NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

TMI Tuesday!

April19

Today’s TMI Tuesday post is not about sexy-times or anything NSFW, but is about some thoughts I have on my childhood and more specifically my mother and the lack of relationship I had with her. If this sounds even the least bit triggering, please do come back another day. Thank you and rock on!

*********************************

**************************************************

**********************************

Growing up, I was always told that I was special. I never fully understood what this meant, but I tucked it away in my little girl heart and have rarely gone back to look on it. I was an only child until I was 5 and my little brother was born. I was so happy to have a little brother, too. As I was always terribly bored and lonely on my own. My mother was a stay-at-home-mom, but not in the usual sense. She stayed home, but I wouldn’t exactly call her a mom by any normal means. I am not trying to be harsh or judgmental, in fact I’m trying to be objective here, but I can only work with my own memory and so I’m sure there’s some bias. My mother, I later discovered (though all of the signs were there) was/is mentally unstable. I can’t elaborate as I do not know her actual diagnoses. I do know that growing up she was home and always in bed reading paperback books, mostly fiction.

As a little girl, as young as three, I can remember being alone almost all of the time. Then my dad would come home from work and we’d have dinner, watch t.v. and go to bed. This was normal life, pretty much, for us. I remember being very small (2-3 years old), sitting in front of the television with my bowl of oatmeal* watching Mister Rogers and Sesame Street, my mother never in the same room. When I would grow tired of a show or toy or activity, I would seek her out and ask her what I could do. She would always reply, “Go play!” Oh sure, that sounds great, “Go Play!” but in reality it left me in a state of despair as I had few toys, even fewer friends and until I was five, no siblings. I pretty much lived an imaginary life until my daddy got home. So much so that once, when I was four, my mom had to call my dad at work in a panic because I had handcuffed my ankles together and only he had the key. You may be asking yourself, “well, how did that happen with a parent at home?” and this is where I must reiterate, my mother may have been home, but rarely if ever present.

I wish I could say that when my brother was born things changed, but they didn’t really. Oh sure, initially things were different. There were more people around and my brother of course being breast fed had to be at my mother’s side pretty much constantly. I didn’t care, I loved my little brother and doted on him a lot. I was in kindergarten, but would walk the 2-3 blocks home on my own by that time. I already had my BFF Riana and would go over to her house a lot. It was hard because my brother couldn’t play or talk yet, but I was patient and dreamed of the day he could. Saturdays (or was it Sundays?) were special because my dad either had the day off or went into work much later than usual, I don’t remember. But we would hang out in my parents bedroom and laugh and laugh. My little brother had a big lower lip and a chubby little belly and we called him little Buddha. I would laugh and squeal in delight when he started sitting up on his own, then crawling and finally walking. Time to play!

Before he could play, I would often be sent into our tiny backyard or worse, our carport. Ugh! I loathed that carport, even then. We lived in a duplex and so all of our stuff was kept in the carport for the most part. Bikes and my old training potty, my dad’s little barbecue, camping gear, you name it! I hated it so much because there wasn’t much room to “play” and even if there was more room, the carport was only concealed by a wood slatted gate/fence thing. So anyone could just walk/drive by and see what I was doing. And sometimes the other kids from up the street did and they made fun of me. Ugh! (I’ll talk about that part another time I think.) I would sit in that carport and dream of being “saved.” I would grab a broom and pretend to clean (no one taught me how and no one in my house actually cleaned; we lived in such squalor and filth I was not allowed to have friends over until after we moved many years later into another house). I would always dream and sing about being Cinderella so that I could be “saved” by a prince or anyone who could take me away from the life I’d been dealt. Or so I thought back then.

Once my brother was walking and not breastfeeding as much, he was pretty much my responsibility. I changed diapers and played with him and such. I didn’t mind so much at the time, but looking back I am horrified. I was just so happy to have a companion I think. I don’t ever recall pretending that he was my baby or anything like that, in fact, even alone with my Barbies I never pretended to have babies at all. It was always more soap opera-esque with dating and cheating and stealing and such. Ha! Boy crazy from the get-go for sure! No, with my little brother we played fire engines and school and construction workers and stuff like that. I would “steamroller” him by laying on my side and just rolling right over him leaving us both in fits of endless giggles.

I remember the two of us playing in the hallway when he was about two or three. I put my hands on the inner and outer doorknob of the closet door and picked up my feet and swung on it back and forth (what else would unsupervised kids do? Don’t judge!). When my brother did it he hurt his nuts and my mom came right out of her room angry and slapped me across the face and screamed, “Don’t you ever kick your brother in the nuts again!” when I protested she called me a liar and sent me to my room. I think it was at this point I had some inkling of my mom not being quite right.

