I’ve had to have several talks with my inner child lately…at my new work a woman has seemed to focus on my weirdness (weird childhood) and my unusual perceptions of things. This has caused me to be hurt once (almost to tears) and to examine the perceptions of my childhood that created me.
One thing I have realized in this is that the “kind” of childhood I had probably doesn’t happen anymore. There is no one I have to protect…except the little girl I once was…
It began with a discussion of food. Several of our classmates had gone for sushi so the room was discussing food. I mentioned I don’t eat sushi (or seafood for that matter) and the discussion was off. We went from that to favorite foods in general and in our childhood. Cheesecake came up…I mentioned I hadn’t eaten cheesecake or lasagna till I was 32. The room was shocked. Surely, they said, SOMEONE near me as a child ate/served/had cheesecake? I told them no. That no one I had known as a child had ever offered me cheesecake, although I had read the word in a book as a child BUT the only cheese I had ever seen as a child was Tilamook mild cheddar, so in my mind, the thought of cheese and cake being anything yummy was not possible. The woman said that if she had known me when I was a little girl, she’d have laughed her head off at me for that concept. That was my first discussion with my inner child, and the one that almost brought me to tears.
The second discussion with my inner child happened because of a conversation in CC3 just before Christmas. It was about Santa. And this conversation reminded me of one of the more painful of my childhood memories…
My mother was not very trustworthy when I was a child. She lied to us about many really important things. So when I found out about the Easter bunny, I was DISGUSTED that she would lie to me, yet again, and about something so utterly stupid. I tell you this to set the stage. When one doesn’t trust the very person who is supposed to care for them, it warps them. I always knew my childhood had warped me in some ways, but some of the ways it reaches out in my NOW are very subtle…
So, back to Santa. It had to have been the Christmas before I turned 12. That would have made my brother 7. It was Christmas Eve and my mother was drunk and not conscious/coherent in her room. I had torn the house apart looking for the goodies for my brother’s stocking and the presents from Santa to put under the tree for him. I couldn’t find them. (Turned out they were in her room, but I wasn’t allowed in there). I sat up all night knowing that disaster was coming at dawn…my brother got up and came to the living room where there no presents for him from Santa and nothing in his stocking. He turned his huge blue eyes on me crying and said, “I must have been a really bad boy this year.” It is one of two times in my childhood that I contemplated murder. And it put the whole Santa story in a HORRIFIC light in my memories. I swore (you know those promises you make yourself when you are too young to recognize the future repercussions) that I would NEVER lie to my children, especially about Santa Claus.
Not that I didn’t tell them about St Nicholas, and the whole Santa myth. I did tell them the stories. But I never let them believe that some strange man at the North Pole brought them presents.
Seriously people, think about this. A STRANGER (we teach our children NEVER to take gifts from strangers) who stalks our child throughout the year (he KNOWS when you’ve been naughty or nice) breaks into our home on Christmas Eve (he doesn’t have a key AND he’s a freaking stranger) and leaves presents for our child!!!! How can we teach our children this?
Add to this that the first 2 churches I belonged to as an adult, were conservative AND the 2nd one was right-wing-fundamentalist (and they didn’t allow you to teach your child the lie of Santa either) and you can understand that my children knew who brought every gift, there were no gifts from strange men in red suits. And when I was in my right-wing-fundamentalist group, I didn’t stick out like a freak of nature.
But now? Now people want to know how my children ENDURED being DENIED the Santa story when other children around them were allowed to believe, and how I hindered their imagination by not allowing them to believe in Santa. NOW I’m considered a freak of nature IN A CHRISTIAN CHATROOM. I was floored, since the Christians I knew in my right-wing-fundamentalist stage agreed that lying to your kid about Santa would make them doubt what you taught them about Christ.
So, what do you think? Am I a freak? Am I warped and twisted? Or am I just a parent trying to do the best I could with what I knew?
Oh…and we haven’t even TOUCHED on why I didn’t read my children fairy tales!!!