Sunday, November 27, 2016

Also incomplete, and a year and a half old. Something like that.

He tried to clip my wings again.

I'm ashamed to admit that it felt like he succeeded.

I'm ashamed to admit how long it felt like that.

I'm ashamed to admit how much it felt like my fault, that my first reaction was to look at my conduct, my appearance, even after all I know, even after all these years.

That when I came home to the facebook message helpfully informing me that I had "really turned him on tonight" and that he had "just wanted to bend me over in that skirt," my secret, fearful thought was that the skirt, and therefore I, really was to blame.

That I had somehow let my guard down enough that, instead of being a clearly undesired attempt at reestablishing a long-lost control over my person, physical and otherwise, he had a plausible case for believing his comments to be welcome.

I am ashamed to admit that, instead of blasting him with enough incandescent rage to leave nothing but a scorch-mark on the earth where he stood, I asked my child how transparent my skirt was.  I checked the degree of cleavage revealed by my double-layered tank tops.  I thanked heaven for my forethought in layering my shirts, thereby shoring up my hypothetical defense against a nonexistent prosecution. I mentally scanned the imaginary transcript of my idle, inattentive conversation, the conversation I'd kept up, while wishing I was elsewhere, in order to keep myself from losing my mind through irritation and boredom.

For A Person Raised By Wolves, I Think I'm Doing Pretty Well

Or, well, at least ok.
When I was growing up, we had no tv.  We did, however, have a record player (yes, I am that old), and an extensive (to my tiny self) collection of children's albums, including Sesame Street Fever (disco-themed, natch).  I went looking on youtube for Oscar the Grouch's disco version of "I Like Trash" recently, but no dice.  Also that's not the point.  The point is, on another album, nameless, at least in memory, was a song sung by Big Bird.  The refrain went like this: "Everyone makes mistakes, oh, yes, they do ... your sister and your brother and your dad and mother too.  Big people, small people, matter of fact, all people.  Everyone makes mistakes, oh yes, they do."  And then at the end, the big finale: "Sooooo, if everyone in the whole wide world makes mistakes, then whyyyyy caaaaan't YOOOUUUUUU?"  
A valid question.
A central tenet of child-rearing is that children will internalize the messages to which they are exposed.  Repetitive messages obviously have more impact, with a few exceptions.  One introduces an idea, then bolsters it by revisiting, reiterating, re- ... I can't think of another re-word, but a group of three would have made a nice rhythm.  The more matter-of-fact one can be in the delivery, the more effective the message.  I like to think of this as brain-washing.  One can brainwash children to do anything: take out the compost, finish their homework, believe in themselves ... 
I must have heard that song a thousand times growing up, or at least several hundred.  Even after the death of the last record player, my mother would treat us to a rendition at least every several months.  All that repetition should have led to internalization ... right?  Shouldn't it?