I like my checkmarks, so today seems like a good day for one. It’s been awhile since I’ve worked on something on my writing project checklist. And since the beginning of the year, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was starting to lose sight of the real reason for starting this blog: to get some big things done. Today I’ll be working on
*Procrastination sidebar: This part of my memoir is something I’ve been meaning to do for a few years now, back when myspace was popular (remember then? I know it’s a stretch). My friends and I used to send surveys back and forth, and after hearing Rascal Flatts’ song “Take Me There”, I wanted to turn the lyrics into a questionnaire of sorts, but never got around to finishing it. I’ll post the lyrics here, then answer the questions one by one. Also, of course this is unedited memoir, so it’s not going to be perfect, and there will most likely be typos. That’s okay to me, because at least I got some writing in, and that’s better than nothing. So I hope it’s okay to you, too. 🙂
“Take Me There”
[Verse 1:] There’s a place in your heart where nobody’s been. Take me there. Things nobody knows, not even your friends. Take me there. Tell me about your momma, your daddy, your home town, show me around. I wanna see it all, don’t leave anything out.
[Chorus:] I wanna know, everything about you. And I wanna go, down every road you’ve been. Where your hopes and dreams and wishes live, where you keep the rest of your life hid. I wanna know the girl behind that pretty stare. Take me there.
[Verse 2:] Your first real kiss, your first true love, you were scared. Show me where. You learned about life, spent your summer nights, without a care. Take me there. I wanna roll down mainstreet and backroads like you did when you were a kid. What makes you who you are, tell me what your story is.
[Chorus 2x:] I wanna know, everything about you. And I wanna go, down every road you’ve been. Where your hopes and dreams and wishes live, where you keep the rest of your life hid. I wanna know the girl behind that pretty stare. Take me there.
I wanna roll down mainstreet. I wanna know your hopes and your dreams. Take me, take me there. Yeah.
(c) Copyright VC/GS listlovelaugh.wordpress.com
“There’s a place in your heart where nobody’s been. Things nobody knows, not even your friends.”
Suffice it to say that I’m not really comfortable enough to reveal these sorts of things online. I will, however, write them down privately and include them in my memoir. So, ya know, if I ever get wildly famous and my memoir gets published, then you can pay money to read those secrets there. 😉
“Tell me about your momma…”
My mother and I have had a really interesting relationship. The more time that I’m alive, the more I realize just how alike we are, for better and for worse. I would venture to say we’ve never been, nor do I ever think we will be, best friends. I’m not sure if my mother knows that, and I think it might hurt her to hear, but I think deep down she knows. I think of the Gilmore Girls, my handy dandy reference book to all complicated things in life, and of the relationship between Lorelai and Emily Gilmore. I can best sum up our relationship with a quote between the two:
Emily: Why can’t we have what you and Rory have?
Lorelai : Rory and I are different, mom.
Emily: We’re mother and daughter. You’re mother and daughter. It shouldn’t be different.
Lorelai: It’s completely different. It couldn’t be more different.
Emily: But why?
Lorelai: I grew up in a different environment.
Emily: You mean an oppressive environment.
Lorelai: No, mom, I mean a different environment. And plus, I was so young when I had Rory.
Emily: So because I waited until I was grown and married I can’t have a relationship with my daughter?
Emily: Well, then why?
Lorelai: Rory and I are best friends, mom. We’re best friends first and mother and daughter second. And you and I are mother and daughter always.
Of course, at this moment in time, I don’t have a daughter, let alone a child. And I’m 30, so I most certainly can’t use the “I was so young when I had my child” excuse. Truth be told, too, I don’t plan to raise my child like we’re best friends. That is one thing that I picked up from my mother: if I treat my child like my best friend, then when it comes to having to be an authoritarian, it’ll never work out. But I do plan on doing some parenting things different than my mother. I even wrote a list down in my diary when I was around 16 years old and had a pretty epic disagreement with her. One of the most important things I plan on implementing is to tell my child every day that I love him/her. It’s something that I heard rarely (I can probably count on my hand the times I’ve heard it out loud) from my own parents, and it’s something that in my opinion is so important to hear, especially when you’re going through hard times in school and adolescence. But it’s a huge point of pride between my husband and I that we tell each other “I love you” every single day. It’s so comforting to know that at the end of the day, there is love there. We even tell our dog we love him every day. Because it’s true, and because we just never know when any one of us may not be here anymore. I don’t want any one of us to die without knowing that we are loved. Plain and simple as that.
My mother was extremely sheltered as a child, most probably because she was so sickly. I would argue, though, that she was so sickly because her parents never let her out and be a kid. She didn’t play out in the dirt; she mostly stayed inside with cousins and played there. I remember that only two years ago when we visited the Philippines, my husband and I decided to go outside and run in a cool rainstorm as some relief from the triple-digit days we’d been experiencing. My mother looked at the both of us like we were crazy for running around and giggling. She said pointedly, “I was never allowed to run outside in the rain. I would’ve gotten into a lot of trouble.” My husband looked completely shocked and immediately grabbed my mother’s hand to join us. She was so absolutely mortified to finally break the rules after 63 years. But once she was out there, you could see a little hint of glee in her eyes before she shook it off and the guarded, disciplined look that I have come to associate her with snapped back into place.
