fat, you'd actually look quite nice in that" are the words I heard from my Mum last night just before we headed off out for the evening. That's my Mum all over; to her she's just complimented me (in a backhanded way) and will always give it to me raw-and-wriggling. I've never in my life had a compliment that didn't have a negative connotation added to it. Even in my job she can't bring herself to say something nice about something I may have made without adding "is that what they wanted then?" or "why didn't you add this flower or that flower; it would have made it look much better". The other week when we were chatting and I said about how distant she was towards me growing up (after she told me I had my Dad all to myself most of the time - ironic when he worked away so much that I was lucky to spend maybe 1 whole day each month with him; and the rest of my family so never on my own) she replied "well, once your brother came along I had to look out for him and you were already off doing your own thing". I was 8. My, those wild party nights I had were incredible! Don't get me wrong, she loved (loves) me. She just has a really funny way of showing it at times. I've never once heard her (or my Dad when he was alive) tell me they were proud of me; for anything. Mind you, that's because I probably never really did much for them to be. Not like my cousins. Oh my. Listen to the rest of my family (on both sides) and they were all the dogs doodahs, whereas I was the one who was never going to amount to much - how wonderful it has been as an adult to prove every-single-one of those family members wrong, because aside from my brother, I'm the one who really has "done good".
I remember an aunt saying to my Mum once "oh, you must be so disappointed at how common she is" after I said the word 'aint' - not a word I really say. Her own child has the mouth of a fishwife and calls me "posh" for how I speak! Ok, so whilst my other relations were doing ballet/tap, I was climbing trees. Whilst they were studying at school, I was chatting to Gary or Lee in the class. Whilst they did their homework (which my Dad always asked me if I'd done, accepting a "yes" even though he knew I hadn't done it, when he didn't agree with it in the first place!) I was out with my friends down the woods, or heading off down to stay with my boyf (his family were family friends so I was allowed to spend weekends with him). I had no interest in school, aside from geography (the only exam I revised for, the only one I failed - go figure that one out). I learnt more about life, places and people by being out among people, visiting places. I was blessed to have a Dad who drove a coach for a living, who was happy for me to tag along with him whenever it was possible. Because of this I got to mix with people from every corner of society (1st, 2nd, 3rd class passengers - all the same to me but in the circle-of-life we all fit into one of those categories). I mixed with devoutly religious people to totally on-the-nail atheists. From fitness freaks, to fatties like myself. People with learning/physical disabilities, to people with terminal illnesses, or long term illnesses that wouldn't kill them but impacted their lives every day, and I learned so much from those people, the most important lesson being that whist we are all the same, we also all completely different. I got to visit stately homes, palaces and old ruins, where I learned more about history than I could have ever been taught in a classroom. I also spent a lot of time visiting Blackpool; that in itself is a whole learning experience. Even now I can't learn about something by reading it in a book (and if I do I've forgotten it a few days later); I have to experience it to understand it. I knew about the first and second world wars from history lessons, but until I stepped on the beaches in Normandy, and walked through a roadside grave on the Somme, I realised I never had a clue about any of it.
I've been bought up with, and surrounded by people who have differing opinions to mine. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to share mine, but I also accept that someone else doesn't agree with me. We are all different, we can't all agree on the same thing. However, no matter who I've disagreed with, no matter what the subject matter, it has always been deemed I am the one who is wrong. Even if they believed me to be right, some of the people would still disagree with me, whereas I am happy to agree sometimes with people that maybe they do have it right and I have been wrong. What I don't like is when someone makes me out to be someone I'm not because my opinion doesn't match theirs, and there are those who will try to make me look stupid or will talk down to me just because their opinion is the right one (in their mind). I've tried to rid myself of most of these people from my life now, however, there are still a few around, and having spent a lifetime dealing with them it's not that easy to get my mind to walk away from it all.
I don't discuss very often (although I have shared on here a few times, in the hope it might help another person) the thoughts that will run through my head at times; dark thoughts which take me into some pretty dark places. I've attempted to end my life before and I failed miserably, which sent me into an even darker spiral because I saw that as everyone who treated me like a nobody, who was/is useless, as being right about me. I've planned 2 more times to end it all, never actually having the courage to go through with it in the end (I guess because I am a useless failure!). I will often have dark times when I'll spend the day going through how to finally succeed in doing it, only to be blessed to wake the next day, or have someone say something nice to me, that makes me think to myself "maybe it's not so bad after all" but I don't talk about it with people when I feel like that (who really does) as I keep the darkness locked away; because I refuse to take anti-depressants (I believe with some people they actually make it worse for them) and I only allow people to see the light side of me (with the occasional red shade where I can do anger quite well) they assume I'm full of light and loving life. Most days this really couldn't be further from the truth. I honestly believe the only thing which keeps me going is knowing how much it must be pissing off some people, and I get a twisted sense of pride in myself when I think about that.
A passing comment the other week really upset me which is stupid because I know it wasn't meant in a detrimental way. I said to someone "let me know if it's not alright for you" and I meant it, to which they were told by another "yes, but only if you do it positively" as if I would only accept them saying something if it was positive. That could not be further removed from me if it tried. Yes, of course I would like it to be constructive but that doesn't mean I don't want, or can't take being criticised. Jeez, how am I to learn if I get it wrong and nobody tells me? Of course there are ways of doing it. One of my college tutors would say to me "you've done it wrong; make it again" and I had no clue how, or where, I'd gone wrong so would make it wrong again only to have her show me up in front of everyone when she would use me as the example to show them 'what not to do'. Thankfully, the other tutor would say to me "you've done that wrong, but, if you move that to there, and take away that you'll get the shape/style you're looking for". Without her I wouldn't be a florist, I wouldn't have my little shop and I wouldn't be blessed to do a job I love. She criticised what I had made but in a constructive way by pointing out where I'd gone wrong and what I needed to do to get it right. I try to be like her in all areas of my life. Might say to someone (if they ask) "ooh no, that jumper doesn't look right" before adding "but team it with a pair of jeans, or swap it for one with a different neckline and you'll be sorted". I'd get "you look like a sack of spuds tied in the middle" (that one was quite common when I was younger) or the one like last night where it might look good if I wasn't fat. Reminds me of a t-shirt my Nan bought me. How's this for giving a young woman about to embark on life a really bad body complex/issue. It said.... "I may be fat, but you're ugly and I can diet"... and to think, some people wonder why I hated the woman.
I'm not looking for sympathy, I don't want people to feel sorry for me; I just want people to maybe think about what they're saying to someone and about how words can really fuck up another persons mind, and life. My Mum would tell me as a kid after I'd taken another brick to my head, or had that same head smashed against a wall "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". My Mum LIED. The wounds, bruises and breakages healed; the words though? They're still very much there and will raise their heads at any opportunity they get. Words can destroy a person and ruin a life.
Choose your words carefully.