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Wrongs and Reparations, Hump Day Hmm

March 12, 2008

First, I haven’t been living up to the standard I set for myself in writing Hump Day Hmms. I mean seriously, it’s one post, once a week.  My participation in the Hump Day Hmms has always been fun, after I’ve gotten over either the verbal diarrhea or constipation of writing them.  Invariably, I learn a lot from the other participants, especially in the comments and I learn plenty about the love/hate relationship I have with my own thoughts, ideas and ideals. 

This week is about being wronged and reparations. It also mentions social norms.

This weeks topic almost stopped me because the words “social norms” don’t mean much to me. I have no litmus test for social norms, not yet anyway.

I know exactly which fork to use.  I know the politically correct words to say. I understand that smiling and being pleasant will disarm most situations. I know enough to enjoy everything, even those things I don’t enjoy and that if I fake it, then I can make anything enjoyable. My discomfort only bothers others and I don’t want to bother others do I?

If only I’d grown up with social norms. If only I lived currently, where the social norm at least centered on respect for something.

In this house, she screams. I scream back. She cries and pouts, looking for me to become the guilty one, because I scream back. Or she screams more and slams doors, stalking, skulking through rooms. When that is over, she eats, gorges on gossip and replays all the slights, performed against her, at the hands of others. I sit idly by observing and making mental notes to NEVER be that way. I don’t like screaming or gorging or gossip really.

Still, she holds my past, the memories  I don’t recall, of my childhood. I need those memories and she controls them, rationing them out. It’s wartime and I’ve been taught to sacrifice for the good of all concerned. Care less about self and more about everything else.

It’s a wrong I can’t right. It’s definitely outside of social norms or is it? I haven’t met any of her expectations. I am not married. I have given her no grandchildren. I don’t have a “good job” or a “nice house” or anything she believes is required of someone my age.

Maybe she doesn’t care and it’s me. Maybe those are my feelings of lack and unmet expectations. Some of it is. A lot of it isn’t. Which part though, belongs to me?

I hear her use her words, telling the world, telling others how proud she is of me. That is supposed to be enough for me to know that she is proud. Remember, fake it, because that makes the whole world think you are better than they you are.

I don’t accept her as she is. Neither does she. Never have. I told her, on the first day of school, first grade, that I wanted to ride the bus. “No,” I stated, “I don’t need you to come to the school, at all. I’ll be just fine. ”

I think she retaliated by not allowing me to wear pants anymore. Ever. I was six.

I hated her. Somewhere between six and ten I wrote, “Bitch” on the baseboard in the hallway. Bright red, but really tiny. She saw it after I moved out, during the single time she and he ever painted the walls.  White and dingy, still, even after painting.  One coat,  without a primer, should be enough to cover the stains of 18 years.  These stains remain the only color on these walls, even today.

Which is also how I’ve always felt. My stains are the only color I have to offer. I’ve always felt like fraud. I’ve always wanted to be adopted. I’ve always wanted to be someone else. So I became other people. I was very aware of it. I created elaborate personas. I told extravagant lies.

I certainly can’t forget my lies, they make made up my life. They were everything I have been until now. Even now, disappointingly, they are guiding my options and my choices. The lesser of two evils, neither of which I want. I want my truth.

How do I right the perceived and the actual wrongs? How do I make the needed reparations for myself?

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” ~Nelson Henderson

I am starting to understand things better, take a longer more meaningful look and like Julie said, “I don’t think you can change people; … you can plant a seed.”

Right now I am facing myself in the mirror everyday.  I have to right the wrong thinking, in my mind.  I only have myself to change.

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2 Comments
  1. March 12, 2008 5:55 pm

    Wow.. this is a wonderful post! So many of us have done this. I know I have. When I was much younger.. like “living at home” age, I faked it all, too. I hid because it was the path of no resistance. Now I have no relationship with the person who made it necessary.

  2. March 13, 2008 4:26 pm

    Oooohhh I wish I had seen this sooner. This is fantastic. I love that Nelson Henderson quote. My Achilles heel is that i do not suffer what I perceive as foolishness gladly, march to the beat of my own drummer and will speak up when I’ve got a mind to. This? Is not popular, especially where I live. On the plus side, I have learned how to rub along nicely, mostly, until one of my principles gets hit. So yeah, righting the wrong thinking, being in our own lives the change we want. Ooompf I think you sneaked a little into my head.

    Such a great post.

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