There’s victories & there’s Victories.

One way or another it’s been an emotional week… You could say it’s been like Springtime English weather, where you get all the seasons in one day. You could, except it been  unseasonably relentless with sunshine since lockdown began. Not that I’m complaining, especially as it comes after a solid 6 months of grey and rain…

Driving home this morning, I congratulated myself on not punching someone in the face yesterday, but decided actually that’s not much of a celebration as I don’t punch people anyway… I do have flamethrower fantasies where I blast their heads off… I had the fantasy yesterday and it was flitting and brief rather than roaring for days… Was that a victory? Nah… Not really, more a side effect of age and knowing there are more pleasurable ways to burn energy…

It occurred to me that during the last couple of days, there were some real victories…

An air punch victory with a small v – Yay! The end of June last year, I retired the old Toyota and picked up a Focus. Reluctantly using my credit card as it would be cheaper to buy a banger than repair the aging gas guzzling leviathan… Clearing the card was easy as the savings in fuel, tax, insurance, meant that the new to me car paid for itself. I also made a promise to myself to stash cash and trade up again a year on. Wednesday, I secured my upgrade to be collected on Monday. Two weeks ahead of target and payment in cash… No credit, no loan… Sealey hard earned cash… Yup! A small v victory.

Why a small v? I think small v victories are the obvious ones… The mundane ones, where really, you just need to set your priorities, get your shit together and stick to the plan you made. You take control and it’s not that open to outside influences fucking you over.

The big V victories, they’re the silent battles that most people don’t see…

My big V victory… Sitting on a video call with my sister and laughing together for a couple of hours.

Yes, I know… That hardly sounds like a Victory to most people but for us it was monumental.

We were raised in a family where there was not much fun in the dysfunctional. The sort of family that until you’re out of it, you don’t really grasp just how fucked up it is…

10+ years on after making the break, there are still the odd days that flag up just how insidious the damage was… Weird anxieties that come out of nowhere when you least expect it… Wondering why you feel so stressed by tiny day to day activities that shouldn’t raise an eyebrow or second thought. For example, a couple of months into my driving job, I spent about a week tying myself into knots… The car needed valeting. It’s part of my job to take it in. How simple a task is that? The problem? I had to ask my manager for cash to pay the valet. Why couldn’t I bring myself to do that? It didn’t make sense. Eventually, after what felt like forever but was probably around 5 days, I tenuosly made the phone call. I couldn’t understand it, my boss is sound as a pound… She answered – yeah, yeah, yeah mate, just grab some out of petty cash and drop back a receipt.

I put down the phone and let out a huge lungful of breath… Head back, shoulders dropped… Tensions fled as I realised I’d been bracing myself for an argument that if looked at logically, was never going to happen…

Oh… OK… A childhood legacy had been lurking in the shadows…

Conversations with my sister… I’ve never fallen out with my sister, though we go long times without speaking as we lead very seperate lives… Seperate lives started early on, even when living in the same house, our circles of friends did not overlap… Looking back, I see now that this was a survival tactic… Seperate worlds meant that we couldn’t be cross examined by the mother… The mother always trying to set us one against the other…

Yet, when shit hits the fan, the two of us are always there for each other. I guess that’s the thing with siblings, you don’t have to explain the back stories or try to justify and make sense of what happened… They’re there and in your corner, no questions asked…

After the big bust up in the family, where I ejected the mother out of my life and the rest of the family followed suit, it slowly became apparent how dense the web of secrets and lies had been wove… In some ways, that didn’t surprise me as much as you’d think it would… There were some absolute whoppers that came to light…She’d made a fine art of the divide and conquer game… Somehow I’d kind of managed to stay neutral to a lot of the waring between my sister and two step sisters, that had sprung out of the wellspring of matriarchal machinations… Maybe because a lot happened during an intense period of my life where births and deaths came round too quickly to keep pace… I was too bloody tired to play into things… I know I’d said more than once that I was aware that shit was happening, but you’re all adults, I’ve got my own little family to worry about, so regards to the big family, just call me ‘Switzerland’. But post split and more and more revealed each day… It was hard to stay detached… I wry laughed as it became very clear that we’d been set against each other to cover up a trail of extra marital affairs… Kind of amazing to discover that you’ve been used as a regular alibi by someone you rarely see… The revelations kind of sucked but didn’t hurt as much as realising that you’d been played into distrusting and entertaining doubts where none should have been…

The four girls all talking between each other… With no puppet master stringing us up…

Conversations at first felt like weights lifted but then things became too painful… My sister although 2 years younger, is the one with the vivid memory… The one with blow by blow recall… The one whose words would conjure up images and memories of stuff that made me pause… Stare off into space… Question what I was seeing in my mind… It’s kind of familiar? But like some half remembered dream or some almost forgotten snippet of overheard conversation you weren’t supposed to hear…

She’d fill in more details… Then plink! Fuck! Yes, you’re right… That did happen… I’d be able to see myself right there in the scene… Recalling what I’d been wearing, remembering sights and smells… Re-feeling knots in stomach and nauseating sensations of dread…

It became that the whole of our conversations were consumed by the bad memories, the grieving for what could have been or should have been… The things we’d not had but felt the loss of… It became all too painful and again we both went out our seperate ways… To process at our own paces…

This week talking, we stumble into the mother issue. I felt indifferent in a good way. Nothing triggered and poked raw… I laughed ‘Oh boy! We really got the short straw! It’s so good to have metaphorically killed her off!’

My sister said in hushed voice… Oh… Get this… You won’t believe what my girls do to me! If we’re going through town, they’ll nudge me and say ‘look! There’s Mary!’

I was puzzled. How do they even know what she looks like? I’m not sure I’d even recognise her now. How can they possibly remember her?

Oh! They have no idea what she looks like, they just know it presses my buttons and makes me leap and hide behind clothes rails!

Seriously?

Yes! Seriously! Her name makes me leap!

What? Worse than spiders?

Yup!

I tested it out… Look! Spider! She leapt! Hey! Mary! She leapt and squealed ‘Stop it you fucker!’

We talked our way through other things… She asked me how I now managed to find humour in our rearing… I told her… Writing… Crayons… Screaming in fields… Many lucky finds in friends I’ve met… But mostly in piecing together the D. O.

The D.O.? What’s the D. O.?She asked…

I told her… It’s the cards I’ve been drawing, the Discarded Oracle…

Her eyes creased in smiles and twinkled… It spread across her face… That’s the thing with siblings, you don’t have to explain your punchlines…

So my big V victory… Half a century to arrive at a place where I can sit and chat shit with my sister like we’re just a couple of normal people having fun.

6 thoughts on “There’s victories & there’s Victories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.