At first, I wasn’t around and saying anything for two weeks or more. Now you can’t shut me up! Second post in one day?
One of the very first blogs I started visiting regularly was Jenn’s blog, aptly named “The Upbeat Divorce” (now slightly modified as “The Upbeat Divorcee). And, like the blog title says, she managed to stay very upbeat and maintained a wonderful sense of humor through the muck and mire that we all have to wade through when we divorce.
Jenn’s intelligence and humor are addicting, as well as the humorous slant she always gave to the situations she constantly found herself in with her soon-to-be-ex.
Anyway, Jenn found a post at a blog and repeated it on her own. More correctly, it’s sort of an invitation to interview. She left the invitation to ask questions, and I took her up on it, so here’s my interview.
1. What has been the most difficult experience you’ve ‘weathered’?
Life, in general but, specifically, I’d have to say the abuse I endured throughout my childhood. Long before my stepfather came along and heaped his own brand of perverted abuse on me, my mother began her reign of terror. And, because we lived with violence, my brother learned that violence. So, if it wasn’t my mother, stepfather or brother beating on me, it was my stepfather’s sadistic perversions.
I was 13 when I almost gave up.
My stepfather had beaten me badly and, as I lay in a heap in a corner of my room, I screamed out “FUCK YOU!” to him, knowing it would enrage him and he’d come back and beat me more. And, as he turned to do just that, I screamed at him “JUST KILL ME, YOU SONOFABITCH!”
I think I wanted to die that day, but it wasn’t meant to be.
When I left home and joined the Army, I was socially and emotionally stunted. I was very unsure of myself, painfully shy, with no self-esteem.
2. What did you learn from that and did it make your life better?
I learned to be tough. I learned grit. I learned to look at myself, no matter how badly it hurt to do that, and to try to understand why I did the things I did. I learned to look back and, while I couldn’t condone the things my mother did, I could seek understanding of why she did things.
Did it make my life better? It sure did. At first, not, but as I got older, and more able to understand things, and better able to look at myself, I was able to break that cycle of violence and be a better parent to my own children. For sure I wasn’t a candidate for mother of the year, ever, but I did the best I could, and my children never took a back seat to my own wants, needs or desires.
3. If you could retire right now…and had the means to do anything you wanted to do, what would it be?
I have long told Lisa of my dream to retire to a remote piece of property in a small country town, high up on a hill. We’d have a couple of outbuildings — one for Lisa’s workshop and one for me to have as a craft studio. We’d also have a screened in porch, a sun room, a vegetable garden (as well as flower gardens), and someone to maintain the cleanliness of the home (maybe even cook meals for us). We’d go into town once a month for supplies and, when we drive through town, the townsfolk would hook their thumb in our direction and say to each other “There’s them two dykes from up on th’ hill…”
4. What’s the most important thing you learned from being a mother?
I learned to pick my battles. I found it easy to forgive my children their humanity and their human frailties but also didn’t back down from being tough with them when they needed it. Being a parent is a hard job but no child is so bad or hopeless that they should be given up on.
Being a mother doesn’t always make you right, either.
We can learn a lot from our children if we just open ourselves to the education. But I also learned that, while my children were a high priority for me, I couldn’t ignore me either. It’s important for a mother to maintain her sense of identity BEYOND Mommy.
5. What’s the one thing you’d like a ‘do-over’ on?
I’ve always been the kind of person to lose touch with people that are important to me and most often it’s because I didn’t keep writing letters (during those old days). As a result, I’ve lost track of some really fine folks that I used to think very highly of. My “do over” would be to discipline myself to pay closer attention to all of my closest friends and obligations… 🙂
And there you have it. I’m going to copy/paste the “rules of play” from Jenn’s blog, because I’m lazy today.
Leave me a comment saying “Interview Me”. Then, I’ll ask you five questions (which you can find in my comment section) that you can answer on your own blog. I promise I won’t be obnoxious in my questioning. Once you’ve answered your interview questions, you can have people ask to be interviewed in your comment section. Sound good?