MInding My Own Business

My poor mother – you’d think from listening to some of her children, that she’d got EVERYthing wrong, not most things or some things, but the whole lot. Hmmm… she definitely got some things right – but there’s not much percentage in telling folks about how right and normal and ordinary your childhood was (not that I had more than ten minutes of a right, normal and ordinary childhood.)

But even when my mother did try to get it right, I think we pretty much just ignored her. And I can speak for the four of us on this, as I was the oldest and the ‘good’ one, so if I was ever bad, the other three were three times badder, or nine times badder because I am pretty sure the badness of bad kids inbad families is exponential, not linear – especially when you belonged to one of those families on the wrong side of the tracks, down past the swamp. With too many dogs. And fighting. And loud music. The neighbours still complained – and we lived 12 miles out of town on a dirt road.

I had multiple personalities then, rather like a properly insane person might have, except mine all had a specific function and were basically under some semblance of self-control. There was the McLaughlin kid, which meant there was fighting, screaming and all the things being simply savage involved – totally in the moment stuff. Heart stoppingly exciting and fun, except for the fat lips and bruises. But running through the woods in the dark, while being chased by someone who might have a gun, sure gets the adrenalin pumping. Then there was the weird, quiet girl – the one reading Dostoevsky and listening to music and dreaming of escape to someplace, anyplace that didn’t have all that crazy business. Sometimes she’d despair and do things she still doesn’t admit to because you weren’t allowed to talk about them – not then, and still, not now. Well, you could, but some people would feel sorry for you which is just yuck, and some would try to help, which is ick, and others would say it’s time to get over it, which is ugh. BTW, she IS over it and so am I, so talking about it would just make other people react. Oh and the last one was Little Miss Perfect. She got straight As and her teachers loved her and she had a great future ahead of her. She even got to be pretty in high school. But she wasn’t totally perfect because the other two would leap out from time to time (always an inappropriate time) and spoil things.

It occurs to me now the most tumultuous years were the ones when I first went out on my own, trying to integrate those three mini-mes into one regular all-purpose me. It’s still a work in progress, of course and what I wouldn’t give to have a wee chat with those girls I used to be. Mostly I’d just let them know it would all turn out great, but there’d be some crap to deal with and some dark days too, but they were practicing for that now. But I’d tell them to get in a little more mischief, misbehave a little more. And for Little Miss Perfect to stop thinking she was the boss.

Published by Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

9 thoughts on “MInding My Own Business

  1. What a revealing post. I can so relate to the multiple personalities. I’m glad that you’ve gotten farther along in integrating yours, as I am quite certain that mine are still hanging about causing trouble.

    The running through the woods away from someone who might have a gun sentence made me pause. Sounds like a story there . . .


    1. as for the personalities… I let them manifest themselves under controlled conditions… I have one friend who calls me Debralyn, a character from two of my novels, and the McLaughlin kid… now we got up to some serious mischief right here in Auckland… we had a few wild nights, and one straight out of a film script wild night on the town, fooling some rich people into thinking we were two literary darlings and famous and they should adore us… he’s gay, so somehow, it was okay to get into mischief because there was no sex involved…

      Jeez, I have not let Debralyn out for ages… she must be ready for something really interesting about now…


  2. Yeah, the running through the woods was a story… I think I was 14 and my sister who was two years younger had a bit of a crush on a boy who lived up the road a bit, in a log cabin with a dirt floor and no electric or phone, last of the hillbillies in upstate New York. We camped out in the woods just for the fun of it in the summer, no one said we couldn’t or shouldn’t and my mother didn’t see any harm in it.
    Well, the boy joined us – and we were all so innocent – I don’t think there was even any kissing going on. But since we were ‘bad’ kids, it was assumed we must be sexually active and dying to get knocked up by anyone so we could get married, even to a boy who lived in a shack with a dirt floor…

    His little sister must have snitched because suddenly, out of nowhere, his parents came running, screaming and yelling, calling us whores and bitches and knocking down the tent and chasing us and we were scared beyond description! We didn’t know that his father had brought his rifle, but we didn’t know he didn’t either. And if he had he probably didn’t want to shoot us.

    We made it home and went to bed, laughing and breathing hard most of the night. The next day is mother went somewhere to use a phone and rang my mother and yelled at her about what sluts her daughters were and her son wasn’t going to marry her if she got herself knocked up. I didn’t know a girl who got married at fifteen, but 12 – that was not allowed, even if you were knocked up. So my mother, who had to give the semblance of doing something – forbade us to camp out with that boy or his sister again…

    I’ve got to do an image of that house… it’s still there and not much has changed…


    1. Now that’s a great story. I love that she went somewhere to use the phone just to yell at your mom. Now that’s dedication!

      Debralyn sounds like she could be fun as well.


      1. I’m hankering… I’m feeling a bit boring lately. I mean, I’ve got some great stories to tell – but I am in the mood to have a wild adventure with a new story! Going down to Hamilton on the weekend to shoot the hot-air balloon festival – but I’m not seeing any mischief involved…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: