Inspired by Martin Luther King Day…

At work, we went to a “cultural diversity” event where they showed a film from the 1964 race riots.  A co-worker asked me if I remembered anything about these riots in the news from when I was little.  I smacked her upside the head since I wasn’t born until 1966.  Hellooo??  What the heck was she thinking???

Anyway -the film was very interesting.  It not only talked about the actual riots, but the build up to them.. and the aftermath.  Lot’s of real life news clips… and personal testimonies.  Very cool.

Afterward, I opted to go to a discussion group which was really more of a listening group.  Read the rest of this entry »


To me… when I was 13…

Whelp… I’ve been tagged… by Rebecca from her “Fictional Reality” blog.   The idea is to write a letter to yourself when you were 13.  This was her post – “Tag! You’re it!, and is a good read that leaves one wondering… “what exactly happened at her cousin’s wedding anyway??”.  =)

It is funny that not too long ago, I wound up writing a post called “If I could go back in time… “.  In that post, I wound up writing about what I would tell myself if I could go back 6 years ago… when I was pregnant with my 2nd son, had a 5 year old son, and was taking care of my dieing father.

I didn’t plan to write it… it just rolled off…  and the really weird thing is that only a couple days later, I wound up face to face with a pregnant woman – pregnant with her 2nd son, and she has a 4 year old son, and she had just lost her mother.  I wound up in a deep conversation with her, even though we hardly knew each other… and, saying many of the same things to her that I had just written about.

Anyway – now, I’m faced with writing to my 13 year old self… Read the rest of this entry »

My teen life in a musical youtube nutshell…

I was mulling over my last post…. and, my teenage years in my head. 

My teen years marked the beginning of my dual lifestyle…

One one hand…  I was starting to doubt and reject a lot of what I was being taught by mom and church in general.. but, I was still going to church 2-5 times a week and singing in the choir, where I’d basically be partaking in a lof of this:

(“Because He Lives I Can Face Tomorrow” )

Then, on the days I wasn’t playing the part of the good little Christian girl, I was skipping school, jumping out my window, and staying over my heathen friends houses a lot in order to sneak to rock concerts and parties, and banging my head to the likes of this:

(“Running with the Devil” – VanHalen)

Explains a lot, doesn’t it???


“Surrendered” Wives ??

While visiting the blog “The Journey Out“, I happened to come across this disturbing article posted in “Feministing.Com” on a book called, “The Surrendered Wife”. 
Here’s the opening on it:

Remember that book, The Surrendered Wife, that came out a while ago and got all sorts of press because it basically told women that the key to happiness in marriage was to shut-the-fuck-up?Well it seems that some folks are taking it wa-ay seriously.

This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about in my last post – about growing up with double standards that were reinforced by my father, my mother, and the church. 

Another really sad thing is, I think this is the book a few of my close girlfriends (who fairly recently became serious Christians) were reading and getting in to.  They didn’t discuss it too much with me, because they knew I wasn’t into religion and thought I would “poo poo” it.  Man, were THEY right! 

What little I just did learn about it was appauling!   I can’t believe this book would be so popular today, and feel sorry for all the young girls who will be taught their place in society by their own parents and church with the assistance of it. 

I also found this article on it by Leanne Bell.  I am not familiar with who she is, but, I liked her article on this book .  The following is an excerpt from it:

It’s a shame Mrs. Doyle thinks women can’t balance a chequebook and be great lovers too. It’s a shame that she believes holding an opinion and voicing it will ruin her marriage. It’s even sadder to think that she believes going back to the fifties when women had to work too hard for too little respect is the answer.

The answer is not to surrender to anything. The answer is to fortify yourself. Be the strongest, most vibrant invidual you can be. Embrace your sexuality and enjoy it, don’t consider for a second abdicating the wealth of your personality and the value of your character in order to maintain a facade of a marriage to a man who doesn’t appreciate what he has. And don’t dare teach your daughters to grow up with such low expectations, such little self-esteem, such dismal hopes for happiness in marriage.

Mrs. Doyle doesn’t understand that surrendering your body amounts to prostitution, that surrendering your autonomy is as good a being in prison, and that surrendering your mind is slow, sure, mental death.

Amen Sister!


My Dad – Con’t (not an atheist saint after-all)

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 ( ).

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.


Sometimes you just gotta laugh… (Mom reads my Diary)

So, when I was 17… I came home one day to find my diary on my bed.  Not burried in my closet where I left it… but, on my bed.  Worse yet, there was a long letter in it, written TO me, from my mother. 

YIKES!  Can you say, Panic??

I had kept this diary since I was about 11.  It had EVERYTHING in it.  I would write pages sometimes, and it was in a big 3 ring binder.  I later learned that it took my mom a week to read it… before letting on she had found it. 

 Now…  can I blame my mom for reading it?  Not according to her.  She said, I must have wanted her to.  But, the fact that I had it hidden in the deepest darkets corner of my closet didn’t seem to say that to me!?

The weeks immediatly following were a big turning point in my life.  It was when I finally had the guts to break out from my double image of a life…  but, not until going thru a bit of hell first. 

There were some pretty trying times…

First of all, I woke up in the middle of almost every night for several weeks, to find my mother praying over me in tongues, and anointing my forhead with oil (vegetable oil to be exact, and she’d be painting a cross of it on my forehead)…  accusing me of all kinds of outlandish things.  I was a nervous wreck for a while… couldn’t sleep… couldn’t eat… lost a lot of weight (the one GOOD thing!).