Year’s later when my mom left my dad (they’d been married 14 years I was just about to start high school, my sister was about to start kindergarten), she exclaimed one summer morning (far too early for my young taste), “I can’t take it anymore!” and left a note for my dad. My response as per usual at that time was, “Ugh! Good, Go, BYE!!!” She rarely spoke to me at that point as I saw through her dramatic bullshit and had had enough after she burst into my room while I had two friends over to tell me that she was a lesbian. She is not a lesbian, but went through a period of curiosity and general horny-ness. They had been “separated” already, but still shared a bed. They both cheated on each other before any of that, he more than she. It was no shock to me, but traumatizing for my siblings, for sure.

It got worse when the actual divorce happened. She moved out and into her parents home. Then left there because she refused to work (she worked for one year and a half at a video store until my sister was born) and they wouldn’t allow her to live there without a job. (Yet she had the gall to file for custody of me and my siblings. She didn’t even show up for the court date. I think it was just that she wanted to scare my dad.) She willfully became homeless in San Francisco. I know this because I later tried to find her. I traversed the shelter system in search of her to sign my emancipation papers when I was 16. I didn’t find her, but found many who knew her and shared their stories about her. Scary stuff. (Mind you I was neck deep in that abusive relationship I often talk about on this blog).

It is because of my mother’s mental absence that I fear becoming a mother myself. I actually fear pregnancy more than giving birth, but I digress. I fear becoming my mother in the sense that I have worked so fucking hard for so long to not become her yet still look just like her (well, my body, I look more like my dad in the face). I don’t yet know if I want kids. At 33 that may seem kind of fucked up, but I have nearly everything else in my life in order. My husband wants one child. Part of me does, too. But would I come to ignore and resent this child as my mother did me/us? I don’t know and I can’t know, right? Would I somehow pass on her mental illnesses to my child if it somehow skipped me? Or would having a child trigger this mental illness in me, too?

Thinking back on this today I have come to realize only now why it is that I am so fiercely independent. I have been called many names throughout my life because of this trait o’ mine. At 9 my dad called me a selfish little bitch because I wanted to move out on my own. Ha-ha! I ran away to the backyard for a few hours until they caught me sneaking into the kitchen for a piece of bread with butter. I never quite understood why I was so independent or why people disliked this in me. Now I think I get it. I was left to my own devices pretty much since I was a toddler, I adjusted and grew to be comfortable on my own in this way. It’s probably why I had such a tough time starting over and feared being alone a lot at first when I finally escaped that abusive relationship (on a side note, the abuser met my mom way back when, they got along well…too well if you ask me).

And then there’s the fat. My mom was probably the same size I am now. (I say was because I haven’t seen her since I was 16 and have only had contact with her once since then, but she is alive and my sister is friends with her on facebook, go figure.) She struggled with her weight so much. Mostly because her siblings had a different father and thus looked grossly different than her and treated her badly as a result. My dad probably didn’t help much in this regard either (though his 2nd wife is almost the same size/shape and mentally unstable as well). She tried everything and grew depressed, too. Will I pass on my fat? While this hardly seems like a bad thing in my book (I do have the enlightened FA movement behind me), but with the current social norm of fat hating, do I want to put a child through that? Will I risk the life of my child by delivering in a hospital in a country that hates fat people? (Not to mention putting my own life at risk in a US hospital, UGH!) I know that I would want a water birth, outside of a hospital, with a midwife (funny, my mom had a midwife for my brother and sister’s births and for a long time I loathed the thought of having a child outside of a hospital), but what if I had no choice and had to go to a hospital?

All of this comes up for me now because I had a pregnancy scare last week. You know last week’s TMI subject? Yeah, that would be the reason for the scare! Ha! I took a test and it was negative. Mind you, I still haven’t gotten my period, but you don’t even have to ask or question if I’m stressed, right?! Ha-ha! But the first thing I felt when I realized that there could be a chance that I was pregnant was happy for my husband and I and then shear terror about all of the above. When it was negative? I felt sadness and relief. And the next evening I partied with my BFFs. I had needed to cut loose, but I hadn’t realized just how much I needed that release. I don’t think I will ever be mentally ready for a baby, but I think it’s possible that I am otherwise ready now. If only we had some fucking financial stability?! Ha! But who the hell has that, anyway?

Thanks for reading. You are the best. I love you all, sincerely! <3

*There is an infamous story within my family that has held strong all of these 33 years of my life about a time when I didn’t want oatmeal for breakfast and most definitely did not want to watch Mister Rogers and so I took matters into my own 3 year old hands and chucked my oatmeal, bowl and all, directly at Mister Rogers. Why this remains such a story of legend and lore in my family I do not know, but rarely does it go unmentioned.

