Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Flashback

I’ll be turning 50 in a couple of months. I’ve gotten a lot better over the years but at times I am excruciatingly concerned about what people think of me.

Where does this come from? Have you heard of the tv show Flash Forward? Well, here’s a

Flash Backward

When I was 7, I remember my mom gathering things up and packing boxes. “Whatcha doin’?” I asked. “Oh, we’re moving,” she said. On further questioning it was revealed that Dad was not coming with us, I would be going to a different school in the fall, and we were going to live with my grandmother.

Who does that? Did people in 1960s know anything about child psychology, or is widespread knowledge a relatively new thing? What happened to the “Mommy and Daddy both love you …” talk? A child’s memory is a funny thing–I’m not sure whether we left the same day or a week later, but the next thing I remember was moving.

I’m more than sure Mom should have left Dad long before I was conceived: Their relationship was exceedingly vicious. In my 7 years, I had never heard them conduct a civil conversation, only shouting sessions at the top of their lungs.

Moving day was no exception.

Like viewing a tennis match, I watched as they haggled over which possessions she was allowed to take. Ultimately, Dad made it clear that she could take clothes, the dishes, and the cookware. Shaking with rage, he said that if she put her hands on anything else, he would get the axe and hack up it up.

“But can I take this, can I take that?”

“NO NO NO!” he said, frothing at the mouth.

I’m standing there, thinking, “What about me? Do you care that she’s taking me?” I suspect he didn’t care, considering he never looked at me, never worried about frightening me, never said “So long” or “Good bye.”

The next time I saw Dad, it was a couple of months later. He picked me up from my grandma’s house to take me to lunch. His new girlfriend and eventual 2nd wife was at the restaurant waiting to join us.

Back to the Present

Well, I can’t say my Dad was a deadbeat dad. He always paid his child support on time and we always maintained regular contact until his death about 15 years ago. I even lived with him for a couple of years as a teen. However, he was never without his bullshit, and I never felt that he was completely approving or accepting of me.

I was never one to do things to get approval (actually, I usually make a point to challenge expectation), but I constantly fight the  fear of rejection. This whole self-fulfilling prophesy thing I do works wonders for me creatively but in other ways, I’m still trying to figure it out. Still.

Maybe by the time I’m 51 …

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2010.

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Comments on: "Flashback" (14)

  1. From the sounds of it, Sweepy, had they been able to have the “Mommy and Daddy love you talk” It might have been more scarring than what actually did happen. Which, even as I type that sounds like the lame “It could be worse” sympathy I hate…I don’t mean it to be, and I am sorry if it does.

    What I do think is while it may have defined you in some ways, I think not it is not confining you. I may be wrong, but I get to see you in a special way through your words. Your words are powerful, and behind them I suspect is a powerful woman who might not even realize how much power she has. I love what I see of you, and this blog is like I said in my own blog…through your words you give people glimmers of your soul.

    Thank you so much for letting me in.

    • Lisa, never be sorry for saying what you feel or think, I love hearing the fresh perspective! I’m not at all offended. Also, thank you for recognizing that I try not to be confined by circumstances. They probably did me a favor by letting me figure things out on my own as I gained a measure of self reliance. It’s an honor to be able to share my thoughts.

  2. This is so familiar it has haunted me. I read it when you first posted it this morning, but I am still having a hard time processing it hours later. It was as though you pull a page out of my life… And illuminated things I had not even considered prior. This is so true of me:

    “I was never one to do things to get approval (actually, I usually make a point to challenge expectation), but I constantly fight the fear of rejection. This whole self-fulfilling prophesy thing I do works wonders for me creatively but in other ways, I’m still trying to figure it out. Still.”

    You, bébé, have given me much to ponder. As you always do.

    Thank you.

  3. Who doesn’t fear rejection? People act like fear of rejection is a bad thing. Who plans to get rejected? Who sets out to get rejected? I would hope that we have fear of rejection…. For those of us who deal with that, I dont’ know if we’re ever gonna be able to change that. BUT we can change WHO we are seeking acceptance from. The only person we should fear rejection from.. is ourself.. Everyone else… they’re just passing through!

    • Well, most of the time I’m ok, but sometimes a wave of feeling comes over me that reminds me of moving day–fear, anxiety, low self esteem–that’s out of proportion to the situation. Usually it’s a fleeting momentary thing, but sometimes I need somebody to talk me down. So, like, I’m hearing you say I should snap out of it and work on self acceptance. Yes, yes, I am!

  4. There’s a lot that I can relate to here. It’s amazing how we carry things from childhood our whole lives. We can learn to deal with the effects and even overcome them, but the initial wound is still a very visible scar. I’ve got a lot of stories! But, as you pointed out, these things do make us stronger if we let them.
    As far as rejection, everybody wants to be accepted. THere’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to be the only authority on yourself. I don’t trust anyone that everybody likes! Sometimes to be authentic is to be unpopular.

    • I hear ya, and I can’t help but wonder what crazy-making stories my kids tell about me and my husband. Ack, here I go again! Any way, so-called rejection is probably a good thing as long as you’re being authentic.

  5. I’m very sorry you had to live thru that. I trust that you treated your friends and family better than that. Take care, marty

    • Thank you, Marty. I’m not perfect, but I try to do my best. Nobody is all bad or all good, and my parents did a lot of things right. But on some key issues, I take them as examples of “what not to do!” 🙂

  6. Hi Lisa– so glad I read this today. You may or may not find my post on rejection and the Church of interest…other recent posts too; a big issue for me. Thanks as well for the tip on the other blog.

    I just posted the first chapter of a memoir on its own page. A story that nags me, wakes me up, and has demanded to be set down for many a year. We are both lucky; despite what sound like similar mothers and scenarios, we have claimed our power and write on!!

    • Hi, Jenne’. Riveting post on religion on your blog. That’s a topic I haven’t broached in any detail yet, but it may very well be time as spirituality, or the lack of it, very much plays a part in what we do as writers.

  7. There was none of that mummy and daddy love you talk in our house either. It was mummy and daddy screaming before dad left to live with my nan. Actually, like you, I was seven, and I’m pretty sure my mum and dad should’ve split up long, long before they did.

    • Gotta love ’em, I guess, for trying to stick it out. At least we lived to tell the story. Thank you for visiting and sharing. {{Hugs}}

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