I can hardly believe it’s already time for another Ask Phoebe question.. can you?!
This weeks question comes from one of my first followers here on Drops of Ink, and someone whom I think is a wonderful writer and friend. Helen over at helenvalentina.com Her question was profound, and one that I knew I was going to have to get deeply personal to answer. So for all those reading.. welcome to a little piece of me.
Have you ever had something happen to you, or indeed, have you ever consciously done something, that significantly changed your view of yourself or the world? If so, was this a good thing and would you do it again?
My answer is a resounding, yes. On many counts in fact, but for the sake of this question, it only calls for one answer, and so I shall dip down into my bag of personal trials, tribulations and hell on earth to give you but a sampling.
When I was a little girl, my parents split up when I was around 4-5 years old. This in itself was no more or less significant that other children who have to survive a splitting of the family unit. The difference here is, that my mother was not in the least maternal, and had no interest in being a mother to me. Due to this, I ended up with my father, who though he was decent in the care department, lacked a certain gentleness in his touch that only a mother could have provided. Add in, that he had issues all his own (possessiveness, aggressiveness, and drunkenness) and being a single father was not really his calling. I was not an only child you see, I in fact had several brothers. Two from my father’s previous marriage and one from my mother. None of which he raised. They all ended up with what I will call from henceforth, “the mother unit.” Here I was the only girl, and I alone was being raised by our father? Made no sense to me, but it is what it is.
My father was all in all a decent man, and I loved him very much. (R.I.P.) The problem was that he would go on a drinking binge and the man I knew and cared about, would change and become something entirely different altogether. Something mean, and ugly. Someone angry from all the hurts he had endured over his lifetime. That man resented every woman on the face of the planet, and I, though young, was still a female. On those drunken binge nights he would find fault in every little thing I did or said and my face would end up meeting the back of his hand. Those to be honest, were in fact the easy nights. Others, his anger would outgrow even him, and I would end up choked, or punched, leaving marks and or bruises needing to be explained at school the next day. Eventually as I grew older, his need for the liquor diminished and the incidents were fewer and fewer.
I never really forgave him for those moments though, and when he became too ill to take care of himself, I refused to do it. I insisted he go to a home, and though I visited him frequently and spoke to him fondly, we weren’t as close as HE would have liked us to be in his later years. With all the abuse, I became a colder person. It changed me. It changed how I saw myself. I never really view myself as someone deserving to be loved, and I do not relinquish power to anyone. I must be in charge of my destiny at all times or I feel almost panicked.
So in answer to your question Helen, yes I believe it changed me. Deeply. No, I would never, ever, wish to do it again, or wish it upon any other child. Children are precious. They need our love and guidance, not our hate and judgement. Whatever may have happened to us in our lifetimes, is not their fault and they should never be made to feel as though it is. That is a heavy burden for anyone to carry.. let alone a child.
My father is gone now, and has been for several years. Oddly enough, I know how it sounds believe me, I miss the hell out of him. I miss the talks we had once I was older, and I miss how simple things were, most times when I was growing up. I never had to lift a finger to wash a dish, or sweep a floor. I never took out the trash or did laundry. I had no chores of any kind. Sometimes, I have thought back and wondered, if the beatings were the price I paid for having it so easy. Or maybe that is just the little girl in me, still trying to accept blame for every wrong, done everywhere.
Whew! We went pretty deep with that question didn’t we? I think Freud would have loved me. 😉
So that is it for this week my lovely readers! Please keep those questions coming, and I will look forward to seeing you for another Ask Phoebe question next Tuesday.