Window and Walls

I’m revisiting my days as a younger woman again here.  I’m thinking back to how I often formed walls, perhaps not consciously, to keep people out.

In a post I wrote recently I spoke about a time when my life seemed to be falling apart.  I’d dropped out of school, but had stayed living in the college town, amongst all my friends.  One day these friends were like family to me, but over time things seemed to change.  I felt people treating me differently.  I felt as if I’d have to walk a narrow line to keep their friendships.  If I paid my rent late, well it be the talk of the town.  Better not wear a tight skirt..your long time friend will tell someone else it makes her “uncomfortable” when you wear clothes like that.  Go to a party with your friends that are still attending college…meet new people, and feel as though you are being silently judged for dropping out.

At this time, my relationship with my family took a major hit as well.  Sometimes I wonder if that should have been the end, the first time they’d rejected me for not following the script they’d set out for my life.  My parents had a very old fashioned view of life.  They basically believed, even though I was of legal age, that I was not to be treated as a fully functioning adult because I’d been born a girl.  Does that sound crazy to does to me.  Surprisingly though there a lot of people out there who still believe such nonsense….and they even blog about it!  And they believe their brand of Christianity says this is the way to be.

So after that point, for many years in the future, to get along with my family I could only show them slivers of my life….my true self was locked up behind a wall.

It wasn’t just with my family that I started to close off though.  During this ordeal one of my friends told some half-truths to my parents.  That was just devastating to me.  I started closing off more.  The friend who’d blabbed to my parents…during this time I’d stayed quiet about how she’d cheated on her boyfriend(someone well-known to me)while he was out of the country and become pregnant with another man’s baby.  I wonder why I’d kept her secret all this time when she couldn’t be a loyal friend to me.

When I look back and think about the sorts of men I was always attracted to, they were always people who tended to be more quiet than loud.  Men(or boys) with a bit of mystery about them.  Never the class clown types.  I’m not sure why I always attracted to these types.  At this point in my life I do know that I would be just exhausted if I had married someone who couldn’t shut up.

These quiet, mysterious types of course always came with a drawback.  I’d always wanted someone who could open a window to my soul, to understand me…well of course because I was quiet and shy as well, I wanted someone else to do the heavy lifting.  Taking a risk to expose my true self to someone was scary.  Letting someone else see my dark sides…even scarier.  But I desperately wanted someone to open that window, and love me, dark sides and all.

Well even though it was perhaps a process, and the journey was far from complete on our wedding day, I think my husband and I do this for each other.  Love isn’t just about seeing the sweet sides, it is about acknowledging the bitter and sour elements in our partners as well.  Accepting that we’ve each made mistakes. Accepting our quirks, accepting our struggles as well as our victories. 

Why do I blog….day 3 of NaBloPoMo

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Million-Dollar Question.”

I’ve done the blogging rodeo before.  In the past my efforts were aimed at a single subject.  Once I blogged about education, another time about family/school nutrition and the last time was a mix of how religion and gender roles intersect.   The last blog I threw in a few more personal posts, but they seemed out of place.

My first attempt at blogging was very short lived.  WIth my second and third attempts though, I’d partly started my blog to have my own place to share opinions about things that I’d read, things other bloggers had said.  I’d found sometimes with the more strident bloggers, they weren’t really interested in hearing your dissenting opinion.  Some even got a little mad if you talked about their blog on your own.

Before I started this blog, I came across one that shared a lot of personal memories, and it really spoke to me.  Reflecting on snippets of my life, in writing, I think will help me gain new insight in to the person I have now become.  This blog isn’t strictly about personal memories though, just whatever pops into my mind on a given day.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

People I’ve Known Along the Way..Dirty Little Secret Edition

Thinking about people from my past reminds of some of the better times in my life and some that weren’t so great.  The people are milestones of sorts.

One day I was reading the website of a newspaper in our state, when an advertisement caught my eye.  P was mentioned by name in the advertisement.

