A Sudden Thought

 

I have been drowning in the middle of the ocean, probably my entire life and no one has been willing nor available to throw me a raft.

This came to me while thinking of a scene in my life that occurs to me often.

I was working at a privately owned drug store about 45 minutes away from home. I still lived at home with my parents. I took the job for the pay, even though it was in an area I wasn’t familiar with.

It snowed a lot that winter and each time it did, the roads were scary, slippery and dangerous.  But I made every effort to get to work each time, even though I would’ve been quite justified to stay home.

I was terrified to get fired. My boss was the kind who made it obvious that it was not OK to be late. And so calling out for snow made me afraid. After all, just because it was bad on the little back road I lived on, didn’t mean it was bad out there on the main roads. I felt obligated to get there.

One particularly bad morning, I went outside to clear off my car after I’d gotten ready for work. Bundled up in winter gear, I grabbed a shovel and ice breaker from the garage. The snow on my car had hardened to ice.

It didn’t occur to me to start the car to get it warmed up, but I couldn’t open the door anyway. Both of them were frozen shut. I remember the distress and panic I felt about being late. I can remember so well my body tightening with the stress and fear of getting that car to a point that I could get in, start it up and drive it to work.

No one came to help. Not anyone from my family came to help me clean off my car, not a single neighbor came out to tell the naive young me, that if I can get the door open, I can get in and start it up, get the heat and defroster running, then the ice and snow will melt faster.

No one tried to stop me. No one said, the roads are too bad, please don’t drive to work.

I swung the ice breaker, teeth clenched, face red, to chip away at the snow and ice. I had to hurry. I would be late and my boss would be mad.   And if he fired me, my mother would be angry and disappointed too.

I didn’t know that it circled back to my mother at the time, but throughout the years of looking back into my past, I have come to understand this.

I tracked this back to a time when I’d been let go from a job for reasons I thought were not fair. My mother picked me up that day and I told her what happened and the reason they gave me for letting me go.  The look of disappointment in her eyes and on her face crushed me. She only cared that her daughter had failed, not that I was sad about losing a job or that I felt treated unfairly.

I know now that the underlying reason I made a point to get to any job let alone that one almost an hour away, was because I couldn’t bear my mother’s disappointment in me. I couldn’t bear to be the disappointment I already felt that I was.

The memory of chipping away at the ice on my car is a composite of a few different incidents that winter, since we got a lot of snow that year.  One particular morning, I got stuck on a main, four lane highway that I decided to take, thinking that would be the better option. It was a mess.

Somehow I got to a phone and called a friend who had a Jeep type of vehicle. This was before cell phones and I do not remember where I called from. But she came out and got me, took me to work and then drove away.

As I walked through the door of the drug store, I was told they were getting ready to close the store.

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8 thoughts on “A Sudden Thought

  1. No one coming out to help you. Yes, that would be my family, too. And you were probably pretty young, if you were still living at home. All the more reason for someone who cared to go out and help you.

    My husband and I have made a lot of mistakes as parents. We both have been diagnosed with PTSD, which makes it even more challenging to be a good parent. However, thanks to a lot of therapy on both of our parts, and a lot of healing, we are way better than we used to be. (If only we could go back in time and raise our now adult children all over again, knowing what we know now!!)

    This is what my husband and I did 2 years ago. It rarely snows or gets icy here, but on the night of Thanksgiving, 2015, my husband’s daughter, who had moved in with us earlier that year, needed to be at her job by 4 a.m. that Black Friday, because she was working in a retail store at the time. Her job was 20 miles away.

    When my husband’s daughter went out to her car, she found the car, and the entire world, encased in ice. Knowing that I was up getting ready, as I planned to ride to town with her to do some early shopping, she called me on my cell phone in tears, not knowing what to do.

    I woke my husband up and after throwing on our coats, we slipped and slid across the icy ground out to the car to help her. It was about 3 o’clock in the morning and bitterly cold in the wind. My husband’s and I were in our 60s — still are — and his daughter was 43. When he heard her crying, my husband said “Stop crying, Pumpkin, or your face will freeze!” Which made her laugh.

    Amazingly, she got to work on time.

