Monkeys Inside and Out

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What day of the week is it? I don’t know what’s with the zooming time these days, but I’m sure whole days are being swiped from me. We’re a funny bunch us humans. I read a thing by Seth Godin where he reckons that artificial intelligence isn’t worse off than humans without the ability to reason and all the other things that go on in our heads. He calls it our chattering monkeys. Those robot guys won’t be jealous of all that swirling negativity and fear at all if they take over the world. He’s quite right too. I’ve had a whole bevy of the little sods all chattering away at the same time in my noggin, and sometimes they cause me to just freeze right up. So a lot of white noise leading to useless action, and very little constructive being done around here these days. Time to focus, I think.
I’m a proper old anxiety bunny. I get all tied up in knots for days about all sorts of things that I think I should be doing even when they’re physically impossible. I stress about letting people down, or not being what other people expect me to be. So – got to the point where I did the most epic Tasmanian devil spinout, and then I stopped and put the TV on. This universe never ceases to amaze me. I reckon that there are hundreds of invisible angel guys out there all waving placards at us to slow down now and then and consider the paths we’re on. What popped up on the screen was a documentary called The (Dead Mothers) Club. I was about to change the channel when I saw that it had Rosie O’Donnell in it, and she’s always good for a chuckle, so I watched a bit more, not thinking for one second that I could relate to it in any way. But I did. And I learned quite a lot from it too. It also had Jane Fonda in it, and when I saw that she’d written a memoir I did what any self-respecting scribbler would do and zoomed on to Amazon to see the latest celebrity blah blah that people generally buy only because – well – celebrity.
Turns out she’s actually a fabulous writer. I haven’t read the whole book yet because my TBR list is WRIT and having writ it, I will not deviate from the reading order. I did have a very quick squiz through though, and I admit to looking forward to getting properly tucked in to it. I remember hating her a bit when I was really feeling the buuurn to her old exercise videos in the eighties, but generally she was inspiring. I read a couple of reviews that spoke about her anti-war protest days – which was news to me – and the hatred some people still carry for her. It did make me think though. She’s moved on. She admits to many, many regrets, but she realises that wallowing in them serves her no purpose now. People make mistakes – sometimes very bad ones. She’s incredibly honest in her book, and that takes guts. Especially when she looks back on her own failings. But back to the documentary.
It’s all about women whose mothers died when they were young. All the stories are really touching, especially those women like Jane Fonda whose mothers took their own lives. It’s deeply affected each and every one of them, and after the empathy I felt for them I was quite surprised to find myself relating totally to them. Rosie said something like, “It’s a club. You get a badge…..” That’s true, I think. I was eighteen when I lost my mother – not so young I thought back then. But looking back now with the itsy bit of wisdom I’ve gained, I see that it was. Watching how these women coped it suddenly became obvious that often they completely lost their way for quite a large chunk of their lives. Jane only “came to” in her sixties.
I certainly did lose the plot at the time – and for many years afterwards my main goal was never to think about her. I managed to block out goodly chunks of my childhood, and if any memory tried to surface it got squashed. All I carried on through the years was how she had suffered to the very end, and also that I missed her death by forty minutes, and she died alone. That guilt made me quite a little crazy I think. There’s also that sense of not belonging to anyone anymore. I used to get properly jealous of friends who had fathers. I don’t remember my father at all, but I do remember being upset at not having one when I realised that all my buddies had them. They were cool too. I used to pretend that someone had got their facts wrong, and that he wasn’t really dead at all, and would show up on the doorstep one day. Now I’m trying really hard to remember my mother – the happy bits though, and not the end.  It’s working, and I think that I’ve just lost the guilt too.
I do believe that anyone can be whoever they want to be as an adult, no matter what has happened to them before the minute of the decision to be whoever they want to be is made. I’m quite tough on myself this way. But seeing these women – especially Jane – look back on their lives, warts and all, it’s obvious that this club, this Dead Mothers Club is a real thing. It’s like some sort of switch was flicked when they became motherless. You can strike out wildly, furiously, and mess your life up without ever realising that it’s really because your mother died before you were properly grown. Somehow it makes you feel of less worth than everyone else. Always needing to be tough and prove that you’re just fine and dandy on your own, when you’re really not at all. Jane’s locked away pain and the guilt kept her from living her life properly until she turned sixty, and she made some gloriously terrible boobies along the way before she decided to have a little squiz within, and found a way to eject the monkeys.
I can’t recall ever purposefully ever setting out to hurt anyone, but I have. I’ve always been incredibly naive, taking people for what they appear to be, and it took me a very long time to realise that that has caused me some really big missteps. I’m great with the self beating, so I suppose that all the years of running and falling has left all these monkeys running around in my head. I’m not overly partial to monkeys in general – the real little sods are having forays into my tomatoes right now – so evicted they will have to be.
After a couple of hours of mulling over what I learned from those women, I realise that life shouldn’t be about guilt and sadness for the past, and worry for the future all the time. This is wasting the time we have now, because without a time machine there’s not a lot you can do about the first, and you don’t know what the second will be. Although what you do now will probably have a big impact on your future. Running around with the monkeys will too. So. Deciding to mindfully control your own life after chasing your own tail in your noggin for decades isn’t easy. I’m well chuffed though. I thought I was a club of one kind of crazy, so it’s nice to see that I’m not. Mothers are probably with you always (secret Long Island Medium watcher at your service), and not having one around physically doesn’t make you less valuable. People do love you, blood or not, and just by doing what you’re doing and being who you are, you do have purpose and most definitely value.
You’re allowed to enjoy yourself, and have fun while fulfilling that purpose, no matter what has gone before. In fact, for me, I sometimes think that what has gone before had to happen just as it did for what is now to be. Now is good. Even though everything that you do or is done to you will have some sort of impact, you don’t have to allow these things to control you in ways that make you waste any of your life that you have left. I’ve got a lovely imaginary monkey guilt and worry basher in my head now, so whenever these feelings of not being or doing good enough pop up from now on they will be summarily whacked right out of there. Knowing that you really are doing the best that you can right now is good enough for me, so happy bunny forever for me. Now back to business as usual. Oh, and hi there Mom – it’s lovely to see you again.