In the months before I met P, my life had fallen apart.  I was broke, my long time boyfriend had broken up with me, I’d had to drop out of school and I wasn’t getting along with my parents at all.  Despite the fact that I’d had to drop out of school I still decided to keep living in the college town where I’d went to school.  I am not proud  about this time of my life and wish I could have found a way to navigate things along the way

It was a learning experience.  I’d spent much of my life around very achievement oriented people, and in a college town there tends to be more of them. My long time friends started treating me differently.  I could tell when I met new people there was a sort of silent judgment related to the fact that I currently wasn’t in school.  I’d read somewhere in a corner  of the internet that guys don’t care if the women they date have a college education.  If the guys are college educated…yes they care.

When I saw P on the website, I did a little detective work.  The internet persona and the P I knew from years ago didn’t seem to mesh entirely.  But something I have learned over the years, many people have two sides to their personality…the hidden side is sometimes darker than the side they choose to reveal to the public.

I met P at a party when I was trying to rebuild my life.  My sensible side should have told me to stay away from men for the time being.  Despite being shy though, back in those days, if I saw a guy with a certain vibe, I(with the aid of a couple of beers) could do my best to put my laser like focus on getting his attention.

P reminded me a bit of Val Kilmer.  Val Kilmer from Top Gun, not the aging Val Kilmer.  I generally prefer guys with a quieter vibe, P had a bit more swagger though. He didn’t have the best skin I remember that. P had been in the military before starting college…that made him older than me but I can’t remember by how much.  He was studying finance or something related to that.

P and I went out for a while. From the beginning I knew he had the impression that I was less than because I’d made the choice to drop out of school.  I suppose I was so grateful to have someone interested in me that I didn’t see where things were headed.  Looking back I think P leveraged the fact that I was not in the best place in my life to think I deserved little.  He wanted me to be his dirty little secret, or a booty call, but not much else.  It was definitely one of those situations where I would handle things differently if I had the wisdom I have now.

Back to seeing P on the internet.  I found out P had served overseas in the military.  He was active in his community, handing out oversized checks to people. He was married.  He seemed to be an all around pillar of the community.  His swagger seemed to have faded away a bit.  Was this the P I had really known years ago,  it didn’t seem possible.

People I’ve Met Along the Way

Okay I think I am going to try the thirty days in a row of blogging, or NaBloPoMo as it is called.  I think some of my posts will be memoirs of sorts about people I’ve met in my life.

I was in my freshman year of college.  I went to a party with some high school friends who also attended the same college.  Of course I had a lot to drink.  At that time in my life I was pretty shy, but get a few beers in me and I could be quite friendly.

I see my friend T standing talking to a guy.  T has some sort of connection to everyone it seems.  He remembers people he went to preschool with, people he went to summer camp with, etc.  This guy is someone he went to elementary school with.  His name is J.  I join in the conversation.  I’m instantly attracted to J.  Soon it is just J and I talking.  Everything else around me starts to fade away, the people and the noise.  I think I feel instantly bonded to J.  In our conversations I find out we come from similar families..overly strict ones, that is.  Our dads have similar jobs.  We are even in the same chemistry lecture but at that point we don’t know it yet.

J becomes the first guy to be a real boyfriend to me, I think that is part of the reason he sticks in my mind.  I had terrible luck in high school.  I’m not sure if it is my shyness or the cliques in my high school that were the problem.  But when things turn around upon getting to college, I am oh so happy.

Take the liquor away and we are both much more shy, which I think becomes a bit problematic as time goes on.

I remember him asking me out for a date.  The campus theatre was showing “The Man Who Knew Too Much” with the ever charming Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day.  This was an older movie(with a catchy song) that I had never seen before.  We went with another couple.  We walked in the cool air, along the river to the theater.  I think I was wearing a pink sweater and some dreadful stonewashed jeans.

