Thursday, November 3, 2016

Personal History Do-Over #PNIWritingChallenge Day 18

There are many events that have taken place in my life that take up space in my overcrowded brain. So many memories, y'all. I mean, seriously. So many of them are of wonderful, happy things that have happened. For the most part, I've had an incredibly happy life. There are so many memories that truly bring me joy - and I bring them to mind often. Happy! Yes, I love being happy.

There are those things, however, that I look back on with either anger, fear, sadness, regret - or a mixture of all of those. I'm human. I'm like everyone else. There's good and there's bad in everybody's life. Without the lows, we wouldn't be able to truly rejoice in the highs, right?

There are certain events - ones that really stand out among all the others - that I wish I could rewrite. I have. Not just in my head, but on the computer screen. I keep a personal folder filled with all sorts of pieces I've written that have never be read by anyone but me. When I die, those who are the closest to me will no doubt find this folder. When they read what's inside of it, none of what they find there will come as a surprise. I am made up of all of my past experiences. They were well aware of this when they signed on. 

I won't share any of those specific things here now - but I will share something from my personal history I continually rewrite in my head.  

When I was young, I was afraid. I was afraid of the normal little kid things; the dark, of being alone, of scary movies, of loud noises - but it was more than that. I was timid. I was a momma's girl. I didn't want to be away from my mom, and I was a sensitive little person. 

I wasn't like this all the time. I was raised around a lot of strong women. My grandmother, my mom and her three sisters. They were all very prominent in my life. My family is really a 'girl power' kind of family. They were a force to be reckoned with. They still are, and I love it. I wasn't meek around them so much. With them I had a voice - even if it was small because of my age. At least I was heard.

I was also really good at making friends. My aunt Nadine once told me kids were drawn to me like flies are to sugar. I was giggly. I was friendly. I always had the strong desire to be helpful, and I'm certain my empathetic nature took root before I was even born. I wasn't necessarily outgoing. I was shy, but I wanted kids to like me. I liked having friends. My sensitivity was a drawback, though. I fell victim to teasing very easily, and I didn't have the ability to stand up for myself. My feelings were hurt a lot and I was oftentimes afraid.

There's no doubt in my mind that those seeds of self-doubt, of fear, of timidity, of sensitivity were all planted in my soul by my father - and they were planted early. 

I was never enough for my dad. I was never smart enough, capable enough, strong enough, pretty enough. And he made sure I knew it. We didn't have conversations, my dad and I. He lectured, he yelled, he ranted and raved - and I listened. I had no other choice. I was too afraid to even look him in the eye - something I do with everybody else. He didn't care what I thought. He assumed he already knew. He didn't care how I felt. It was unimportant. Getting his point across, being loud and intimidating and making sure I knew he was right and I was wrong ... those were the things he was most concerned with.

I re-write my reaction to him all the time. I re-write how I dealt with him, how timid and meek I was around him. I re-write my inability to stand up for myself, my inability to argue with him, to tell him to his face, while looking into his dark, wide, hazel eyes that he was a complete and total asshole. 

Deep breath.

It still haunts me, all these years later, the way he bullied me. I wouldn't stand for that from anyone today. I'm no badass - I'm far from it -  but I've gained a healthy dose of self-respect since I was a child, and my self-worth is now firmly intact. 

I lost my chance to stand up to him. My dad is gone now, dead since August, 2001. I've been re-writing that bit of personal history for many years. It's a pretty safe bet that I will continue re-writing it for many years to come.