    Neither of my parents would have done such a thing for me! But amazingly, I find that when I do something like this for one of my kids or stepkids, or when I do it for someone else, I feel like another piece of the broken little Linda is healing! Even though that’s never my motive for doing these things, it just seems to work that way.

    My stepdaughter did not always have a father like that. Long before I met him, long before he got treatment for his PTSD, my husband was so mean to her mom, his first wife, that she took their 2 kids and left the east coast for the west coast. My stepdaughter was 11 then, I believe. She did not see her dad again until she was in her late twenties. Meanwhile, because her mom had so many issues, drugging and drinking to numb her pain that went all the way back to when she grew up in foster care, my stepdaughter was emancipated at age 14. Working, going to school, and taking care of her little brother. Then at 19 she married a jerk.

    When she came to live with us 2 years ago, there was a LOT that needed healing. Watching that healing happen, while doing what I can to facilitate that, is magical!!

    One thing I have learned: it is never too late to heal. It is never too late to have a better life. Just as long as you never, never, never permanently give up on yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love that your husband called her “Pumpkin.” The whole story was tear inducing but that really got me.

      At that time I was in my 20s. I see that now as young. I lived with them though til I was in my early 30s. I’m embarrassed to admit that but I also think, knowing what I know now I had a case of learned helplessness (still do) and believed that I would never be able to make it on my own.

      The memory I wrote about in the post is a particularly sad memory because in addition to feeling left out in the cold, quite literally, to fend for myself those mornings, my heart goes out to my younger self and I get so frustrated that I had been such a door mat for so long. That I didn’t have the strength, the knowledge or the understanding to say, “You know what? Screw these people. I’m not putting up with bosses like this. Let my mother be disappointed, she dropped the ball on me and left to teach me things she should have. And how dare my father not be out here helping me.”

      And then called work and told them I was not about to drive in the mess that was all over the roads.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree! We wanted my stepdaughter to call off that day, but she wouldn’t do it. She had only been working there, at the base exchange store on a military base, for about a month, and she was afraid to call off. As it turned out, when she got to work, her boss told her she should have called off.

        I know about the pumpkin, it makes me tear up, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There is so much we have to learn in this painful journey of life. Sadly so many of us dont get what we needed and it takes so long to see how hard we tried. My heart goes out to you. They did their best but no way was it good enough. ❤

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  3. So this is literally my today. It will probably be a post at some point, now that you’ve made me think about it this way. My partner and I are traveling where sunset is very early and it’s not recommended to be on snowy roads after dark. We ran into a white knuckle patch of road that was not clear like the road guides said and we slid just enough on a patch of ice to get stuck. We got out and got to our destination. Because we were late, we had concerned texts from partner’s mom going “you usually check in by now. Are you okay driving after dark?” My mom…had basically made me cry in an airport on Christmas Eve and is one of many reasons in my past I just out of Christmas and go to foreign countries. We don’t live anywhere near enough his parents could help us out of a snow bank, but at least they noticed our absence when we got stuck in one overseas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so fucking sick of no one helping. Like really. Get molested? Eh we don’t care. Get a muscle disease? Eh. We don’t care. Have my daughter get sick. Eh. We don’t care. I mean really. Obviously THEY DON”T CARE PERIOD. As I read this , what you wrote i just got so pissed at myself, not your fault obviously! That I just let so many people in my family hurt me over and over and over again and although they have done nothin to help me, most people around me do nothin to help me even seein how i am struggling i still am nice. I still am friendly. I still give chances. Why am i like this? I don’t know. Then i go check and see what they are doing in their lives. And they are obviously living their lives with no two shits about me so why do i care. Omg. I’ve gone a little out of control on your blog. But i get it. I so get it. And i’m so sorry that no one helped you with your car and that no one was there for you when they should have been.

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    • Bethany, I’m sorry this got to you so much. I know it’s not my fault, but still. I know what it’s like to get (as they say) triggered by something written by someone else.

      I understand about getting pissed off at yourself/myself too. I get sad too for myself when I think of certain events and wish so much I could go back and do it over knowing exactly what I know now and even know it’s a redo. All the shit I put myself through for others or for some nowhere job for a thankless boss.

      I could go on but I’ll stop there. This could turn into a post long comment and I’d rather just write a post.

      Hugs. ❤

      Like

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