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
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.