I’m sure there have been more children who have found themselves in trouble for using inappropriate language than those who haven’t. I am also sure the majority received some form of punishment for their indiscretion.
The question I have had for far too long is what parents considered a fair punishment for a single word, (which to be honest, was repeated after being warned… once.)
I ask this because for far too long I thought what I received was common for the mid-70s but I now realize was possibly a tad excessive…
You see, in those days our families choice of soap was one containing lye. I don’t know about my step father but I know my mother not only preferred such soaps, there was a time when she and my grandmother made their own. I mention this because she should have been well versed in how dangerous such things were since she once explained a scar on her arm which she received when some of her own soap splashed onto her arm, leaving her with a constant reminder to be more careful. This is important because my punishment for using the word “damn” (twice) was to hold a bar of soap in my mouth… for half an hour. The result was chemical burns to my lips, mouth, throat, and vocal cords.
I can’t say if this was the reason my voice never changed a great deal, I do know I never experienced my voice cracking (which I feared and was relieved when it didn’t happen). Indeed, I’m sure it changed much more as a result of smoking than it ever did during puberty.
(Oh, I forgot to mention I was about 7 at the time.)
A number of times it has been suggested I write down the events of my life. What I remember, my thoughts, dreams, hopes and aspirations. What follows is the beginning of a journey I never wanted to take, memories I felt best left to the dust of time. Yet I have never been able to free myself from them and I know they have shaped me into who I am today. I make no promises as to when I will post one of these, just the idea of putting them into words, never mind sharing them, is difficult to say the least.
What is your first memory? Mine is of hiding in a mobile home with my mother while my step father tried to force is way in with a knife. For years I told myself it was just a bad dream, yet to this day I can still see his rage filled face pressed against the window screen, the glint of the knife when the blade caught the light. I remember being terrified and not understanding why and knowing my mother was every bit as terrified as me.
I’m going to share this before I checked out and delete it… A picture a la natural as it were.
This is what I see every day in the mirror, in reflections… how I know the world has seen me for far too long. I decided to take and share this as a reference point as I move forward. Hopefully there will come a day when the proper hormones will course through my body and this image will be nothing more than distant memory.
BTW, my hair is pulled back into a pony tale, today was wet and windy so it was a bit of a mess.
Sometimes you read a blog post or some random article off the web and something just ‘clicks.’ You can’t really explain it, even showing someone else doesn’t elicit the same response. It is simply one of those rare things which can bring a smile to your lips for no other reason than it exists.
In this case it did have a subject I am interested in, writing. No, it didn’t tell how to write the Great American Novel, not even how to write anything at all but it did tell an engaging tale and spoke to some of the frustrations I have felt.
It was about sharing true life experiences, about how and when such things not necessarily should be shared, but when all of the elements of memory, emotion, recollection and writing ability might come together in a form which could be translated into a book others would want to read.
The question is asked, can such things be shared with the public without destroying them?
The answer is most likely, maybe.
I have to admit I have been avoiding writing anything too personal this week. I have had a lot on my mind since my last therapy session and I’m still not sure what it all means, but I decided to discuss these issues here in the hope someone else can find a common thread which might help them with their own struggles.
Last week during therapy, Jodi had me recount as much as I could of my breakdown and suicide attempt from my twenties… Yes, this was a lifetime ago, yet the one thing I have long counted on has been my ability to slip back into those moments, much like slipping on a comfortable shirt. It rarely took much for me to find myself as immersed in the moment through memory as I had been when it first happened. Sights, smells, feelings; thoughts, emotions were all there just waiting for me. I know it is difficult, if not impossible, to move forward when I remain so deeply anchored in the past. yet it didn’t seem to matter how well I understood this in my mind, my heart refused to be convinced.
That is until this time.
In trying to recount what had happened, something I have always been able to do, I became confused regarding the timeline. The details became fuzzy, slipping through mental fingers like sand. It was there, then it was gone. I couldn’t keep anything straight and I became more than a little confused and frustrated. As Jodi said at the time, I seemed a little off my game.
Turns out it wasn’t just then. All week I have found my emotional connections have frayed; so many things which blazed in my memory so brightly have become dulled and unfocused. The ever present feelings of these things being of upmost importance, a legacy if you will, have fallen away. Oh, I can still recall brief flashes, bits of memory, but I cannot connect to them. They happened to someone I know in a different time, in a different world, and it is as if I am viewing borrowed memories through an unfocused lens. In some ways this is disturbing and in others it is a relief, though I am now at a bit of a loss as to how I should view these tattered refugees from another life.
They are mine, and yet they are not.
I don’t know if any of this makes any sense to anyone else but me, but in many ways it is like watching your childhood home burn to the ground with all of your possessions still inside. And even though you haven’t been back in years, there are these feelings of loss and sorrow for what can never be recovered.
For my Father-In-Law;