A Most Unreliable Narrator Issue #134 Mashed potatoes and mac and cheese
My current diet.
Welcome to A Most Unreliable Narrator, the slice of life newsletter of GenXer around town, Lisa Rabey. I talk about anything and everything with a bit of swears. I’m glad you’re here.
I know, I know, I made a big to-do about reading Spare all over the socials and writing about it this week’s issue, and to be sure, I am reading it; it’s a book to be savored rather than rushed. This is not to say it’s a masterpiece of Pulitzer proportions, it is not, and I don’t think anyone is pretending it to be, but Harry talks about his struggles not only with mental health but his familial relationships. As someone who has grown up with a toxic family, and the gaslighting, I’m not triggered in so much my heart is broken for this man and that I empathize so deeply for him. I’m taking detours back to my trashy books to cleanse the pallet as one does. Conversations have been happening in my social sphere about Spare since the 10th so I’m sure to finish it sometime this week to keep up.
(P.S. Some Brit friends have responded to a recent comment I made to my invisible FB friends and they were not kind towards Harry, Meghan, or the book. Opinions are neither right nor wrong but so far, it is pretty heated towards him.)
My perception of my family growing up is not a kind one. If you’ve been reading me since The Lisa Chronicles days, and I know a few of you have (also, hello LiveJournal friends!), family was one of the main topics I wrote about. For the old school, read D3buck’s S0d Farm and Gift Shop, which I wrote in 1997 about my grandfather’s funeral. In 2015, I wrote about my relationship with my mother which was beyond fraught. (It’s over 3K words long so if you think I’m wordy here…)
I spent a lot of time and energy over the years in pain from those relationships. I was convinced of a lot of truisms which weren’t really that quite factual. One was the relationship between my brother and mother, one I learned was not quite what I expected at all.
My brother and I have been talking for the last year or so on his way from work. Sometimes we have conversations about family and we began to understand each a bit more. My heart broke for the relationship he and I could have had before mother died. We fought so much about her, and each other, in later years, it just seems so pointless for all the fighting.
I didn’t speak to him for years until his wedding in 2016. He held me and said he missed me, and I broke down.
We haven’t so much as thrown barbs at each other since mother’s death in 2017.
I think I understand him better now than even when he was a kid.
Let’s look towards the woman who birthed me.
When I saw my mother in 2016, for the first time in years, I threw myself to her and cried. My crying was more of a reflex of “here is a parent that is alive and I must love her,” I think, then missing her.
After this wonderful family get together at Jeff’s wedding, J and I went to mother’s nursing home as a visit since we were in town. Therapy has been a constant in my life for years and discussions of family was a dominant factor. One thing my therapist at the time had suggested to find my truth and if that meant confronting her, then so be it.
For many, I know, some things are just better left unsaid or unknown. But I don’t work that way. If I find a puzzle piece that is missing or if I am not sure about something, I need to get that piece or that answer. I don’t like not knowing about something concerning me or interesting to me.
I just need to know these things, and sometimes, no matter how intrusive it may be to others.
I need to know the truth to sustain me.
There is also the thought that she’s an old woman, just let sleeping dogs lie. Again, not how I work.
We sat in her room and I started off slow with questions about things I’ve always wondered about. I repeated some things she had said to me over the years, and I asked why she said those things? What was the meaning or the point of knowing these things?
She consistently and doggedly said she either didn’t know or she didn’t remember.
Jesus take the wheel. I remember walking out of the home feeling so confused. Was I lying to myself over the years? Was I somehow concocting these stories unconsciously and if so, for what reason?
J, however, was beyond pissed. He said she was lying, and she knew she was lying and he was so frustrated knowing that I had been seeking for my own truths for so long and I was being denied those answers. Why was she lying, he had no idea, and honestly, I could not blame his anger Watching someone you love flail for the lack of their truth, peace, and past has to be painful.
I remember when she died that J, my MIL, and I were at a Mexican restaurant. My phone rang and it was my brother who said something had happened after mother’s surgery and the hospital had called him to come. Then, I don’t know–an hour?–passed and he called back to say she was dead.
I recall casually mentioning this to J and MIL and MIL getting really upset. We paid for dinner, drove back to MIL’s house. I asked my FIL for a cigarette, maybe two or three, and stood on their back porch smoking.
I couldn’t cry and I felt nothing but relief. May she find her peace.
