Friday, October 05, 2007

Interview with a vampire

This is where the fairies dance in my yard at night.

I asked Chani to interview me. I have had these questions from her for over a week. I think they are quite beautiful, but they have been hard to answer. I have written and revised, and edited, and then edited some more. I am still not satisfied, but i realize i will never be.

1. You woke up this morning and by some miracle, you are a lawyer. What would you choose as your specialty?

Hara-kiri? Ok, just kidding, i couldn't resist throwing in a lawyer dis. First off, that would be a miracle.

If i had to be a lawyer, i would choose either environmental law or child advocacy. Well, now that i think about it, i would have to say environmental, because i think being involved in divorces and abuse cases would suck the heart right out of me. Suing the ass off large corporations that rape the land and poison the world would please the hell out of me.

Or maybe a public defender. I am pretty smart, and talking care of people who would normally get screwed because they are poor, that would be good.

2. Meno (of Meno and Socrates) says that virtue is a desire for honorable things and the power to attain them. Ignoring Socrates' nitpicking, what do you consider to be honorable things and how do you attain them?

I consider it honorable to be living your life in such a way as to minimize your negative impact on the earth and other people. And to allow other people to live their lives as they choose, as long as they don't impact anyone else's life in a negative way.

For example, that Mormon guy who heads that cult is running his life the way he wants, but forcing a girl to become the 5th wife of her 40 year old cousin when she is 13 does not minimize the negative impact on her. I hope he rots in hell. So it's not like anything goes.

As to how to achieve virtue, it can only come from awareness. Willingness to view your own self honestly. I am still working on this.

3. You mentioned once that you hadn't intended to have children. How do you imagine your life would have been different if you'd not had children?

I wasn't always SURE i would ever want to have children, but having Em was entirely intentional.

There are many ways my life would have been different, but chiefly, i would not still be married to the Mister. There are things that i would not have tried to survive with him if i had not had another person's life to consider. But knowing that her future, self-image, relationships with men and understanding of commitment were at stake, i tried harder than i ever have at anything. So without her i would not know what it really means to put someone else first.

Also there would be less laundry, fewer hugs, less noise, and less laughing.

4. In light of that, in what way has your daughter (or any child you might have had) enriched your life?

It is very healing to be able to raise a child with love. I am capable of raising a happy child. How the hell did that happen? She also provides me with great company. She makes me laugh and want to beat her, sometimes simultaneously.

There is no adequate answer for this, really all i can say is that she has taught me how deep love really is. Sorry for the sappiness, but there are no words.

5. What do you consider to be the most pivotal historical event of your lifetime?

I would like to say my wedding or the birth of Em, or some such sweetness, but as a person who questions her own worth, my most pivotal event come from trial by fire, not from love. What has really shaped my life, in ways both good and bad, is beingdumped and lied to by the Mister when Em was 3. I discovered:
my capacity for pain
i can take care of myself
how hard it is for me to forgive
the depth of hate i can feel and not commit murder
how to really be an adult
that i am not immune to the shit the world can dish out (i thought maybe i was special, what a smug ass i was.)
how low i can sink
i am the stronger one in this relationship
how stubborn i can be
that i WILL live, even if i don’t want to

Thank you Chani.


Girlplustwo said...

I love that you've opened up here, Meno. that is honorable in and of itself.

you are such a terrific mom.

Dick said...

Your life sure has had some different moments than mine has. I guess we all can learn from taking a hard look at our lives. We can't change much from the past but maybe can learn from them so we don't make the same mistakes again. Remember the Bill Murray movie called I think, "Ground Hog Day?" I guess we would be doing that kind of a lifestyle if we didn't learn from the past. Now if only we could get those who govern us to do the same.

Schmoopie said...

Sometimes it seems that living through unbearable pain, and finding happiness on the other side, is the real test.

You have great resolve and should be commended for putting Em first. Not too many people take that road these days. We have become a "throw-away" society. If marriage becomes difficult, people just quit. A good marriage is full of amazing moments of joy as well as terrible times of sadness.

ms chica said...

I will attempt to be uncharacteristically succinct:
You love fiercely. I'm fortunate to learn from you.

crazymumma said...

These were wonderful answers.

Saying that they were real honest raw sort of sounds trite in their face. But they are. Real honest and raw I mean.

Andrea Frazer said...

Like Crazymumma says, "Wonderful answers....Real honest and raw"

I wish I could be as open in my writing as you are, but I have too many people reading. I do, however, have plenty of people outside the web forum who I can be completely authentic with. And you, my dear, are a reminder of why this is a good thing. Thank you.

