Since my mother died, I've had a hard time writing about personal issues. I can't put my figure on the internal dynamic at work here. Since being transparent usually comes easily to me, I certainly didn't expect this to happen. However, I've had some ideas for posts stored in the back files of my brain, and I guess I'm going to try to write them and see what happens.
The first of these ideas relates to a problem that we're having with our house. About three months ago, our dishwasher sprang a leak. Some metal utensil (we'll call it a knife for simplicity) fell into the bottom of the dishwasher and landed on the heating element used for the dry cycle, and the knife conducted heat to the bottom of the plastic dishwasher tub and melted a hole in it. Because of the nature of the leak, we didn't catch it for a week or so, a week in which soapy water filled with food particles seeped through the subfloor of our kitchen and down into our unfinished basement, where it dripped onto a box of old work files and ran along the water pipes into the insulation that is stuffed between the subfloor of the upstairs and the sill of the concrete basement walls.
In the weeks that have passed since the leak occurred, mold grew behind that insulation until it eventually grew right through it and became visible to the naked eye. We had an inspector come out and test it. Among the two types of mold he found is stachybotrys, which the EPA classifies as a zero-tolerance mold because it can cause serious illness. So we are going to have to have extensive and expensive remediation done. Fortunately, our homeowners insurance will cover some of the costs, so it's not going to be as draining to our bank account as we first feared. Even so, we're going to have the inconvenience of having contractors in the house for several days, cleaning and decontaminating the building to make it a safe and healthful home again.
To me, this story epitomizes a truth about my life. There is no denying that my family inflicted a certain amount of damage on me (and on my brothers), but at this late stage in my life, the things my parents did or didn't do no longer really hurt me. Rather, what I continue to deal with is the extent to which I let bad responses to the damage linger, take hold, and spread—like the mold spores. I can honestly say that for all my adult life, I have tried as diligently as I could to heal from the wounds I carried from childhood, but I'm starting to see that some of the repeated choices I made to cope with the past are the very habits that I need to break now.
This will be the theme of my next few posts.