Knowing now what a strict childhood she led may explain why I was labeled as the rebel of the family. I was the only one who dared to dream, to go outside the boundaries of wanting to be something stereotypically successful, like a doctor or a lawyer. (My little brother was still too young at that time to decide what he wanted to do with his life.) I was also the only one who dared question some weird practices that my mother put into place, like insisting my little brother call me “Ate”, which was the Tagalog (Filipino) word for “big sister”. (More on that later.) I ran outside, played in the dirt, made mistakes, had friends of the opposite sex. Hardly grounds for being called a rebel to pretty much any other American kid, but boy, did that make me the black sheep in my own family! Everyone that I tell that I’m the most social of all the kids in my family just looks at me disbelievingly: “Shy, awkward, introverted Violet, the most social one? I call BS,” they must be thinking. But it’s true.
In a way, I guess that’s one of the things we have in common. We’re both stubborn as hell, and I think that’s what gets us into the most heated arguments. (Also more on that later.) I still feel a bit disconnected from my body when I speak of the years of physical and mental abuse that I endured. But there you have it: it is indeed possible for a 4’11” woman to bring you to the ground with bruises that take many, many years to heal.
For as long as I remember, my mother was quite the Emily Post. She often did things because it made her look good to society, and because it just seemed like the right and proper thing to do. It didn’t matter if she agreed with it or not; she wanted to look pure and white to those who knew her. I would say she did a pretty good job. Some of my earliest memories of her consist of throwing huge parties and cooking all day to produce cookbook-picture-ready dishes. I still miss the days of mini-pineapple-cream-cheese-tarts and oatmeal-raisin cookies so hearty that eating only a half of one felt like a meal fit for a queen. She loved making matching outfits for her and me, because I was the only girl and she finally had the chance to play dress up.
I feel myself falling into “super-hostess” role. I love having parties at our new house, and I love working hard all day to crank out gorgeous-looking, tasty food. It’s something I can see myself doing well into my 40s. So I would say that’s something I really have in common with my mom. I do love doing domestic things like that. If I have a daughter, I do plan on dressing her up in cute clothes, but I think I’ll draw the line at matching outfits.
For as much as my mother and I have in common, we probably have more that are different. That’s probably one thing that’s been consistent for me since I’ve been young: I hate being compared to my mother when it comes to similarities. I think it may be my burning desire to be my own person and to not have to be compared to anyone else. Most likely a symptom of being a middle child. (Another notable effort to differentiate myself from another person: when it came to applying to colleges, I very specifically chose not to even apply to the one my older brother went to, because I wanted to take my own path and not have to deal with following in his very big footsteps.) Anyway, it always, always (my mother says she even remembers a time when I was four and this was true) really bothered me when I was told that I look just like my mother.
It’s not that I’m offended because she’s ugly. That’s far from the case. As far as looks go, I would say I’m lucky with the way she looks. A lot of guys (and girls, for that matter) joke to those who are thinking about marrying a female: “Just look at her mom. That’s an indication of what she’ll look like when she’s older.” If that’s true, then my hubby has nothing to worry about (he’s even said that…in a much-less creepy “MILF” way than you would imagine). She has such a cute slim-yet-curvy figure, a bright smile, non-wrinkly skin, big beautiful brown eyes, and shiny salt-and-pepper hair. She looks beautiful, period–not just “for her age”. In fact, if she dyed her hair, she’d probably look a good 20 years younger, at least. But she’s proud of her hair, and I would be, too. I actually look forward to the day when I turn gray, because I just love the way her hair looks. I may use that as an opportunity to finally dye my hair purple, but still.
And we really do look a lot alike. I can admit that. Out of anyone else in the family, I look most like her. But the reason I’m so offended is because I want to look like no one else but myself. I want to stand out and have people say I look very “Violet”. It’s a point of pride for me. I even go so far as to be upset when we wear similar outfits. It’s too much, yes, but that’s how much it means for me to be unique.
Another thing that’s different about us is our drive to become what we want to do. My mother has become very complacent and even bitter about where she is in life. I hope to never become that way. I know there is a wonderful life waiting out there for me and I plan to always work towards the life I envision for myself.
And I plan to never speak ill of my husband in front of my children if I’m still married to him. If I’m miserable, I’ll look towards divorce instead of holding an eternal grudge. But I love my husband and we respect each other enough to not air our problems like that. We’re a team, and I plan to work as a team for the rest of our lives. That right there is a huge difference between my mom and I, too.
(c) Copyright VC/GS listlovelaugh.wordpress.com
I guess that’s a good time to talk about my father, but that’ll be for the next part of my memoir. For now, there is a day to enjoy! 🙂
To Being Proud of the Wonderfully Unique Person that You Are!