Spontaneous Cringe Attack #2:

The entirety of my first “proper” relationship. Holy fuck, does it make me cringe to remember any part of it. This was his first relationship too, so we were novices with good intentions and very rough abilities, but we made it work for a while.

Interestingly, these aren’t all regretful cringes. I sometimes cringe about the reactions we would receive from others, especially his family (they didn’t like me. That’s fair enough, but they didn’t have to hate me so much…). Sometimes, my family would make us cringe, and we had a lot of enemies due to the nature of our relationship. I now see that I was wrong to form a relationship with him, but I felt justified at the time. That’s another post for another day, as it contains some things I still feel weird for thinking about, let alone writing or talking about it. Anyway, here are a few highlights:

  • On one of my birthdays, I received a large number of small gifts from someone I didn’t know very well, despite living in the same house. I thanked her, but I saw the gifts for what they were – a weird attempt to throw shit at a wall and see how much of it stuck, and a failed attempt to address a conflict we had (the birthday card was filled with weird and vague lies, none of which were linked to my actual birthday). I still have one of those small gifts, but that’s beside the point. When my BFATT (BoyFriend At The Time – I tire of using the term “ex” and am trying something new) saw these gifts, he flipped his shit. He got very angry at the gift-giver, and me. He eventually admitted that he was insecure about his gift, which was homemade. I assured him that I’d far rather have a genuine homemade gift than many disingenuous store-bought ones, but he kept flipping out. I understood his insecurity but didn’t understand his need to blame me for it. He called me a fakeĀ  cunt for “being so popular”, and I’ll never forget that. These days, anyone who gives me shit for the limited social success I have gets taken out with the trash, with no explanation. Despite the fact that I didn’t consider the initial gift-giver as a true friend, I still resented how the BFATT resented me for being loved or even liked by anyone but him. Happy birthday, Ilene!
  • We used to make out in public. All the damned time. Whichever few friends we had left were either grossed the fuck out, or learned to pretend they were OK with it. Some still maintain that they were happy for us and thought we were cute, but c’mon guys. A messy stoner bogan (admittedly with a pretty top-notch ass) sucking on an extremely awkward emo/hipster’s face on the bus is not cute. It’s fucking inconsiderate. We did a lot of inconsiderate things because our heads were way too far up each others’ asses (read: young love. Yes, I know. Eew).
  • Our arguments were just as public. The disagreements took a while to start, but we ended up antagonising each other a lot in the final year or so (a bit over three years in total), and it would leave us both in quite a state. He’d wake up with a ridiculous amount of missed calls, and I’d spend the following day giving him shit for that. I took him for granted, and would throw a tantrum if something involving us didn’t go as planned. Did I really need to call him, knowing he wouldn’t pick up, knowing that I’d use it as ammunition in a future argument, thus continuing a new mutated form of the old disagreement? No. Fuck no. I’m shuddering as I type.
  • He took me for granted too. I am quite generous with my means, be they many or few. At the time, I was the only person I knew of who had moved out of home while still attending school and holding down a part-time job. I struggled a lot, but still managed to make things work most of the time. Unfortunately, the ol’ BFATT didn’t have many female role models in his life, and treated me sort of like I was his mother. Maybe that’s wrong to say, but I felt like he treated me like how he treated her. I didn’t like his mother, but I also wasn’t a big fan of his casual disrespect towards her (or the idealisation of his largely absent father, but that really isn’t my place to elaborate upon) and his unwillingness to see her as more than just a means of getting what he wanted. He’d flash his cash & cool shoes or whatever, and still call his mother a dumb bitch. And I’d still end up paying for dinner, drinks, the movies, weed (we loved to get high, and it was cute. Weirdly, it’s the only part of the relationship that I truly miss – he was a great stoner buddy), whatever he thought we needed to have a great time, I always footed the bill. As long as he appreciated it and respected me, I didn’t mind. Sadly, he dropped the ball with that one, and I played along for far too long. I still feel really foolish for skipping meals just so we could go out somewhere, and have him still complain about my shitty choice of activity despite also wanting to do it at first.
  • I still remember that one time he wrote “Sucka Bitch” on my favourite pair of sunglasses with a permanent marker he’d probably shoplifted. They weren’t real Ray Bans, but he didn’t know that, the fucker. Not cringing yet? Well, it was at one of the outside front tables of a cafe I’m still too ashamed to return to. Friends were there, and we were all thinking, “What the fuck, dude? Why’d ya do that & how’d nobody notice?” He swore it was a joke that I simply didn’t understand, and I refused to drop the matter. I then threatened to steal his Nintendo DS (ahahahaha, that shit just made me feel a bit old) and write “Cheese Dick” on it. I actually got up and chased him, screaming, “Sucka bitch, huh? Huh?! Suck that, bitch! Fuck you, fuck off!” I repeatedly told him to fuck off, whilst chasing him. Boy, I’m wincing now. Jiggling in my seat.
  • Pet names. We had many pet names for each other, mostly made-up gibberish words. We basically had our own language, which was a weird fusion of LOLcat/memeburger stuff, wanna-be gangster shit, and song lyrics that we liked. We really enjoyed the exclusive two-person club we had going, and this was reflected in how we spoke to each other sometimes. I randomly remember some of these made-up words and pause for a moment, and try really hard not to call myself a freak for liking that weird lingo we had. I think it made us feel like we were special and that we belonged somewhere, but it still makes me cringe so much that I don’t feel OK with citing any examples. I simply raise an eyebrow and stare into the distance for a very long time. I’ve been told that I look like I’ve just returned from war by someone who saw me react like that. It’s weird, man.
  • I hate the way we broke up. Or rather, I broke it off with him, but he still hung around for a bit, somewhat hoping we would get back together. I led him on by being unwilling to let go at first, but I eventually and suddenly went super cold on him. “Gimme my shit back, and I’ll give you yours. Wait, this isn’t all my shit, you asshole!” I slammed a sliding door, and glared at him through the glass. He looked like he was about to cry, but didn’t. He was trying to produce fake tears and I walked away, making sure my ass looked good as I did so (I look good in yoga pants. I know this for a fact). No matter how mature I seem to feel sometimes, I still get shitty about that missing controller and that Street Fighter 2 Collection. I have to put on tight pants just to feel better.