Be Sociable, Share!
14 Comments to

“TMI Tuesday!”

  1. On April 19th, 2011 at 6:00 am Victoria Says:

    First: You candidness is still amazing.
    Second: I have the same issue with children and I wont ever have them. But for the opposite reasons. I had a mom that was so involved that she took over so much control that I was always getting yelled at for everything and nothing was ever perfect enough for her. She gave me lots of love and attention , but as you said “it was not quite right” how I was always afraid of displeasing her! Her reaction to things that she perceived as wrong was always over the top dramatic. I became independent because I didn’t let her buy me things and help me; it came with strings attached and guilt that she could leverage over me in the future. I didn’t even let her help me pay for college. Domineering and controlling mothers are just as bad and apparently produce the same type of offspring ( we are alike in our independence). Also I read once that mothers who are dramatic and fight with dad in front of their daughters, and also treat them as equal as far as telling them all their marital problems (like she told me ALL the problems between her and Dad- i should not have been involved or responsible for keeping her marriage together but i was) are more likely to have daughter with an EATING DISORDER. Hello. Food was the only comfort that I had. When parents pushed their burdens on their child it’s like that. It’s also what happened to you!

  2. On April 19th, 2011 at 7:56 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I was almost resigned to having no kids, too. But honestly? This latest scare made it seem more possible than ever before. Funny how we’ve never been this broke before, but whatever. My old insecurities may have been dulled by new possibilities. At least that what I’d like to think. Yes, sadly, my mother also kept me privy to her marriage’s gory details. I certainly wasn’t interested. When I explain to people that I didn’t have a relationship with my mother, well, they never believe me. I am miraculously immune to guilt trips (even or especially when my dad’s 2nd wife tries that shit on me) and perhaps this also has something to do with my not having very close relationships with women. I try. I just don’t know what normal feels like and many of the women in my life don’t either, so it works in it’s own way. I’ve had to female friends for over twenty years, while disfunctional at times, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

  3. On April 19th, 2011 at 6:25 am Shaunta Says:

    *HUGS* Thank you for sharing your story. I have a pretty horrifying step-mom story that isn’t a whole lot different. Some day I may get brave enough to share it this fully.

    I wanted to say, about the idea that you may pass fat on to your kids, that I think the experience of being a larger kid is different when you have a family that you love. When you have that, you’re much better equipped to handle the shit you get from the outside.

  4. On April 19th, 2011 at 7:57 am Not Blue at All Says:

    I think you’re absolutely right about the loving family thing. I don’t worry about us (my husband, a kid and I), but more of the school system we would be forced to endure. We already have heavy discussions about these things…with an actual kid’s education/life at stake I worry of the impact we could have. Thank you!

  5. On April 19th, 2011 at 8:41 am Erika Says:

    My childhood wasn’t that bad, but I still went through that worrying. Worrying that I did not know how to be a mother, or that I would be my mother (she had a drinking problem for awhile, she does not now, and our relationship is much closer) or that, yes, my kids would be fat like me (I don’t think about any of these things now. Even fat, my kids would be on the socially acceptable line of very good-looking 😉 and their personalities are very friendly, I know, somehow, they will do okay. I still worry about being good-enough for them, just like I worry about being good-enough for my husband. Loving anyone this much…it makes you strive to be better whenever possible. While it’s hard, that’s a pretty amazing thing.
    If you do decide to start a family:homebirth has a much higher potential for death. Even if you have no risks at all. Even if you are in a birth center that is certified and has a plan to get you to a hospital, the transfer takes minutes too long, and time = brain for the baby. I’ve seen too many deaths this way. That said, the risk is still somewhat small, and it is a personal choice. It’s just not a risk I would take. *For full disclosure, I almost died giving birth the first time-bleeding to death. I was okay, then all of the sudden I was in mortal danger and unconscious. W/o a hospital to rush in (I was low-risk, vaginal delivery) I’d of died in minutes. MY second birth was quick and text-book. You just don’t know what will happen, thus is nature.*
    Education…well we worry over it. But I’m trying to find a good local school, one that I think will fit my kids. If they dislike school in their later years, their are charter programs that will most likely suit them better-but only if they choose that. I thought about homeschooling…and then thought better of it. I want them to have more to draw on than…just us, I suppose. And then we can delve deeper into areas they are interested in in part-time homeschooling.

  6. On April 19th, 2011 at 8:46 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Yes, it seems I have much reading up to do on a lot of this stuff. I just keep pushing it out of my mind as a “one day” kind of thing. I am terrified of MDs and hospitals fucking up or worse, on purpose, because I’m a death fatty. I just don’t see getting treated with an ounce of respect in a place that insists I have medical problems when I absolutely do not. When I have to tell them how to do something? Yeah, that freaks me right the hell out. So who knows. And yeah, I had a public school education, but it’s so different now, especially in California. All the schools are broke and falling apart and everything’s going to hell ina handbasket. Oh well. “One day!” Ha! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. It helps a lot.

