When I was just a little girl I asked my mother what will I be…
If I Could
I’d protect you from the sadness in your eyes
give you courage in a world of compromise
yes I would
If I could
I would teach you all the things I’ve never learned
and I’d help you cross the bridges that I’ve burned
yes I would
if I could
I would try to shield your innocence from time
but the part of life I gave you isn’t mine
I’ve watched you grow
so I could let you go
if I could
I would help you make it through the hungry years
but I know that I can never cry your tears
but I would
if I could
if I live in a time and place where you don’t want to be
you don’t have to walk along this road with me
my yesterday won’t have to be your way
if I knew
how I’d try to change the world I brought you to
and there isn’t very much that I can do
but I would
if I could
if I could
I would try to shield your innocence from time
but that part of life I gave you isn’t mine
I watched you grow so I could let you go
if, if I could
I would help you make it through those hungry years
but I know that I can never cry your tears
but I would
if I could
yes I would
yes I would
if I could.
~ Music by Barbra Streisand
…mine is shocking. Both in tales and in reality. At least from one side. Father’s side. If I’m going to believe (which is very difficult not to when evidence is staring me straight in the eyes and based on my own personal experience I have no reasons to doubt) I came from a family of cheating conniving incestuous gypsy witches and nomad warlords who were/are fond of betraying and molesting each other in all possible ways. From my maternal side, I can easily describe them in few words: They are a bunch of upper middle class (possibly even rich) educated prejudiced narrow-minded tyrannical self-righteous people who have written my mother out of a will (for marrying my -to their eyes substandard- father) and refused to recognize our existence till I married my (foreigner therefore rich) ex but by then I was a rebel enough already and only too happy to defy them. Our very own little family… Well, what can I say? You have to read few of my post to get a little bit of insight how dysfunctional and pathetic we are. End of my pedigree sum up.
“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
― Mitch Albom
Like I said so many times before, betrayal by your own flesh and blood is the worst betrayal of all. No one can get over that. The wounds will never heal and will bleed at the slightest touch. If you cannot trust your own family, then who you can trust? If you are not safe within your most intimate circle, would you ever feel safe amongst strangers?
If you have been betrayed by your nearest and dearest (over and over again) you will have trust issues whether you like it or not. It happened to me. And naive that I was I refused to believe the truth that was staring me in the face all my life. I thought I meant something to them other than a meal ticket, we’re family after all. But sadly I was wrong. It took me five decades to realized I was and will never be anything to them but a source of income, someone to provide all their material needs. Not a single time they asked me how I am, never show a single ounce of gratitude, not even a superficial thank you. No, they thought and still think they are entitled to everything I worked for and everything I have and could earn. Care is something alien to them when it comes to me. I was the one who got away, and they hate me for it.
It hurts. And the subject of a family will forever be a very sensitive issue for me. Home and love of blood relatives are something I did not and will never have. It is hard to accept and I still lay awake some nights thinking about the hows and whys but life goes on and I have to move with it no matter how painful the experience is…
I’m a big big girl
in a big big world…
My daughter tends to be self-centered. Her focus seems to be evolving around herself. The rest is side issues. One time I mentioned my thoughts to my son. He said to me:
“Mama, it doesn’t matter how small and mundane her problems are or if she is overreacting or not. The bottom line is for her they are extremely serious and that what counts.”
He also said when I asked him why he always gives in to the whims of her sister that it is because the tears are real and he can see the pain in her eyes.
He was talking about a bed. A double bed he just bought for himself but his sister fancied for crying out loud. I cannot say I understand but I guess I have to be thankful that they get along fine. Tragedy brings people closer they say. I guess that’s what it is. They share a very strong bond through painful experience.
“If I could reach for something brilliant, that would be the home which been denied to me and the presence of the peace I’ve never known.”
I put this phrase on the right sidebar of my homepage. I yada-yada-ya countless times about my roots being pulled out before they can even have a chance to settle and get hold and never having a contingency to grow and flourish in a familiar soil. I teared up when I heard someone on TV said: “A tree without roots is just a piece of wood.” Why? Because the subject of home and family are two major sensitive issues for me. Always been always will be.
