Wednesday, February 22, 2012


First off, I should say that I don't believe in hitting a child.  There are far better, more affective ways of teaching them right from wrong. 

However, it's recently been brought to my attention that I have a very twisted idea of what spanking is.  So this is what "spanking" is from my own experience growing up.  Spanking happened fairly regularly.  The threat of it happened even more.  Spanking happened one of two ways: a hand or a kitchen spatula. 

I shook with fear when I saw my mother tense up and walk towards the crock that held her cooking utensils.  I knew what was coming next.  I'd usually start begging and pleaded "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry... Please don't spank me.  I won't do it again."

As I got older I started to learn that it didn't hurt as bad if I squeeze my butt cheeks together.  If I was even able to break a few plastic spatulas.  Guess what... She bragged about it!  She told her friends that my butt was so strong I broke the spatula when she tried to "beat" me. 

Yes, "I will beat you" was said many times.  I even remember going to someone's house and her giving them permission to "beat" me if I didn't behave myself. 

I was talking to a friend once about things we'd heard parents say to their children to get them to behave in stores.  There were the token "i'll buy you candy if you sit still a while longer" or the counting.  Then I said "I will beat you if you can't behave."  My friend's jaw hit the floor.  I honestly thought it was a semi common. I didn't have the guts to tell her it was something I heard as a child. 

I wanted to write more but I'm have a really hard time forming words into sentences that even make sense.  So, for now, I'm just hitting publish.  Maybe one day I'll be able to convey how much this has impacted my life and how painful this aspect of my childhood really was.  Just know, I've always questioned if I was abused or not.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Junior Year

This post falls under The Success portion of my childhood.

My junior year of high school was terrible.  I was burned out from practicing 30 hours a week.  Miserable doesn't even begin to describe how I felt.  I'd come to terms with the fact that I'd probably never get a job in the field I was training for and I didn't feel like putting for the effort and energy.  Hearing negative remarks about yourself day in and day out really being to wear on a person.  Knowing I'd never be given a chance to shine because my family didn't make large donations to the school hurt.  I didn't fit in with most of the girls and just wanted to discover who I really was rather than trying to fit a mold. 

In school, I found something that completely interested me and decided I'd like to pursue it as a career.  I fell in love with my camera.  I spent all of my lunch periods and study halls in the darkroom.  My camera was always with me taking photos every where I went.  Fellow students even paid me to take photos of them!

It took me weeks and weeks of finding encouragement from my 3 friends to finally tell my parents.  Well, my mother since she was the only person I ever talked to from home.  I was terrified.  I was always afraid of her reaction when I told her something she didn't want to hear. 

I told her I wanted to come home.  To get a job like a normal teenager, learn to drive a car, to just be me. 


That was the answer I got.  I was told I would be finishing high school whether I liked it or not.  There was no quitting.  I would be graduating from my school whether I chose to pursue a career or not.  This wasn't like wanted to quite the soccer team mid-season or dropping out of the school play.  I can understand her pushing for me to finish those.  But telling your child she HAS to stay another year and a half in her own personal Hell is just cruel.  I'd never signed a contract saying I was locked into 3 years there.  One would think that if your kid gave you the opportunity to save thousands of dollars a year you'd jump on it.  Wouldn't you want your child living at home rather than the other side of the country, anyway?

I sank it to a pretty deep depression.  I started cutting.  Binge eating.  Abusing various pills.  Smoking.  The eating didn't help my situation.  It only made the negative comments worse.  I was seriously drowning.  Yet, for some reason, my parents never knew.  They didn't see it when I was home, the didn't ask my teachers or dorm parents how I was doing.  Nothing.  Sometimes I felt like my mother just didn't want me home. 

I asked again and again over the course of the year.  Each time hearing the same thing.  

 Sometimes I wonder where my life would be today had they said I could come home. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

She Left

I don't think my mother is or was emotionally stable.  There have been a few times in my life where that was made very clear to me.  The first time was went I was probably 10 or 11 years old.  My sister and I were so confused by the whole ordeal and it was never really discussed after the fact. 

