….This is a hard one to write.
This one’s pretty damn personal, I’m warning you now. Navigate away or read on, just know that this is really hard for me to write. And harder to share to potentially millions of strangers on the internets.
(Hold onto your hats, it’s gonna be a long one.)
I grew up in a rural area. I was a weird kid, I realise that more and more the older I get. I was totally the weird girl that no one liked because I was different.
(No, not “that different”, I’m not coming out online. I’m firmly hetero.) Different in other ways – I was nice and got trampled over. I tried to be friendly and was scorned. I ate different foods, I liked different ways of playing games, I played different games than the other kids, etc. So, I turned to playing solitary games and reading. And the few friends I had in elementary school, were also outcasts; we just didn’t know it then.
We lived near a street with more houses on, and even a few kids my and my brothers age, but we had to go a 1/4 mile down the highway to get there. Ain’t happenin’ when you’re between 5 and some magical age your Mum decides. But, of course, by then the school ties have been firmly cemented and there was no breaking into those circles.
Because I had no neighbours around, I learned very early on to entertain myself. This also meant I didn’t develop the same set of social skills the rest of my classmates seemed to posess.
It also meant I hung around the house a lot, until I got some pretty awesome friends in High school and could stay after school at their houses, and later when I got my license I was home as little as possible.
Now, growing up, I did a lot of what my parents told me. Dad was clearly the alpha male in the house, there wasn’t a shred of doubt about it. Mum was Mum, with all the power that job entails.
My brother and I never really got along, but we can manage to have some conversations now. Usually about what we’re going to do for the parents for Christmas, Anniversary or respective birthdays.
I started in Guides because Mum signed me up. I liked it. Several girls from my class/grade at school were in the same group and later, in Pathfinders, I made some good friends with some of the girls – but we never talked outside of Guiding.
Later on, I asked to be in Scouts because it looked like way more fun, and I stayed in both all through high school.
I came out of my shell pretty well in high school – I made some new friends with similar backgrounds, we got along, we fought and had drama. Possibly more than normal kids, living in the Auditorium and all being drama/theatre fags (We called ourselves that. It was a sort of badge of honour for us).
I was in Guiding (As a Pathfinder, then Ranger as well as a Jr Leader for several years), and Scouting. I served on the Provincial council for Guides and the Area Service Team for Scouts. I was (obviously) active in my school’s theatre program, and I was involved in sports – rugby and wrestling – for a couple years too. I was in Leadership AND I pulled good grades in everything but math. Oh yeah, and I was trained as a lifeguard by 17, too.
When I hung out with my friends, I would tell my parents that I was going to this person’s house, with these people. Sometimes I’d say I’d be back at X time, but usually it was “See you when I get home”. This occured the few weekends I was not at camp or fundraising.
When I graduated, I had enough credits for 1.5 people to graduate. My diploma says “Graduated, with Honours Standing”. I am damn proud of those achievements. I put in a lot of effort into getting those extra credits.
I pretty much stayed out of trouble. I only dabbled ONCE in pot (for which I was ousted by my mum’s best friend (her daughter and I were in the same class) and grounded from Sept 14-Christmas.) and ONCE in drinking (which no one knew about, we were pretty sneaky about smuggling a mini-taster thing (those like, 20ml sample bottles that come attached to the big bottles) outside.
So! I ask you, if you’re a parent if this sounds like a pretty decent kid.
A (pretty much) cheerful, active, creative, social, involved young lady who turned out to be fairly pretty and a true hybrid of my parents genes, and whom also had a group of friends that didn’t drink, didn’t do drugs, didn’t smoke cigarettes and wasn’t just giving sex away. A well-rounded, productive member of society. Isn’t that what every parent strives for in their children?
That is what I am and what I grew up to be. A productive member of society who has morals and values and cares about others.
Apparently this is not good enough for my Mother.
We fought like cats all through my high school years. I loved school because it was 6 hours a day of glorious freedom from her yelling and anger. I didn’t get what made her so mad then, and I still don’t.
My Dad usually stayed out of it. He only stepped in once, and it nearly shut my Mum up instantenously.
I’m my Daddy’s Girl. And my brother is Mum’s Golden Boy. This is the family dynamic. Dad tried and still tries to treat my brother and I as equally as possible. Mum did not, would not, and probably still does not see that she obviously favours my brother.
I had a really incredible talk with my favourite Aunty this past weekend.
She is probably the best person I know. She has taken what life has given her and instead of turning into a bitter, hateful person as some other, weaker person might have become, she has instead fought to be the best person she can, to be the best Mum she can be, and is beautiful and insightful and loving and is so much, words simply cannot describe how much she means to me.
This talk confirmed a few suspicions of mine, and while doesn’t shed new light on anything, it perhaps clears a bit of fog off the glass.
My Mum won’t say a damn thing about why she’s so mad or angry all the time.
My parents almost divorced a few years ago. It was scary for me and my brother, but apparently Mum and Dad worked it out. After 25 years of marriage, my Dad was ready to call it quits. And my Dad is a creature of habit, which meant it was Very Bad News Bears.
My Aunt and I worry about Mum, but… we can’t talk to her about it because she shuts down instantly or lashes out.
I have tried and tried and tried to make my Mum proud of me, but it seems I’m never good enough.
I have made choices solely to please her, which were perhaps not the wisest things to do, but too late now.
I have tried to be the best person I can be.
I have learned pretty much exactly how I want to raise the children I’ll never have.
I have two options:
I can keep on trying to please my mother, I can keep the hurt and the pain and the struggles and keep on keepin’ on.
I can basically take what I’ve learned, cut my losses and go on with life.
The downside to that is not being able to talk to Daddy.
This is not a choice to be taken lightly.