Untangling the Mess


This issue is been bothering me a lot lately and I’ve finally realized that I either let it out or it will keep sucking the life out of me.

I have many friends who have young children, so I get to hear all about their days with them, and holidays and everything they do with them and what they need to deal with. The more I hear about it all, the more I realize that my childhood was completely different.

I was raised in what I call now a dictatorial family. I would say that my father was the dictator and my mother the general or whatever head of the army that follows the instructions of the dictator, passes all information and complies with it all.

It felt like my brother and I were mere accessories in my parents’ life. I didn’t feel loved, or cared for, I just felt like we were supplied for.

I see my friends doing lots of activities with (and exclusively for) their kids, such as playing sports, going to movies, organizing costume parties, or basically anything that their kids would enjoy. I was part of the basketball team in my primary school. I was not that good, like many other girls in the team, but I was definitely the only one who didn’t join the games against other schools on Saturday mornings, because my parents wouldn’t take me. Our Saturday morning ritual consisted in going downtown to the market to get fresh produce (even though my mother was a homemaker and could do that every day), and then Saturday afternoon we would go to a department store to walk around. Sunday mornings were made to go to the port and walk around. As you can imagine, it was all very exciting for two kids. :/

For Christmas one year when I was around 5 or 6 we had a bike as a present. That bicycle sat unused for years and years until we outgrew it while still brand new because my parents never decided to take us out to the street on summer evenings. We never learned how to ride a bike. I didn’t ride that bicycle (or any other) for the first time until I was 16.

My parents were rude when talking to us. It seems most of them times they were annoyed by our presence. My brother and I used to blame each other every time the other had done “something wrong” and had upset my father, because it would put him in a constantly yelling state against the rest of the house for days in a row. So plainly ridiculous, because that “something wrong” was probably that we had argued (as all siblings do about toys or any other unimportant matter).

My parents never asked us how school was. They never encouraged us to talk with them about our lives. But we tried to tell things, until we ended up stopping talking too much. Every time we were excited about something, we would talk about it and their only response would be negative, them telling us why it’s not “as easy” or “as good” or “as special” or whatever, so we always left conversations feeling we had been verbally slapped in the face. Therefore, no more talking and telling things so we wouldn’t have to hear any cr*p from the people that were supposed to support us. However, they would support anybody else except for us, I felt like they didn’t trust us, like we were never good enough. They were the nicest people to whoever that wasn’t us.

My only fun times were when I sat down to listen to the radio for hours and hours in a row. I would keep track of the songs that were played, the artist, the album it belonged to and even the time it was played on the radio! One of the most exciting times of the year was Christmas because all stations had countdown to that year’s top songs. But Christmas in general (and any other family time) sucked real bad.

Every day, my mother was there to tell my father as soon, as he came back from work, anything that she thought my brother or I had done really wrong that day. So as soon as my father came through the door and we went to warmly greet him, he would turn to us and out of the blue slap us in the face and tell us it should be the last time that we… (add whatever trivial thing you can think of: argue with your brother/sister or talk back to your mother, etc.).

We (my brother and I) were extremely good kids. We had ridiculously good grades through primary school and most part of high school. We were not mean kids, we were very good hearted, very quiet and very obedient.

Really, I look at how kids behave now and I am appalled at how stupidly quiet and easy-to-deal-with my brother and I were. When we used to go to the kids doctor for example my brother and I would be seating down, quietly looking at the other kids while they were running like crazy along the corridors, playing hide and seek and making lots of noise, just as kids do. We would just sat there, doing nothing, every single time, because otherwise we would get yelled at.

I remember being yelled at, almost every day, for the most stupid things. I felt like my father was really angry at life all the time and he took any occasion he could to pass it on to my brother and me. My mother was the accomplice, she showed no mercy.

There was one time that my brother came home early from his soccer practice one Saturday afternoon (he was 13 or so) because he had had an injury and had broken his left pinkie finger. What was the first thing that my father did when he opened the door? He yelled at him. And for days he acted around the house as if some major thing have been done to him personally, instead of caring about my brother’s wellbeing. Up to this day I still don’t understand why he was so mad about my brother breaking a finger.
If I look back in time into my childhood there are quite a few moments that I remember and they all bring me the same memories: it was an unkind environment, I was afraid all the time and I was utterly unhappy.

