- Today I’m practicing great vulnerability with my mother who was born in India in 1954. We touch on what her family relationships were like and how she built intimacy in those relationships. We get side-tracked a bunch and my mother’s words can be non-linear due to her intense anxiety
- She was always cautious when I was young of what she shared with the greater world. Truthfully, our relationship hasn’t always been the best. There was the rare instance of physical discipline like a slap across the face or the much, much more commonly the threat of violence. My mother and I have a complicated past and I’m mindful not to disclose too much so as to hold space for her emotional safety even if you don’t know her.
- It was a very hot and sweaty summer day when we recorded this meaning there were planes flying overhead but we decided to keep the window open. At a certain point someone turns on a leaf blower and I just closed the window. I’ve tried to edit it all out but you might still hear some of it.
- My mother also gestures wildly with her hands at times which I find quite charming but it does result in the mic getting frequently bumped so please bear with us.
- I have sent the recordings to my mother, sister, and brother to get their approval before publishing and to ensure anything they wanted edited out got edited out.
- Contraceptive conversations with your mother – the conversations we all love having. Whelp, that topic came up. We mentioned the rhythm method of birth control, a type of calendar-based contraceptive strategy so I’ve included a link to effectiveness. According to Wikipedia, “when used to avoid pregnancy, the Standard Days Method has been claimed to have perfect-use efficacy of 95+% and typical-use efficacy of 88%. However, independent researchers have shown that these figures are probably too optimistic and its efficacy is likely to be much lower.” I share the concern of researchers that it’s optimistic to expect it to regularly work if only because humans are so fallible and are easily influenced by desire to have sex. I’ve also included a link so you can do research on it. If you can afford it though and it isn’t medically harmful to you, please consider just using a condom. They are very effective when used correctly and while effective at preventing pregnancy they also offer some protection against most STIs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar-based_contraceptive_methods#Types_and_effectiveness
- We mention copper IUDs that cost between 37 cents and 3 dollars US per device so I’ve included a link to how they work (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_IUDs). Neither one of us was completely wrong in our suspicions. It seems copper ions act as a potent spermacide and are released from copper IUDs making the uterus almost entirely uninhabitable by sperm, effectively “blocking” or preventing the sperm from getting to almost any egg in almost any position almost all the time.
- Please keep in mind, this is experimental content for me. It’s hard to talk to my mother for long periods as a general rule; however she was incredibly cooperative in producing this content as I mentioned it would be a good record for her granddaughters. She also genuinely wanted to do something with me. Our relationship may be complex and *riddled with intergenerational trauma*, but it is still a relationship between a child and their mother.
- As a relationship, it’s still critically important in understanding where I come from and how I relate to intimacy. It informs where my anxiety comes from and how I struggle to build strong family connections. It also perhaps sheds light on how in the absence of those strong relationships, I’ve reached out hard for found family and emotionally fulfilling friendships. Perhaps it informs why I’ve found so much peace in relationship anarchy, giving me the permission I needed to forge intense or intimate relationships with nonsexual and nonromantic partners.
- I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about my mother’s performative representation of her stories. She cares what you think. I care what you think. I think I got that from her. It got me thinking about how performative my representations of my own stories are. I know none of us is unbiased, and I still struggle to be the least biased I can be. It’s basically an impossible fight, but I think trying is important so at the very least I don’t lean into my own bias.
- Sometimes between trauma and anxiety and depression and dissociation, I can’t make heads or tails of my own story, but hopefully knowing that I’m seen still helps with healing. I’ll let you know. It’s not easy to be transparent like this but sometimes I think it’s part of who I am as someone who wears their heart of their sleeve, and part of healing. If not part of healing, at least part of my desperate need to be seen and validated, part of my fear that I am not rooted in reality, part of that anxiety that comes from gaslighting – is this really happening? Did I really speak those words? Would the world be an easier place to live in if those things didn’t really happen? Is it really worth the effort to try to make sense of these events? I think it is worth that effort. If you choose, bear witness to two traumatized people trying to make sense of seemingly nonsensical events. Truthfully, I think we do a pretty good job as a mother and child team, only rarely struggling with each other.
- Content warning for: burns requiring hospitalization, gaslighting, siblings dying in childhood
- Oh yeah and for what it’s worth, thank-you for listening and taking an interest in my life. I know this content isn’t my usual but
- As always if you like the episode, please tell your friends or better still, take a few minutes to just write us a quick review to help other relationship and intimacy lovers find us.
Reflecting on Family and Friends in India
1. What was elementary school like for you as a kid?
2. Did you or your parents ever have to take care of your siblings?
3. Did you or your parents ever have a sibling die?
4. What was your mother like?
5. What was your father like?
6. What was your relationship like with your mother?
7. What was your relationship like with your father?