I have experienced countless betrayal by blood and like I already said before, that is the most painful deception somebody could experience in a lifetime. The wounds never heal and continue bleeding. It is not easy to get over it. It hurts.
As you probably have already guessed by now, I am living on a foreign soil. I arrived here 30 years ago and I’m still here. Let’s face it, skin colour matters no matter what others say and want to believe. I can never be white and that brings circumstances. I will not bore you with the details. Besides, this post is not about that topic. It’s about hanging in a limbo, not here nor there. I don’t feel at home in my own country, I live here for too long I don’t belong there anymore. I don’t understand a lot of things and at times I find that their views in life are narrow and limited and like here people are prejudiced and judgmental. They can’t look beyond their beliefs and fixed ideas. I feel like a stranger in my own country. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I expect too much. Forgetting that cultures will always clash. But then again, what happened to open minds? I told you, I expect too much.
When I was still living with my ex-husband I had a constant feeling of being in a transit. I knew I had a final destination but where? Other times I felt that I was having a nightmare (and really it was) and going to wake up eventually but when? I did manage to escape but it doesn’t mean I found a home. I’m still searching for it. In the process, I lost my children. They become estranged from me. The last time I have spoken to my daughter was almost two years ago. Again, it hurts. I am still trying to reconcile with the fact.
I often wonder if I will ever find a place I truly belong. A home which I can call my own and feel secure. Maybe what they say is true. That home is not a place but like hell is a state of mind. I don’t know.
Dear daughter, I know that you’re looking to see yourself in me.
But in truth, I am sorry that you are so much like me.
I’m sorry that I gave you a heart stronger than a thousand warriors because it will take you years to learn that not everyone loves like you do. It’s a hard lesson, and its scars gleam from you never giving up on what you truly desire.
There are moments that I look at you in this beautiful world and see you mesmerized by the simple brilliance of life unfolding. In these moments, my heart splits open a little bit wider for you.
I see your innocence and desire to help others, and I wonder when it will be that you first feel the sting of being used. I wonder if your faith will be tested in the world or if you will hold onto to your generosity against those who only know how to take.
I’m sorry that you see only the good in everyone.
Childhood is about seeing everything with wonder. You look around, and there is no evil, no danger lurking around hidden corners. It’s inconceivable that the greatest pains you will ever encounter will be at the hands of those you love the most.
I wish that I could instill all of my lessons into your warm heart, but I know that you need to learn on your own. I can spend days with you in the sunshine telling you life’s truths, but in the end, my experiences won’t necessarily become yours.
I’m sorry that you feel everything as deeply as you do.
There are caverns inside of your soul that ache to feel everything that this life has to offer. I can see the way that you feel compassion for strangers, and how you sometimes just stop to look at me as if I hung the stars in the sky. I can see the way that you are brimming with the ability to feel the world around you and with it, all of the heartache and passion it can offer.
You might have moments where you wish that this wasn’t so, and while I’m sorry that I have given this quality to you, in time I hope you see that it is truly a gift, not a burden.
Many parents delight when their children exhibit the same qualities that they have, but in my heart, I secretly send you a thousand sweet apologies, because even though one day I know you’ll gain strength from these attributes, I also know that the pain they can inflict could tear you in two.
And so, while I am sorry that you are so much like me, I also couldn’t be more proud of you.
I see the way that you forgive everyone around you with such a delicate tenacity, and how you already have learned to stick up for yourself and your needs. I see the way that you’re already so much smarter than I was, so much better equipped to handle the ways of the world, and in those instances, I know that there is no doubt you will one day learn how to use your wings.
While I may not be perfect, I am precisely the mother you need.
I may have given you my giant heart and sensitive soul, but I am giving you my strength too so that even on the darkest nights, you will know you can get through anything life may toss your way. And I will always be there, too.
You are my little warrior princess, my fairy, and most of all, my heart.
