After years of therapy I finally decided to switch tapes. You are lovable Susannah, they were just the wrong men. Rejection, after all, is God’s protection. Alright, that last one is a bit flimsy, but threw it in anyway.
Words, as wonderful as they are, can wound…filet you right down the middle like a Dover sole. Parents, like mine were in such pain, they were oblivious to the harm they did to others. My dad drank and checked out every night after 5. He’d sit in his black leather BarcaLounger slugging Schlitz till his pupils took flight.
My mother would taunt him with insults as he got drunker and drunker making him flip off his hearing aid so she’d be like TV without sound. He’d whisper to me, “Shrimp (my nickname) I’m off the air.” (for the record, at nine I was 5’8)
She would start drinking while she cooked, quite often burning her roast or lasagna she’d forget was in the oven. Suddenly the house smelled like a barbecue pit, or Sicily, depending on the menu.
They weren’t happy drunks which was part of the problem. All their anger and unhappiness came out the minute the ice hit the glass. My dad, after supper, would switch to Seagrams and soda on the rocks, while my mother swigged wine my grandfather made in the basement. Nothing like having your own still that’s walking distance.
But that’s when the verbal guns came out.
“Can’t you do anything right Susannah? How hard is it to sweep a floor?”
“Did you pick up your room like I told you to? No wonder you have no friends.”
“Where did I get you from anyway? If I didn’t have all these veins I’d think you were adopted.”
“You’re such an unlovable kid.”
See, this is why I don’t need a tattoo. Look at the ones I have.
When my last long-term lover stepped out with one of his employees right in front of me, I blamed myself. We were in Florida where she lived and went everywhere with us, like gum on my shoe. You had to be brain dead not to know what was going on, a fact he still denies. I heard my mother’s voice…see, what did I tell ya? You’re just plain unlovable.
One thing I knew about myself was I was thoughtful and generous, much more than my parents or boyfriend. Even if I was unlovable, I was a supremely nice girl.
One night me and my ex were walking to his house when I stopped at a store to get berries for his morning cereal. He screamed causing people to actually turn around, “I am so fucking sick of you being so FUCKING nice.”
I went to his place, packed my things murmuring to my mother in the netherworld…that’s the last time anyone ever abuses me again, cause you know what Mom, I am lovable and he’s just one more creep you made me think I wasn’t worthy of.
I started to like myself after that.