Response to Shame

In my previous post, I included a link to a blog I stumbled on by accident. However, I wonder how much of life is accidental and how much is fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it (lets leave the likes of divine intervention out of this). I don’t know the answer to the fate question, but I do wonder about it.

Anyway, I have been really thinking about the post. I have been wondering why people who are molested, raped, or sexually abused feel ashamed of what happened to them. I was thinking about how being abused shouldn’t be a source of shame or embarrassment. But, how often it is. How most crimes like this go unreported and the victims never see justice or closure (not that closure is even possible). It really got me thinking, but more than that it got me feeling.

So, I wanted to free myself from feeling shameful or embarrassed (thanks Grace!). A little side note though: I don’t want to talk about this with anyone. I am posting it here to free myself from it. But, unless I bring it up, I don’t want to talk about it. I have effectively put this behind me, but want to acknowledge that it happened.

I was sexually abused by my step brother when I was 4 years old. It was a brief period of time, and most of it I hardly remember. But, I do remember enough to know that it happened. My sister told my Mom about it a while later, and I remember my Mom asking me what happened. I was flooded with feelings that couldn’t be expressed and words that had no way of being vocalized. After all, I was only 4; it would be impossible to express what I felt or thought at that age. Almost 30 years later I can remember feeling powerless and afraid to be alone with my step brother. Yet, I can hardly express my feelings now–I just don’t have the words.

My Mom left this husband, but not because of the abuse. I don’t think she knew about the abuse until after she left anyway. We spoke of it that one time, and neither her nor I spoke of it again.

I often wonder what sort of effect something like this has on peoples lives. I don’t honestly think you can know the answer to this, since life has an innumerable number of variables. But, I look at my life and wonder how things may have been different for me if this event had not occur ed. I don’t spend much time thinking about it, since there is no way to change to the past. But, I do feel saddened by the fact that it happened. I feels like I was robbed of a piece of my childhood, of my innocence. Something was taken from me during that time, something that can never be replaced or given back.

Just like all of the books say–now that I am a Mother, I have been thinking about my childhood and my youthful experiences in more depth. I am often in awe at the fact that my Mother was able to raise 2 girls essentially on her own. My Mom didn’t attend college, but was a highly intelligent woman (I will explain the use of the past tense word ‘was’ later). She has an amazing vocabulary, has a razor sharp wit and tongue, and has never been afraid to express or stand up for herself. On the other side of the coin, it kills me to think that someone who was so intelligent could allow herself to get involved with man after destructive man, marriage after marriage. How could someone who appears so self assured need a man like my Mom does. It is difficult to not place blame when I think about all of the fucked up things that have happened in my life under the tutelage of my mother (many of them while she was under the influence). And, just when I am filled with resentment and bitterness–I remember that she did the very best she could. I hope that every decision that she made was out of love, and not selfishness. I long to believe that she always put us first when a difficult choice was needed. Many days I doubt it, and that forces a irremovable wedge between us. But, some days I can forgive her and I love her more than myself.

So, there you have another tid-bit of my history. All of the pieces that make up my life and make me who I am today. Are you glad or sad you know?

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What would you do?

Hubby and I were preparing to hand out candy on Halloween. We were getting the porch ready for trick or treaters, and I was holding Elliott. As I mentioned before, we live in an urban neighborhood, and do not have a driveway. Several houses on our street have driveways, but ours does not. Our hood is also mixed zoning, so we have SFR’s, apartments and condo’s as well as businesses, shops and resturaunts.

So, we part on the street, along with many of our neighbors. Most times this isn’t a problem, as there is usually parking close by the house, and I don’t have to lug things too far. Well, this day I was lucky enough to get RSP (rock star parking) right in front of our house. Hubby was parked behind me, and I backed up very close to his car to try and make enough room in front of me for a small car to squeeze in.

While we were standing in our yard, a gentlemen in a medium size SUV tried to park in front of me. He proceeded to play bumper cars with me and the car in front of him. The first couple of times he hit my car trying to park, I thought…hmm, it was probably an accident and he misjudged the distance. The next couple of times, I realized that he just didn’t care. As each time he backed up he hit my car, and when he pulled forward he hit the car in front of him.

The thought of his disregard infuriated me, and I went down to speak with him. I very nicely asked him to please cease hitting my car while attempting to park. He retorted and said, get this…that’s what bumpers were for. Now, I did not accept this as an answer, and asked him to park elsewhere, should he be unable to park here without hitting my car again, and explained that I often must park around the corner and lug my kid and his gear from my distant parking spot to my home.

Apparently I made him angry. He backed up hard into my car again as I was walking back to my house and screeched off. Hopefully not to assault someother car with his expert parking skills. When I returned to the porch, and reunited with hubby…I was met with a look of shock and disappointment. Hubby was very mad that I had confronted this man, especially with my boy in arms.

We proceeded to get into a long conversation about the positive and negative merits of confronting a stranger. You can imagine how the conversation went remembering that my husband is mellow, and often times a pacifist. I am curious to know what you would have done in a similar situation? Was I wrong to address this person? Should I have left it alone and not said anything?

Toothpaste Recall

I was struck by a news report this morning on NPR. It was alerting folks to a recall of Colgate toothpaste in several east coast states. The recall is due to a chemical discovered in the toothpaste that is also found in anti-freeze. This chemical apparently has been found in several other products imported from other countries as well.

The part that struck me was that the recalled toothpaste is being sold at discount stores. Do the stores know they are importing products that are counterfeit? Are they doing this with the knowledge that the company does not manufacture products in the country they are importing them from? Do they read the labels and see that words are being misspelled?

I am concerned about the fact that these products are being sold in discount stores where the patrons are often on tight budgets. The clientele it seems are less likely to be aware of recalls, and therefore more at risk for harm. This seems somehow unfair, and it left me feeling sad and at a loss for words on how to properly express how I feel. This was the best I could do for now.