Jane O. M.

I've called my committee my 'Victorian Chorus' over the years. The chorus is a group of women in Victorian clothes, with my mother as the lead speaker, who hover around in my head. They function like the Greek Chorus in a Greek play. I don't see them, or hear them, I only can tell they are there by their influence on me. When I find myself hitting a wall I'm now able to recognize they sneaked in again. They can really scare me off. When I did black and white darkroom photography I put a sticky note on my enlarger that said, “Is this an Obstacle or an Opportunity?”

The lesson this week has lead me to look at the VC more closely. I now believe there are two separate entities, the chorus and my mother. The VC mildly chants about decorum, appearance, family standards, etc. On the other hand, my mother speaks sharply and often to me: don't slump, put on some lipstick, you shouldn't wear that to school, etc., a litany of nitpicking negative comments.

One time, when I was in college, the three of us were in the car driving somewhere and she did the 'put on some lipstick' thing, I said with exasperation, “Please let me know if I ever do anything right!” In a hysterical voice she ordered my father to stop driving, he pulled over, and she got out of the car and ran into a store. Dad said to me I shouldn't talk to my mother like that, got out of the car and followed her, they returned after a bit. Nothing was ever said about it. But I thought to myself, “Some people really know how to dish it out, but can't handle it when it comes back to them.”

I think the result of the stream of negativity is that I did my best to 'fly under the radar' to avoid it. And that strategy carried over into many aspects of my life. It undermined self-confidence, assertiveness, standing up for myself, courage to compete, even wanting to be really good at something. Now I want to make some bodacious fiber art!

I'm wondering if there are more committee members that I can't see yet.