Monkey

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31 thoughts on “Monkeys Inside and Out

    Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life. said:
    April 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Time to face the music or the monkeys on your back or in your mind.. The ones that love to create mischief and mess with your stress buttons, especially those associated with guilt. You cannot change the past but you can make a difference to your present and your future. I am sure that if you read Jo Robinson​’s post you will relate. I have a troop of baboons that appear from time to time..

    Liked by 2 people

    Oh! It's Vefday said:
    April 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    So much enjoy reading this post because I can relate to the words. In fact I’ve had a lapse in time this month with squillions of anxious thoughts buzzing around inside my head. Yep it’s time to get happy.

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you my lovely friend. I think that the most sensitive people are the ones that angst the most and hurt themselves over and over while nobody else is thinking about them at all. Definitely get happy! X

      Liked by 2 people

        soireadthisbooktoday said:
        April 25, 2015 at 2:52 am

        That had been be all my life…monkeys, hamsters running on wheels, and voices whispering mean things. I have a clean up crew in there. Takes time,but they are using the old elbow grease!

        Like

    The Story Reading Ape said:
    April 13, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    The Monkeys of Life are harmless – until YOU let them dictate to you…
    Great insights to Human Nature, Worries and Jo herself 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    The Story Reading Ape said:
    April 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Know that at least ONE APE loves you to pieces Jo 😀 XXXXX

    Liked by 2 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 13, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you Chris! And this old monkey head LOVES you to pieces right back – MWAH! ❤ XXXXXXX

      Liked by 1 person

        Patrick Jones said:
        April 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm

        Group Hugs and Kisses 🙂 xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox MWAH! Love you both, Pat and Sandy

        Like

    danniehill said:
    April 13, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I do enjoy your post, Jo. Jane Fonda is not someone to hold up to the light for many older American military veterans– and she never will be– sorry. Whenever I hear or read her name I still think of her as Hanoi Jane.

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 13, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Thank you Dannie! I must definitely look this up. Whatever she did must have been bad. The Vietnam war was just a little bit out of my time frame, although I’ve seen a lot of movies about it. I would never excuse what she did, not only because I don’t know yet what it was, but because I’ve seen the terrible damage done to young soldiers in war. There was conscription here back in the days of apartheid, and these youngsters were sent out, and always came back a whole lot older. The thing I was thinking about also was the self damage this particular club seem to do to themselves – they often lash out like absolute idiots rather than admit that they’re hurting, almost as if they want people to hate them.

      Liked by 1 person

        danniehill said:
        April 14, 2015 at 2:18 am

        Jo. You wrote a very good post with a lot of thoughtful prose. It’ just when I see that lady get accolades or praise… well I guess I zone out. Having regrets and apologizing are two completely different things. So enough said on my part. I do enjoy your post– all of them.

        Like

    Patrick Jones said:
    April 13, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Fantastic post, Jo…I for one say you’re perfect in my eyes 🙂 I had to learn to live in today too…Big cyberhugs to you and your Mum!!

