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On Today's Daily Spark: Do Not Expect Perfection

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wow, that blog plucked a very raw nerve for me, because the blogger could have been writing about my life: good girl, straight A's, too uncoordinated for sports, afraid to try anything that could result in failure. What surfaced, along with tears, were two distinct, painful memories of how parents' words can cut like a knife.

The first memory was when I returned from a national Girl Scout event when I was in junior high. Now, it was an honor to be chosen for a national event, and only only two girls from my state were selected. The event was held on a college campus in Illinois, and in those days, we traveled by bus, so I made the trip on my own, the first solo excursion. What an exhiliarating time! I had a blast at the event, learned a lot, and returned home elated and filled with enthsiasm. My dad brought me home from the bus station, and as I bounded through the door, my mother's sour face and words stopped me short: "My God, you've gotten fat!" My happiness bubble popped, and I deflated, actually feeling like something heavy had crashed into my chest.

The second painful memory came during my freshman year in high school. When I entered high school, I was feeling the freedom that came with the more mature environment, and I signed up for a one-semester art course. I knew I wasn't good at drawing and painting, but I was hoping I could learn, and I wanted to do something "daring." I got a B in that course. When my dad saw my grades, he skipped over all the A's and focused on the sole B, telling me I had to bring that grade up. I was crushed. The class was over, so there was no chance to pull it up, and it was the last time I was "daring" in high school, ensuring that B was my only one.

What is interesting is that I keep burying these memories until something specific, like today's Daily Spark blog, triggers them. Unfortunately, when I bury painful memories, the good ones go with them, so perhaps that's why I have so few memories at all of my childhood. ELIZRN has also written blogs that have brought memories to the surface, so I feel as if the Universe is trying to tell me I need to take these black things out of their hiding places, examine them in the light of day, and forgive my parents (who probably never realized the impact of their words). It may be the only way to get my memories back.

Finally, you may be wondering why I'm writing this in a blog instead of in the pseudo-privacy of a journal. I feel the need to be public with the struggle, and SP so far has been a relatively safe place to share difficulties. So thanks if you've read all the way to the end. Just sharing means a lot.
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  • JAMISON2012
    Celia- it's like you found the words I had been struggling to come up with for the last few months! I love my mother so much and I had such a great childhood despite some difficult times, yet I seemed trapped by certain things. I have always known that my mom was worried about my health and that is what motivated a lot of her comments and nudges, but for a long time it just hurt. And my relationship with my dad was even worse since he truly believed a woman's only duty was to be pretty and obedient to her husband. So I created this whole identity of rebelling against convention and pursuing indulgences... It wasn't until I admitted that I wasn't physically able to really enjoy life anymore that it finally dawned on me how much I was missing. So now I acknowledge that my health is important, that it is time to let go of the past and embrace the endless possibilities open to me... and my SP community has been such a safe and comforting presence on this journey... So thank you for sharing!
    2114 days ago
    Aha! You have made a key discovery... the journey is NOT all physical. I started my journey when I was young... and I lost between high school and college then regained when there were things that being thin seemed to invite and I didn't like them much!

    Of course I would never have spotted that was what it was back then! When I got serious about losing it "right", it was 23 years ago. And I have continued to have motivational crises off and on even since then. As I now enter my third year of the current maintenance, I have the feeling I have finally got it. It's NOT about the scale. It's about my health. And I'm worth it.

    Being thin won't fix the other things in life. And it takes time getting used to one's new body size. I read somewhere a year for every 25 pounds, so I figure I have another year to go to feel this is my "real" size, as opposed to what I used to be.

    Emotions and past resentments can be difficult for those of us who think we have to be "good little girls" and not even feel those negative emotions. What we eventually have to do is give ourselves permission to be HUMAN! To accept the dark sides of ourselves. And forgive ourselves for having a dark side. Then it becomes easier to forgive those who have pushed our buttons. Even our mothers. For they, too, are/were human, and deserve the grace of forgiveness... which, by the way, frees US!

    You touched something deep and honest and true here. Well written and well thought out!

