One day I received a large package in the mail from my mom. It stunk like the mildew of where I grew up and I had to leave it outside for several days before I could even stomach the smell and begin to plan a strategy for penetrating the massive layers of duct tape, electrical tape and scotch tape it was secured with. The sadness of the return address washed over me, as I noted that my mom had stopped using a last name. When I finally found adequate tools and sawed my way in, I had a similar feeling to that moment in the movie Seven when he opens the box and pulls out his wife’s head. Mainly horror and disbelief, and not really understanding what I was looking at.There were two bird stuffed animals, one big one and one little one that looked exactly like each other. My mom had cut and punctured holes in them and stitched them together in a wild fashion with multicolored ribbons and string. The little bird was sewn right to the front of the bigger bird. There were enough stitches that had these birds been subjected to medieval quartering they still would not have separated cleanly. She had replaced their eyeballs with glued on sequins and glitter, special eyes for an alternate world only they could see. At that moment, I would’ve been relieved if it had been a human head in that box instead of this nightmare.
At the time I think I just laid down feeling disturbed and horrible. I spent many years feeling like I was living in quick sand, being dragged down by unbearable heavy weight, succumbing to the thick murky soup of confusion and conflicting bad feelings that I could never quite separate, articulate, or resolve no matter how hard I tried.
I had grown up in a house full of all kinds of crazy art depicting only a mother and baby. The more abstract, so that there were no boundaries between the separate beings, the more it appealed to her. I was told constantly that I chose to be born to her, and my divine purpose was in so many words, to take care of her. There were so many layers of messages in all of this and when I finally stopped running and started exploring it, I stopped hating myself. I had a new found compassion for my confusion and all my struggles. Here she was again, reminding me that even though I moved 1500 miles away and tried to build my own life, I was not free. The worst part was she was right. You never realize how bound you are to something until you try to escape it by geographical means. And then you understand being owned.
At some later point I read about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It explained how one who suffers from this literally does not see others as a separate identity, all other egos are an extension of their own master ego and they develop a finely tuned skill set to manipulate and control everyone around them to satiate their own needs. I remember reading this and thinking back to those birds and suddenly feeling a cold feverish tension seeping out from my spine and radiating out into my muscle fibers, and I felt panicked, wondering if I just created pre-cancerous cells.
And so that has been my life’s work… Removing those stitches, repairing the holes, washing the glitter off of my eyeballs so that I can see my own world.