Monday, October 10, 1977

Psalm 133

Got up medium. Dressed. We went out, I don't remember where. We came back and had chicken soup. Watched TV. Aunt Sinah came. She taught us how to make a card house. She's slowly cleaning out that apartment of hers. She left, and we watched the beach bums. Pops came back from walking Aunt Sinah to the car. We went to bed. Thank you, Mr. O.

Aunt Sinah never did get that apartment clean. When she died, about 9 years later, her apartment was filled to bursting with stacks of the New York Times and various magazines. And you couldn't just dump the stuff, because hidden in weird places were things like bonds, stock certificates, and cash. But she always talked about how she was getting rid of it all. Too funny that the really important stuff, like the fact that she had a baby, was hidden someplace else entirely and stayed that way for years.

I have a picture of Aunt Sinah that I keep up amongst the family photos in my living room. We don't have too many of her. She and my mom had a "walk-around each other" relationship, and she and my father fought constantly, though I always felt she loved him to distraction. She was very obstinate. Very. I think I was always partial to her because for the early part of my childhood with the Professor, I was classified as "the smart one." And like Sinah, I certainly have a tendency to get lost in my own head, though I don't think that "smart" has anything to do with it. I think that's more of an Aquarian trait. But as a little kid, my parents--my father in particular--would say things like "Don't be like your Aunt Sinah.... don't get caught up in your head, be more interactive." And I love my parents to death, but the older I got, the more I got to think that was sort of an unfair statement. Particularly after I got to know her.

And hindsight is always 20/20 and at the time, none of us knew about the baby she gave up. Once I realized that, and once I had my own child (ironically enough, like my Aunt, "out of wedlock" with someone who couldn't--for various reasons--commit) I realized how very difficult that must have been. And there is that family trait to sort of "suck it up" and "lock it down" and move on. I'm sure I don't come by those metal gates in my head out of the blue. Because obviously, that's what she did... she must have just sucked it up and moved on... and on the outside it would seem that she had let it go, except for the fact that she kept track of where her daughter was until she died. So maybe I am like her (because that is so something I would do)... and I know people frequently think that I'm self contained and business-like. Someone described me as "fierce" once, and the Professor says I'm bossy. But those are merely defenses... for most of my life I felt that if I didn't have those defenses in place I would be easily swept away, sucked under by all that goes on in my life and would be completely useless to everyone. I took a perverse sense of strength in never letting anyone see me cry, or hurt or be angry, though of all the emotions anger was the one I was most comfortable showing. For the most part, I practiced being like "Spock" from Star Trek. But late at night I've sat and prowled the suicide sites, or drank myself to stupor and sometimes even then, I'd still cry (nothing worse than being ridiculously drunk, but hurting enough to cry--that really sucks cuz alcohol is supposed to deaden everything).

It wasn't until the Sun came along that I began to let it all go, couldn't hold it in any longer. You can't let love out without letting out all the other stuff that comes with it. But when he was born, I had to force myself to talk to him, to let him into my head. It wasn't that I hadn't bonded or that I didn't love him because I loved my little peanut the second I accepted the fact I was pregnant, but I was so used to just being alone inside my head, so used to the metal gates I didn't even notice they were there. I could easily be inside my head for days on end. But I'd read somewhere during my pregnancy that you should talk to your baby and so I did, but initially it was very foreign. And then of course, I had to listen outside of myself, rather than just the voices in my head (and they can be vastly entertaining, let me tell you) so that I could hear what the Sun needed. The funny thing was that the more I listened outside, the stronger my inner voices got and I got to pick up on a whole new range of thoughts and feelings and emotions I hadn't ever felt. Initially, it was all too big to contain, which is the only reason why anybody got to "see" anything, but after awhile and a few public cries for help it was kind of cool to know life would continue on despite the fact that I had cried. And sometimes, people even cared that I hurt or cried, and that's kind of nice.

So it must have been hard for my aunt, that at the very time when your heart is opening up, that she had to shut it all down. And she shut it all down until we came along. Looking back 30 years later I marvel at the difference between her and my grandmother. Because Sinah was very straightlaced (despite her staunchly Democratic political stance) and rigid in her thinking, and I know she thought The Parents nuts... but unlike Grandmother who shut us out, Sinah took us in wholeheartedly, without any reservations. She must have called or came by practically every day while we were in the Gramercy Park Hotel, and when we moved out into our own apartment (and oh just wait till I get to THAT part), she'd climb the 5 flights of stairs to come see us on a regular basis.

And she tolerated my father and his ideas for the most part, but sometimes she put her foot down. Like when she finally decided she'd had enough of us living without a phone and without electricity and went and set us up with a phone. A red one. I remember her saying she understood about the electricity, but we HAD to have a phone. But that came later...


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