Tag Archives: family dysfunction

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is one of all-time my favorite memoirs too! I love the Book Challenge list too.

Being Tori

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For years I’ve been telling people this is my favourite book, and recommending that they read it. I am so glad that it held up on my second read. I still love this book. I will always love this book. It’s especially well-written, the Walls family reads like a cast of fictional characters too incredible to believe, and the ingenuity and resilience of Jeannette and her siblings continues to be nothing less than marvellous. I don’t usually read books more than once, but this is one that I will continue to read, and continue to share.

No. 24 on my challenge. If you’ve been following my reviews from the beginning, you’ll understand why.

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Secrets in Big Sky Country Review

My Travels with Depression

FINAL SBSC front cover 44-17-15jpgIt was a great honour to be one of the first to read Mandy Smith’s new book, “Secrets in Big Sky Country.” I’ve looked forward to the release date and the opportunity to share this tragic and courageous memoir, which I highly recommend.

Mandy and Cliff’s childhood changed long before they understood the consequences of their mother’s decisions to divorce their father and then embark on a relationship with his brother. This would affect the siblings for the rest of their lives, but it was never about the children, only the narcissistic mother’s needs were important.

From the age of three years old, Mandy came to know her uncle as daddy, who quickly replaced the attention that was severely lacking from her self-absorbed mother. Mandy was his special little girl, but while her innocence soaked up his apparent attentiveness, he had other depraved ideas of his own. His manipulative grooming…

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A Schuyler Falls Story: The Pearl

Odyssey of a Novice Writer

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The black man stood a fair distance from the group of mourners at the gravesite.  His nervous fingers worried the soft hat in his hands. He was dressed in his Sunday best – a worn blue suit, freshly pressed. The occasion demanded it.

It wasn’t every day a man buried his father.

He couldn’t make out the minister’s words, but Moody guessed the content. His old man had been a pillar of the Schuyler Falls Methodist Church. Moody watched the faithful dab their eyes.

People only see what they want to see, he thought.

Not so when it came to Granny Ella, standing ramrod straight at the foot of her son’s grave, eyes fixed on something only she could see.

No fake sentiment there.

She knew too well the stiff-necked nature of the man being buried.

Finally the service ended and Moody watched as Granny Ella and the others…

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My Iamsubject Story

I am participating in Diane DeBella’s #iamsubject proj4ect http://www.iamsubject.com/the-iamsubject-project/. Here is my #iamsubject story:

The Fatal Blow

The officer stopped about a foot away from my car window. Oh my God! I wished I could be some place else, anywhere else, instead of sitting in my parked, inoperable SUV, in front of mom’s house with my six, seven and nine-year-old sitting in the back seat, in full view of anyone looking out their window or happening by. It’s only eight thirty-five and already, it feels like it’s at least 85 degrees this bright Saturday morning. The kids and I have just returned from a 45-minute trek to a phone booth to call a relative.

“We received a call that you have a house key that belongs to the owner of this house,” the officer half asks, half states, as she looks pass me, in the direction of mom’s house, before she glances behind me and smiles at the kids in the back seat. I wonder what my kids are thinking, but I am too ashamed to look at them right now. I imagine that they are just as shocked as I am. “May I have it?” the officer asks, ever so politely, as if she understands our situation. I manage to eke out a feeble “Yes,” as I wonder, Is this what this is about?

On the outside, I am as cool as a cucumber, but on the inside, I feel dejected and humiliated. It seems as though time stands still as I nervously take mom’s house key off my key chain. I don’t hear a sound on the entire block as though we’re in a sound proof room. No lawnmowers going. No children playing outside. No cars moving. Just quietness. Even my children are as quiet as three mice in the back seat. I am mortified knowing that some, if not all, of mom’s neighbors, on this quiet, cul-de-sac, residential street, are probably watching us. As I place the key in the officer’s hand, I don’t recall, with all the drama between last night and this morning, mom asking me for the key, but it makes sense. If someone asks you to leave their house, they’re probably going to want the house key back. At the break of dawn, in my rush to get out of mom’s house, the house key was the last thing on my mind.

Before the kids and I moved in with mom almost three months ago, when I didn’t have any place else to go right after my husband and I separated, mom and I had been estranged for several years. I thought this would give mom a chance to spend some time with her grandchildren; and it would give the kids a chance to get to know her. I thought things would be different with mom and me because of the kids.

I have been longing to be a part of this family, begging to be loved and accepted, for as long as I can remember. Rejection is difficult to cope with, in and of itself, but when it comes from a parent, it’s impossible to process, especially as a child. Emotionally, it was easier for me to live in a state of denial, not accepting the painful truth. This is how I coped. Even though I am in my late thirties now, it’s still difficult for me to accept the truth when it comes to mom and me. My heart does not want to accept what has been right in my face my entire life. How I wished for the kind of mother that Hallmark cards write about around Mother’s Day. Even though my heart was in denial, I think my mind always knew. Something is different this time. A light bulb is flickering on and off inside my head as I begin to see my relationship with mom in the true light.

All children deserve to be loved and live in an environment of love, no matter what the circumstances were that brought them into the world. I’ve never understood why mom has always been so indifferent towards me. It wasn’t so bad before we moved here to California from the south because my grandmother’s love buffered much of the sting of rejection for me, but that was many, many years ago. Since mom moved us away from my paternal family, I have, literally, been starved of love, affection, and acceptance.

As I watch the officer walk up the sidewalk to mom’s door, I turn my head just in time to see the blinds, covering the window that face the street to mom’s house, move. Inside the house are my sister, my brother-in-law, my nieces and mom. I feel hurt and alone when the officer knocks on mom’s door and steps back, like a couple of bullies have just sucker-punched me and are waiting to see what I am going to do, confident that they have dealt me the final and fatal blow. Between the divorce, mom, and being homeless with three kids again, I feel like just giving up, but I have to be strong for my kids. I have to keep going. Even though the pain is excruciating, I know if I just keep moving, I can get through this.

As I struggle to keep my composure, I get a revelation about what the events of last night and this morning mean for the future generations of our family: Not only am I being rejected, along with my children, but their children and their children’s children are also being rejected. I realize that this is the fatal blow. I wonder if mom and my sister understand that this is everlasting. I feel like I am suffocating under the weight of the revelation that this is probably the manifestation of generations of dysfunction. Bruised, bloody and dazed, I can’t fight anymore. Whatever I have been holding on to, wishing for, yearning for all those years, it is clear to me that it is time to let go. I don’t want to perpetuate a legacy of rejection, where someone always has to be left out, pushed out or rejected, in order for someone else to feel good about themselves. Enough is enough!

The officer is talking to someone on the other side of mom’s door. While the police officer hands the key to whomever he is talking to, I have decided to take my life back. I will not subject myself or my children to this any longer–not now, and not in the future. This stops today. When the officer walks back over to me, hands me a piece of paper and tells me, “Call this number some time today to arrange a time to get your things, and a police officer will accompany you into the house,” I barely flinch. I am resolute. This is just a formality, something I have to get through. I had already made up my mind that I will no longer live in the shadow of rejection, that the dysfunction of verbal and emotional abuse will no longer rule and reign in my life or my children’s life.

After the officer drives off, my kids and I get out of the car and begin walking for the second time this morning. This time, we are embarking on a new beginning. Although we don’t know what the future holds for us as we begin this new phase in our lives, we can do this because we have each other.