Why 67 & Counting?
November 16, 2006

MsDemmie asked:

I guess asking here is out of the question ?

Hey, you guys can ask a question any time. ANY time. About anything. At worst, I'll email you back and say no. But I won't be offended or upset or ignore you or something. Of course, knowing me I might forget about it and leave it in my inbox for a month before going ... Oh crap, I KNEW there was SOMETHING.

So, no, it's not out of the question at all to ask for an explanation ... but it's probably not a comfortable post ... well, neither was that photo, actually. At any rate, this will be a split post. If you're curious, click through. If not ... i'll try to have more interesting stories by the weekend.

Well, I changed my mind, and I've edited this post to NOT be a click-thru for more type of post ... because I'm continuing the saga in a series of posts ... and I have no intention of "hiding" all of them. If I'm gonna talk about it, I'm gonna talk about it. comments/what.gif

When I went back to Texas this summer so my other half could visit a prospective seminary and so I could get some time back home finally, I visited with my mom a couple of days. We have a rocky relationship at best.

Actually, sit back ... this is going to be a long post and will probably be a series over the weekend.

An example of my mother's and my relationship:
at fifteen, I was struggling a lot ... like most fifteen year olds, really. But I'd reached a point where I was seriously struggling with the fact that my dad was an alcoholic and that Mom, whether she would admit it or not, was terrified of him. There were no big sunglasses and "hidden" black eyes ... no broken bones ... but we were still always awaiting the eruption of violence. I couldn't deal with her denial and his drinking. It was driving me crazy.

So, at CCD (that's essentially Sunday school for Catholic kids ... usually on Wednesday night ... the night all my Baptist friends were also at church), we actually had a "sex education" year. Essentially, a year's worth of what the Catholic Church thinks about sex. Yeah, I thought "not unless you're married and procreating" would take perhaps ten minutes, not a whole school year, but there you are. Our CCD instructors instituted a box where we could anonymously place questions.

I placed two in that box that year. And they both were pretty life-changing ... not necessarily for the answers I got, but for the fact that I finally allowed myself to really articulate my thoughts.

The first was what to do with an alcoholic dad.

The teacher I was most comfortable with was the one fielding the questions at the end of the evening and she talked about AA and Alateen and the fact that there were options ... but if whoever asked the question was ready, they really needed some face to face time with the person who asked the question. I was ready. After most of the other kids had gone, I walked up to her, as I did most nights, really, and said that I'd asked about the alcoholic. We sat down and she agreed that she would drive me to an Alateen meeting and bring me home.

I was ecstatic.

I didn't tell my mom.

But, I was also never allowed out of the house for any reason or for any length of time without Mom know where, when and with whom. I had to tell her.

Ten minutes before my ride arrived, I walked into Mom's room and asked her if I could go to Alateen. The blood was absolutely rushing in my ears and I could barely hear her. She was shocked. Horrified. (Denial is a powerful thing, you know.) But what she said was:

"Oh my God, are you an alcoholic?"

Other than the very rare sip of beer when I was four and five, I had never even tasted alcohol. I was one of those ultra-square kids who never did anything wrong (except cut up in class ... but usually stopped just before the teacher got irritated). I reacted with as much shock as my mother had. And, with all the stunned and snotty hauteur of a fifteen year old, I said:

"No, Dad is."

Our relationship was always like this. She didn't see what other people were doing ... right in front of her eyes, but I was obviously a rebellious and problematic teen.

I didn't talk back. (Other than the occasional bouts of teenaged snottiness)
I never once snuck out of the house.
I was always home before curfew.
I didn't drink and I never even tried illegal drugs.
I also never smoked.
My friends had to convince me to actually skip on senior skip day.

And yet I was repeatedly told what a horrible teenager I was.

So .... now ... back to the photo. (Oh yeah, this all started with yesterday's photo, didn't it?)

I have been pestering my mother for photos since I moved out of the house at 19. She has refused and gotten terribly angry with me every time I've asked. I don't know why.

Several years ago, I convinced her to go with me to Kinko's and get a few run off on the colour copier. But this year, I took my computer and my scanner to Texas with me, with the full intention of scanning huge chunks of the photos. As many as possible.

Mother was both confused and furious. She tried talking me out of bringing the scanner. She pointed out my laptop might be stolen while I was traveling. She told me repeatedly that I couldn't have the originals.

So the day we spent at her house, I brought laptop and scanner. When I pulled them out of my backpack and began looking for a good place to set up, she was horrified.

I don't know why she doesn't want me to have the pictures. It's not just the originals that concern her. She was horrified that I wanted the pictures at all.

My guess is that she's afraid somewhere in these pictures there's a skeleton key that will unlock things she doesn't want to look at. And I think she's afraid that if I ever unlock those doors behind which my whole family has stuffed our various skeletons ... I think she's afraid I'll tell the whole world.

She's right to be afraid. I'm sure I probably will.

So I'm curious. Why did she now want me to have the pictures? Why did she cut out the background of the one I used yesterday (and one other picture). I remember those pictures ... she didn't cut any people out ... she cut the background out of it.

As for superimposing the skeleton over my father and use the gravestone morphed onto the birthday cake ... that's another story. One that most people can probably guess given this post and the locked doors post. All I can say is that creepy as the picture might be ... I'm not sure it really begins to describe the creepiness that went on.

I guess it was my way of saying to Dad, "Wow. You made it to 67. Huh."

(All of that explanation ... and you learned more about me and my Mom than about Dad ....)

Posted by Red Monkey at November 16, 2006 3:50 PM | Struggles | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


MsDemmie said:

Thank you for taking the time to write what must have been an uncomfortable post.

I suspect you are right - that she is afraid the pictures will confirm to all , what she has denied all those years - or maybe she will see now what she missed then.

Once again thank you.

November 16, 2006 4:46 PM


blueyes said:

Some people just can't face their past or rather they still to this day try to deny what went on in one's past. Kinda of sounds like your mom. I don't suppose she could be reassured that even though there might be skeletons in the family as there is with any family that it'll be alright?

November 17, 2006 7:28 AM


mike said:

Pretty powerful post. Both of my parents were alcoholics and I'm positive it drove them both to an early grave. They're the reason I drink very little and seldom.

November 17, 2006 8:18 AM


Smash said:

I doubt for some reason that she's probably less scared of you seeing the truth in those pictures than she is herself. Or perhaps I'm talking bollocks as usual. Wouldn't be the first time, LOL. Smashxxx

November 20, 2006 12:20 PM
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