A Revelation for Me
Contributor
Written by
Laura Eitniear
July 2014
Contributor
Written by
Laura Eitniear
July 2014

Last night I woke up with something on my mind. It's my memoir work thus far. As I read through some of my work I realized a running theme, I always come out as the victim. Granted, life hasn't been easy, but how much of it has been my own work? In realizing this I examined an incident that often plays in my mind regarding my long deceased mother. 

My mother loved me as best as she knew how, and raised me using all of the tools at her disposal. Yet, something was a miss. My memories of a loving, caring mother have been spoon-fed to me since her battle with breast cancer ended over eight years ago. I have adopted these memories as a way of immortalizing and perfecting my childhood. 

I'm 40 years old now, it is time to recognize where my preconceptions of self began and accept those so that I can have a more objective view of my own life without notions of perfection from family:

The overhead light cast shadows upon the walls of the dining room as my brother and I worked on our homework and Mom cooked dinner.

"Mom?" he called to her, "I need help."

Rushing over, her hands covered in raw ground meat that she was shaping into meatloaf, she stood over him and gently assessed his situation.

Enviously, I watched the interaction. "Mom, when you are done helping Dan, can you help me?"

"Figure it out," was her cold response to my inquiry.

The silent messages hung in the air, taking on the formation of an imaginary fist, pounding the thoughts into my head. You're too stupid. You're a lost cause. You'll never get it right anyway. Education isn't important for girls, you just raise the babies, and let your husband support you.

As she returned to the kitchen I watched her with hungry pangs of pain for her attention. Boys are better than girls; boys can do no wrong. The thoughts deepened, and now I realize why I wanted to be a boy when I was growing up. After all, boys are smarter, more lovable, more educated, wiser, always right, and they have the power to rule the world.

Now that I am looking back it all makes sense, but at the time when Mom would say, "Why are you cutting classes?" I would respond with, "I don't know." I did know, I just didn't want to admit that I was too stupid and class wasn't important anyway. My lot in life was to find a mate, keep him happy, and have lots of babies.

I did just that for my first husband, even going so far as to "mop" three rooms worth of linoleum floor on my hands and knees with a sponge and bucket because we couldn't afford a mop, and I did it every day. When our case manager came to visit she said, "You act like you're the 27 year old and he acts like he is the 20 year old." I laughed it off, not realizing that I was raised to believe a wife should sacrifice everything for her family, while a husband indulged in the finer things in life, his payment for hard work, and for being a man.

The lot I've been given in life is NOT the result of me being too stupid, or even too naive. It is the result of my personal beliefs that boys are always right and girls are always wrong. This was not brought on by stupidity, but rather someone else's archaic beliefs, and silent messages.

Years later Mom would explain it all away, I was 29 years old and attending my first semester in college where I was pulling a 4.0 GPA. "I always knew you could do it, you're extremely intelligent!"

"Mom, why didn't you tell me that when I was growing up, when I needed it most?"

"I was raised that you don't tell a child when they are doing well, it will go straight to their head and make them conceited."

So the first thirty years of my life were null and void, I was never as stupid as I thought, but both of my ex-husband's held fast to my spoon fed beliefs, because it made them feel far superior to me, and an easy target for ridicule and violence when I wasn't good enough.

Now that I'm making sense of those silent messages I want to tell Mom that I'm a girl and I deserved just as much admiration as any boy. It's too late, she is long gone, but at least I know that it is time for old school thoughts to go to Hell!

Let's be friends

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