Part two of the self-talk questionnaire.
BELIEFS ABOUT OTHERS:
*Write down three adjectives that describe your mother; three that describe your father; three that describe each of your siblings. My Mother: Compassionate, Uncertain, Independent. My Father: Absent, Tormented, Cursed. My brother: Smart, Funny, Hard-working. My sister: Spoiled, Lazy, Entitled.
*As a child, what do you remember thinking about adults? About your teachers? About other kids? About parents in general? I tended to get along rather well with adults and teachers once they took the time to get to know me. I had ADHD so was often knee-jerk labelled as a trouble-maker, disruptive in the classroom, etc… But once they would discover I didn’t intentionally behave that way, they were fine with me. Teachers would see my passion for the written word, reading, writing poetry, etc and would encourage that. Along the way, teachers gifted me things like a bound copy of Maya Angelou’s inaugural poem or a blank journal to write my poems in. They saw potential in me despite my chatty, silly, wiggly nature in their class. As long as they gave me space to be me, I respected them. As for my peers, I often felt like I was on the outskirts of things. Not only did moving so frequently made it difficult to fit in (every school had a different set of unwritten rules for status quo.), but my impulsive, hyper energy was off putting. I found myself on the outside a lot and every time I would finally make a close friend we would move again. I spent a lot of time alone in my books or with my writing and as a teen I reached a point where I began to realize my peers were nothing to be intimidated by, so many of them seemed focused on shallow nonsense like drinking, drugs and sex. I was left feeling unimpressed in general. Parents in general had no clue. They didn’t understand how life worked under my skin, how I really truly tried so hard to be kind and loving. They would see me not taking a moment serious enough or dressed odd and would assume I was a bad seed, on drugs, a bad influence for their child. I was told by many friends over the years that their parents said I wasn’t allowed over their house, based on the 30 seconds they saw me. It hurt to be judged like that and left me frustrated that I never got the chance to prove myself. Ironically, their child with the straight A’s and perfect preppy clothes was out there having sex and trying acid while I was dressed in my goth clothes with my black hair, writing poetry in my bedroom. Irony…..
*What were some of your parents’ beliefs about other people that you remember hearing them say while you were growing up? My mom did a lot of judging of folks when I was a little girl. I don’t hold it against her, she was only 18 when I was born and raised that way a bit herself. I remember going to the beach with her when I was young and she would point out fat ladies in bathing suits and how “gross” it was. which was all well and good since I was petite my entire life until recently. Now, I struggle with extra weight and do a lot if berating myself in front of a mirror.I find it easy to see beauty in all shapes and sizes in all other women now, just not in myself. Being thin, feminine and having long hair was what my mom found to be pretty for women. Anything else was unattractive. I still hold myself to that standard. Rich people were hard hearted, cruel and selfish. There was honor in struggle, in poverty, in being a martyr. Your body is something to be ashamed of, not even meant to speak of. Sex is an obligation or duty for a married woman to give to her husband. Those who gave it away under any other context were whores who were sinning.
*Who were your favorite adults? Why? My Gram. My Gram was my best friend. I spent summers at her house and when I was 9 I lived with her for about a year. As a pre teen and teen, when I fought with my mom, I would walk downtown to the payphone and call Gram collect to vent.(God bless her, she always accepted those calls) She would always listen to me and truly HEAR me. She gave me advice. She spoiled me when I was sick. Even as an adult, her home was my sanctuary. I felt safe there. secure. Understood. My youth leaders when I was a teenager were also important to me. They set an example to me and took time to talk with me and invited me to their homes.
*Finish this statement: I still feel intimidated when I am in the presence of…Anyone. Everyone. as much as I tell myself that everyone has insecurities and uncertainties, I find it hard to remember in the moment. I never think I look as pretty as other women around me. I think my words sound stupid or plain or rambly. I am still that 14 year old girl deep down inside of myself.