Andrea Frazer said...

Oh, by too many people reading, I mean family. Imagine if your mother read your stuff. Could you be as honest? Maybe? Hey, that's something for you to consider posting about. I'd love to hear your answer.

Lynn said...

Wow. Reading what you wrote certainly got me thinking. Your ability to express yourself amazes and humbles me.

amusing said...

Okay. Someday -- a bottle of wine and a chat about all that last bit, hmm? It's all so familiar, and so amazing and so awful and so strange, isn't it?

I own "murderous rage" -- who knew?

meno said...

jen, i don't think there is anything here that i haven't talked about before, maybe just not recently. But it's all still there, as you can see.

dick, yes, i remember that movie. Oh for a chance for a redo on some things.

schmoopie, i think i did the best thing at the time. And somehow it has all worked out ok. You have the right of it about marriage.

ms. chica, you too my friend, and really, is there any other way to love?

crazymumma, thank you. I find i can be no other way.

mamap, my mother would find it all very distasteful. She doesn't like to be reminded of hard things. Once i made a snide comment about marriage, and she told me that i should get over it. What i think she really meant is that it makes her uncomfortable. She's good at denial.

lynn, thank you, what a nice compliment. If i move you, that means i was able to communicate. That means a lot to me.

amusing, this is why,k when i first stumbled across your blog, i felt a kinship. Someday.... And we will have to share ownership of that rage.

Liv said...

I thank you for your candor, and realize that you are a stronger person than I am. I could not stay even for the children. Living in a way that forced me to compromise myself was not acceptable. I know that Peep's future relationships will be colored by divorce, but I hope she learns how to teach people to treat her, and knows that her mom stood for something.

Anonymous said...

doesn't it suck to learn that you're not immune to life's crap? that's a lesson I've always hated to learn, and somehow I've been faced with it more than once.

the good thing is, that those knocks made you the person you are today, and that person is well liked, well read, and well respected.

thank you :)

QT said...

Very nicely done. To put Em first - it is not something that I see very often anymore, people sacrificing for another. Even for a child, which you would think comes naturally to a parent.

Willingness to view ourselves honestly is very, very hard. It is so easy to cover things up and pretend they are fine. But it all comes out eventually, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

This is why I love you.

I'm feeling good about being in the "Questions her own worth" club, with you as a member.

Mona Buonanotte said...

"less laundry, fewer hugs"...funny, nowadays when I do the laundry, stuffing the dirty soccer clothes and ice-cream-stained t-shirts and High School Musical crush-wear into the washer, I remind myself to savor the effort. 'Cause all too quickly, it'll be over.

Thank you for your brutally honest answers. I learned a lot about you, and I love that.

gary rith said...

'the depth of hate i can feel and not commit murder'


Bob said...

"that i WILL live, even if i don’t want to"

that resonates with me as a life-long sufferer of depression. I feel the same - no matter how dark it is I will live.

maybe I'm a glutton for punishment?

Mrs. Chili said...

I agree with all of this, especially the answer about being able to raise a child with love. My daughters have been pivotal in my own healing process, and being able to raise them mindfully - and out of the cycle that had claimed my own family for untold generations. That alone makes it worth it.

thailandchani said...

I love all these answers! And I too admire those who know how to balance sacrifice.

I also understand the "I will live, even when I don't want to..."

These were awesome answers. Thank you. Even if I was a bit of a vampire. :)



Anonymous said...

It's shocking really, our capacity for hate. It seems to come from a place as deep as our ability to love.

and you're right, there's nothing better than the laugh of a child.

urban-urchin said...

"It is very healing to be able to raise a child with love."

Amen. That's so very true.

This was brilliant Meno- thanks for the insight into you...

Marshamlow said...

I have to tell you that I have learned so much about the person I strive to be by reading your blog. It is hard for me to put into words, but I think you put it perfectly in #2. It isn't so much about changing other people to think like me it is about accepting others for who they are and accepting me for who I am, even if that is different. Thanks, keep on writing.

Joan said...