In the years since, I’ve been working on these stories and her truths and I’m no closer to understanding. Did my father molest me? Why didn’t mother get her bipolar medicated? Why was she so cold and distant to me? Why did she treat my brother as an afterthought later in his life? Why did she disengage herself from her family to the point that she was rarely, if ever, in contact with her six siblings?
Why did she gaslight all of us and deny me, hell all of us, things we knew were, beyond a shadow of a doubt, true?
I’m always looking for excuses to take the blame off her on how she treated me and Jeff. I’m desperate to believe my theories, long since pulled from conversations with my therapists over the years, give some meaning to who she was. We never really knew her, no, not honestly.
So, that is my truth now is to seek forgiveness for myself. Not from her, she’s long since passed that stage, but to give myself grace and peace.
Jesus fuck, did that get depressing on a quick turn!
I could write forever on my family from different views and many, I know, bond with me or at least some piece of themselves knowing someone is out there who they can relate to and who will shine their own light on their wounds.
BUT! I would rather talk about: ASPIRATIONAL CLOTHING!
My aspirational leather pants have arrived this week! I bought them in an 18 and a 14. Right now, I’m a 24. I also bought two of these sweaters from J. Crew in fuchsia and antique blue in XL. I bought them as a 3X and loved them.
In April we’re going to Cancun and I’m already looking at bikinis. I’m a 24/3X. For now.
I was telling this to my therapist Friday morning, and he cautioned me to not go spending crazy (other than the leather pants and sweaters) on other items because my size will change. Will I get to an 18 and a XL? Super likely. But 14? Aspirational!
But he’s right. I’m trolling the clothing stores online looking for stuff to buy for the days I can wear them. And my sizes will change as I lose.
Online window shopping is triggering my overspending tick!
Best Kate was telling me how wild it is to go to a clothing store and find stuff that…just fits? No clawing at the body, no crying, no worry, and no stress. You simply walk in, find something you like, try it on, and if you like it, buy it, and go home.
I am so looking forward to the day that I don’t have to shop online at Lane Bryant, Old Navy (well, they do start an XS), and Torrid (they start to a 10). I’m just over having three stores to reliably shop from. Yes, I know, other fat girl clothing stores exist across the internet but sizing is so crazy. I’m anywhere from a 22 to a 28 depending on where you shop. It gives me stress headaches looking for shit to wear and I feel even worse about myself. So much ecological disdain with all the shipping back and forth.
One of the reasons I lived in jeans, t-shirts, and Chucks for so long is because t-shirts were unisex and I knew my size (XL-2XL) ware reliable across stores (small number of t-shirt suppliers), jeans were reliable from ON and Torrid, and Chucks were also reliable because my feet didn’t grow that much being fat.
In other gut news, while the first 20 shed off quick (a little over two weeks), I’m now slowing down, I guesss? I must make an appointment with my nutritionist to get advice on eating. It may be I’m not eating enough. The body needs calories to stimulate the metabolism and if I’m only eating 300-500 calories a day, the body stalls and goes into fight mode thinking I’m starving.
I’m almost never hungry. Doc said to eat when hungry and don’t force it. Nutritionist it is!
Things I Recently Wrote
What I’m Reading
FINISH A FUCKING BOOK LISA BEFORE STARTING A NEW ONE.
Glenarvon Byron’s ex-lover was so distraught about their breakup; she wrote a roman à clef about their relationship
Amor Actually Anthology of interconnected romance stories from top Latinx authors
The Christmas Cupid Can Zoey match six couples before Christmas Eve?
If Walls Could Talk Lucy Worsley walks you through the history of the home
A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove #1) Susanna and Victor are set for an epic battle
Cold Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1) A clash of wills between Devon and Kathleen
Spare Prince Harry’s memoir
Check out the media I’ve consumed for 2023!
One of my favorite painters is Caravaggio. The Byronic Hero before Byron existed.
I do love my extremely messy, carousing whores of yesteryear.
Caravaggio comes on the art scene in the late 1500s and is quite the character as he drinks, fights, and fucks his away around Italy and eventually landing in Malta where he died at the tender age of 38. Youth!
Caravaggio’s works are notable for the time for his use of tenebrism as it is a violent use of light and dark! Very sexy. Very Baroque.
One of my long-time goals is to see every Caravaggio available to the public before I die. Out of nearly 100 known works, I’ve seen nearly 40. I’m so pumped about this project, dating back to 2005, I have a webpage for it! (J needs to confirm the Rome dates as he recalls where we went much better than I.)