    - Barb emoticon
    2126 days ago
    Wow. We could be sisters. Funny, I have always had problems remembering my childhood for the same reasons that you mention above. The bad memories always seem to outweigh the good, which is sad, as I have some wonderful childhood memories.
    2127 days ago
    Yeah, I have those kinds of memories, too, and at 63 there are still some that can stop me flat. I can tell you that with time and encouragement, it is possible to get past a lot of that. I took years for me to realize that my mother just plain doesn't like kids, but she is very conventional, and in her day getting married and raising a family was what women did. And my dad's favorite phrase (to both me and mom) was, "Well, now, THAT was smart." in a sarcastic tone. His mother was physically abusive, so it says a lot for him that sarcasm was all we had to deal with. I tried to do better with my kids, but I suspect that my daughter occasionally will think of something I said or did that was hurtful. Too bad we don't have to study for a parenting license before taking on the role.
    2127 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    2127 days ago
    not sure what blog you read that re: the daily spark about perfection. just wanted to say you touched me and stirred up memories, as well. hi there!

    forgive me, but i am skipping the heart of the blog, for a minute -- hey, scout!! someone had the same opportunity as i had, way back when !!? awesome!

    when i was a junior in high school i, too, went to a national all-state encampment. ours was in massachusetts and we did wilderness camping. it WAS a big deal to be selected to represent the state, as only two per state attended this.
    my solo travel was via airplane, and my first time on a plane! i even brought home a log in my carry-on. go figure...

    but i was fat, and i tried to hide my shame when the boys that joined us on the all-state venture carving trails in a reserve park, chose to pair up to the pretty, skinnier scouts. it reinforced my self-image of not being likeable or gorgeous, or perfect, and not being 'accepted'...
    i had a better reception at home, at least, from my parents.
    (total side track, but that spring we had an F5 tornado blow our house away-- i didn't know if i could still attend the event. then my council paid for my expenses and bought me the gear. my family had a life to rebuild. they were happy i got to go...)

    i followed your bus ride, CELIAMINER... and i wish your mom hadn't made that remark to you on your homecoming. i hope she was proud of you.

    in senior high i sang in chorus with quartets, musicals, etc... during rehearsal one day we were gathered around the piano, practicing with the instructor. i'd put one knee up on the corner of the bench, as i leaned in to read the sheet music.
    guess i 'crowded' my teacher-- when he turned and looked at me in exasperation and in a very loud voice said 'GET THAT HAM HOCK OFF THE BENCH'!!
    indelible cut-me-to-the-bone words and embarrassment when everyone laughed, including that teacher.

    those cruel moments are, indeed, remembered. and there are many many more from those teen years... i think i released the sting. but it still comes up for me. (can see my chubby thigh in patterned stockings on the bench...)

    i like how you phrased it ... '(the) need to take these black things out of their hiding places, examine them in the light of day, and forgive'...

    know we can hopefully move on. and this is a very safe place to share.
    i came back to sparkworld yesterday, after many months. i forgot this sense of acceptance i have with others here.

    hope your sunday is going well and thanks for being beautiful inside and out
    2127 days ago
    Celia I know what you mean some of the blogs I read here trigger memories I had long forgotten about or I had thought. Its hard to deal with "things" that I have buried for so many years. And there are so many, "things" that need to be dug up addressed. Better late than never though I guess.
    2127 days ago
    You may have been raised by MY mother! Continue to pull out those ugly memories---I refused to do that for so long. My mom died 4 years ago--I was sad, she was my mom after all but I didn't really grieve. I went through some counseling (unrelated to mom) and started thinking. Really serious, down deep thinking about my life and my relationship with my mom. I realized she was the best mom she knew how to be. She didn't do or say any of those things to intentionally hurt me. Two years ago I forgave my mom--not just words but truly "let it go". I grieved deeply that she was gone before I had reached this point. I talk to her every day--I think she knows of my forgiveness and my deep love for her. I have changed a lot since this. Keep digging through the hurt, there is so much light and love on the other side!!!
    Hugs to you, my friend!!!
    2128 days ago
    I've also spent a lot of time wading through the dark to find the positive influences in my memories. Its all been worth it and my Sparkfriends have gone above and beyond in offering inspiration and support!
    I wish you lots of peace and healing through your process.
    2128 days ago
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