I know that you have heartbreak ahead of you, but I also know that you will change the world simply by loving how you do. You have a gift of lighting up the room just by being yourself; my only hope is that you won’t let any encounter change that.
As you grow older, the world will begin to tell you that magic doesn’t exist, and while I know that you may have your faith tested, I hope that you continue to wish on falling stars and believe in all that is unseen in this world.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~ Roald Dahl
I’m sorry that you are so much like me, but only because I know how hard this world will try to change you and at times break you. But more than anything else, I love you more than there are stars in the sky.
So, while one day you may strive to show how different you are from me, there is no doubt—nor has there ever been—that you, my sweet warrior girl, are my daughter.
And I couldn’t be more proud of that fact.
Author: Kate Rose
There were times when I wished he would hit me.
You know, a nice punch to my face. That way, I could have walked to my neighbors and said, “Look! Look what he did! Please help me!” But with me, as with many other women, it wasn’t that simple. It seldom ever is.
Domestic violence has existed as long as humans have walked the Earth. The majority of abusers are men. Most, if not all, were abused as children in some way, shape or form, and were lacking in affection, self-esteem, and good role models. The causes and methods of abuse are many and varied just like the people involved.
So too are the circumstances for the victim. No one stays with someone who abuses them physically or verbally because they like to be abused. Most have come to this point because of childhood trauma, a long-term relationship with someone who is an expert at controlling and manipulating their victim, and numerous other issues with self-worth.
The reasons for abuse are almost always the same: abusers need to have power over someone else to help them feel better about their own deficiencies, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy.
Women who are in abusive relationships will often defend their abusers and stay in the relationship long past the time they should have left. It is often the female who blames herself and keeps trying to make things work. Sometimes it’s the subtle mind games of the controlling, manipulative partner that cause a woman to doubt herself and her feelings.
This is often difficult for those who have never been in an abusive relationship to understand, but there are many reasons for this. Some are easily understood, some not so much.
Sometimes it is low self-esteem that holds them in place. My therapist kept asking me one question at the end of every session: “Why did you stay?” I kept answering, “I didn’t want to hurt him.” Then one day, it hit me like a brick. Because of past traumas reinforced by my relationship, I didn’t feel like I deserved any better.
Sometimes it is simply fear that holds them in place. It could be fear of retaliation from the partner should they seek help, or, especially in cases involving verbal abuse and controlling behavior, they feel no one will believe them.
Many times women have taken a stand and decided to leave only to have the abuser decide to end it for all concerned. There have been many cases of this resulting in the death of the woman, and sometimes the children, family, and friends, before the abuser turns the weapon on himself—finally putting an end to the vicious cycle.
Many think that that non-physical abuse is not as harmful or dangerous. This can be a huge mistake. Unlike the women who have been physically abused, there are no outward signs of mistreatment. All the wounds and scars are deep within the psyche—branded in the soul of the abused.
Verbal abuse, and the controlling, manipulative behavior that goes along with it, are the silent killers. Instead of taking a physical life, these abusers will kill a woman’s spirit slowly and painfully. Those who are adept at manipulation do this without anyone imagining the truth of the situation. Outwardly they may appear as the “perfect couple.” Inwardly the woman is in tremendous emotional pain and turmoil. She may not trust her own judgment any longer and may think that this is just how things are meant to be.
The signs and symptoms are many and varied, but they all share the same core issues. There are some subtle warning signs to look for. They include, but are not limited to the following:
As a society, we must learn to see and recognize these signs and reach out to help in whatever way we can. It may be nothing more than just assuring them that you’re there if they need to talk and really listening if they do so. And if at all possible, let them know they have a place to stay should they need to leave in a hurry. Keep the Domestic Violence Hotline number handy in case they want to call. Sometimes this is all you can do.
There comes a time in all types of these relationships when the victim can’t bear it anymore. She must walk away and seek help. Simply having a friend to go to at such a time can be a lifesaver in every sense of the word.
