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12:26 a.m. - 2011-02-07

Okay, this is going to be difficult to say just right. I had a revelation tonight and it's making the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Both Mick and Wolf often say to me, "But you deserve this…" 'This' being whatever, a night off from making dinner or a new pair of shoes. Some good thing they think I should have.

It makes me flinch that word- 'deserve'. It's a nasty judgmental word to me. And not just because every beating my mother gave me came with, "You deserve this" as she came down with the belt or the broom or her fist. It certainly wasn't her doing, I'd brought it on myself. I deserved that black eye, that concussion, that dislocated shoulder. Of course I did, hadn't she just said so?

'Deserve' is tricksy. Sly. Self-serving usually. So I never learned to apply the concept of deserving to receiving. However, what I figured out tonight is what they really mean is 'allowed'. I am allowed to sleep in, play the Sims, order a pizza. It's okay. No bad things will happen to me.

I also understood for the first time that I am allowed to have for myself what I automatically give to them. If Mick needs a box of contacts or Wolf needs underpants, I don't measure whether they're worthy of those things. The very idea of it is outrageous. It's clear vision, it's underwear for Pete's sake! And guess what? I'm allowed to have good vision and underpants too!

Until tonight I didn't understand Mick's moaning distress when I put off taking care of myself in such basic ways. He'd try to persuade me that I deserved this thing or that. And I always shrugged it off, my distaste for that word getting in the way of my seeing what he meant. That I count too. No special merit is involved. I'm here just the same as anybody and thus allowed to have needs met.

Don't laugh, it might seem like, "Well, duh!" obvious to you, but I've just gotten around to accepting the idea I'm allowed to have needs at all.

It's not outlandish effrontery if I have jeans without holes. Some cleanser that doesn't make my face shrivel up like a raisin. It's normal. The "How DARE you?" police aren't going to swoop in and take me to task for fixing the dinner I'm hungry for without making sure Mick and Wolf wouldn't prefer something else instead.

I don't have to always come in last. More than that, I'm not taking anything away from my guys by going first sometimes.

Gah. See? I'm not sure if this is making any sense. It's not even a new lesson, really. But it's one I have to keep re-learning. Seeing the situation with new eyes again and again.

Today I got three books, two bras and five pairs of underpants and it took everything I had not to go running away down the mall concourse shrieking in a panicky lather, terrified the skies would open and I'd be struck by lightning. And I'll have to choke back that same panic when I pick up my glasses this week.

Allowed. I am allowed.

Weirded out, ~LA

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