I am in awe of your insightfulness and your ability to compromise for the sake of your daughter. You are truly a caring woman and a loving mom and I applaud you for your candor and honesty.

meno said...

liv, i will have to disagree with you. I am not stronger than you, i was given the option of attempting to repair the damage, you were not. I was able to overcome my hurt and humiliation because the Mister was truly sorry and was wanting to fix what was wrong. It was hard.

holly, yeah, it does suck. I really thought i was above it all, too smart for that. Ha!

qt, i would not have sacrificed my whole life for her, but because of her i had to try and get through the shit. That we succeeded says something about both of us, not just me.

de, welcome to the club sweetie. Except i guess, that like me, you are a long term member.

mona, i have not even tried to apppreciate the laundry like you have. I just hate it. Actually, Em now does her own. YES!

wng, feeling more than you should. I share that charactaristic. I can't decide if it's a good thing or not. Probably a bit of both.

gary, scared you huh?

bob, yes, i know that feeling. Depression knows me too. Ugh.

mrs. chili, yes, it does. And i am both surprised and pleased with myself, and you, for having been able to accomplish it.

chani, see if i ever ask YOU to interview me again. I feel a little scraped raw, and a little unburdened too. Thank you.

deb, at the risk of further scaring gary, this was the first time in my life when i could understand the urge to kill.

u-u, i know you do the same with yours. I have great hopes for this generation of loved kids.

marsha, wow, what a sweet thing to say. I am blushing.

joan, compromise, hmmmm. I think of it more as fighting. And one of the people i had to fight was me.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

These were truly mind-blowing answers to Chani's probing questions.

I am in awe of you.

I have always learned more from pain than from pleasure, too. Maybe we all do because when everything is perfect, we have no need to delve deeply into ourselves and find out what's there.

I inflicted divorce on my children and have always regretted that they had to suffer for the crimes of others. In this case, though, they might not have physically survived Life with Father if I had stayed.

I admire you for being able to distinguish between the Mister's poor choices as husband and his parental abilities, and to put Em first.

Thank you both for a great and illuminating post.

TTQ said...

Your hiking replicates you. Sometimes you need help to get through the passes and it's there if you need it, but sometimes the ledge is only big enough for one. And you make it on your own. In the end it was all about the journey.

Anonymous said...

your answers show how strong you are and how you are able to put others before you while still being yourself. Beautiful.

Tink said...

Wow, Meno. That was really deep and insightful. Not that I didn't expect that out of you. Just that these types of interviews are usually, "What is your favorite food?" and "If you were a Disney character, what character would you be?" So bravo Chani, for the questions and to Meno for such honest and open answers.

meno said...

hearts, in the case of abuse, there is no other option. i would never advocate staying in that event. Never. You did what you needed to to protect your kids. Not everyone can leave, you are a hero.

ttq, wow, that was deep. I like it.

my pool, i am not sure if it's only in the case of my child that i was able to do this. Thank you.

tink, expect me to go back to shallow posts forthwith. :)

luckyzmom said...

Wow! Your comment to chani's comment helped me understand how your answers affected me...."a little scraped raw". Instantly right back there 35 years ago, listening to Wayne Newton sing "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast", only our daughter was too young to understand that he was leaving us for another woman, an alcoholic like himself. I wasn't given the chance to forgive. I did toss a glass of beer in her face though! 30 years later he had the gall to blame me!! I wanted very much to find him walking alone on a dark road some night.

Anyway your answers moved me and I thank you for being willing to share.

Mother of Invention said...

You are pretty amazing that you chose to forgive your husband and really try to trust again after such pain. The majority have not done this so I think maybe some of them have missed out on a lot by not being like you. It may not have worked out but you gave it a fighting chance and taught your daughter that it's possible to forgive and trust again. And I'm glad it actually did work out.

Sienna said...

Well I think you are pretty amazing Meno...and I'm glad you are really stubborn.


Catherine said...

I love the interview meme - always so interesting!

Speaking of Chani, I came here via your comment on her "Heaven or Reincarnation" post. The question and comments so fascinated me that I wrote a post about it. I'd love your feedback - you can find it here

Nice to "meet" you. :)


Anonymous said...

People, we're all so complex.
Best wishes

meno said...

luckyzmom, forgiveness is not something that can be done alone. Good for you for the beer! You have spirit. You are welcome.

moi, it was hard. (Understatement) And it left me open to more heartache and pain. I am lucky that it worked out.

pam, thank you! There are times when being stubborn had been a positive thing. Other times....not so much.

catherine, thank you for stopping by. I read your post. It was well written and interesting.

maddy, that's the truth, complex and emotional.

Snoskred said...

I have enjoyed this questions meme a lot. ;) It is great to get to know more about people.

We should do it more often, no? ;)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for being so honest. I hope to have someone I love as much as Em some day, but thank god it's not now. My Mister sounds like he was cut from the same cloth as yours--maybe one day i'll blog about it so that others will know they're not alone. but for now it still stings.

meno said...

hanni, i know it does, i know. One of the reasons that i do talk about this, although it hurts me, is that i too want people to know that they are not alone. Because i sure felt all alone at the time. I think the shame made me quiet.