Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why Are You .....

 Image by Sixth and Main

January, 1988

Dear MaryJanes,

When I was growing up we took vacations within the states and it always involved camping. I suppose the most memorable would be driving up the Smokey Mountains with the camping trailer in tow. I can't remember for certain, but I am quite sure all five of us in the family were feeling sick from the steep, narrow, winding road with the instant death cliffs at the bottom. There was no turning around or pulling over to the side of the road to let a fellow driver by, you go forward without hesitation. I wonder what my father felt as he was driving up that mountain as he held our lives in his hands. He didn't much care for the three of us kids, well, ok, the two of us girls. My brother was the shinning star in our family. I have a twisted range of emotions when it comes to my brother. I adore him, he is a really nice person. I love him, he is gentle, strong as well as sincere. I envy him. He is popular, athletic, handsome and the favorite in the family due to being the only boy. To my father, my sister and I are freaks of nature merely because we were born female. So did the thought of taking a corner too sharp ever enter his mind? My sister and I were sitting on the deadly curve side. I have warped thoughts like this now and then. An active imagination that plays like a outdoor big screen movie. If only I had an off button!
Our family trips started out in a big, green, canvas army tent and then graduated to campers. In the summer and fall we went camping at Indian Trails Campground where at age 13 years, my sister met her husband, Roy He was one of the campground owner's sons. She and he started their love affair the same year that she entered her teen years. They would continue dating , get married and have two beautiful children. My father despised him through out their dating years. He would say, "He is a long haired hippie, drug using looser." My sister continued to steadily date him despite the contest of our father. She was always stronger than me in that regard. She knew who she was and stood her ground. She didn't continually question herself as I had done and still do. She is centered and secure in her actions. I wish I were more like that. I question and rehash each of my actions like it is a life or death matter. She reasons things before she acts. I act before reason. I suppose this comes from my dad's favorite sayings to me, "Are You STUPID?!!" "Why are YOU so STUPID?!!" "How could YOU be So Stupid?" Those words were spoken more like a observation, rather than a question. These are words that echo through my head daily. I suppose when you are told things on a weekly basis you tend to start believing they are true.

So on a summer day, when my nerves are at end and you break a little, vintage dog statue, I start to say those words to you, "Are You..........." I stop. Thank God, I stop. But none the less I nearly said those words to you. How could I do that? I bend down, pick up the broken pieces, collect myself and then tell you that it is Ok and it was just an accident. I hug you and assure you that I understand. Your eyes show me that I have let you down as they tear up. I can not think of a worse feeling than what I was feeling in my gut. You are always so good and polite. You listen to me and follow direction and do your very best to be good. How could I stoop to that level of ignorance?
Sometimes I believe that certain things happen for a reason, unexplained circumstances. You and I get in the car and go to the bookstore. For a non reader, I adore the bookstore as well as books. My mother is an avid reader, and I myself have completed one book, cover to cover, The Little Black Pony Races. Even in school when assigned a book to read, I merely used my imagination to do the book reports as I never read them. So it should be considered odd that I adore books, especially old books. I can gaze for hours in a book store. I find the children section and we gather up a few books. You are content to sit and look through them, and have a fondness for Pat The Bunny. It is a sweet, little, chubby, pale pink book with a fuzzy, white bunny on the cover. You know all of the words on the pages from memory.
I had found a book while we gotten you situated and I sat beside you. "Women Who Love Too Much" {when you keep wishing and hoping he'll change} was the title that caught my eye. As I read through the cover write up, I notice that they are talking about me.
Loving turns into loving too much when our partner is inappropriate uncaring or unavailable and yet we can not give him up - in fact we want him and we need him even more. We will come to understand how our wanting to love. our yearning for love, our loving itself becomes an addiction.

I make three book purchases that day, the one in my hands and two for you. That night I sat in bed and read each page and high lighted what spots pertained to me. The book pages were turning yellow.

The following day I bought a Sunday paper, I could not believe my eyes, an ad for a group meeting with a counselor for women who love too much. I am convinced that things happen for a reason. Monday I call regarding the ad and get myself enrolled in the group. After the first session, I set up a private appointment with the counselor. I feel lucky that she has evening appointments available. I had a little stash of money set aside for emergencies, not much, but enough for the meetings and my one time private session. I feel that I have the emergency need to justify the spending of my fund. I sit in her office as she asks me why I am there. I explain, "When I was growing up, I was continually asked why I was so stupid." " Last week when my daughter was playing, she broke an object and the words, Why are you...... came out." "I do not want to be the parent my father was." And then the tear streamed down. She asked me a few questions about my life, my father and my own values. She then assured me that I was nothing like my father."In fact," she said, " you are a wonderful mother and I see no signs that you will ever be like him." I needed to hear those words. She then inquired, "have you ever suffered from an eating disorder?" WHAT??? ME??? I lie and reply quietly, "no" She tells me that this is unusual, that nearly all girls that have been through what I have been through, do. I once again lie, "No, I have never had an eating disorder" She tells me that she has a feeling that I am hiding the truth. I stick to my dishonest word, no. Why did I lie? I was there for help.
I walk away from my sole appointment knowing that if I had the money, I would have liked to have gone again. I liked her and she was a no nonsense kind, and could see through my deception. I continue with the group meetings until my emergency funds are depleted {four sessions.} I know that I will NEVER use the words, why are you so stupid, ever. Those words were for my father to use to make himself feel superior. How much did it actually take for him to feel superior to a child? It would cost years of memories on behalf of my sister and I. This is a bond that she and I share and that no one else will ever fully understand. I do not want to raise you thinking I am superior to you, I want you to be better than me, better at everything that I am.

Now go out there and conquer the world!



  1. Wow, love that. I also love the photography. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Glitzy,
    So glad you found our letters and took the time to leave a comment! I hope you will continue to read along.

  3. My stepdad used to tell my brothers and I that we were stupid and ugly. Not always in a mean way but when your "parent" repeats things over and over eventually you believe them to be true. Finally at age 25 I know he was wrong. I am smart, beautiful and an awesome person. He was being ugly not me.

    I know he didn't mean it that way but it was wrong, parents should be careful what they say to their kids. Especially when they think the kids aren't listening...they usually are. When I was older if was worse and intentionally mean, but at that point I spoke to him that way also.

    Things are civil now, but I don't like visiting my mom that much.

  4. Kylie,
    Love your name first off, I almost chase that name when I changed my own. I'm so sorry to hear about your verbal abuse. It's a huge thing to have to overcome. Glad you found confidence now! Thanks for reading our story, enjoy.