Lesson Three - Sandy G.

Choosing members was really difficult but choosing the Chairman was NOT difficult because She has been the root of my insecurities through out my whole life. It did not help that I was this shy only child with no-one to play with except a boy who was about 5 years older than me. We moved to a ranch 20+ miles outside of town when I was around 2  so I was around adults and felt quite comfortable with them.  It was only when my mother drove me into town and back 5 days a week to go to Kindergarten.  It  was the first time I was around lots of kids so I was shy but if someone spoke to me I spoke back and if they came to play next to me, that was okay.  But I did not initiate any play or talking. I was this perfectly happy little girl who knew how and could play  for hours by herself.   Finally toward the end of the school year I would be willing to  participate in activities with no problems. To this day I am still more comfortable with people older or younger than me.  I am now 73 but  very young at heart. 

Not sure why I gave this long introduction except maybe I am still not sure if and how this might play out in my head.

The Chairman has always been my alcoholic mother, although up until now I was unaware of this.  To me, she has been this bitter, jealous, spiteful, hateful human being that I had to endure as my mother. Sounds harsh, maybe so and maybe if I had had a sibling it would have been easier, especially if it had been a brother.  My mother was a true tomboy, growing up during the depression, in a rough city neighborhood full of boys and without a father.  He left when she was 2.  She was extremely close to her mother and told me one time she was sorry we were not close. Her mother died of a stroke at 42.  My mother had a stroke at 32 when I was 3 1/2 years old.  She had to re-learn how to walk, eat, talk, etc all over again and I have no idea how long it was before she was able to come home. Some of her words came slower and with a slight accent I guess you would call it. She began drinking more.  It was not until high school she began hiding the liquor bottles which I would often find. All those years, people just called it, drinking too much. It was not until much later in life that I learned it was alcoholism. Sometimes she would ask how we could be closer and I finally got up the nerve to tell her, her drinking was the problem.  She would ask, what else.

From the time I can remember she used phrases:

Why did you not do it a better way,

You could have done that quicker,

Your timing was off,

You were the last one, again,

Go away, I am busy,

I do not want your help,

I do not like that dress (she used this  especially when it was a dress daddy bought me because I never did like her choices)

And when she was drunk,

Why are you here,

Who are you,

Go away, you bother me,

Go away, I don’t like you ( which was fine, because I did not like her either)

Go away, iI don’t love you or want you.

And her all time favorite that she said many times day and night,  "My dogs are the only ones who love me and care about me."

Because my mother’s facial features changed while drinking I became very adapt at reading people’s faces. This helped me to become invisible to adults in order to help keep peace and biting my tongue (it is a wonder I still have a tongue) or forestall an argument.  My parents argued quite a bit which was devastating to me.   To this day, I, unfortunately, still am very good at it.

 She died of alcoholism around 18 years ago and I could not believe the weight that just rolled off my shoulder.  Because her critical words  over the phone  or in letters followed me around the world.  I finally told my then husband and 2 sons that I was not to be given any of her letters and not to be notified when they arrive and I did not care what they did with them but to make sure I never found them.  One day after daddy died and we were at their house and after an argument with my mother my older son, who really dislike my mother, said he wished all of her letters had been kept so we could have a bonfire with them. Sure could use them now.

Second person  on my committee is ME:

Am I a member of this committee? I  remember setting high standards for me and only for me, especially in things I love to do, whether it was ironing, coloring, drawing, painting, making my bed, sewing with a needle and scraps of cloth because I would lose myself in them. (Whew that was a long sentence). However, it was a whole different ball game when it was something I did not like doing or just did not want to do.  This rebellious child did pay for those indiscretions.

The Fashion Designer:  In high school I had this notion that I wanted to be a fashion designer, so much so, that this shy girl became brave and approached a fashion designer and ask if there were some small things I could do for her, mostly to learn but also to earn a little bit of money.  She was not the most approachable person but she did agree and I was elated but not for long.  Nothing I did wasup to her standards. I did not improve very much, and feel it was from fright of her comments, she was impatient or I just was not good enough or she really did not want to pay me.  After I quit, because of school work (that is what I told her) it took her a month and 4 times of me knocking on her door to pay me. After I quit, I told Midge about her and learned this person was hard to get along with and my standards were fine.  But the damage to my psychic had already occurred.

Midge: a very close friend of my parents who was an excellent seamstressand had worked for Singer for many, many years.  By high school I had become a very good seamstress, designing and sewing my own clothes without patterns, but I was in awe of what she herself made.  She offered to help me and I jumped at this chance.  I also made it very clear to her that I wanted to learn correctly and would redo anything she ask me to. I worked very hard to earn her  praise. And yes, I was sometimes heartbroken when she did find something not up to her standard.  I put Midge on my committee but wasn’t sure she belong. because  to this day I still value her critique because she never criticized me but encouraged me.

My project for this lesson is almost complete. i have been turning the spare bedroom in my room which is soon to become My Studio. Even my husband has been calling it that.  When I take those first steps inside, upon completion, that ugly voice will cease.  In its place will be voices full of happiness and gratitude that I have a real studio to experiment and play in to my heart’s content. And the other fantastic thing is my studio is attached to a full size bathroom with bathtub.  Yippee!  Photos soon.

This is the third time I have written and re-written and it just did not become shorter. Definitely need to work on this. Did I mention I really dislike writing. What amazes me is both of my sons are writers.