Ok, so I was recalling memories of my past and thinking about how the people and things that are truly meant to be part of our lives, will find their way there, often in ways we least expect them to.
My mother was an overprotective, obsessive worrier (Sorry, Mom) who controlled every aspect of our lives. My sister and I liken our childhood to being raised like veal. Our entire existence revolved around our own backyard. There are unquestionably children who have experienced far worse, however ours was not a "normal" childhood by any stretch of the imagination.
My sister rebelled dramatically under my mother's control, often making decisions that caused heartache to herself and our entire family. Being several years younger than she and having witnessed most of the pain her behavior brought to those around her, I vowed that I would never be like her. I was never going to give anyone any reason to worry or do anything that might ruin my life or theirs. I simply conformed to my mother's will, no questions asked and no matter how negatively it impacted on my own well-being. It was a safe, yet lonely existence that was as detrimental to me, as my sister's rebellion had been to her. There were a few close friends that loved me for who I was and were understanding enough of my situation to stand by me. Others however, used it as a constant source of their own amusement and ridiculed me for it. I eventually internalized my own pain, each of my mother's irrational fears and grew into an anxious and insecure adult.
When I finally married and moved from my mother's home, the control merely changed hands. I gladly allowed Ray to make all the important decisions that effected me. It was status quo, I had simply traded my mother's backyard for his and I was quite content with this new "veal-like" environment.
Then, quietly and insidiously, something...began...to change. I can't decide exactly when or what brought it about, but when the winds began to stir, I found myself becoming..curiously, yet passionately..resentful. My own sense of rebellion was beginning to spin like a cyclone out of control, threatening to change the landscape of everything in it's path and life as we knew it. I eventually found even the perception of being controlled intolerable and stubbornly refused to go along with anything simply to make someone else happy. I must admit, this transformation was neither easy nor painless. It's amazing how unpleasant people can become when they realize you will no longer allow them to take advantage of you. Some long term relationships were lost when I refused to continue functioning as a doormat in the name of love or friendship. As you can imagine, our marriage suffered as well. Lines were drawn, ultimatums were given, shoes were thrown! Ultimately, most of us survived, just not in the same manner that some had grown accustomed to.
Last night, Ray commented on how much I've changed recently and in the 30 years since we'd met. He would be the best judge of this, since he's witnessed and lived through the worst of the storms. Hey, we did take vows for better or worse! The other vow I made was to my own children. That being, that they would know all the joys of childhood and so far, I've yet to hear any complaints.
I have long since discarded the resentment for the things in my own childhood I never had the opportunity to experience. Interestingly, some of the stuff I thought I had missed, I am experiencing now and find that I am able to appreciate them more as an adult. Hey, I always wanted to be a Witch and learn to play the drums! Who would have guessed that 40 years later, I would be doing both, often simultaneously! Perhaps it's an after effect of my upbringing, but I find it very difficult to allow the dust settle beneath my feet without learning something while I'm there! I almost never feel the urge to throw shoes, but still tend to have a fairly low tolerance for bullshit. If I am to be honest however, I have allowed myself to slip backward once or twice and be taken advantage of simply because of the nature of the relationship. But, with age comes wisdom. That was then, this is now.
Recently, when the winds began to stir, I embraced the wisdom of my past, and allowed myself to be led on a journey inward with all the inquisitiveness of the child I'd left behind. The change has been as dramatic as a cyclone, but without all the damage! Strangely, part of this journey has brought me back, once again, to the people and places that had engraved themselves on my heart years before.
So what about now? Well, I can tell you that, those who thought they knew me well back in the day would be in for a rude awakening and my mother would probably like to confine me to the backyard for all eternity!
In Darkness, Light!