Leaving a long-term abusive relationship is not as easy as most would think. Women tend to blame themselves and keep hoping that things will improve. If someone comes to you for help, please don’t judge. Accept the fact that things are not always as they seem, and reach out a helping hand.
Relephant: Via Deb Avery
When a word (or anything for that matter) hits close to home it hurts. How can I bury the painful memories of my youth and most of my adult life? My youngest sister doesn’t want to bury the hatchet. She continues to nurse an imaginary wound, sustains it through the years, feeds it with anger and hate till it grows like cancer eating her from the inside. For the record, the offense didn’t happen at all. She made it up as an excuse to harm me in every possible way. She uses it to justify her wrong doings, damage me and drag my name through the mud, ruining everything I built and worked for.
If there is someone who has the right to hate, it would be me. My reasons are supported by facts. The only thing I regret so far is allowing all of these to happen for so long before I see them for what they truly are: parasites. They used me. All of them. With no regards for my feelings and hard work. They cheat, lie and deceived. And I let them because I thought they are family. I thought I meant something more to them than merely a meal ticket. I was wrong.
You know what is the worst of all? When people believe their own lies. They create a reality for themselves so they can live with what they have done. How they can look at themselves in the mirror straight in the eyes while deep down inside they know they are lying. I severed the umbilical chords few years ago. I have enough. I don’t want to know anymore. But they continue to haunt me. Physically, emotionally and psychologically. I know that my sister will carry her grievance to her grave. She will devote her life on the quest of bringing me down. She had done this all her life, she doesn’t know any better. There is sibling rivalry and there is pure evil pretending to be something else. Her jealousy and hatred consume her. I Can see that. I pity her. Living in lies all these years. Doing all the things she accuses me of doing all the while pretending to be the victim. She said she has to let go of the things that are making her unhappy and I thought: Why not start with facing and telling the truth for once? Then maybe your burden will lessen considerably and maybe you can finally rest.
But like what my ex-husband said to me when I asked him why he didn’t come clean sooner so perhaps we could still fix what needed to be fixed he said: When you entangled yourself with your own web of lies it is difficult to find your way out. One lie leads to another, then another thinking you can cover your ass by fabricating more lies believing you will be able to get yourself out somehow but he was wrong of course. Truth will always prevail. Always. And I’m counting on it…
All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.
— Mitch Albom
Daily Prompt: Bludgeon
I never knew my grandparents. Two of them died even before I was born. Both in childbirth. I only saw my grandfathers once and I was too young to remember them clearly. What I can recall is a vague memory of an old man kicking my elder sister square on the chest over a handful of little dried fish my mother bought for us but he, the old man didn’t want us to eat because he was saving it for his other grandchildren; his second wife’s grandchildren actually. Daddy, my grandfather from my mother’s side is a distant memory without a face. I know he briefly stayed with us during his last days and I remember my parents quarreling about him. I know we traveled by train to see him buried but I don’t have a recollection of that trip.
My other relatives – aunts, nephews, nieces, uncles and cousins- I only see in Facebook. I don’t know them in real life. I have a sister I never seen for over thirty years and another one longer than that. My other siblings I have chosen to distance from 15 years ago after countless insults and betrayals. My parents are both dead.
My own children whom I left in the care of my ex husband’s family I only see once in a while. They never forgive me for abandoning them even though they know it is/was for their own good. I understand their feelings.
Home I never had. I mentioned this already before here in my blog and have written posts about it. I (we) never develop roots. We moved too much to cultivate strong hold of anything including connection.
Friends I don’t manage to keep. Rarely I find an honest person with good intention. Only true blue can apply. Funny but those that stand the test of time I keep distance from. I don’t know exactly why. Maybe I want to preserve my image of them for the fear of being disillusioned. Same with places. I cannot go back to where I had good times. Once or twice I tried. Both with people and places. I learned that love is not sweeter the second time around.
Acquaintances I have few. They give me headaches. I cannot learn anything from them aside from the fact that you cannot trust no one but yourself. I can’t relate to most people and I know it’s vice-versa; they are clueless as well when it comes to me.
