Friday, 18 November 2016

Advice to my daughters

I have been listening to Susie Orbach on Radio 4 In Therapy.

This is an all-fun road trip into the human psyche!

But it is undeniable that she helps me narrate my day's emotional baggage. (In my handbag-of-life today: slodgy grudge; sharp resentment; a slice of injustice/righteousness; a spike of pure hatred with extra acid attached; a weak diluted combo of humanity juice; offal slop; dash of tenderness and wistfulness. Yours?)

But, after thinking long and hard about life and all its wisdoms, I emerge with three bits of gold for you, my daughters.

Girls, three gold lumps should be enough; you can have one each and share them out when the going gets tough.

1. Have you noticed this? The pair relationships that endure are the relationships where you can change, and you both allow for that change; where you both can renegotiate how you live. In a changing relationship that endures, you can work out a new normal, and find something you want; something you can grow with.

Like your mother and father! We have nearly put each other under the patio on more than one occasion, but we are still here, together!

But listen, I realised how important this is - that relationships must change - with my own mother, when our relationship took a new turn after you were born. The fact that the Grim Reaper decided to then carry off your new Granny almost immediately is one of life's cruel injustices: we had a new relationship to negotiate, mother and daughter, and we never got that chance. But the fact that I knew we would both manage that readjustment gave me the knowledge that, despite everything I'd said aged 13, it was a pretty strong relationship we had.

Conversely, if your relationship changes, and you don't like it, can't say anything about it, feel it's all gone wroong, maybe know in your insides that you can't handle that change, then chuck it in; it's run a course, and things aren't going to get better. Maybe that relationship was based on one dimension: mutual interest, a short-term goal, lust, the pairings of enemies against a greater threat, whatever. It won't last. Go and create a relationship that can change as you do.

2. Be true to yourself. You have a moral code, albeit one that you might argue with, make compromises towards, try and ignore, pretend ain't there. It is there, and you will know when you cross it, because you do violence to your own being. It's too simple for me to say 'don't cross your own boundaries', but if / when you do, then know it, forgive yourself, and make redress with yourself to bring yourself back to a state you can live with. Don't lie to yourself or make excuses. Be honest. Call a spade a bloody shovel, and if you've used one of those to bury anyone, better fess up. Also, go and see Hamlet, and contemplate how you might have made a less bloody ending.

3. If you do blunder about the world, heaping humiliations and miseries upon your own head and the heads of others, then know this: we will always be here for you, we elderly parents, for as long as we are standing, perhaps together, for which refer to Gold Lump 1. You are our tribe, and tribe members look after their own. We will look after you*, and we expect you will look after us. Think what your Granny would say! Blood is thicker than water. (And don't make me spill either.)

*Unless, as I have cautioned you, you choose to become a drug taking lady of the night, in which case you first will have a lot of explaining to do.

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