and the effects of negative bias etc... But, because I also personally experienced what Hughes referres to in his poem... I was a child. For the most part, children are innocent and dependent upon adults for structure, security and formation. In 6th grade someone visited our classroom and asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up and showed us slides of all the possibilities... Afterall, childhood is for dreaming about the future... And the adults with their education systems and their experiences (like learning from your father or mother or uncle or grandfather about their personal experiences and how they achieved their positions etc) and their capacity for teaching us in school or guiding us (possibly in church or temple or summer camp or boy scouts or the gifted and talented club or in family gatherings...) help us make our dreams reality...
But, I had a problem... my father died and my mother became as she became for various reasons and not just one or two (fear of developing an incestuous relationship with me, depression, stress, exhaustion going back to school for the first time in how many years 2 weeks after my father died, a newly adopted and misunderstood feminism, the 70s sexual revolution revolving door of possible "daddy replacements" AN INCREDIBLE RESENTMENT OF SUDDENLY FINDING HERSELF ALONE WITH THESE RESPONSIBILITIES and a "needy child" who had so many problems after the death of his father) and my horribly possessive and abusive older sister and my violent Uncle (deceased father's only sibling) and the children who started picking on me in the 2nd grade... I was 8-years-old? and then being diagnosed with FAP/Gardners Syndrome at the age of 12 and having my colon removed at the age of 13...
So, tell me, what was the problem?
I wet my bed until the age of 12. I suffered horribly from insomnia. Had some very potent nightmares; was afraid of the dark ...
What was the problem?
I couldn't follow the teachers in class... I found myself looking out the window constantly or drumming on the desk... I was overly concerned with the bullies who paid too much attention to me... I was afraid to be found in the bathroom alone or between classes... because the teachers weren't there... So, maybe I wet my pants in the middle of class because I was afraid to go there... or was too shy to ask permission, calling attention to myself infront of the class... Because I had called attention to myself in 2nd grade responding to the teacher that I didn't celebrate Christmas when she asked us what we got for Christmas... and the worst of the bullies stood up, pointed a finger at me and called me a Jew. And that's when it all began in school... I was just stating the case... And I learned to state the case and stick up for myself a long long time afterwards, in 1997, towards the end of my period at The Russell Sage Foundation when I was diagnosed for the second time with ADHD, and realized that maybe I had something to say for myself... But, working with academic superstars at the Russell Sage Foundation, I also learned that it wasn't truly ADHD but PTSD... Now, 18 years later I stumble across an article in The Journal of Social Science and Medicine from the Library of Science of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) "Does childhood misfortune raise the risk of acute myocardial infarction in adulthood?" stating that the #1 factor affecting the health of the child is loss of his father... #2 factor, Child Abuse... #3 factor, Female Headed Household, #4 factor, Economic Hardship, #5 factor, Illness... With each factor called "misfortune" the risk of myocardial infarction in adulthood increases how many times? But why?
A lot of my early blog writings focussed upon PTSD and childhood experiences...
But if my mother knew that I was having a very difficult time with the death of my father... Afterall, I was a very small child. Then why did she contribute to the difficulties? Why did it give her pleasure? Or was she ill? And how long did her illness last? Or was it ever cured?
But that's besides the point.
What was my problem? My problem was that I couldn't perform in school the way I would have liked to have been able to perform. And my mother constantly called me lazy... and how many other things... With puberty and rage and the desire that my peers and Sheri stopped picking on me or teasing me or that Sheri and Beth stopped playing their horrible games and ganging up on me... the desire to be able to respond... I became violent... mostly against myself... I became a problem for my mother until she started sending me to psychologists... And truthfully, I had no idea how to respond to their questions. And truthfully, they had no idea really where to begin with me... But, one day, one psychologist decided to have me tested for learning disorders and I was diagnosed with ADD and short-term memory disorder... and sent to a psychiatrist who put me on experimental drugs, since ADD was a very new diagnosis at the time... I was put on Ridelin.
Let me tell you... For a moment, being able to place a name on my "problem" seemed like a solution... and gave me an incredible relief. Plus, for the first two weeks, the Ridelin made time go by much more slowly and I found myself being able to concentrate on my classwork and finish before the 50 minute class ended... What I remember most was looking at the clock and realizing that I still had time and I had progressed so far in what I was supposed to be doing... I was no longer racing against the clock. And for the first time in my childhood, I was optimistic about the future... my academic future... since in my extended family a person must go to college and develop a career... I remember my mother commenting about one of her long-term boyfriends, roofer, jack of all blue-collar trades; "Joe is very intelligent. Don't get me wrong. But, his lack of a college education makes him seem very ignorant around college-educated people... You can be as intelligent as you wish. But, not having a college education makes you stand out like a soar thumb." The message was; if I didn't go to college, I was worthless... However, now for the first time, I felt an incredible optimism, probably euphoria at the realization that someone found the cure and I would be able to remove myself from this horrible struggle and be able to go to college. So, I shared my enthusiasm with my mother, like a typical adolescent who is thinking about what he can become when he is an adult: "I want to study micro-biology and one day work for NIH on a cure for cancer!" My mother didn't return that enthusiasm... Instead, she spit out a very destructive typically sarcastic response: "Today you're a scientist, tomorrow Yankee, yesterday an Astronaut, afterwards the President of the United States... or a fireman or a rock star!" I guess you can imagine how shattering was her comment... and a week later the ridelin caused a crash, since supposedly I was too old for children's ridelin... and they put me on one experimental drug after another... until I got fed up and realized that there was not solution... and dropped out of high school...
