Tuesday, 7 February 2012

#DoSomethingYummy Week 2: Magnets on the Fridge

It's week 2 over at Nickie's Do Something Yummy for CLIC Sargent writing prompts (more at http://www.yummymummy.org.uk) and this week its about your family when you were growing up.

Now, this is a bit of a dark area for me, so apologies for the post if it gets a bit maudlin. I've decided to employ the "stream of consciousness" approach. Here goes.

Magnets On The Fridge

When I was a kid, I always thought that the Ramsey's and Robinson's in Neighbours were happy families with pools and constant neighbour filled barbecues for one simple reason. They had magnets on their fridges. 

We didn't have magnets on our fridge.

That's why I equated us as an unhappy family, for that reason. Silly, isn't it, but when you're a kid, you employ a different kind of logic to when you are an adult. So, what now may seem silly, seemed to me to be true at the young age I was then. 

I used to wish Madge was my Mum. She was always happy and smiling, she wore nice clothes, and even though Charlene and Henry weren't the most perfect of offspring, and didn't go to university, and in Charlene's case was quite a kooky looking girl who dressed up in boys clothes, she was fiercely protective of them, and proud of whatever they did. 

I was always the weird kid at school. I was bookish, I had appalling clothes and bad teeth, and Deirdre off Corrie glasses. When I was 7, my Dad grew a ponytail, which was social suicide for ever more where my peers were concerned. 

I never felt a connection to my Mum. She used to cook and like things I didn't enjoy. I preferred the company of my Dad, I was a real "Daddy's Girl" with our own little jokes and things. Looking back I don't think that helped my relationship with my Mum. You don't know what emotions are or feelings when you're a kid. 

I have a guy's sense of humour even now from the amount of time spent with my Dad. I felt I could talk to him about anything- even "girls problems". Until I got to 16 and then it all went horribly down the pan.

I do look back at certain things, certain memories, and smile. It wasn't all bad. But for the good there is a lot of bad, of hiding round friend's houses (who are still close friends now). Of not feeling I lived up to expectations of what I should do or be, and the damage that did to my self esteem for years afterwards. 

I guess I now think that, the way I was raised put a hell of a lot of pressure upon me, and I think that's what has made me the person I am. If someone pisses me off, I rant to a point then I build up a wall between myself and the person who has hurt me. I find it incredibly easy to just cut myself off from someone forever. Its a coping mechanism. I find trusting people hard- I'm gullible by design- and some times when I have trusted someone, they have let me down. 

For a while in my teens I seemed set on self destruction. I drank too much and didn't look after myself, but it made me feel strong. I didn't eat, I would be shivering in 4 jumpers sat by a radiator, I drank more and more until friends would carry me outside and home. It was just after I left home for good. I could do what I wanted for the first time, ever. I was free. Yes, I took the stupid route to celebrating independence but no one was there to tell me not to do this, or that I should do that. It took meeting Elder to bring me back from the brink that I didn't realise I'd reached.

I actually hate confrontation, but there is an element inside me that feels perhaps I didn't argue enough for myself against my Mother. The most hurtful thing anyone close to me can say is "you're just like your Mum". That really is worse than a slap across the gob that one. 

I strive to be different, to not settle for what I feel is my lot in life. I don't do a miserable job in a miserable town, in a house I cannot stand and which I resent as my partner's ex-wife picked it out. I don't settle. I disregard and move on.

I'm employing the notion, more recently, that life is very much what you make of it, and no one will ever hand you happiness on a plate. Life can be happy, fun, or it can be plain miserable. But whatever it ends up being, its all up to the individual living it. 

I left my family at 17, and I've not looked back. I miss the idea of family, not my place in the dysfunctional one I left behind me. And now I have a family of my own to mould and shape, to love unconditionally.

So, what did growing up in my family mean to me? Simple.

I always have magnets on my fridge.......


  1. It must have taken so much to put this down on a post, and I hope you do have some release from writing it.
    I cannot pretend to know anything, but take one thing away and that is what a strong person you must have become, and to know that you can love unconditionally, and you have a family who feel the same way.
    We too have a fridge covered in magnets, my favourite reads "Be nice or leave"! x

  2. The most powerful line in this for me (and not at all belittling anything else you've written, as its a truly honest and open account) is 'I used to wish Madge was my Mum' to be able to quantify that as a child in stark comparison to how you did feel is incredibly moving.

    I agree with your 'life is what you make it' notion. It's your family now, and up to you to shape it.

    J x

  3. Thanks so much for sharing such a powerful post. Keep those magnets on your fridge

  4. I know you've just turned 30 lovely, so I can tell you that in many ways it gets much easier now - we women get stronger and have a clearer sense of who we are. You've already made your own mark on the world, but it'll be a more certain and confident mark over the next couple of years.
    big hugs

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this, I won't ever look at fridge magnets as just an ornament. I really appreciate everything you are doing for #dosomethingyummy


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