Living on the Edge of My Life is the story of a middle-aged woman’s artistic and spiritual struggle to find herself within addictive relationships that stem from being raised by a narcissistic and alcoholic Mother, and after an abusive cult-following con-artist third husband left her destitute and broken, she finally learns to detach herself from the magnet of old patterns.
This is a love/hate story, an overcoming-the-monster story – a Cinderella story.
A romp through narcissism, alcoholism, domestic violence, financial loss, and cults.
This story is also about healing through creative endeavors and spiritual pursuit.
The memoir’s main theme lies in my tumultuous relationship with Mother. Her invasiveness, her control. Competition for her love, her acceptance. And by quashing my individuality and independence, she raised me to put men’s needs above my own.
The secondary theme involves the tormented relationship I had with my third husband, Matt who showed his love for me with kindness and humor until he needed my life’s savings. He betrayed me emotionally and abused me financially, stripping me to the bone and forcing my complete dependence on him before leaving me for another woman.
Three main threads weave these themes together –
First – my creative expression. Painting as metaphor—my experience of a scene or character made visual—and written descriptions of actual paintings thread throughout the memoir to convey where I am on my artistic path.
Second – my spiritual pursuit – how meditation practice helps me overcome the darkness that arose from being Mother’s daughter, from my attachment to Matt, from financial insecurities, and from the abuse I experienced with Matt in two cults.
Third – a sacred object – the 46-inch strand of Mother’s precious pearls. Pearls she wore with pride. Pearls she used to dole out her affection, specifically and consecutively to my brother’s three wives during all his marriages. She promised each daughter-in-law the gift of her pearls instead of promising them to me. Her pearls became my eventual symbol of hope, longing, and connection.
The story concludes with the beginning of immersed healing, of finding my voice, my way out of darkness. Of finding my path. It involves a deeper dive into writing, painting, and meditation. A greater appreciation for the symbolism of Mother’s pearls. Gratitude that she ultimately gave me more than she took.