Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Wouldn't Recommend The Veal!

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!



Tracy

13 comments:

Carol said...

Well T I can relate to your mother (sounds like mine) only I became rebellious like your sister. And rebellious I sure was - didn't get along with my mom for many years. She was so controlling there was nothing I could do right so I did everything wrong! Hurt myself in the interim.

Well, mom is now 91 and very kind to me. I can do no wrong. I go there almost every day to check on her and take her shopping and bring her what she needs.

It took just about all these years for her to calm down and have some good things to say about me!!

Wow, the tides have changed!

Lily Wyte said...

Your mother sounds like mine. She was deathly afraid I would "ruin my life", as she considered she had done to her own. But she was younger than I am now, in those days; just a baby really, doing her best. Still, the scars were real. I regret some of the opportunities I missed, but they'll come round again. And, if I have truly mastered the dynamic between she and I, then I won't have to experience all that ever again.

Tracy said...

Lily Wyte said...
Your mother sounds like mine. She was deathly afraid I would "ruin my life", as she considered she had done to her own. But she was younger than I am now, in those days; just a baby really, doing her best. Still, the scars were real. I regret some of the opportunities I missed, but they'll come round again. And, if I have truly mastered the dynamic between she and I, then I won't have to experience all that ever again.

March 1, 2009 6:06 PM

I think the key is mastering that dynamic and reconciling the fact that my mother was using the only parenting skills she had at the time. Things were much different then. There wasn't such a focus on parenting or child care. Mothers learned what they were taught, right or wrong.

When I've thought about the things I've missed, I realized that, while I would have liked to have those experiences, in the big picture of things, they weren't all that important to the person I've become.

I'm confident that those things that hold the greatest impact in our lives will, in time, come to us. It's all good.

Tracy said...

It took just about all these years for her to calm down and have some good things to say about me!!

Wow, the tides have changed!

March 1, 2009 2:07 PM


Carol, my mother was a pain in the ass (Sorry, Mom). Still, in taking care of her in her final years, I realized that most of it was because she loved me, although at the time, I could appreciate the manner in which she expressed it.

Just before she passed away, she told Ray, "the whole room lights up when she comes in". It was a beautiful expression of her love for me.

Niki said...

Well, Trace, I can sympathize with you as well. My own mother loved me(and still does)almost to death. I realize that every decision she made and every rule she set down was generated out of that enormous love for me, but what she didn't understand was she was not allowing me to grow or to become self-sufficient, thereby preparing me for life. It was only after I entered college when the real growth for me took place. Out from under my mother's thumb, I began to, thankfully, become the person I am today. That growth, however, was wrought with potholes that I would not have encountered had I been allowed to experience things at the age(s) I was supposed to. I am grateful for the fact that she loves me so much, but I vowed to never do that to my children and I know I've kept that promise. Yes, it's hard to let your children go and to grow, but I have allowed them to make mistakes and stumble, while I'm still in the background, able to direct them for the "next time". And my relationship with my mom now - well, it's good, however, she still tries to control me - I just don't let her. I know in the deepest part of my heart that given the opporunity, she will again step into the role of controller - how do I know this? We had a discussion when the Terry Schiavo case hit the news and I said what a shame, that poor woman should be taken off the machines and allowed to die so her spirit could move on. My mother vehemently argued with me, that if it were me, she would absolutely keep my body alive, just so she could come to hospital to have someone to say hello to. After recoiling in horror, I made sure I prepared my Living Will so there should be no question as to what MY choice is should that every occur. Love, yes, it can be a killer!

Tracy said...

Oh.My.God, Nik!

Thank is too funny and scary, all at the same time.

I know my mother loved me with a vengance. I also know she didn't realize how her smothering was effecting me. She only knew I was safe.

Just before she passed away, she had a lot of difficulty walking. One night, after I'd gone to bed, I found that she had climbed the stairs to my room. She was standing at my bedside crying. Startled, I asked her what was wrong, she said didn't know where I was and she was worried.

I'm certain that she watches over me from the other side and I find it immensely comforting!

Tara Maya said...

This brought up a lot of feelings for me. I just wanted to thank you for sharing.

Tracy said...

Tara Maya said...
This brought up a lot of feelings for me. I just wanted to thank you for sharing.

March 11, 2009 2:46 PM


You're most welcome Tara. Love your blog!

spottedwolf said...

I am impressed....if not in general then singularly for this parallel to Suzanne's life( as she stands next to me murmuring in agreement).

Now...I'll tell you what that early decision really taught you and pardon if I seem a bit invasive...it is not meant thus.

You are an extremely intuitive woman with a "heart" that is willing to empathize with the mightiest and the meekest because you see them as same. Your tenacity of purpose is equalled by staunch loyalties. Though it may not have necessarily been so in the past...you will be the first in line to draw a "fireline" between an undue aggression and those you treasure. With a high degree of intellect, coupled to the previous, you can fund even the weakest of confidences into exuberant self-expression. Your old man has a goldmine of humanity and womanliness in you and he trusts you like no other.

If you enjoy studying excellent analysis on the dynamics of our culture's religions with many insights into how we are thusly affected ....you will be more than satisfied with author Karen Armstrong's books on the big three. Try " A history of Religion" for a start.

Oh and please stop by for a gander at a Mama's boy's life...

D.

Tracy said...

If you enjoy studying excellent analysis on the dynamics of our culture's religions with many insights into how we are thusly affected ....you will be more than satisfied with author Karen Armstrong's books on the big three. Try " A history of Religion" for a start.

Oh and please stop by for a gander at a Mama's boy's life...

D.

Dearest D,

I am at a loss for words which, if you knew me better. you would realize is completely unlike me.

Writing this entry proved much more difficult than I'd ever expected when I began. It was almost deleted several times simply because it contained so much personal vulnerability. I read it to my husband before publishing and while he agreed that it was very personal, he encouraged me to post it. He felt that it was a part of me that shouldn't be hidden, but embraced.

I thank you wholeheartedly for your words. They mean more to me than you know.

Blessings,

T

spottedwolf said...

Tracy,
You are most welcome my dear. Everything I said describes who I am with and your post prompted me to say those things for it is a rare treat to find the ones who learned early that forgiveness is the most powerful weapon we humans have. Suzanne and I have come to our place of unity through long similar circumstances of faith. She stayed with one who behaved much like I did in my first marriage in that he was too angry to realize what a treasure he had. I did the same which is why, as I stated in the recent dream analogy, my first left me. The marvel of opening up your most vulnerable sides as an adult is this helps us to find we are anything but alone in our circumstances. I do not regret the images of my childhood for adversity as Lily Wyte has pointed out in her blogs, is our grandest teacher.Your husband, as you already know, is a direct reflection of yourself and as such a rare treasure too. We always pick partners who reflect our most idealized selves,,,,,,,,,,,the parts we aspire to be. The hard fact is that most of us struggle with these aspects as they generally don't have the foundations needed to support them.

Tracy said...

Dennis,

I find your words so encouraging and as for Suzanne, I felt the beauty in her from the moment I read her response and visited her blog!

I think you guys are awesome and if you're ever in Jersey, please let me know! I'd be honored to meet both of you!

Anonymous said...

eh... thanks for ))