Saturday, April 29, 2006

Betty the Rebel

First, I thank anyone who is reading this. I have been neglecting my blog and have undoubtedly (and deservedly) lost the small following I used to have. So, if anyone actually reads this, thank you.

Today, while attempting to sort through the rubble in my living room I came across one of my many diaries, written a few months ago in a dire attempt to figure myself out.

Now I know why my housekeeping is so outrageously substandard. I spent the rest of my "sorting" time reading the diary with great interest. The house is still a wreck, but by golly, I'm armed with more self-analysis that you can shake a stick at.

In fact, the house in shambles was pretty much explained by the diary. You see, the house I grew up in, 39 Burbank, looked exactly right. The grass was cut, always; the bushes were shaped to perfection; the sidewalk was swept or snowblown depending upon the season; the gutters were clear; the roof always looked newly laid; even the siding was power washed regularly. There was always one new car parked neatly in the garage and another, equally showy and recently washed, in the driveway.

Even inside, everything was in its place. You'd never know that a child lived there- no toy was visible; no item was out of place. Even the tassels on the living room rug were carefully straightened with a clothespin so that they lined up perfectly.

But there were secrets swept under that rug. My father was cheating on my mother. At age 8 I knew about it, and my father had tried to strangle me when he suspected that I knew. He continued to beat me on a daily basis. My grandmother, a devout Irish Catholic, had divorced her husband who was sleeping with the woman next door. My older brother was well on his way into a lifelong battle with alcohol and drug addiction. My teenage sister was pregnant before high school graduation.

Appearances, even aural ones, were critical. One time, when I was a toddler, I laid on the floor crying, wanting to be taken to the park. I was severely reprimanded because "one of the neighbors had heard the crying." All inhabitants of 39 Burbank were prohibited from emitting sounds audible to the neighbors, and were advised to exercise extreme caution when venturing out of the house; the neighbors would likely be watching.

Little wonder that my house today is disheveled. And, mind you, I'll gladly tell my life story, in full detail, to anyone who'll listen.

14 comments:

garnet david said...

Goodness, your rebelious nature had strong foundation! Let's get a jack hammer and break up all that conformitive concrete at its base and plant a garden among the rubble. But I think you are already doing that here, and in your diaries and working diligently on your house. Keep tending that garden, it's starting to bloom quite nicely.

Shankari said...

Hey Betty,

I've been coming around regularly here- no, no-one has left methinks. Just waiting for you to pick up the pieces and write again whenever you felt like it. Welcome back- its your blog! :)

Betty said...

Garnet,

Thanks for the poetically-worded encouragement.

Betty

Betty said...

Shankari,

Thank you for your uncommon loyalty!

Hugs,
Betty

Tony said...

You know I think more people had difficult childhoods than let on, I saw a whole lot of bad stuff, but it buries itslef deep in my mind, as if it shouldn't be revealed.

However I do interviews so if you want to tell your life story feel free!

Sideways Chica said...

Dear Betty...

Appearances can be deceiving, but only to those who look but do not see - or hear but do not listen.

I am listening...

Ciao bella.

Useless Man said...

You're welcome! Glad you are back.

Keep on whirling.

Kelly said...

Betty~ I've come over by way of Teri's blog. I was quite impressed with your admission on your post there that you had been quite neglect in your blogging and one reason being your child. My darling lady, messy houses can be cleaned, yards can be bush-hogged if needed, cars can be bought new~~ but children can only be raised once.

And I'm listening any time you want to share.
I truly understand.

Kelley Bell said...

I heard the neighbors discussing your blog. They are aghast that you have not been posting on a regular basis!

LOL

I love Davids suggestion about planting a garden in the rubble, and Kelly's comment that "children can only be raised once. My sentiments exactly.

What a wonderful gang you whirl with Girl!

Sideways Chica said...

Dear Betty...my friend. Your post here influenced my current post. If you get the chance, please check out "Meet the Bickersons." It might be a difficult read for you, but I just wanted you to know that you really, really made me think. And of course that I really, really heard you. :)

Miss you chica. Ciao for now.

Teri

Jen said...

I'll take a messy, happy home ANY DAY. You work on whatever you need to, the house will still be there when you get back.

Pamela J Weatherill said...

Hey there ... as a journalw riter I would love to have you contribute to some research for a book I am writing on Journal Writing ... let me know via email if you would like to fill in the survey ... you sound just perfect! (Great blog by the way)

Priyamvada_K said...

Dear Betty,
That was a refreshing read. And it is incredibly stifling to an expressive person to sweep all human emotions under the rug! Argggh.

No wonder you hate rugs - literal or otherwise!

Priya.

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