Strangers puzzled and amused me at the same time. I can never understand why they are aggressive and intolerant in general. How someone can be angry to somebody for no reason at all aside from the other party not sharing their taste, skin color or religion.
I have so many fears. Most of them irrational. But what I fear the most is people. Their capabilities for cruelty are boundless. People scare me.
“There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.”
~ Patrick Rothfuss
My sister turned crazy when she was eight.
I don’t know if it was because of our financial situation, the sick violent relationship between my parents, the constant isolation, or the combination of it all that drove her out of her mind. Or perhaps she was just born that way.
I can still remember the first time she showed an unusual display of behavior. It was the evening we acquired an electricity connection and I was happily reading a comic book under the light when I heard her reciting a multiplication table from the other room. There was something that wasn’t right the way she was doing it. The tone of her voice for one, and she kept repeating the damn thing over and over again but mixing the whole thing up! I thought: what’s the matter with her?
The same day, I woke up in the middle of the night and saw her posed over the sleeping body of our elder sister holding a scissor above her head ready to strike. I could understand. I could imagine myself doing it also for countless of reasons but we usually don’t act the things we imagine, do we?
The next day, she came home from school crying hysterically, quite beside herself mumbling about some accident on a national highway, dead, mutilated bodies strewn on the road, things like that… The funny thing is: there was no accident. Young as I was (two years older than her) I knew for a certainty that time that she lost it.
And it never stops. Then there was a decapitated head on the bridge, an occasion when she rode on top of a vehicle naked and bleeding, she tried to kill herself by slashing her wrists with a razor I had to carry her all the way down from the attic to the hospital. And all that because a guy didn’t fancy her. And the time she was raving mad and climbed over the gate of someone’s house shouting the name of the sophomore (who turned out to be gay) whom I didn’t realize she was in love with but the boy didn’t know she existed and why he should? He belongs to the upper middle class and from a prominent family in town, and who are we? In his eyes, we were just dust on the road. After the incident, more than ever.
Pity because my sister had and have still a brilliant mind.
She was a straight-A- student, even after that unfortunate incident with the gay sophomore, she finished the year with a gold medal. She is the most intelligent among us, the only one who has a magnificent voice she used to sing the solo in church and school choir. If I have a photographic memory, then she has the most advanced camera in her brain, the girl can recall every small detail of a long time ago which I have long forgotten. If I am a psychic then her power compares to mine is tenfold. Not only she can predict who is going to come on a certain day but she can tell you the exact time. She knows the name of every medicine known to man and can recite them in their generic names. I remember the time she went to a hospital and stole a lab coat and pretended she was a doctor. It took them a couple of days to find out the truth. She’s that good. She once worked in a law office as an assistant and she has no law degree or any education related to law. She attended high school only a year before they shifted her off to college and even there she excelled.
We tried to get her committed to a mental hospital but after every interview, the verdict was always the same: she’s not crazy but emotionally disturbed. She doesn’t belong to a loony bin. A fact she will gladly and readily use against anyone who dares to challenge her cranial capacity and state of mind. Whatever her real condition is, it hinders her to lead what society considers a “normal” life. She is not able to hold/sustain a relationship for a long period of time and take care of her children. She tried. Harder than any of us. She wants the kind of family we never had: functional, together, harmonious and loving. At the end, the continuous betrayals, the hard facts of life, the huge responsibilities of keeping a family proved to be too much for her; she left and lives a life of a drifter. She becomes homeless.
For some people perhaps she seems like someone who is a sexually delinquent person but the truth is she just wants love, attention, caring, warmth; all the things that have been denied to her all her life. My mother saw her as a nuisance, ugly (she doesn’t look like any of us and not charming but in my eyes, it doesn’t make her ugly) and always treated her with contempt. An attitude she extended to my sister’s children as well. I don’t understand.
For all the things she did out of the ordinary, there are two occasions that are engraved in my brain forever. One was when she jumped in pitch dark night into an excavation filled with coarse gravel straight through between barbwire fence and came out unscratched. The second was when we were in a bus traveling to the mental hospital and she squeezed herself through the window and jumped; landed on the highway, rolled over, stood up unharmed and started running away. Sometimes I think, she’s blessed in some other ways.
I don’t know where is now. It’s hard to keep track of her when she’s always moving around. I hope she’s doing okay despite everything. I love her. She’s the best among us. Good at heart and innocent. Yes. Innocent…
When I was young, despite our reduced circumstances, I always find Christmas the most exciting time of the year; better than New Year which is always dominated by extreme noises and possible fireworks casualties. I remember going from house to house all over town wishing the occupants merry Christmas and in return, you will get small change or sometimes a meal. A privilege reserved only for children. As an adult, it is seen as morally wrong doing the same thing.
I had a small pink plastic piggy bank for my holiday coins. All the cents I gathered on my tour, I put in there. It helped for the rest of the year when I needed money for school projects or to buy snacks during recess so, I will not feel left out and different from other kids. When my coins were finished, I put white wildflowers in the slot of my piggy bank; it looked good in my playhouse, just like a flower vase.
But the Christmas I will never forget was when I was a freshman. After 11 years of managing the fishpond, my father found himself in dispute with the owner. Proud as my father was, he rather dragged us down the drain than give into something which was against his principles; we found ourselves homeless overnight.
Out of desperation, lacked of other immediate resources and nowhere else to go, my father built a one-room shack just outside the perimeter of the fishpond (how stupid and embarrassing that was, but I believe if he didn’t think about us, I have a very strong notion that he rather pack his bags and move to another town very far away from our then current location – he done this before – and never come back. But as it were, he swallowed his high pride and settled us in temporarily) you can read the rest of the story in details here.
That particular Christmas eve we locked our door early and tried not to hear the merriment outside, pretending we were asleep; in the dark, I can hear my stomach growling, we didn’t eat supper that night but no one complained. We all suffered in silence.
Out of a sudden I heard someone calling my name outside, my father put his finger on his lips and gestured for me not to open the door; I went back to my place.
But the person outside the door kept knocking and calling wishing us the usual holiday greeting and begging me to please open the door.
After a while, my father gave in and allowed me to see our visitor.
When I opened the door, I was surprised to see Macedonio; he was one of the seven brothers who just moved to our village couple of years ago.
I remember when we were still living in the fish pond; he initiated an introduction between his brothers, me and my siblings by purposely landing a big kite in the middle of our place, which was separated from the rest of the neighbourhood by an electric fence. He managed to convince my father to let them in to retrieve their kite, the rest is history.
Macedonio courted me briefly till my father (as always) pointed him to the fact that I was still underage and will not be available for such things until I’m 100 years old or so. He remained a trusted friend of the family as well as his other brothers who for some reasons don’t look like each other. Not a single resemblance. As if they are handpicked from different places and by some chance ended up together as one family. I have never seen more good-looking young boys in my time than Macedonio and his siblings.
Opening the door finding him standing there smiling at me was a (pleasant) surprise. He was wearing his usual lopsided grin which if I was more experienced that time, I will recognize as designed to melt every girl’s heart. But I wasn’t. What caught my attention was the enormous plate he was holding full of Christmas delights. There was a mountain of pancit, a loaf of bread, suman, kalamay, sinukmani, half of a fried chicken and rice cakes! I looked at him full of disbelief! Still smiling, eyes twinkling, he poked his head inside and looked around. When he saw that my father wasn’t looking; he gave me a peck on the cheek and said: “Merry Christmas you gorgeous.” He winked at me before turning his back and disappearing into the night. I was left flabbergasted.
He must have been aware of our situation (not much one can hide in a small village like ours) and how kindhearted of him to think about us in that time of the year and provide us with a holiday meal without hurting the sensitive pride of my father. Bless the people like him. Not only for making our Christmas unforgettable but restoring my fate in humanity…
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