When I was a teenager I started realizing that I felt weird touching people or being physically approached, (you know when sometimes you play silly with your friends and you sort of push them or when you’re trying to console them, you hold them, and hug them or pinch them if you wanted to laugh…etc) I realized that none of those came naturally for me. It was rather the opposite, I felt like I suddenly needed to pull back and not be touched. I realized my parents never held my brother or me, they never hugged us and tell us stories or asked us things, they never tried to console us when we were sad. They would only act as annoyed by our feelings and always said something that made us feel our worries were completely irrelevant and unimportant to them.
If I had to create a list with the top ten most unkind moments in my life, my parents would have been the cause of pretty much all of them.

I feel like we were cheated. We were shown one type of childhood that was completely wrong.

I still feel the pain somehow, because I know that so many ways I act now, have been determined by that absurd upbringing.

That is why I can’t stand unfair treatment, I’ve seen it way too many times. That is why I am scared of “big conversations”, because I feel the outcome will probably completely unexpected and sh*t can come out of the blue for me for no reason.

They created insecure children, who were afraid of standing up for themselves in case they were told off or yelled at because no matter as careful as we could be, we could trigger any unimaginable outcome, there was always a mind that was capable of twisting arguments in an unsuspected way.

Even though I know things have changed because I no longer live with them and their influence over me is not that strong at all (also I am an adult now) at times I think that I hate them. I am aware that my upbringing made me the person I am at the moment but I still think about those moments and I resent them for that. Also because they could be (at least) part of the reason why my brother is no longer in my life. And lastly because they are part of the reason why I am scared of having kids, as I don’t want to be like them, I don’t want to raise a kid to be as unhappy, fearful and insecure as I was.

[This post best read while listening to:

Your Blue Room by Passengers]

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On Friendship

A week ago I went to a birthday party. It didn’t get too crazy because it was a party that was thrown for a toddler 😊. She’s the daughter of one of my best friends.

I think me and my Mr. were one of the only people there that had no children. It gave me time to look around a lot and think about my group of friends.

Some of them I have known since college and after a lot of travelling, moving around, and then coming back, the friendship has continued ever since. Others have joined a little (or a lot) afterwards.

That weekend at that party things went slow motion in my head for a while as I saw them playing with their kids. I looked back at everything they (we) have endured, the astounding moments we have shared, whether together on in the distance, and also the harder times we have gone through.

Of course I knew way before that moment, but it came even clearer to me then: my friends are such amazing individuals. They have all gone through their struggles, their good and bad times, and here they are, I love every bit about them because they are everything that a person (and a good friend) needs to be.

I am so proud of them, and everything they’ve become. I feel blessed to have found them and being able to consider them part of my family.

That Which Moves You

Today by pure chance, I’ve been listening to music that I haven’t listened to in a while. A while basically means years ago, as I was a teenager.

You know that music transports you to whenever you used to hear that particular song, artist, or album altogether. Today it was a bit different. Music took me back to some time ago but what I’ve felt was not the same. For some reason I’ve felt like an spectator of my own life. It felt a bit awkward, like that teenager felt, but mostly I’ve felt like I was looking at my life from really far away, as if I was already 90 years old and I was staring at that youngster trying to tell her about what she’s missing because she’s thinking too much and being too self-conscious.

I started thinking about the things that I had experienced at that time when the music was on, and for some reason the feeling that stayed with me today was the feeling of “I need to do something”.

Every time I hear (or read) about one of my favorite artists’ life, it makes me want to create something. I feel like I have something that I need to communicate and let out, but I don’t know what it is or how to do it.

I’ve recently published a book, and I thought that that would calm me down somehow, but on the contrary, it has awaken my “hunger” for creating more stuff, whether it is prose, poems, designs or songs or… So I’ve discovered a new obsession for my days now: I can’t stop thinking about what I could (need to) do (create) in order to set myself free from the burden that is knowing that I need to let my soul speak somehow, but I don’t know why or how. But I will keep trying to figure it out.

 

(This post best read while listening to:

Jigsaw Falling into Place by Radiohead)

Sink, Fly, Float. Repeat


We all have our weaknesses. Some of them we don’t even recognize, some of them we learn to live with, and some other we try to overcome.

One of my “strongest” weaknesses has always been being too nice. It could also be described as “being a sucker”.

I remember situations in the past when I can see clearly how stupid, or naive or both I have been. I can feel the frustration of my current self, seeing how badly my previous self was being treated and how I did nothing to change it.