Church was something my dad did with my sister and I.  My mother never went.  As a parent,  I can understand why she stayed home.  It was the only time she had to herself other than when we were in school.  One Sunday my sister and I asked to stay home.  Neither of us were really "into" church and we wanted to stay home.  The six other days of the week were so hectic for us we just wanted a lazy day. 

My mother had washed all the laundry, probably 7 full baskets, and asked us to sort, fold, and put everything away.  We asked if we could watch TV while getting the work done.

I don't really know what happened but I guess we weren't doing it fast enough to her liking.  My dad came home from church and mass chaos erupted.  My mother was yelling and screaming, my dad trying to calm her down, my sister and I were crying because we knew the whole thing was because of us.  The next thing I knew, she was packing some suitcases, her jewelry box, and a few other things and left.  We didn't know where she was, when she was coming back, what was becoming of our family- nothing. We were all in shock.  I kept thinking to myself "has my family broken apart because of me?" 

Monday morning my dad said we weren't going to be able to go to our after school activities and that we'd need to go to after school care.  We were very understanding.  When the bell rang that afternoon, my mother was waiting outside for us.  Furious that we didn't have our equipment for our activities.  She wouldn't tell us where she was staying or anything.  Just that she had no money for food.  She drove us all the way home, only to reveal to us that she didn't have a house key.  Finally after me crawling through poison ivy and a window we got inside the house.  We made it to our activities and then she disappeared again. 

The worst was a few days later when my class was to go on a field trip she organized.  She appeared and I'm sure my classmates could cut the tension with a knife.  My class was going out to lunch after the field trip and my dad gave me money to purchase lunch for her, too.  But, she disappeared before I could find the right moment to tell her.  So after school when she appeared to take us to our lessons I was sent on the guilt trip of a life time.  Saying things like I didn't care about her.  I was irresponsible.  She hoped I'd enjoyed my lunch because she was hungry.  The list went on.  

I think she was gone for a week until one night I saw her and my dad talking while I was in one of my lessons.  She moved back in the next day.  Nothing was ever discussed other than my dad telling us we needed to try harder to do what she said.

Leaving your family because of your spouse in one thing.  Leaving because of your 10 and 7 year old kids is a whole other ballgame.  It still hurts to know that I made my mother run away.  That she couldn't get mental help if she felt like parenting us was too much.  It wasn't like were were rowdy teenagers.  We were kids for crying out loud. 

Even those dark days when I was spiraling into postpartum depression and wanted to run away, I always told my son it wasn't because of him and I just wanted one night away.  He didn't do anything wrong.  He deserved better.  Of course he didn't understand but it was my way of doing better than the generation before.  No child should ever feel what it's like to know you drove a parent away. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Preferential Treatment

It was never a mystery that my sister was the favorite of the two of us.  Over the past week I was reminded of one of the first times I realized this.

I'd asked Santa Claus for a gameboy for Christmas.  It was the only gift I wanted.  I'd play the display models at the stores and if I saw someone else playing theirs I'd ask if I could play for a little while.

Christmas morning rolled around and scoured the gifts under the tree looking for a package that might be the right size to hold a gameboy.  I opened all my gifts and sadly there wasn't one.  I was heartbroken. 

My parents told me if I wanted one that badly, I could save my money and buy one myself.  Of course, like any 8 year old, I HAD to spend my Christmas and birthday money the next day and I knew I was going to buy a game boy.  My mother made me wait a week until the Christmas rush died down, which I totally understand.  I don't exactly like shopping after Christmas because the stores are crazy. 

On the big day, I had just enough money to buy one that was the original size.  If I remember correctly, it came with a game so that was the only one I had to play.  I don't really remember much after that until it was time for school to start again in January.  I played my game boy all the way to school and my sister whined and complained that I wasn't sharing.  It wasn't fair that I got to play it all the time.

That day, when we got in the car after school, my mom said she got my sister a surprise.  A brand spanking new game boy.  A pocket sized one at that!

So there you have it.  I had to buy my own and a few days later my sister got a nicer version for free because she felt left out.

Happy Holidays to you! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Relationship With My Father

Me:Hey Mom, Dad's outside working on the car/gardedning/(insert activity here.)  I'm going to go help him.
Mother: Have you put your laundry away? 
Me: No.
Mother: You need to put your laundry away and then we can discuss it.
I scurry off to put away my laundry.