Yes,  mom had read my diary and found out I had lied, and had sneaked out my window, that I had been drinking a little, and heaven forbid – that I secretly did NOT like going to church anymore but was going because I felt like I HAD to. 

Really, there wasn’t anything that bad in my diary… I hadn’t even had sex yet…   but, you would’ve thought she read that I was in a Satan-worshiping-sex-and-drugs-cult or something.  ?? She wanted me  to go to the pastor with her and to repent, ask forgiveness, “drop all my worldly friends”, and basically admit I was the biggest f!#@-up on earth. 

For once, I stood up to her.  

I refused. 

The biggest thing that helped me to do this, was the “dropping my friends” part.  No way.  She called me a hypocrite, and I told her she was right… and that I HAD been going to church only for her sake and that I should not be going, and so… I wasn’t go to go anymore.   And, with that she…  well?… can you say “freaked out”?

She didn’t believe anything I said… and the fact that I got good grades, and didn’t get in trouble didn’t matter.  Yup –  my mom went on a mission to “save me” from my heathen friends, the brainwashing of my father, and all my sinful worldly ways.  

Ahhhh… well… 
Sometimes… you do have to laugh.  Here’s a good example of a such a time:

Ok – So, right around this time, I came home one day, and my Dad was sitting there, all serious… holding a little copper mug, and a little test-tube water bottle. 

I was scared.  Uh oh.  What had mom told him?  What was happening now??  She told me she wasn’t GOING to tell him anything she read in my diary, because she said “he couldn’t help me”.  So, I was confused for a moment…  what was up?

Dad said to me, “Do you know what this is?” in a very stern and serious voice -as he showed me the mug and test tube…

I said,  “yes
…. feeling relieved a little because this was something he DID know about… sort of… and it wasn’t anything bad. 

 “Well? what is it for??”, he demanded… “your mother found it in the basement.”
His tone was accusing… as if he had caught me red-handed at something really bad. 

Me: “Well… Remember when I “found” that hamster than I wanted to keep years ago when I was like 12, and you wouldn’t let me keep it?”

Dad: “yes??”

Me: “well?  remember, I told you that I hid it for a while under my nightstand and nobody ever knew? But then I finally gave it away… and you never knew about it until I told you about it years later??”…

Dad, looking a little more relaxed and a little confused himself now, “yes…?”

Me: “well, THAT was the little cup that I had in his home…  and the tube was part of his little water bottle.  See?  there’s still a piece of litter stuck in the cup.  I must’ve hid them in the rafters years ago after I gave him away”. 

I was still confused.  But, my father began laughing uncontrollably.  And, teasingly calling out to my mom  – who was lurking around the corner, eaves-dropping.  He asked her to come and  tell me what she had told him. 

My mom was not amused.  She had that glazed over crazy look in her eyes.  Her eyes darting back and forth.  I knew immediately she thought we must be ganging up on her.  She woulnd’t answer him and stood there looking like she was going to explode. 

My father didn’t care.  He was relieved… and laughing still…
and between laughs, he said,
“your mother told me she found this in the rafters in the basement, and that it belonged to one of you kids… and that it was for smoking some kind of dope.  She thought, you put stuff in the tube, heated it in the cup, and inhaled it when it came out the tube thing”.

With that, I also began laughing… hard.

 And, my mother did lose it.  She screamed at us, “Well, how was *I* suppose to know that!?!?!”

It never dawned on her that, perhaps, she could’ve asked before making up such a crazy thing.  I wondered how many people she had already told.  Then, I didn’t care.

 This was around the time I decided that I just didn’t care what she thought anymore or what the rest of the church thought either… of course, deep down, I did care… but, I began telling myself at that point that I didn’t… that I shouldn’t… and I tried real hard not to. 

For months I came home, wondering if she had told my Dad anything, and if so, WHAT she would tell him.  I was very bervous.  Eventually,  I realized that even if she DID tell him anything “bad” I did – that he would have to take my side.  He knew she made up things, I know he did.  I also figured he couldn’t ground me for something my friends did, or something I had done YEARS earlier.  So, eventually, I got over it…  and stopped worrying about it. 

 Years later, I told my Dad about what happened when she read my diary.  He was mad that I never told him when it was gonig on.  He said he would have “made her stop:.  


 A few other pretty funny things my mom accused me of?

  •  snorting the butane refills that were for my cordless curling iron… (she kept stealing them from me and throwing them out).
  • being bulimic
    (I had lost weight… but, it was because she turned me into a nervous wreck and she made me feel sick all the time and I couldn’t eat much, not because I was bulemic.  I absolutely hate throwing up.)
  • going to meet my “connection” –
    when I had no idea what one was.  She obviously thought I was a drug addict, and I would have to show her receipts of clothes I bought for the prom to prove I hadn’t been buying drugs.  Usually this was in the middle of the night… when I could barely think.
  • being a whore that would never be satisfied by the touch of a man until I repented and became a child of God again. 

Okay – that last one wasn’t so funny…  especially since I had never even had sex when she said it.

So, maybe not so funny… but, still… ya gotta laugh…. at least I had to… and still do.  What are my other options?