Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 78: Force of Will

Lark (The Dreamer): Hey Mom?

Mom (Me): Hello, Lark. How are you doing?

Lark: Better, I think. I’m starting to get used to feeling like… Myself.

Mom (concerned): How does that feel?

Lark: It feels good. There’s still plenty to process, but… Without my twin’s emotional reactions pulling my attention this way and that, I feel a lot more relaxed.

Mom: That sounds very healthy.

Lark (smiling): Thank you. It is healthy, I feel.

Mom (worried): What about your twin? Do you still feel… Betrayed?

Lark (hesitantly): No. I think… I think she was doing her best. Same as I was, same as you were. She’s just…

(I wait patiently as Lark processes her thought.)

Lark: She’s so hard on herself, you know? Like she took all of the criticism Bloom was subjected to and just… Turned it in on herself.

Mom (sighing): We all struggled with being really hard on ourselves. We were our own worst critics for a very long time… I’m sure we still are, to be honest. But you’re right; of all of my girls, I think your twin felt that the most — and you probably would have felt it the least.

Lark: That’s probably the peace I feel now — or at least part of it.

Mom: I think so. As The Dreamer, you weren’t trying to mold yourself into any specific shape. You might have been hoping to wish yourself into something else, but that’s different — wishing is a more subtle thing, and when I was younger I didn’t take the subtle approach. I was determined to achieve my goals, and the only tool I had in my toolshed was sheer force of will.

Lark: I remember you mentioning that before. You once said I go through life “battering my way through obstacles through force of will alone”… though I suppose you were talking more about my twin than me.

Mom (resigned): I didn’t know it at the time, but I think you’re right about that. Back then I tried to beat every undesirable behavior and trait out of myself, as if I could achieve my desired shape by berating myself until I changed. If something didn’t go the way I wanted, it was because I was too weak-willed — I didn’t apply myself enough or I let myself get too distracted.

Lark: I’m glad we know better now.

Mom: I’m glad we know better too. Willpower is a useful tool, but using it to deal with anger or anxiety… It’s not well suited to those tasks. It’s a bad tool for fighting procrastination.

Lark (sympathetic): I mean, when it’s the only tool you have, you *have* to use it.

Mom: You do, and I did. Your twin might still be trying to willpower her way through everything.

Lark: I think that’s why I’m not angry at her anymore. I know she was trying to do her best — she’s still trying her best.

Mom: She is, but… That was only part of the problem back then. I also had a lot of shame around the parts of myself that I couldn’t control — my undesirable parts. I didn’t want to be a procrastinator, or to be unreliable. I wanted to cut those parts of myself away.

Lark (shocked): Cut them away? Just decide not to be yourself anymore?

Mom (embarrassed): I suppose so. Certain behaviors kept getting me in trouble. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t reliably make myself study or keep myself from getting angry or ignore my social anxiety… Goodness knows I tried. I suppose that was another application of willpower — I just tried to will myself into something else, and browbeat myself when I inevitably failed to change.

Lark (upset): Ugh, we did a lot of that, didn’t we.

Mom: Far, far too much. I’m not doing that anymore.

Lark: Wait… Is my twin one of the parts of yourself you tried to cut away? Is that why she ran from us?

Mom (ashamed): I… It’s more complicated than that.

Lark (hurt): Oh.

Mom: I’m not proud of how I used to interact with her, but I’m determined to be more accepting. She doesn’t deserve to be chased down; she deserves to have a place here she can call home.

Lark: And it’s on us to build that space. I understand, Mom.

Mom: Thanks, Lark.