Journey to Here (2013 VOF Week 2)
Some people would describe me as naive. I’ve always been sincerely shocked when people aren’t “nice.” Needless cruelty can shock me into depression and hopelessness – sounds a little dramatic, doesn’t it? I think I was “born this way,” like some people are good with numbers or are musical. I think my mother helped my tendency towards empathy and compassion by not being so. First let me point out – I had a decent childhood, I wasn’t abused, I didn’t experience war, discrimination or the countless hardships that others have. But, as a naïve little girl growing up I did watch my mother occasionally “not” be nice. Once several of us were playing in an abandoned garage, kids that we didn’t know showed up and a little later my mother was there. I was too young to remember much of it – except when mother said, “Are you [insert ethic group]?” They replied, “No, we are [insert different ethic group]?”” Her response? “That’s even worse.” Their father came to our door that night. I don’t know what was said but when he left she turned to us and said “something” that made me feel like “I” was in trouble. Throughout the years occasionally something derogatory would be said or a vibe sent about someone, this wasn’t all the time or even often but it was often enough that I knew I’d be in trouble if I wandered too far from her personal world view. She also favored one of her children and did not try to hide this fact from the others. (Note to mothers - if you are reading this, favoring kids is cruel. If you favor in your heart, HIDE it.) When I got older mother had something to say about the girl in the neighborhood who got pregnant. I wondered why the girl was the problem, there was a boy involved wasn’t there? My parent’s marriage was rocky and as it got worse her ability to be “nice” declined. I fell in love. Even now I smile. Such a wonderful boy. Hugs. Kissing. Eventually sex. I experienced acceptance and love I didn’t know existed. Wow. After about a year we broke up. Heartbreak. Loneliness. I got involved with my next boyfriend out of despair. I got pregnant. Mother found out and called me on the phone screaming. I was out of the house in 15 minutes and didn’t go back for a year. I got married and eventually had two beautiful children. He became an alcoholic, loosing job after job after job. For a long time I denied what was happening from myself and from my birth family because I loved my kids and wanted very much for the marriage to work. And, why would I know what an alcoholic is? I’d never been around one. Eventually, it got so worse I knew I had to get my kids away from him and for them I managed to get the strength to divorce him. Since I had hidden from my birth family what was happening some of them were mad - at me. I had no job experience, got a very low paying job and struggled to support my family. Not once did anyone in my birth family ask how we were doing emotionally and/or financially. Soon I met and married my next husband. Looking back I know it was too soon because I was still traumatized by the first marriage. I loved this person but the marriage ended in divorce. I was so depressed I tried and almost succeed in committing suicide. Later I started college and after many years received my degree. This journey has taken the naïve I was born with and added empathy. I now strive for the commitment and stubbornness to reach out to others to create a better world.
Mom died last year. I miss her a lot.