Over the course of many many years of self-training, I have been learning to look after myself first, analyzing every bit of other people’s reaction to understand whether I was being taken advantage of or not, whether they were being truthful, just wanted something from me or they were just laughing at my expense. For years I’ve re-educated myself to be mean, ruthless and not caring about other people’s opinion, to despise other ways of thinking if I didn’t like the person, being purposely resentful and actually enjoying the whole process without feeling guilty.

On the positive side, it is a good improvement for me somehow, because I’ve learned that I can change things that were embedded in my personality when I was a kid. On the negative side, that sort of detachment that keeps me from feeling so much pain, makes me a bit of an iceberg (or even a not-so-passive hammer) sometimes.

I block situations or comments or people altogether when they hurt and I build an isolating wall of spite sound them, while my mind goes other way to forget about the pain.

If for so many years I was very nice and so many afterwards I wasn’t, so what, the average still comes out as ok, right? But it reminds me of the way a rubber ball would behave if you throw it violently against water: it will sink in the beginning, then it will also violently fly back up out if the water to finally quietly float. 

I guess I’d rather be unlinked than taken for a fool. I see it as a survival instinct, but I guess that doesn’t make it alright.

(This post best read while listening to:

When Anger Shows by Editors)

Peanuts (the Greener Side)

  

 
It is already February. It is time to realize whether we are still committed to our new year’s resolutions or we are already leaving them to be forgotten until next January.

My main resolution this year was to not complain so much, to live things as they come and enjoy every moment. No more thinking about the past, and thinking only a little (whatever is just necessary) about the future.

I realized there will always be situations that are going to bother me, but now what I just tell myself is “peanuts”. Then I turn around and start thinking about something else. I am aware it sounds strange but this is my reasoning:

We have all heard that grass is greener on the other side, so therefore, why are we not looking at our grass from the other side of the street? When I’m not happy about something now, I step outside of my life for a moment and see it from the outside, see it how everyone else sees it and sees me. Seeing things from accross the street makes them seem shinier, lighter, better and happier. I realize that my life is good and the things I complain about are just “peanuts”, nothing, nonsense.

I have the most wonderful friends. I have a job that I like. I have amazing work colleagues. I have an extraordinary life companion. I live in a free country, I travel, I do fun activities… The list could go on. (And yours could too!).

It turns out after all, it is not so bad to be me.
[This post best read while listening to:

My Bloody Mind by Maximo Park]

If You Whispered in Your Ear (Infinite Ways)

If you look back in time, you can trace back the evolution of things and how they turned out to be the way they are now.

The longer we live, the longer we can see how the decisions we made and how the circumstances in life took us where we are and made us the way that we are. It’s a little like a massive maze we walk without really knowing how to get out. People will join you for part of your walking, some others will leave. There are infinite possibilities of how things would turn out and it’s only when you stop and think, that you can look back and see the way you’ve walked. 

Lately I’ve been thinking in particular moments from which I could outline the journey my life has travelled and realize the course of events. It’s like tracking in a map the turns that have taken you to where you are in the maze right now.

I’m sure there are many situations that surprised us by turning out the way they did.

Sometimes I re-live in my mind past moments while trying to think about how things evolved after that. I feel now I have a better understanding. Every day we are given a few more pages of the book.

When I was younger, I would have never imagined the places that I’d go to and the things that I’d experience, both good and bad. Now I go back in time in my mind and imagine myself whispering things in the ear of my younger self, things like “in a few years you’ll be doing this, or that”.

I see myself whispering in my ear almost 20 years ago, sitting in a bus and telling that self how the boy I so often would sit next to would be the person I’d share my life with so many years down the line.

It is tempting to think that maybe we whisper in our ears all the time and we follow the paths we are told. I wonder whether I am whispering in my ear in this very moment and what I would be saying.

 

(This post best read while listening to:

Ghost Train by Counting Crows)

The Old Ways


How long does it take us to go back to the old ways?

I remember when I started to learn how to drive: there was no way I could stay straight on the road without the help of an instructor, taking control of the steering wheel and bringing me back to the center of the lane.

Now I don’t even have to think to drive straight. One-handed if needed. While thinking about a thousand other things or while singing along to whatever it’s playing on the radio.

From time to time we all need to be reminded to stay on the road. Whether it is the right road, the road to change, the better road. We’re all going somewhere but might go astray some times. The only thing that we need is a soft and kind reminder to correct it.

It is alright to stray, and of course for others as well. Just the same way that we sometimes need that push, others might need it too, so be kind when bringing someone back to the road and remember that just a gentle pull should be enough.

 

(This post best read while listeling to:

Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap)