My maternal grandmother was a truly dreadful person… for that matter, my paternal grandmother was no great shakes either but since she only spoke Spanish — and I didn’t — her literal words are not rooted in my literal memory. My maternal grandmother (MGM hereafter) had been profoundly affected by The Depression of the late 1920’s when she and my equally dreadful maternal grandfather had become forced to adapt to a life that was no longer defined by the extreme wealth they’d grown up with. When that wealth disappeared, the pair left no stone un-turned in attempting to maintain at least some of the lifestyle to which they had both been accustomed, thus laying the foundation for ensuring that my childhood — and that of my sister — would be a living hell.
I have to imagine that must have been a lot for them — folks that had been used to having the very best of whatever-they-wanted — to rein themselves and their desires in. MGM backed her effort up by regularly reminding me, whenever I had the unfortunate occasion of ending up at their house for dinner, should I happen to leave even so few as three green peas on my dinner plate, “Waste not; want not,” lest I become, I suppose, used to my normal upper-middle-class life in the event that I might, one day, lose that privilege as she had lost hers. (I did, by the way, and I didn’t give a damn.)
Who would have thought that not cleaning my plate would turn out to be an ‘issue’ in my life; it was the sexual trafficking that ruined most of it. But that’s another story… and one that, gratefully, has been pretty thoroughly addressed thanks to the particularly unique triggering factor of the recently passed four years. I’m guessing that the enormity of the effects that trafficking had on me simply outshone the following smallish anomaly.
So, back to the peas, ….
I realized just this past Sunday morning, as I was stressing over tossing out no less than an ironically pea-sized dollop of acrylic paint because I had an urgent and much anticipated date, that the whole damn “Waste not; want not” issue was apparently still an integral part of my cellular consciousness because, seriously… there I stood, paintbrush in hand, vacillating between being 15 or so minutes late for a waiting love and a bit of paint that might not be used.
(Just to clarify: a very small amount of paint can go a very long way — and take a while to execute — when you are doing work that is fairly meticulous, as I had been at the time. See above illustration.)
But there I was, caught between a rock and a hard place… over what? Maybe a pennies-worth of acrylic paint? I had a date. A date I was really, really, really (I cannot stress that enough) looking forward to. I wanted to get ready. I wanted to look great. Yet there I was weighing my being late for something I was really looking forward to against, what? A penny’s worth of paint?
Just Throw It Out, Woman! You’ve got a date with a heaven-sent human being!
That’s when the utter idiocy of what I had unconsciously wandered into hit me: Damn. Fucking MGM. Despite all the “work” I’d done on myself over the last twenty-five years and that old bitch was still in my head.
Well, not no more she isn’t. I’m slow, but I’m not stupid. I believe I may finally have gotten the point!
It may seem like a little thing… but it’s not. I cannot recall how many times in my adult life I have found myself in similar positions, tangled in a web of outdated information that is struggling to maintain its importance in a world where it’s no longer either needed or relevant.
Just when I think I’m “finally” done with it all, I seem to discover that there’s just one… more… thing I need to address. And the quality of my life ratchets up a notch. It’s awesome, really when it’s not feeling just a tad annoying.
I’m always open to the next “best” thing… once I realize it’s there… because I always think I’m “done” on the one hand, but on the other, the journey feels as if it will never end… though at 75 I know better… and that makes the learning curve all the more special.
As someone else from my past used to say, “There’s always better to get.”