I cringe about him and us, but if I had to pick a BFATT to be trapped on an island with, it’d probably be him. Partly because the other BFATTs are simply far worse people than he was (I can’t claim to know him these days, but I assume he still means well), but partly because he really wasn’t such a bad guy. He had a rather unique way of thinking and even though I sometimes cursed that, I really liked it most of the time. Was he inexperienced? Yes. A little disrespectful? Yes. A bit irresponsible? Yes. But so was I. And that’s where the real cringe lies. Despite all he did to hurt me, intentionally or accidentally, in my mind, I feel I was very bad to someone who was never all that bad. And I never apologised. That moment has long passed.

Ugh, cringe. I suck.

Unboxing Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day was celebrated yesterday by many people. I try to think of those people instead of myself, because I seem to have some issues surrounding motherhood, my mother, and the way she chose to raise me and my brother, and how she was towards our father. That’s putting it very mildly.

I try not to think of those particular issues all year round, and I fail constantly. I know it has affected me and how I perceive and behave towards people, mainly women, a lot of whom are older than I am and who hold some sort of position of importance. It’s not fair to them or me, and it frustrates me. When I get that frustrated, I generally shut off or distract myself. Yesterday I had that luxury because I’m surrounded by loved ones who are very close to my heart, but now of course, in the dead of night, I’m picking that scab. I’m going to stick a (preferably gloved) hand into that cobwebbed baggage. I’m ripping that box open because I can’t seem to help myself, even though I swore I wouldn’t. Anyway, I have a vague hope that I’ll find something good I may have previously dismissed. Maybe I’ll cover my nose just in case. I have a sensitive gag reflex and it’s probably about to get a bit gross up in here.

This is the Boxing Day of Mother’s Day, and I have some serious leftovers.

