Ok – So, when I looked back at my last post… I realized I left out a few things about my Dad. I did mention a lot of really good things about him… and whille yes – I really really loved and respected my father a lot, I failed to mention that he wasn’t’ a saint.
(As IF an atheist could be a Saint, right?!)
So, yes.. my dad certainly wasn’t perfect. He was a tough old goat, really, He was pretty strict… and fairly controlling. He was the boss. You know the old “When I say JUMP! You say, How high?!” mentality. He was very stubborn, old fashioned, and he also had double standards when it came to my brother’s and I – which was a pretty sore subject with me.
I was the youngest and the only girl… and spent a good deal of time trying to keep up with my brothers and prove I could do anything they could do. I felt like I had a double whammy of chauvinism from my parents. I even use to call my Mom a “male chauvinist pig”. Not only was my dad very over-protective of me and telling me I couldn’t do things because I was a girl – but, my mother agreed. She thought the wife should be subservient to the husband. Even though she thought my Dad was the devil himself, and bad mouthed him constantly, she still believed she needed to let him be “the boss”, and ultimately that she should “obey”.
The churches we attended reinforced this mentality. When I was teen, we were going to a church where all the women wore these doily things on their heads – especially for prayer time. It was to symbolize that they recognized that they needed something between them and God – something to do with the original sin of Eve. The men didn’t need to wear them. You can imagine how well this went over with a teenage girl who was trying to prove she was just as good as her brothers. I refused to wear one. Because I was not yet a “woman” – the church didn’t make a big deal out of it.
My mom did all the housework… well, she and *I* did all the housework. My brother’s never had to learn how to cook or clean. On the same token, I never learned how to start a lawn mower until I was an adult with my own home either.
Every Saturday when we were kids, I had to clean the house with my mom… help prepare the meals… do laundry. While my brothers got to go outside and help in the yard. This didn’t seem fair to me at all. I would have much preferred to have been outside in the sunshine picking up sticks and playing on the riding lawn mower.
By 11 years old, I had to do all my own laundry and ironing…. Start dinner every day after school. My brothers had no clue how do those things and weren’t expected to. Every once in a while, I got even by making them pay me to iron one of their shirts if my mother wasn’t around.
My mother also thought everything was bad… or evil… so, she didn’t like me to do much of anything except go to church. My Dad didn’t care if I went to church or not, but he was very overprotective and strict with me. He wanted to know where I was all the time and I was not allowed to do things that he let my brothers do when they were my age. Again, this didn’t go over well with me. I had no intention or desire to be the “perfect little girl”. I wanted to be one of the boys, dammit!
When I asked why, or complained… I was told – from my mother, “This is what women do. Get used to it”. And from my father, “because you’re a girl. It’s just different. Some day you’ll understand”.
Yeah- ummm… I’m still waiting for that day to come…
So, I complained… a lot. I could get away with arguing with my Dad. He didn’t like it… and he didn’t usually give in… but, he also would tolerate my hormonal outbursts. He would never hit me… because I was a girl, of course. He would, however, whack my brothers if they talked back. At last.. an advantage to being a girl!
So, I learned the rules and played the game…
and I learned how to cheat at the game.
I quickly figured out (with a little help from my one brother), that it was easier to lie in order to do what I wanted – than it was to reason with my parents. So, I hit a point where I didn’t even argue or ask to do things I knew they wouldn’t want me to do. I just did them behind their back… and then some.
I became quite rebellious in a very sneaky way. I was quite the good liar… and thought nothing of lying to my parents.. or anyone in authority really. I thought it was the only way to survive… and, I was pretty good at it too. I could come up with an excuse on the spot, and make anyone believe just about anything.
By the ripe old age of 11 or so, I was well into my “double life”. I skipped school… a lot… and, went in late to school all the time… I forged notes and report cards… I cheated on tests and homework. I jumped out my window… lied and said I was babysitting when I wasn’t so that I could stay out late.. or I stayed overnight at my friend’s homes whenever I wanted to do something I knew my parents wouldn’t let me do…. I went to rock concerts and drank… and partied…. All unbeknownst to my parents.
My parents had no clue. They thought I was some perfect little angel. And it wasn’t easy keeping up the charade and not getting caught. I was always covering my tracks. Anticipating what could possibly go wrong…
I also continued to go to church with my mom and one brother, 1-4 times a week. Every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and sometimes Saturday night. (Hell, most of those church kids were the biggest partiers of all!!!)
My friend’s parents, and neighbors, church leaders, and school teachers all liked me… because in front of them, I was well behaved and quiet. I did all my make up work for school, and I got good grades. So, most grown ups didn’t pay much notice to my missing from class half the time or whatever. I hid my bloodshot eyes (Visine was a staple)… and, I didn’t get caught (much), or get in trouble (much). And the few times I did get caught – I lied lied lied so that I didn’t get caught compeltely. (“Yes yes! I swear to God it’s the first time I ever jumped out my window, Dad!” – when I finally got caught after 2 years of hiding that darn ladder. LOL).
I always pushed the limits… but, I really didn’t go THAT far. Well, I suppose that is a relative statement. I mean, I wasn’t as bad as a lot of other kids I knew. I never failed a class… or hurt anyone. I never ran away or got myself in too much of a bind. (Again, I realize that is a relative statement!). I was weary of strangers and didn’t trust people so was always on the look out and protective of my friends. I was the one suggesting we do something stupid.. but, them making sure nobody got hurt in the process. LOL
I tried a lot of things…. including drinking and smoking pot.. and a few various other drugs… but, I was always afraid to get addicted to anything… or NEED to do drugs to have fun… or have a bad experience. I always kept myself in check.
I also wasn’t screwing around with boys. One of my best friends got pregnant and had an abortion when we were 14 yrs old. That blew me away. And, a different friend went from one jerky boyfriend to the next… and, I learned from their mistakes. I also was afraid my mother and father would kill me… but, mostly, I just didn’t want to be hurt or anyone’s fool.
Sure, I had lots of crushes on boys, and I had a couple not-so-serious boyfriends.. but, when my mother found and read my diary when I was 17. I sure was glad I hadn’t had sex yet. Not that it mattered to her – she acted like I had done the whole football team and was the biggest drug addict in town. I wrote about that in my “Sometimes you just gotta laugh” post (https://savemenot.wordpress.com/2007/03/12/quick-laugh-because-sometimes-you-just-have-to-laugh/ ).
Am I blaming my Dad (or my Mom for that matter) for my being so rebellious and sneaky when I was a kid? I dunno?? Maybe a little. Ok, yeah.. I am. They MADE me that way! LOL But, maybe part of it was just in my nature too.. and I might have been like that anyway. Who knows?
My Dad and I talked about things a lot when I was an adult. For the most part – we laughed our asses off remembering funny stories from my childhood. But we talked about the difficult times and arguments we had too. I think he regretted some of the things he’d done and said… but, he wasn’t one to apologize much.
I figure, he did the best he could with what he knew… and I know he was they way he was with me because he loved me so much. There were quite a few times when I was really mad at him for not letting me do something… and then, I realized he was right. Teenage guys are jerks. LOL All in all – like my first “Dad” post said, I’m very thankful he was my dad and was the way he was.
So – there you have another big chunk of why I am the way I am… whatever way that is.