Me: My laundry is away.  Can I go outside now?
Mother: Is your bathroom clean?
Me: No. 
Mother:  Go clean it.  Then we will discuss you going outside.
I hurry to clean the bathroom.

Me: My bathroom is clean.  Can I go outside now?
Mother: Did you practice your piano lessons today?
Me: No. 
Mother:  Go practice.  Then we will discuss you going outside.
Me:  He's going to be finished  before I'm finished.  Am I going to be able to spend time with at all? 
Mother: Probably not.

This conversation happened just about every Saturday and Sunday.  I didn't see my dad much during the week because he was at work and then I had to spend the whole night doing homework.  Instead of allowing me to spend time with him on the weekends, she'd come up with a million excuses as to why I couldn't spend time with him.  I never understood why she didn't want us to have a relationship. 

Sometimes I think my husband feels that I'm pawning our son off on him when he's home.  I'm only doing it because I want them to have as much of a relationship as he does with me.  I don't want him to not know his dad. 
Even as an adult, I wish we'd had a better relationship when I was growing up.  I'm pretty sure my dad feels the same. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Trained Monkey

There were countless times when I was made to feel like I was a trained monkey.  For some reason my mother thought it was fun to show me off like a circus side show.  I could tell people weren't really all that interested and many times it was the wrong place for such things. 

It wasn't uncommon to be eating in a restaurant and an old friend of my mother's walk over and say hello.  They comment on how much I'd grown since they say me last.  Then the next thing out of my mother's mouth was "stand up and show them how tall you are."  While it seems innocent enough, but really it was to show off her 5'8 fifth grader.  Then it was "Do a split.  Show them how flexible you are."
In a restaurant.  If I protested it, she'd jokingly say "close your mouth and do it."  Really, I knew she wasn't joking.  It was her cover. 

Me. On the floor.  OF A RESTAURANT!!!!!  How is that in any way appropriate?

After the friends would leave, I'd get the lecture.  How rude I was to her friends.  My back talking when told to do something, etc.  Really?  Because I felt that laying on the floor in public was inappropriate.  Not to mention that not only would her friends be looking at me, so would all the other patrons. 

Grocery stores, banks, doctor's offices, it didn't matter.  As I got older I started flat out saying "I'm NOT a trained monkey."  I'd still have to perform whatever, but the onlookers would feel a little sympathy for me.  At least that's what I told myself. 

Then during the Return period of my childhood, things became even worse.  "She came back from that school with a rock hard butt.  Go smack it.  I'll hurt your hand."  "Poke her butt and feel how solid it is."  I just wanted to scream LEAVE ME ALONE, but I knew that would have its own issues to follow. 

So if you ever see someone ducking behind a rack of clothing or pretending they don't see you.  Don't take it personally. They might be uncomfortable seeing acquaintances/coworkers in places where they wouldn't usually see you like the office or church. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Ran Away

I divide my life into three segments.  Before, The Return, and The Success.

I didn't run away in the usual sense.  My running away was closer to the storybook joining the circus rather than the typical hiding out at friend's house.  I had a talent.  That talent got me out of my parents house.  I wasn't successful the first try, but I worked my ass off and made it happen.

To the outsider, it just seemed like the natural thing to do.  Our small city didn't have much to offer me and if I wanted to become a professional, I was going to have to go away.  So at 14, I moved away to a boarding school of sorts- like in the movie FAME!

Really, I just needed to get out.  I HAD to get out.  

About halfway through the first semester I moved back home.  It wasn't because I was homesick or had bad grades.  It was because I was got injured.  There was no point in my staying if I had to sit out for weeks.  Not to mention I wasn't exactly happy with the training.

I homeschooled the rest of that year and the next fall I moved out again.  This time I moved to the other side of the country!  I stayed for 4 years!  Only returning home a week or two at a time for the various school vacations.  I even spent my summers there!

Those 4 years weren't amazing.  But for the first time in my life, I didn't have someone breathing down my neck and dictating my every move.  I could start to understand who I was.  Who I wanted to be.  What I wanted to be.  Hindsight tells me it was the best decision of my life. 

I will elaborate on the segments as I go along telling my story.  I'll add links so you won't feel lost, I promise.