Thank you Mum, for spending so long giving birth to me. I know the whole story surrounding it; how many hours (way too many, Jesus Christ), how stressful it was to deal with professionals who you felt didn’t truly understand you, and how close you came to dying and leaving Dad alone to raise me. I know how uncomfortable pregnancy was for you, and looking back, I feel you may have dealt with postpartum depression on some level. I will never dismiss you when you want to talk about this, because I feel it may comfort us both. Whenever I imagine myself in your position, I find it hard to breathe. I imagine how hard it was for you to breathe. Or move. Or stay still. Or anything, really.
Sadly though, I am now left with an intense fear of pregnancy and childbirth. I know that many women survive childbirth every single day, and many go on to get pregnant again and it doesn’t kill them, but I feel that I’d either die or end up wishing I had died. I’m too scared of things not going right that I sometimes feel I’d rather die. Yes, I know. That’s fucked.

The above point brings me to control issues and the need to either assert dominance by any means necessary or completely disconnect from the situation. Mum, you have some serious control issues, by which I am repulsed when I sometimes see them in myself. While I am grateful for the fact that you did what you could, I still can’t get past some of the things you did for the sole purpose of making sure you always had the upper hand. I know I was a handful, but I was born innocent and unsuspecting as we all are. At times, I felt that you thought I came in as some kind of opponent. And I grew to see you as a weird sort of loving villain whose moods were like the weather. Sometimes quite nice, but mostly far too cold, even getting so bad as to destroy me and my surroundings. I would get excited when I saw the sunlight but I could never get used to the nice weather, because that shit could flip on a dime. I can’t seem to forget how much it hurt to see the sun shine on everyone but me sometimes; honestly, that really hurt me the most. I saw you loving them and not me, and I would question why I’m so unlovable and what I did to deserve your hate. Don’t tell me it wasn’t hate. I may not know a lot about love, but I definitely know what hate is.

Speaking of hate, I remember hating you for inflicting Mormonism on us all. I no longer do, but I held some bitter hate in every fibre of my being towards you for not only bringing those delusions into our lives, but also how strict you were in enforcing your favourite rules from your favourite book. I wanted to burn that thing so many times; thank God you beat enough of the fear of Hell into me to keep me from doing it. While New Zealand’s watered-down LDS stuff hardly holds a candle to some of the truly vile things happening in other places in the name of Joseph Smith, you still knew how to throw the book at us. Sometimes literally.

Which brings me to my least favourite part – the abuse. Mum, how did you bring yourself to do some of those things and still sleep at night? I don’t even know where to begin with that, but here goes. I understand that you were abused on multiple levels while growing up, but what type of legacy is that to pass on to David and me? While your strict nature yielded some good results in the short term, I dare say in the long term, you damaged us so badly that I feel it is permanent and I lose hope sometimes. I lose hope for us as a family and for myself and it is sometimes very hard for me to want to face the next day. I hold it together most of the time, but I often fear that I’ll never be OK. My biggest nightmare is to find that none of my adult life really happened and I was just in a coma from the last beating you gave me for giggling about something in the back seat of the car or something equally minor. If I woke up as a child in that environment again, I’d kill myself. Or maybe you, and then myself. The physical injuries and the mind games scared me that much.

You were so shitty to Dad too. I witnessed on several occasions your unrelenting emasculation tactics and general disregard for him and how he felt about things. You would actively encourage David and me to take sides in your disagreements, and I always seemed to take the wrong side at first (i.e. not yours) until I learned it was easier to pretend I agreed with you. I let Dad down in the name of self-preservation, and I still feel so much guilt about that. My childhood seemed to be all about the fact that we all couldn’t get along with each other, and that fucking burns me. There was no effective communication in that house unless someone outside the family was around, because you’d never risk looking bad in front of people you actually respected… except sometimes you did. People knew how you treated us and they let it happen. Actually, fuck that. I’m not going there right now, because this is about you. You always liked it best when things were all about you. Oh yes, I’m still extremely fucking pissed off about that shit.

