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. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I have a very hard time dressing myself each day.  I'm always worried about what I'm wearing.  My sense of fashion is terrible and I blame the fact that I was never really given the chance to explore my own creativity as a child. 

I went to a private school which meant uniforms.  On weekends, it wasn't uncommon for my mother to send me back to my room to change because what I was wearing "would not be allowed out of the house."  I wasn't dressing inappropriately by any means.  It wasn't like I was wearing midriff bearing shirts and mini-skirts.  On uniform-free school days, kids would actually make fun of me for wearing outdated styles.  A mid-90's kid can only wear so many tacky sweaters and puffy sleeves and classmates aren't nice people!  We weren't a conservative religious family who followed a certain dress code- she just wanted or needed control.

My hair style was dictated.  I was expected to have my hair in a ponytail at ALL times even when sleeping or swimming.  I had to wear a scrunchy around the ponytail holder, too.  I think it was 5th grade when I finally convinced her to let me tie a ribbon around it instead.  She tried to control the length and was pretty successful.  I only got it cut twice a year, so I really tried to push the limits as to how short she'd let me get it. 

I was only allowed to wear a certain type of earring.  They were not allowed to be removed under ANY circumstance.  If one was lost, I'd have to wear the remaining one by itself for however many days it was until a new pair could be purchased.  Empty holes were forbidden.  If you walked through my bedroom all of my stuffed animals had pierced ears.  People would give me earrings as gifts and I wasn't allowed to wear them so at least my animals could.

Sometime around 5th or 6th grade I gave up for the first time.  I started wearing boys clothing.  It was like magic.  She left me alone as far as my shirts and pants went.  In middle school I started pushing my independence again and was only met with screaming matches.  I wasn't allowed to be my own person.  9th grade I gave up for the second time.  If she was so against what I was wearing, I was just going to dress exactly like her.  Baggy jeans and baggy tee-shirts.  Neither of us looked presentable!

I really feel that if I'd been allowed to play with my hair, I would have more skills as far as styling it.  Brushing it and putting it in a ponytail is all I'm able to do.  I do keep it really short, so a pony tail is rare.  As far as jewelry goes, I went to the opposite side of the extremes.  They are big, loud, and unique!  I wear lots of bracelets and necklaces, too.  I'm always afraid that I look trashy, tacky, matronly, etc every time put on clothing.

The moral of this story is that if the more you control someone, the more they will rebel!  Give them some independence so they can become their own person.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Day It Ended

I cut ties with my mother when my son was 2 weeks old.  I couldn't take her constant judging, harassing, and demands anymore. 

The beginning of the end started when my son was born.  The plan was that my mother, who lives 12 hours away, would drive down after he was born to see us and meet him.  His due date was great for her, because she would be finished with her volunteer work.  Instead, he came a few weeks early.  She said we'd have to wait 2 weeks before she could come.  This sort of worked out well for us.  Everything is HER way or NO way and she will make your life hell if you don't comply.  The two weeks would help us establish a routine and such. 

 Two weeks rolled around.  We found out my husband would have to leave for a week long business trip.  Then my mother called and said my dad was also going to be out of town so she couldn't come visit.  I guess it's too much effort to board a dog and ask a friend to check up on other farm animals so she could come meet her FIRST grandson.  Instead, she offered to send a friend in her place.  UMMMM NO!  I'm not playing hostess to a semi stranger two weeks postpartum.

The next day I took my son in for his two week check up.  Two things were going on.  He was forcefully vomiting after each nursing/bottle session.  On top of that we were supplementing formula because I wasn't producing enough milk.  45 minutes of pumping produced 2-3 ounces collectively first thing in the morning.  I knew my supply was slowly dwindling and asked to do a weighed feeding.  Lactose Intolerance was also suggested 
After the appointment, I called my mother and told her how it went.  I hadn't told her about the two issues.

Cue Explosion! 


All of the above started flying at me through the phone.  Remember, she's never even met him or seen the amount of vomit coming out of him.  The last two weeks had already been filled with her judgments about everything from where he was sleeping and how many times we'd left the house.  SHE was stressing me out and that isn't helping for milk supply either.

The straw that broke the camel's back?


I hung up the phone and haven't exchanged a word with her since.  That was over two years ago and you know what, I've never been happier.  This was a long time coming and I'm so glad it finally happened.