Posted by: Marie | May 5, 2011

(538) Joyful moments

Post #538
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, November 16, 2010]

What a treat! My mom and two of my female friends from the bus barn went with me a couple of nights ago to the piano recital given by the professors of the local university. It was outstanding! It was such a treat to hang out with the ladies!! It was mostly classical music – some solos and some duets . . . even a eight-hands two-piano collaboration!

When the stages hands came out to set up for the eight-hands two-piano number, I could only see three piano benches, so I thought there would only be three pianists involved. From our side-angle view, it appeared that the middle bench was positioned in between the two pianos . . . like the middle guy would be playing the lower end of the keyboard of right piano with his right hand and the high end of the keyboard of the left piano with his left hand. That made me ponder . . . I couldn’t wait to see that feat, LOL! Well, it turned out the fourth bench was hidden by one of the other benches, so there were really four pianists, two on each piano. But, it got me to thinking about future composition possibilities . . . that might be a fun challenge! It sure would mess with your mind!


Last night, I was in the mood to watch a bit of TV and settled on the show Intervention. The young adult male being profiled had been sharing a bed with his mother for a few months – they were living with relatives and had only one bedroom between them. The interventionist said to the mom that when a parent and an older or adult child sleep in the same bed, it is “unconsummated incest”.

Photo by Martin Chen

Really? Is it really that big of a deal? Should I be more shocked that my dad and I slept in the same bed sometimes until I was maybe 14 or 15? I think not . . . I think my situation would have been more worthy of concern if it had involved a repeated violation of privacy (my dad climbing into my bed uninvited, walking in while I’m going to the bathroom, inspecting my body) and/or a spirit of seduction. But, the situation in my home didn’t involve those elements. And, it seems the situation with the mom and son on the show didn’t either . . . I don’t know their details, but I know mine and I think my situation was okay for my dad and me. So, I’m not sure I agree with the interventionist.


Quite a while back, my friend David left a comment about how what was going on in the minds of our parents as they heaped abuse upon us is not so important . . . the important thing is that we understand they gave us misinformation about who we are and that now, as adults, we can assimilate new and more accurate information. We have the power to do that now, as adults. I think I’m starting to “get” this concept now.


Today, I have a significant block of open time. There are things I should be doing (paying bills, weekly account status emails to my clients, publishing the minutes from our last piano teachers’ meeting, a schedule for an upcoming recital) but what I really want to do is to work with the new music-writing software or to create a budget or a time management chart or something else organizational.

I told myself, maybe I do need to something that gives me “a charge” . . . putting together a detailed plan of action (or some other “getting-organized” activity) always gives me a charge. Maybe I should allow myself to do that so I can feel better and so I feel more like doing the other mundane stuff.

Then it hit me . . . I have lived most of my life bouncing between being charged-up by the act of getting organized and being stuck/frozen by a lack of effective execution of my detailed plans. Within that back-and-forth pattern, I’ve not had space for joyful activities.

Now, I’m starting to have moments of true joy (teaching, going to the university’s piano recital with my mom and some friends, composing, performing, etc.) Maybe my focus could be on creating more opportunities for surrounding myself with truly joyful activities. Maybe I can see that the “getting organized” stuff helps with that only to some extent, then it becomes a way to avoid the absence of feeling charged up.

I think this is the first time I have realized there is a difference between feeling charged and being joyful.


  1. In that case ‘unconsummated incest’ incest would apply to most families for most of history. Separate bedrooms are very new in the history of our little species. (Dear Experts, a little knowledge of history will help you not look dopey and that you don’t know anything apart from your own culture of the last 100 years or so.)

    I really like that distinction between joy and charged up, thanks.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Wow . . yeah, great point about the historical context. In many cases, even in United States, it hasn’t been 100 years. My Hispanic friend that I run around with grew up as a migrant farm worker . . . their entire family often lived in one room of a “house” that was really more like a barn — there were a row of rooms from one of the building to the other with a long hall joining them together — each family got one room — the walls didn’t go all the way to the ceiling. The took baths in the all-purpose metal tubs (like pots) and the toilet was an outhouse.

      So, thanks for the lesson/insight!

      – Marie

  2. here’s to more joyful moments!

    i don’t know about unconsummated or emotional incest, but your story makes me a little nervous (maybe that has to do with my own personal history). where was your mom during this? how come your dad wasn’t in the bed with her???

    sure we didn’t have separate bedrooms throughout history, but we do now. in your case, your boundaries and personal safety had already been violated in a terrible way. that makes you more vulnerable to abuse by other people. thank god nothing happened. but the potential for abuse was there.

    • Hey, Catherine –

      I guess a little more information would help . . .

      The times I would sleep with my dad would be when he and I were on camping trips . . . my mom didn’t like camping and my dad and I would often go out in the camper for 2-3 days photography trips (she wasn’t much into photography either).

      And, for several years, my bedroom was in the basement — in an unfinished, unheated corner. In the coldest months of the winter, I slept upstairs on the living room floor. My mom was/is an early riser — my dad and I, not so much. So, when she got up, she would send me into their bed, in with with my dad, so she could make noise without bothering me. So, it was not like a regular thing . . .

      When I was younger, I do remember cuddling up to him, but as I got older, I stopped . . . I’m not sure if it was per his request or if it just started feeling strange to me (all physical contact stopped when I got to about nine except an occasional pat on the shoulder — even the whippings stopped about then except for the one time he hit me in the face when I was 16).

      Does that make sense?

      – Marie

  3. Hmmm…yeah…a little red flag went up for me when you said your dad and you shared a bed until you were 14 or 15 Marie. I can relate to some degree in that I was a big cuddler and my mom and I cuddled so much until I was even maybe 12 years old…but sometimes it did feel a bit strange to me.

    And like the above poster commented, why wasn’t your dad sharing a bed with your mom? Does it mean he abused you or violated you? No. But i think it could definitely have been confusing for you and given your father’s history of not having the best self-control, I find it odd.

    Even if your dad was simply finding psychological comfort in your closeness, I think spending a lot of time sharing a bed overnight in your teens with dad is not particularly healthy, and certainly not given your circumstances. If this had truly been happening due to your close bond, I would think you might have been much more able to speak to your father about your life and fears and issues.

    It just doesn’t add up, I think its a good topic to bring up with your therapist.

    Sorry, I know this sounds judgmental–i don’t believe you did anything wrong. Just questioning your assessment of the situation.

    • Hey, Aaron –

      You make great points and ask great questions . . .

      I think I answered most/all of your questions in my response to Catherine’s comment . . . does that make sense to you?

      You know . . . your paragraph on closeness between my dad and I (or the lack thereof) got me to thinking . . . I actually cherished the time I spent in bed with my dad because it was a calm time of closeness for me . . . when he was asleep, I knew there would be no anger or disappointment or punishment coming from him . . . I felt safe and “connected” in those moments . . . it was the closest thing to peace I had. I hadn’t realized that before.

      – Marie

  4. Hey Marie, yes it definitely makes more sense now.
    Before it definitely sounded like a regular thing where you and your dad would spend the night in bed. Whether or not there was touching, that just sounded kinda odd for a fifteen year old girl to do with her dad.
    And especially given some of the ways he treated you otherwise, that made it seem even more strange.
    But the clarification obviously changes my perception of it.
    Thanks for being so open about everything, its really a refreshing attitude you have!

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