The Reunion Tour
Imagine, if you will (in my best Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling voice), a world where your every move was not scrutinized by someone. Don’t you just think like that sometimes – that your every thought, decision, choice is wrong, or at the very least questionable? I am in awe of those who really do not give a hoot at what people think. I have very decidedly taught myself to care less about all kinds of things, but the residual “should I have done/said that” shudder still rattles my soul – more often than I would admit. I hate it.
I am guessing much of this dates back to my teen years. I had a mother that criticized my every step. My hair was either too straight or too curly. I wore too much makeup or not enough. My skirt was either too short, not short enough or “Are you really wearing that out tonight?”
And I can still hear her question me why I did not have a date every weekend. She would remind me how full her dance card was when she was my age. I tried to explain that the guys I really liked were bookworms, not Romeo’s. But that fell on deaf ears. Even though I was a straight-A student and respected at school, I was lacking elsewhere.
Now, I am certain she thought she was grooming me to be a better woman. I guess she could not understand that I wanted to be a better person, not just a better woman. But self-worth can be very fragile. And I have carried those doubts around like a ball and chain most of my adult life.
But it is unbelievably humorous how other people remember what I deem my “geek” days. I have heard adjectives like strong, independent, and smart. I do believe I grew to embrace some of those qualities, and I even played the part like an Oscar-worthy actress occasionally. But in the quiet of my own solitude, I battled inner demons. Age and wisdom do teach you to kick those little horned destroyers to the curb, but age and wisdom only come after years of emotional damage.
Now, listen closely – I am not a damaged person. No, seriously, I am not (proclaimed as some of you shake your heads!). But I do have regrets. Youth is hard. I wish as kids we were gifted with the insight to stand strong against expectations that really do not matter. How could it possibly matter if my hair was straight or curly?
Like all of us, we move through developmental stages that make us who we are. I no longer question my every move. Well, there was that one time when my ten-year-old niece begged me to come to her March birthday party. I had just visited over the holidays and tried to explain that it would cost too much to travel again so soon from the west coast. Her negotiation tactic was telling: “But Aunt Jacque, I promise we’ll have beer there and everything.”
And so, the demons were back for a reunion tour! When a ten-year-old can nail your proclivities as a bribery mechanism, it is time to revisit your adult inclinations. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
Share your thoughts! Click the word Comments below and tell me what you think!
5/27/2022 10:40:04 am
So, where is the second rant you promised. I imagine it would include your happiness when a child expresses missing you, loving you, wanting to see you and appreciating the gesture. I feel this rant is unfinished. Did you kindly tell the child you loved him/her, valued him/her and kindly explained financial constrictions? Did you send a gift? Or did you leave it at valuing a child less than the dollar or that you are saving for a want more than important than he/she.
Leave a Reply.
Jacque Jarrett Stratman