  7. On April 19th, 2011 at 9:05 am Twistie Says:

    I would just like to note that there were many times in my childhood when I would have been delighted to hurl a bowl of oatmeal at Mr. Rogers.

    Again, the more I learn about other peoples’ families, the more grateful I am for mine.

    The crazed thing is that I have a (former) brother who spends a lot of time wringing his hands about how our mother smothered us and abused us through her manipulations and is still responsible for everything wrong in his life twenty-one years after she shuffled off this mortal coil. He should have met a truly controlling mother.

    Considering the other two kids she raised turned out to be responsible human beings with a solid sense of self worth, curiosity about the world, the ability to find and enjoy fulfilling personal relationships, and a core of self-reliance, as well as a boatload of fond memories and pride in being her kids, I have come to the conclusion that he is an anomaly who exited the womb determined to find something wrong with how he was raised and by whom, no matter what the facts.

    By contrast I grew up knowing kids whose parents were never to be found when needed, who were beaten, lied to, belittled, and even one whose mother had determined before she was twelve every single course the girl would take until she had gotten the post-graduate degree of her mother’s choice.

    Parenthood is a scary thing, particularly when your childhood is a scary place to remember. You can’t know for sure how you’re going to do or who you’ll bring into the world. And yes, both fat and a number of mental illnesses are based largely in genetics. And you can do everything right and still have a kid who just plain sucks as a person.

    BUT the single most important thing you can give a child is caring attention. You are not your mother. Your husband is not your father. You’re a generous, thoughtful, caring person. Most children respond well to loving parents, even when they do inevitably screw up.

    If you ever do decide to have a child, I think you would do just fine. Why? Because you do worry about what you might do wrong. Because you do remember how lonely you were being left to essentially raise yourself when you were barely old enough to walk and talk. Because you survived everything life has thrown at you, and you still give a damn about other people.

    Your parents didn’t model much in the way of good parenting… but in doing so they gave you the perfect playbook of How Not to Do It.

    Let’s put it this way, I would worry a hell of a lot more about whether you were the right person to raise a child if the prospect didn’t scare you.

  8. On April 19th, 2011 at 9:11 am Not Blue at All Says:

    How do you always know just what to say? I have to wonder if you are just perfection incarnate at this point! Ha-ha! I know that’s not possible, but to me? You’re tops! Thank you so much.

  9. On April 19th, 2011 at 9:25 am Twistie Says:

    You want to know my secret? I’m a secret empath! LOL!

    Nah, not really. I just care.

  10. On April 19th, 2011 at 11:52 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Thanks.

  11. On April 19th, 2011 at 12:08 pm Tina Says:

    I’m with Twistie; sometimes those of us with less-than-stellar parents become the best parents ourselves, because we understand how sensitive and malleable children are. By knowing what not to do, we’re able to create the loving, enriching environment we never had.

    I grew up with an abusive, mentally ill mother (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to the court system), and I’ve always been diligent about parenting my own 5-year-old son in a loving, supportive way and striving to avoid her mistakes. If anything, I’m overly diligent: Before my son was born and I became a stay-at-home-mom (the attentive, active kind!), I earned a degree in education and waited until my husband and I had been married for 5 years, had the house, dog and cat….all that because I learned (the hard way) how important it is to have a stable, loving home.

    Anyway, I guess I wanted to share my story to reassure you that even those of us with the nastiest childhoods can grow up to be wonderful, loving parents. 🙂

  12. On April 19th, 2011 at 1:43 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh man, you and I have much in common! I had this whole plan! We’d get married, honeymoon in Europe, get the dog and the house and then have kids 5 years later…Now? Ha-ha! Everything but the house and the kid. We have our little puggy-boy and I tell you that really tested us in the best and worst ways. I was surprised how stressed my husband was about it. And even more surprised to find that he still wants a child. Ha! Thank you for sharing your story. I think we all have these fears and it’s the support we get from each other that helps us through. <3

  13. On April 20th, 2011 at 8:20 pm Kath Says:

    OMG! I once locked my ankles into handcuffs too!! We have very similar experiences in a lot of ways. My mother was in a lot of ways like yours. I also raised my younger brother from a very early age. And I carry a lot of similar baggage to yours.

    Sharing our stories is powerful and important, and thank you for yours.

  14. On April 21st, 2011 at 7:37 am Not Blue at All Says:

    That is amazing! What a strange thing to have in common! Ha-ha! I love it! Very powerful, but very healing. Thank you, always, Kath!

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:

 
Subscribe to my feed