The second part of the fifth question for the Q&A segment of this blog is: “What was the worst (thing about your youth)?”
The worst thing about my youth (again going with ‘life up to graduation’ as the timeframe for ‘youth’) was dealing with the issues in my family life. I won’t go into too much detail, because it’s rather personal stuff, but while I wouldn’t ever say I had a bad childhood with my family, it…had its problems.
I was always very close with my dad growing up, but there was discord between my parents after their divorce (which happened when I was 2), my stepfather hated him, and my sister and brother stopped spending time with him at young ages. As a result of this, I constantly got to hear about how terrible this important person in my life was, and from a young age, had to separate my relationship with my dad from my relationships with the rest of my family. As I said, I won’t go into the details of that, but suffice it to say it got pretty bad at times.
Aside from that – or perhaps because of that – my mother never really looked too kindly on me. She wasn’t abusive or even mean, she just never warmed to me, I guess. I was the middle child, and my older sister could do no wrong, while my younger brother was always in trouble (his choice) but had oh so much potential…and I was just me. My mother never really told me she loved me or was proud of me, and I can’t remember playing with her even once when I was a child; I know she was a fantastic, funny mother, who did what needed to be done and sacrificed a lot for us, but she was never really there for me. I couldn’t talk to her about problems in my life, because she would shrug them off or get annoyed, and she didn’t ‘believe in’ my depression until a psychologist called her with fears I might kill myself.
I don’t ever want to make my mother look bad. She was and is great, and so is my stepfather, but she never really viewed me in a positive light. I was dad’s ‘favourite’ (hard not to be when you’re the only one that visits him), and she decided that meant I was exactly like him, and that was, obviously, a bad thing. She viewed him as lazy, selfish, dishonest, and basically everything bad you could think of. And she called me those things as well, at various times. “You’re exactly like your father” was a phrase I heard more than once.
I never fit in in my own family, I guess. I was more emotional, sensitive and pensive, like my dad, and I liked being told and shown that I was loved, but I was not all the things she made me out to be. I never, ever felt loved by my mother, and the only proof I had that she did love me was all the work she went through to keep us afloat when times were hard.
I think it’s only been since my son was born that she has viewed me any differently than that. She’s changed in her interactions with me now, and actually seems to respect and be impressed by me at times. She continued to say I was like my father when I had troubles with my son’s eating after his birth and would break down about it, but now she’s stopped saying that, and instead has actually complimented me on my parenting. She admitted that I didn’t turn out the way she’d expected me to as a parent.
And trust me…I know exactly how she expected me to turn out. She wrote about it, and I accidentally happened to see it, after my son was born. The things I say she thought about me are not just my skewed view of her feelings toward me; I always knew it, but I actually did see it written down on paper, in her hand. She has since apologized for that, and taken it back. I can only hope she doesn’t still think those things of me, because I think a lot of wonderful things about her, despite the knowledge I have of her impression of me.
…So I definitely said way more than I intended to there. Still not everything, but, well, you get the idea. So that was the worst thing about my youth; sorry I got a little long-winded.
Check out Mike’s answer at http://emptystress.wordpress.com, and please feel free to post your own in the comments!
(Next question: “When and where have you felt most uncomfortable being nude?”)