This is a picture of a dormouse. He is being dunked into his tea by the Mad Hatter and the white rabbit after he had the audacity to fall asleep at the table during an endless round of “tea”. While pondering something while I was trying to wake up this morning I had a mild flashback to my er, younger years. Yes, it relates to the dormouse. Well, sort of.
…I had run through (very early) the usual sort of persons one seeks out when one’s life is in disarray. Therapists, women’s groups, medical doctors, all had seen my face at one point or another. Why? I had questions. Why? Yes, why. (ignore my poor sentence structure, I write like this on purpose, ) Why, why, why, why, why.
I think I wore them out. They never had any satisfactory answers. They were, in turn, kindly, mean, bored, and dismissive. I never really held it against them. I was just, well, disappointed, that those who were “educated” didn’t seem to find the questions I had either 1. answerable or 2. interesting.
So I found myself a genuine, bonafide lost child finding type psychic to go and visit. You can see I had reached the end of my rope? I was going “beyond” for answers. And well, the answers I found, weren’t the one’s I was looking for. Figures right?
So, I walk in the door of a lovely home tucked in the woods (where else would it be?) and meet and greet with a lovely, (and I do mean lovely), dark haired woman who seemed to be maybe 10 years older than I at the time. I thought to myself “hrm… she doesn’t look like she’s psychic. She’s the same age as my cousin”. I followed her through her home to her “office” and we sat down. She asked my why I was there. I told her “I want answers for the weird questions I have”. She looked at me silently for a few minutes (this gig was by the minute, so I was paying attention).
“Well, she says, lets just get this out of the way first.” she gives me a very serious look. ”You are a doormat”.
My brain goes blank. I really don’t know where she’s going with this or even why. Why did I come here? “Huh?” I managed to mumble out loud to her.
“You are a DOORMAT!” she says even louder, like I’m hard of hearing.
Is she trying to make me angry? Is there something wrong with this woman? Why did I come here? I start to wish the floor would open up and I could disappear. Talk about the wrong door. I finally mumble “why are you calling me that?!”
“Because you ARE! and you need to get over it. You need to move around it. It’s holding EVERYTHING up in your life. I had to say that first, before we dig in any deeper”. And she gives me this look, the whole time, like she’d very much like me to leave, but is stuck with my presence for another three quarters of an hour.
I mutter at her, I get defensive, I talk about my relationship with my mother. Her expression never changes. She gets more aggressive as the ‘session” continues. She tells me I’ve always had “an extraordinary” amount of help from the other side. She says it like I don’t deserve it. She’s wounding me. I can feel it. But I’m so full of wounds at this time, that I just put in the same place as the rest of the pile. I even go back and see her for classes.
It takes me years. But one day I realize (after much inner chewing and gnawing) that she is right. I’m a doormat. She was’t wrong, but she wasn’t right either. I can’t change this 100%. I’m more yielding than I should be. Even now, many years later. My compassion gets in the way of my boundaries. If I had a choice, save your life, or save my own, it would be dicey. It is only in the past few years that Life has grown interesting to me. (In the sense of I want to stay till the end interesting). It’s made me “less” of a doormat. Or a dormouse (b’cause, let’s face it, that dormouse was doormat).
Maybe it’s the moving. Maybe I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do, living where I always wanted to live (in this moment). I look outside my window and see a medieval castle wall. I’m two blocks from the bay, on the Irish Sea. I’m immersed in a culture vastly different from my own and I find it fascinating and in turns, completely overwhelming. It may be time to toss out the doormat. I realized today, I don’t need that part of me anymore…
- The dormouse makes first appearance in Ireland (irishtimes.com)