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you Patrick! It’s not a easy as it sounds this living in the moment thing, so you’ve done the hard work. Lots of HUGS right back atcha! 🙂 X ❤

      Like

    Suzanne Joshi said:
    April 13, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Good piece, Jo. I read a piece Jane Fonda wrote years ago, and I still remember her as being honest and forthright in her writing. I can see her being that way with family and friends as well. That seems to be the kind of person she is. I can understand why the Vietman veterans don’t like her. She admits that was a BIG mistake she made.

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks Suzanne! I totally agree – I must say I was very surprised at how great a writer she is – one of those writers who you can see yourself interacting with that come across as kindred spirits. I really had better google what she did to the veterans. Her regret over that and lots of other things she got wrong is such a massive thing to share with the world. It’s funny how covering up your own hurt can sometimes make people hurt others, even though they’re not bad people inside at all.

      Like

    olganm said:
    April 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Great and honest post Jo. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      April 13, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      Thank you Olga! You would know all about these things as a psychiatrist, but I’m always amazed when I figure something out – amazed too at how long it takes. X

      Like

    Ali Isaac said:
    April 13, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    So sorry to hear you lost your patents so young Jo… it must have been so hard for you. Its funny, quite a few people seem to be rethinking their lives today, albeit on different levels.

    Like

    Tricia Drammeh, Author said:
    April 13, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    I tend to get very wrapped up in worry. Anxiety takes over and it’s hard to enjoy anything in the present. This post was just what I needed today. Thank you!

    Like

    davidprosser said:
    April 13, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    You could be a very rich lady if you rented your ‘worry basher’ out. It’s awful that children lose their mother (or father often) young and before they’r ready for it. There are still too many things that should be shared before that happens.People have to find a way to cope and Jane Fonda certainly did, though I don’t think her anti-war protests were a mistake and they influenced a lot of people.
    You made great adjustments Jo which can’t have been easy, and despite the mistakes you admit to through naivety, don’t appear to have done any lasting harm..
    You are deservedly a much loved and admired lady who improves the quality of life for the rest of us.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Like

    noelleg44 said:
    April 13, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Nice post, J, except for the part about Jane Fonda.I’ve never forgotten her role in the Vietnam War – or forgiven her for what was much more than just a momentary lapse in judgement. But that aside, I enjoy reading your ruminations, relate to much, and the last sentence was just GREAT!

    Liked by 1 person

    1stpeaksteve said:
    April 13, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    I was looking at pictures of me as a toddler and you can see how reckless I was. Climbing to crazy places, etc. It is funny how as children, we are so brave and uncaring yet at some point we learn to become chronic worriers and how to be stressed out.

    Well, keep working at keeping the monkeys at bay!

    Like

    Let's CUT the Crap! said:
    April 13, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I feel sorry for young children who lose their mother. Speaking for myself, I was already in my 60’s when I lost my mother and I felt like an orphan. Yes, I was a grown woman with grandchildren. When my father passed away it was hard, but much more emotional when my mother did. I know she could not live forever, but afterwards I became lost.
    Great post, Jo. I’m glad you caught that program and shared with us. Something to think about and understand. ❤ ❤

    Like

    teagan geneviene said:
    April 13, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    anxiety bunny… I like that term. That’s definitely me… but anxiety bunny is so much nicer than the various things i call myself. Hence forward, anxiety bunny me. 🙂

    Like

    Seumas Gallacher said:
    April 18, 2015 at 6:25 am

    …terrific post, m’Lady , Jo 🙂

    Like

    theowllady said:
    April 19, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

    Like

    chrllrobb.blog said:
    April 21, 2015 at 5:02 am

    I can so relate. I seem to be off in a thousand directions in my head at times. My mother is still alive and I do not have a good relationship with her. She is demanding and is a my way or no way type of person. I do love her, but from a distance. I am sorry you lost your mom and can only try to imagine how that was to deal with. I never knew my dad and now he is gone and I will never meet him face to face. I have had to finally get the monkeys, or whatever is screaming around in my head out and away too. My timing is good in reading this post. We all need to work through something in life and need to move on. It may take awhile as Jane did, but hopefully we will get there. I am 59 and hopefully getting there. Thanks for your post. Have a good week. I hope the monkeys in your tomatoes will move on soon too. 🙂

    Like

    Janice Wald said:
    April 24, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Hi!
    What an engaged community you have! You should be so proud! Thank you for coming to my Meet and Greet today.
    Janice

    Like

    Janice Wald said:
    April 25, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Hi!
    Thanks for yesterday’s visit. Glad you liked my StumbluUpon article.
    Janice

    Like

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