And the best part? I know this won’t mean anything if I say it to your face. I’ve already tried so many times, only to have you (and sometimes Dad) laugh in my face. Face-to-face between us is not the way to go considering how angry I can still get and how good you are at avoiding accountability. I had to break the cycle years ago by getting out from under you at a relatively early age, and I still wish I did so sooner than that. We all know I tried; all of my running away from home, trying to get you to kick me out (and sometimes temporarily succeeding), gradually giving up on making excuses for you and the bruises and cuts on my body and the behaviour I exhibited in response, notifying the police when I finally realised that was something I could do (and not just something you could do to me out of spite), those were all ways I cried for help from others. None of it worked, so I made a plan. And like you, when I make a plan, I will achieve my goal or die trying. I was finally prepared to die trying to get away from you.

Thing is, I got away and lived. I’m alive and I’m not sure what that means. I think about how I would be as a mother, and I panic. I’m sure you never meant to do anything bad, but you did. So like the earlier nightmare about waking up again as a child in our family home, I also have nightmares about being a terrible and evil mother. Sure, I can be a very considerate and caring person, but do I really have what it would take to be a good mother to a child? I don’t think so. Whenever I wistfully imagine myself as a kind and loving mother in the future, I remember the example you set and I deem myself not worthy of the privilege that you abused. Twice. I have too many hang-ups to even fathom being a decent role model and good provider to anyone you could call a grandchild. My child would deserve a better family than you, Dad, David and me. This means that while I don’t trust myself, I don’t trust you either. If I ever gave my child a savage beating because of my own fucked-up brain, or casually ignored them when I knew they would need my reassurance, I’d want to die. No baby deserves a shitty mother. Ever.

I set out to thank you, but this all turned out quite differently. I tried back then and I try now to remember the nice weather, but the storms took so much from me that my own survival is somewhat unbelievable. Fortunate, but still painful. I still want to speak to you sometimes, but a vague and deep-seated fear stops me. I find myself feeling tired for days after spending time with you or even talking with you on the phone. I find myself instantly thrust back into my many childhood roles:

  • Diplomat – I developed a keen sense for tension, and an intense need to resolve it before anyone got (too) hurt. I am very good with my words and jokes when I want to be. This is good for me now, but it was stressful for me as a child. I love that I am somewhat confident in the English language, but I got to this point through some gnarly shit, for want of better words. I’m also quite good with irony, but not always with subtlety. Whatever. That’s fine. Sentence fragment; consider revising. At best, I was impressing you and showing some sort of value. At worst, I was lying my little head off in order to avoid trouble.
  • Aggressor – When I got to a certain point, I realised that I exceeded you in some ways and I can admit that I enjoyed putting you in your place when I could. While I feared you, I grew to disrespect and therefore disobey you, sometimes in very spectacular ways. You wanted supremacy, I wanted justice. I wanted a mother, you wanted a rival you could crush. If I wanted to, it’d be very easy for me to win that sort of thing now. I sometimes feel that you wish I’d fuck you up just so you could complain long and hard about it to whomever you see fit, crying all the while about how I was always so horrible, right from the beginning.
  • Victim – The angry bitterness sometimes gives way to extreme self-pity, and I find myself doing the stupidest things to alleviate that kind of sorrow. Rebellion, addiction, violent outbursts, terrible communication, denial – all of it’s on the menu, served by me on a silver platter with one hand, playing the world’s smallest violin with the other hand. I become the small child I was, but with all my adult abilities to let you know how hurt I truly was, and all I can do is cry and go on about how unfair it all was and still is, forever hinting at your role as aggressor as I die a soap-opera death, again and again.

I can’t keep going on this carousel of emotions and still feel OK with myself. That’s a circuit that wears me down with every cycle, and I’m already dealing with enough without having to factor that in as well. I tried for a while, and we got nowhere. My weather can be just as unpredictable as yours now, except it now rains on me too.
Unless your weather was raining on you from the very beginning? That said, all I can offer you is a towel. I made my own umbrella out of what you threw away and it’s not my fault that I make it look good sometimes. I wish I could thank you for who I am and all I have, but none of it is because of you. It’s all in spite of you. You swear you did your best and horribly enough, that might actually be true. Sadly, knowing this, I can’t bring myself to thank you like how I wanted to earlier.

Happy Mother’s Day.