"What Happens to a Dream Deferred?"
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
All of the above and then some... Can a heart explode? Is that an Acute Myocardial Infarction?
And, no, we can't change the past. But, we can confront the people who continue being destructive... Then, suddenly, we realize that we can't make them understand or respond adequately... we certainly can't make them change. And if they are subtly mentally ill... And if they continue responding sarcastically or misunderstanding word for word, letter for letter, as if they have a NEED for misunderstanding, just as you may think I have a need for creating conflict or reacting more harshly than it seems the other person's comment warrants... But, remember one thing, I have repeatedly distanced myself from my mother... even trying to remain out of contact with her because I get very tired of the constant conflict and her lack of understanding or her need to turn everything on its head... at least regarding me... It took me almost 3 decades to realize a very important truth: That I am much healthier when totally out of contact with Marsha Norma Nacht (Goldstein/Davidson). And, no, I didn't contact her. She contacted me... about my heart attack. And, I foolishly felt it unfair to not respond to her message. And over the past 2 weeks I've been explaining to her what has happened with my health (which, actually is very good), with the doctors, with other health-related or gene related problems... the limits of the Mexican "health care system" or the education of their doctors or the available medical exams/blood tests or the available supplements, if the issue is Magnesium deficiency or Vitamin D deficiency or Vitamin B3 or B6 deficiency... or the need for detoxifying the liver of heavy metal contamination... or Asthma and related allergy problems... or what is called Under-methylation or problems with metabolizing histamines in the digestive tract... or the risks of taking pharmaceuticals in the face of all of the above that the cardiologists have absolutely no concern for... They are called "risk factors"... And, maybe the heart attack had absolutely nothing to do with cholesterol or saturated fat in my blood or my diet... But, who is interested in looking at my medical history and all of the other factors?
And I sent my mother so many articals, commentaries, chapters of books, television programs, movies on real-life stories... explaining why one must be MORE PROACTIVE IN THEIR PERSONAL HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE...
Can you imagine how much time I dedicated to understanding what was going on in my body and what are my options... not only over the past 2 weeks, but over the past 2.5 years... And, she has the gall to continue her nasty (although to you innocent seeming) games of turning it all on its head...
In 1997, when I shared with her some drawings of mine, she exclaimed, "Now you think you're an artist and you won't look for a job!!!!???" It was a month after being fired from the Russell Sage Foundation for "being unhappy there", in the words of Madge Spitaleri... Yes, I was unhappy there as a "glorified secretary"... And then, 4 years later when I realized that my strength was in the kitchen and decided to try and construct an alternative catering business because of many suggestions by friends and friends of friends about my cooking skills during a few cooking parties, and invited my mother to participate in my fantasy, she responded, "You think your cooking is better than your painting?" And, I said, "Yes, it's a sure thing, guarranteed all day and every day. But, my artwork or artistic inspiration is seasonal and on and off... Plus, it is extremely difficult to make a living on artwork, especially if you didn't study art and don't have access to those circles..." And she never supported me on that endeavor, because I never got it off the ground, for many reasons; most economic... And then, after renouncing my painting for 7 years after marrying Margarita, in order to dedicate my time and energy and spirit to making our life together secure, developing from scratch food-related businesses that, in the end, brought us prestige (me with the pizza, pastries and gourmet cupcakes) and a certain level of economic security, I started drawing and painting again... on my free time... and HOW... I was painting and drawing much better than I had ever done in NYC and shared with my mother my artwork and suggestions by professionals in Guadalajara... only to receive her typical response: "And now you're going to put aside the coffee business for painting!!!???"
Is she crazy? The coffee business is what paid for the space where I painted, the materials and that gave me the free time to paint... Without the business, how would we live? But, my painting was good at the time... Although some very very talented artists have said that my artwork is wonderful, it's not great... only good... and possibly interesting... But, never was it sufficiently promising for throwing the business in the garbage...
There comes a point in one's life when they must say, "enough is enough"...
Maybe not towards other people... but my mother has the tendency towards responding incredibly pessimistically towards me... like an uncontrollable tick... a knee-jerk reaction.
I could send her a thousand scientifically based articals explaining my perspective and she still won't understand. Truthfully, I feel as if I just wasted another 2 weeks with her... I don't have that extra time and energy.
Mom, must I go back to school and gain a Ph.D in nutrition, epidemiology, genetic variations/gene mutations and hereditary disease for you to finally stop contradicting everything I say?
Or is it just a problem you have relating to me; a built in need?
And that's when the no longer child must prioritize the people in their life and sift out what truly isn't healthy for them.
Marsha Norma Nacht, from the age of 4.5 (who knows? Maybe from the time of my birth; [you had told me that you did NOT breastfeed me. Why not? Why the aversion?]) you have been very unhealthy for me and destructive. And, for that reason, I must sift you out of my life.
Maybe you will have the decency one day of informing the others what you did and did not do... and to what extent you are responsible for my behaviors... mental and physical health...
And if the others don't believe me, maybe these publishings will help:
Developmental timing of child maltreatment and symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation in young adulthood: results from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Childhood maltreatment as a risk factor for adult cardiovascular disease and depression.
- Zielinski DS.Child Abuse Negl. 2009 Oct;33(10):666-78. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.09.001. Epub 2009 Oct 7.