Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Good enough", "doing it right" and my jammies

Tonight I realized just how far I've come.

For the longest time - like my entire life I suppose - I have lived under that shadow, that remnant of my childhood where no matter what I did or said it wasn't "right". There was always some criticizm or abuse that would come of it. A slap alongside the head, "boxing" of my ears, "dumcoft" (one of three words my father taught me in german; my "heritage"). "Shut up", "brat" and "idiot" was the norm in our house (you notice I didnt say "home").

There was probably just as much or more abuse from my older siblings as there was from my parents so the math would be 2 parents + 5 older siblings. In general some ridicule of my very existence every day regardless of the wistful wishes of being heard, hugged or loved in any not sexual or physical hurtful way.

This affected me my entire life to the point that no matter what I did or said even in the privacy of my own home as an adult ---years and decades after "getting away" from the battelground that was my childhood ---I could not be "ok" with just about any choice or decision that I made. I had become completely frozen. Afraid to speak. Afraid to take a step. I reached a point in my family that I would start to shake out of terror that one of the "wicked stepsisters" (half sisters) or my father would begin to question me which would always lead to some ridicule and eventually more verbal, emotional and psychological abuse if I even attempted to exert any kind of control or choice over my own life.

Tonight it was my PJ's. As I was pulling my old stretched out grey t shirt over my head and my bright blue stretchy comfy pant on with my old navy blue nike zip up sweatshirt with a hood along with my wool socks that have holes in them....

The thought went through my mind of how in the past I would have:

1. felt shame for not having "nice" or "real" pajamas, matching robe and slippers (god only knows what "nice" was because no matter how much I paid for it it was never "nice" enough) AND not going to bed with bright white teeth, picture perfect hair and the makeup that never seemed to wash off


2. if anyone would knock on my door unexpectedly like a neighbor asking to borrow that famed cup of sugar from the Ozzie and Harriet type tv shows ---I would either hurriedly try to freshen myself up enough all the while apologizing for my drab not new at all sweats and tshirt (like they even give a rip?)

But tonight I realized that while those thoughts and feelings still lurk in the back of my mind as does the potential for that related anxiety...that I was ok with my frumpy not pretty pj's. Finally I dont feel as though I need to apologize for walking into a room or calling you on the phone --- or for the clothes I wear, the food I eat, the life I live.

Finally I can acknowledge the confusing feelings I've had as I vacillate back and forth between that love/hate feelings I have about my family. Finally I can put responsiblity on the adults in my life that hurt and neglected me instead of making excuses for them and their behavior. Finally I can let go and say that I wasn't bad, it wasn't my fault, I can't fix it. Finally I understand and accept that my thoughts, feelings, existance...are and always have been just fine... and so are my jammies tonight.


Anonymous said...


Ellen said...

Great stuff to be able to realize, Susan...They sound like very comfy pj's too.

Unknown said...

Thanks Mike - right back at ya! :)

Unknown said...

Yes, Ellen they are very much so!