DISCLAIMER: This is probably more about me than you ever wanted to know. It’s a little personal, I admit, but as a writer I believe it’s important. Feel free to skip this post, but if you want to know about The Mother Nerd, here she is.Another warning? Mature themes ahead.
I love Disney movies.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably already aware of this. What you aren’t likely aware of is why.
When I was a kid, I watched Disney movies all the time. My parents screened what I watched, but most Disney movies made the cut. I grew up with Aurora, Belle, and Mary Poppins, and they are as much a part of my extended family as anyone else. Being home-schooled, I learned to quote the movies verbatim, driving my siblings and parents crazy. Instead of getting songs stuck in my head, like a “normal” person, I would get entire lines of dialogue stuck on repeat in my brain. This still happens to me, though I’ve learned that most people think it’s weird when you start quoting Sleeping Beauty at random times. 🙂
These movies also taught me that kindness and a good singing voice will get me anything I want in life. Turns out, you also have to be pretty, which I never really was. The clothes I wore(once I was dressing myself) were normally very boyish, because I wanted to hide it all. Again, as a home-schooled girl who didn’t really like people, my biggest social gathering place before middle school was my church. We live in a small town of about 15,000: there’s about 2 church for every 5 people in our town. The church we attended was a start-up in 1995, and there were about 10 families involved. Unfortunately, every one of those families had a boy my age, and no other girls. Suffice it to say I grew up around little boys.
This wasn’t easy for shy little me: I was made fun of, talked down to, and basically made a fool of throughout my elementary school career. I would come home in tears, begging my mother not to make me go back, but heading back the next week, with my mother’s reassuring words that “maybe it will be better this week”. She meant well, and I knew it, and so I kept giving it more chances. It lasted through middle school-I was told that I was fat, stupid, and worthless, and that I should “just go away because no one wants you”. Can you imagine how that would hurt an already-awkward 12-year-old girl? Especially from people who I thought were my friends. It really hurt me, and made me basically shut down any friendships that might have occurred later on, because I was afraid of being betrayed and hurt again. In high school, however, all that changed.
In 9th grade, I went down to Florida to attend a Christian speech and drama camp. It was great fun, and I met a lot of…interesting people, to say the least. It was here that I made my first discovery of the opposite sex, and the feelings they cause. His name was Casey.
Now, as I mentioned before, I grew up around guys. They were all mean, nasty, and just…evil. But Casey, he showed a real interest in me, for the first time in my life. He told me he liked me, and I thought he was cute, so I liked him back. Looking back, it was like a precursor to Facebook: he “liked” me, so I “liked” him back. It was very juvenile, but I didn’t know that then. We started hanging out, and ended up breaking the rules-touching guys was a no-no at this strict Christian college, and we held hands.
Nothing else, just hand-holding. But, for me, it was a breakthrough. Here is a way to know that I will always be accepted! If I’m with a guy, I can always be loved, no matter how ugly or fat I get! It was an astonishing thought, and it haunted me for years.
I started to crawl out of my shell little by little: I attended camps, and I started competing in forensics(namely, speech and debate). Yes, I argued my way through high school in a way my parents approved. Talk about turning tables. :p I had a few minor crushes during this time, but nothing ever came of them. And, in reality, I was okay with that. I always knew that one day, my Prince would come.
I’m a naive person by nature. I tend to believe the good in anyone, even if I catch them doing something wrong. Especially when it comes to men. And this is where we get back to Disney. I always expected the man I would fall in love with would be just like Prince Charming: innocent, sweet, and gorgeous. He would treat me like a queen, and we would live happily ever after, and life would be perfect. By the time I stopped believing this, I was heart-deep in my second abusive relationship with a baby on the way. It was a little late then.
Once I got to college, the proverbial shit hit the fan. I went nuts: my family still calls this my “crazy time”. I bounced from guy to guy, dating a total of six different boys in four years. Most of them were sweet, but I was so young that it didn’t really matter. It was when I ran into my first abusive boy that things got really interesting. I fell hard for the idiot, because he gave me my first sexual experience. He also alienated me from my friends, considering any time I wasn’t with him was time spent cheating on him. We had been together a year when he started forcing himself on me. It hurt, and made me feel dirty, like I was being raped, even though it never penetrated. All those things that had been told to me in elementary school were being thrown at me again, only worse, because they were coming from someone who claimed to love me. I still haven’t gotten past the things he said and did to me, and I don’t know that I ever will.
My second relationship was like the first, only worse: we actually did it. And he was smarter: much, much smarter. He knew how to manipulate me so well that he could say two or three words and have me in tears begging for him not to be angry at me anymore. He would listen to me cry, and laugh at how stupid I sounded. It was a bad time for me, but I felt it was my fault: somehow, I was preventing y own happily-ever-after. I understand now, that was what they were feeding me the whole time. That somehow I’m not good enough to be the princess in a fairytale. Took me becoming a mom to realize that I was good enough, but that they certainly were not. And that I’m pretty awesome. I have bad days, sure: relapses into how they made me feel. But overall, I’m learning that I’m pretty cool.
Though I don’t think I’ll ever really forget.
People tell me that one day I’ll move past what I’ve been through, and that life can go on as normal. But I’ve realized something, reading through blogs on WordPress and writing my own, I don’t really want to go on with life. The pain makes me stronger, and more creative. I once heard a quote that said, “The people who write the best and the ones who have known suffering.” Sure, I can forgive and put it behind me, but the minute I forget how it felt is the minute my believability goes away. Because how can you truly connect with your writing if you’ve never experienced the suffering involved? Your story may be set in a different country 300 years in the future, but human suffering spans all centuries, and all galaxies. And if it isn’t believable, no one will ever read it. So I remember my pain, and know it’ll make a great story. 🙂
I still watch Disney movies, though. Not so much because I want a Prince, but because I want to remember a time when princes could still exist. I want to remember how I felt the first time, and when I was young and still a silly romantic. And because I want to believe that there is still a Prince out there, looking to climb my tower.Even though I know princes don’t exist.
So, I watch Disney. Because I want to remember what it was like to be young and free.
And because it’s what I can never be.