How I Became The Family Weirdo

Ever since I was very young I was honest. Now, by that I mean I didn’t know how to lie. I always felt afraid of being caught in a lie, or my voice, eyes, tongue would give me away.

My sister, now she got the, I don’t give a shite what you think I’m getting away with whatever it is I want DNA. She is primo at lying, I mean, you can be looking her right in the eye and if ya don’t know what to look for, well you can miss it, but she is gooooddddd.

I can just hear my sister now, with some quip, as she reads my blog. {sticks my tongue out}

For me it is a matter of pride, my Leo pride, always feeling somehow like I have to be better, more controlled, and honest and sure, or I try, God knows I try.

But seriously, the great seriousness of lying was instilled in both of us at an early age, mom could abide a mistake, but never a lie. A lie was a betrayal, a wound, you wounded her with your lies – that was the sense of it. We all make mistakes, but own up to those mistakes, because you might as well cause if she found out you would pay for your lies with providing you plenty of time to think about your crime.

Grandma & Lexi - 1970s - thetemenosjournal.com
Late 1970’s, Grandma & Lexi

Course, if you were my sister you would just sneak out the window and go next door to Grandmas for hot cocoa and be done with all that. Mom would get a call a half hour later, a voice on the other end would say “I have a guest, when do you want her back’. Mom would freak out, and Grandma’s all, ‘but Janet, she says she is sorry’. Which would make mom spin even more… and you’d hear MOTHER, tell her to get her butt back here now, or else.

Or else didn’t usually happen, and it was generally enough. But man, my sister pushed those boundaries. I didn’t, I was the first, and I was too scared to cross mom, Lex is fearless.

I’ve always been cautious, honest, and quiet, reserved. Lex always had a big group of friends, whereas I had few, kept to myself, daydreaming on the front porch, mesmerized by the light, or something, lost in space, in my head, telling myself stories, scenarios, ever since I was a child. Acting out narratives with my barbies, with homemade outfits my best friends mom made, t-shirts for glamorous dresses with plastic hair bobble belts, all laid out on my dresser, bedrooms, living rooms, with sock chairs and toque sofas and scarves for beds, and a building block coffee table and a building block kitchen.

I suppose it really was the designing I loved, and let’s pretend, creating a story, a narrative, designing the set, the costumes, and my sister would play along and we’d be lost in this for hours, and well into those years when other kids put their barbies away, we played on.

And I guess maybe that’s why I just never fit with the pack, cause I’m the story catcher, the watcher, the photographer, the quiet one, the history nerd.

My honesty, I suppose, over the years I learned that people fear me or they love me, they like me or they stay away from me and some just never really understand me.

Took me a long time to be ok with that, to understand that I am not like the rest and therefore there just will always be those who will fear the other, the left of centres, those that prefer the quieter fringe of things, at the edge. The ones that don’t just follow along, usually.

With age though, I grew weary and anxious, doubting every move, every piece of me that I let pop out, fearful of who that I really was, and what I would look like when I was done with me. Seriously, I can still hear my mothers voice, at a pitch, aghast at my long thick brunette hair in such a way that she said made me look like a Mennonite, and then to be followed with “I wish you’d cut your hair, you would look so much prettier in a bob“.

To which I wanted to say…” well mom, then I wouldn’t be me”. But I didn’t.

Maybe I let her bully me, maybe she was a bit of a bully, opinionated, not mean, just always had this sense of propriety, style, and fear I guess that I’d go too far into my bohemian self and I’d get lost and, I don’t know, maybe just lost. Lonely. Fearing that fey tea towel in the wind she knew me to be, knew that I was, that I longed to be set free, ever since I was just a baby and squiggling in her arms as she tried to get me to let her cuddle me and I was having none of it. I am not cuddly. I don’t cuddle.

I am forthright, an idealist, honest and courageous, the kid who’d stand up to the bully, even when I ended up getting bullied myself, even so. I just plow thru, even through tears, and shaking legs, I soldier on. Always have had that skill, that force of knowing that truth, thy will be done regardless of how we’d like it to be, and as such we can only move on, push through, say our truth and damn the consequence, tell the truth, shame the devil, man the wordy torpedoes I’m known for.

I suppose running through my Canadian family was always this unadulterated Presbyterian like vein, with a certain veneer of High-Anglican gloss, of deep faith, a strong sense of right and wrong, do onto others as you’d have done unto you core of beliefs. Which happened to be one of Grandma’s favourite quotes, said almost as much as reciting the ‘Charge Of The Light Brigade’, another favourite she liked to trot out. She’d had to memorize that in school, and anything she’d had to memorize, well by damn, out from her memory banks it would come to remind you of some value or other she felt you were currently lacking.

You know, we paint these characters that have passed away, in my case my mom and grandma, we carry these ideas of who they were and see them in a certain way, but I do think we do them a disservice by not recognizing their flaws, their judgemental words, perhaps. In that recognition, that honesty, we have the opportunity to grow, to learn, to see it for what it was and not carry it around as some burden.

me in a trunk
baby me – the late 1960s

We do, or I did for a long time, carry around a vision of who I am not by my own assessment, but instead by how other people saw me, and forget to look in the mirror ourselves. Instead, we devalue that person who stares back at us, and maybe for years believed someone else’s fear was our own, and they weren’t, never were.

I and think now, what was I afraid of?

Not seeing the reality staring us right in the face, that person who had been there all along, just waiting to be recognized as of value, and not by anyone else’s standards but our own.

So at some point, I stopped dying my hair, stopped wearing makeup a while back, ‘cept on certain random occasion, when I feel like wearing makeup, but otherwise, I just go very bare-faced, no fuss, simple and straightforward, honest. To hell with what anyone else may think, and still to this day that mindset takes some work, some mindfulness, some reminders, some pep-talks.

But, you know, with my hermit nature, I have to say that it’s rather a lot easier then I expected, as I can now be quite content in whatever tangent, historically or politically I happen to be on, and off into the unknown, by way of Google, I go.

And no mom, this me is not so scary after all, and it’s boho, not Mennonite. {geesh}

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