Mundane Nostalgia

I’ve been MIA from writing for almost a month because I’ve needed to focus my attention on my health. I won’t have definitive answers for another couple of months, but from the research I’ve done on the test results that have come in thus far, it seems that there are autoimmune and vascular issues going on. And have been for quite some time. But when you are always a mile away from your body and rely on others to tell you that your symptoms are just somatizations of your anxiety and PTSD, well, it all just gets swept under the carpet. Until it gets to the point where the pain flares become more frequent, and your hands and feet turn purple, and you’re suddenly unable to eat a bunch of foods, and your diaphragm starts spasming uncontrollably rendering you unable to take deep inhalations and exhalations, etc, etc. . .

I had an epiphany this morning while attending an Al-Anon meeting that some of my dissociation may be voluntary because it is a way for me to stay connected to my late, dissociated family. To dissociate is to wax nostalgic. Entering into a state of nostalgia requires some dissociation, but it’s not a state to sit in hour after hour, day after day, the way that I do. It’s meant to be a temporary visit, like a short trip to a neighboring town where you can window shop an antiques store. Sitting in it beyond that is like getting sucked through a vortex into some kind of purgatory, some no-man’s land between the past and present.

In this no-man’s land, I try to re-create my childhood experience of being with my retired grandparents or stay-at-home mom. I sit on the couch on weekday afternoons watching basic TV channels that air Medicare, medical equipment, pharmaceutical, and housecleaning product commercials. I can hear the mailman’s keys as he opens up the large metal door of apartment mailboxes. I can hear the landscapers outside with their mowers and leaf-blowers, maintaining the lawns of unoccupied homes because the owners are away at their day jobs, living in the here and now. There are doctors’ offices in this no-man’s land where I attend mid-day appointments with waiting rooms filled with older, retired people and younger, unemployed junkies while some mid-day white-trash talk show blares on the waiting room TV. I feel a heartache and yearning as I look into the faces of my waiting room companions as I detect similar facial features and mannerisms of my parents, my grandparents, and their friends.

This is my version of nostalgia, folks. Romanticizing the mundane, daily goings-on of people who only have mundane, daily goings-on with which to fill up their schedule. Because I do not have the more meaningful memories upon which to reflect that non-ACoAs have.

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