J had this shy smile that I always remembered.  I remember him losing one of his contacts and looking at me with this cute squinty eyed grin. I think he wore some sort of musky cologne.

 I also remember him having this friend C that hated me before he had ever even met me.  That right there could be a whole post.

I broke up with J at some point.  I’m not really sure why, but I think it partly involved him not calling me enough and me feeling like I was in limbo.  We weren’t done though. We would get back together for short amounts of time for several years.  I’m pretty sure the last time we were together, he was engaged to someone else, but I didn’t know that at the time. For a long time I carried a connection for him.  But the connection we had never  seemed to end up in anything lasting.  Looking back I wonder why we would still get back together..oh the follies of youth.

Can you go back?

This is a part 2 of sorts to my daily prompt post of the day.  The post asks us what would we do to get the things the got away, what would we change?

Sometimes, we just have to accept things as they are and live in the present, to be fully engaged with the ones that we love.

When I was a kid my family moved due to a job transfer.  While my dad was an imperfect person, as an adult I fully appreciated the gravity of having to make such a decision.  Whether to stay put, or whether to make the move.  I believe he made the right decision for our family.  Around the time of the move, perhaps due to my age, or due to the stressful circumstances, I started noticing the dysfunction in our family.  I don’t think I knew the word dysfunction…at that point it was more a feeling of dread that things were never quite right.

Moving was stressful for everyone.  I had a very hard time fitting in to my new school.  My dad had a hard time fitting into the culture of his new workplace.

I remember my mom crying before we moved.  At that time we lived sort of close to the big city.  Our move would take us to the sticks, the boonies, the middle of nowhere, at least in my mom’s mind.  My mom and dad were both born and raised in the big city.  My mom though had much more attachment though to the place.

It wasn’t that she was just homesick though.  I’m not sure she completely got over the move.  She couldn’t ever seem to embrace our new home.  While I wouldn’t say she should have hidden her feelings, I think it made it harder for us as kids when she couldn’t get over the move.

It wasn’t just about the actual place.  The big city represented to her the golden days of her youth and young adulthood.  People she had dated.  Jobs she had.  Even clothes she had worn.  She was attached to the culture and possibilities that existed before marriage and kids came along.  She was the homecoming queen or the high school football player whose peak  experiences were in high school, who in her eyes, life didn’t seem to amount to much after that.

This wistfulness prevented her from being fully present in today.  She never seemed to get over the hatred of living in the sticks.  We didn’t actually live in the middle of nowhere, but in her eyes we did.  It was if there was little worth remembering that would occur after we moved.

There is nothing wrong with remembering the good times of the past, as long as it doesn’t keep you from moving forward.

The Space Between Us

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Out of Reach.”

In this prompt we are supposed to write about something or someone that got away from us, and what we perhaps could have done to get what we wanted.  I tend not to think about “if onlys”.  I have made a few mistakes in my life which I regret.  On the other hand these mistakes took me on a circuitous road which led to me meeting my husband.  I can’t ever imagine my life without him, or the kids we have as a result of our marriage.

Still though, there were times in my life when I remember getting messages that I’d be better in some way if I changed myself.   Some of these messages were about fairly superficial things.  Other times I think others wanted me to whittle away my essential self and replace it with something more to their liking.

When I was in college I dated M.  M and I got along great, for a while.  Then he started making little hints here and there about how I could improve myself.  Different clothing, dermabrasion and fixing my disastema.  All the while he hinted we might marry someday.  Very confusing.  What is a diastema you is a fancy name for the space between your front teeth.  According to Wikipedia, at one time in history, gap toothed woman were thought to be more lustful.  Who knew.  Even though I’d already had braces a small gap remained.  I wasn’t sure what M was thinking when he made those remarks….for one at that point in time I wouldn’t have had the money to fix it.  But then I also wondered, if you find my diastema that unattractive, why in the hell did you ever pursue a relationship with me?

A few years after that, because of some other dental issues, I ended up having the diastema fixed.  How is that for irony?