The Past Hurts Sometimes

I spent much of my childhood trying to do “the right thing”. How does a child even know what the right thing is?

I knew that if I did certain things at certain times I’d get a little more attention from my parents. But they were so busy with everything in their lives that they really didn’t have all that much time for me.

It seems a silly thing to complain about sometimes. You see children who have no food, or suffer incredible abuse. My parents just didn’t have any time for me.

I spent a great deal of time alone. To clarify, I have two sisters. We didn’t get along very well. I found it easier to just spend my time outside, away from them, and avoid arguments.

I spent so much time trying to make my parents happy, and proud of me that even the small things hurt. Once I made dinner for my family. I usually did because both of my parents worked. I think I was 14 at the time. Steak, mashed potatoes, and some sort of vegetable.

My dad took one bight of it and got very unhappy. You could see the disapproval oozing off him. He was mad at me because I didn’t put any spices on the food. I forgot. I never ate spices on food, and I forgot. And he told me how bad dinner was, how horrible it was.

I learned a long time ago that I was never going to be able to please the people around me. And then I got married.

New mother, new baby, new home, and I cleaned the entire house. Even got on my knees and hands to scrub the kitchen floor because we didn’t have a mop. My husband came home. I thought he’d be so happy with me… No, there were things up on top of the computer case stashed out of the way that I hadn’t gotten too. The rest of the two bedroom apartment was clean, but there was paper up on top of that case. He was so disappointed in me, and I was that little girl trying to get approval. Trying so hard to earn someone’s love.

It took me a long time to learn that you can’t, and shouldn’t EARN someone’s love. Love is a gift you give. Love is free. Love is beautiful. It is full of hope and joy, and all those wonderful things of acceptance.

And even now, at 35 and trying to start something brand new I feel myself shutting down. Hurting. Afraid to try and earn someone’s love and attention. Will they like my books? Will they care? Will it affect anyone?

Who knows. And I shouldn’t care. I should be doing this because I love the writing, not because I’m trying to find that illusive acceptance somewhere.

My parents will never be proud of me. I accepted that years ago. And my life is saner now without them in it.

My husband would never be satisfied with anything I did. So I divorced him. And I have been happier without him.

But you can’t close yourself off from the world. You can’t satisfy the world. You have to satisfy yourself before you can do anything else.

That’s my struggle every day. Somewhere inside I am just that little girl still trying to find approval. And I suppose I always will be.

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The Leftover Pieces

I don’t have much from my past. I had three life changing moments where I was left with only a box of things, and everything else had to be donated, trashed or sold, so only the few things that meant a great deal to me managed to make it to my home now.

 

But I’ve always thought those things, those precious memoires you choose to keep even when the world is collapsing down around you, those are what define you. They are what show what really matters to you.

Of all the “things” that survived the upheaval in my life, being homeless, a failed marriage, moving to four different states, and crossing thousands of miles of land with just a little suitcase to my name, the only thing that truly survived all of that was my writing.

I have the paper I stole from school, stapled together, and wrote in bright orange marker about a nymph in a forest. I have the poems I typed up on an old typewriter, stapled together, and marked with “1cent” up in the corner. I have the first school assignment that asked for a story about a picture. Some of these are 20+ years old, and I have them all.

In fact, over the last 30 years of writing I have lost only one thing (that I know of). Half of the very first novel I ever completed. Called “Deaths Gate”, it was about a girl who was unable to ever get close to anyone because Death marked her as his bride and would kill anyone who tried to claim her as his.

The novel took five years to put together. I started it in my Junior year of high school, and continued on through the first few years of my marriage. We moved around a lot. Had children. Got our first PC. Had to put all the hand written notes into the PC for the first time.

It took five years of a sentence here and there to get through the 200 page manuscript. It had elves, hunters, battles, nymphs, magic, and one lost young woman who simply wanted to claim her life as her own. It was terrible. Poorly written, and full of Mary Sue’s. But I finished it.

Then my computer crashed and took it with it. All of my hard work just gone. Lost. Unrecoverable.

I did find half of it in a drawer somewhere, the last half, and I still have it. No one else will ever read it, but it will follow me to every home I move to from here on out.

When I took some college classes I tried figuring out “what do you want to be when you grow up?” for the first time since my divorce and having my life in my own hands. I looked back n those leftover pieces and started to think about what was important. What made me “ME”.

What do you have as leftover pieces?