Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Memories & Margaret Cho

As a kid, my favorite memory of watching Margaret Cho on tv, doing her standup comedy, was the story of her mom standing outside at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, yelling for the "keeeeeeeds" to get up and get dressed so they could go to "Mongomonery War".
I have absolutely no idea why or how that is my primary and only association of Margaret Cho, but that's just how my brain works sometimes. It's funny stuff, and my cognitive function grabbed THAT snippet and kept it. My brain is weird, and talking to my younger sister, it's a genetic mishap, and I got the lucky end of the weird stick.
Then again, she has had her own challenges, issues, and interactions that have colored her perspective on things. We both will have a different idea of the same event, and we lived in the same house, relegated to the same renovated sleeping porch turned into two 8x10 cells, a bathroom and laundry room. I'll have to tell you about Dad's construction later. This is about something completely different. We spent time at a Catholic school. After my initial culture shock of about the first 3/4 of my first year there for 6th grade, I had a couple AHA! moments and things got better for me. They never got better for my sister from 4th grade till she finally left after 7th grade. I never knew. Or I was just that obtuse and never paid attention. It never occurred to me to ask anything. If I'd known even an inkling of the crap people did to my sister, I would've tried to do something about it. I'm an Aquarius, my sense of justice is resolute. But I was unaware of the things my sister was subjected to till we were adults.
My childhood was not stellar. Dad worked hard, Mom stayed home to raise us. But mom had her own issues that never got resolved. Despite the 20 year age gap, the two of them had enough crap swept under rugs, that there was a LOT of carpet in their lives. So they lacked the tools and means to deal with the crap their kids got from other people. I didn't know my mom was molested until my aunt told me during the week she was here for mom's funeral. That explained a few things. I am thankful my aunt shared her view of my mother, because it truly helped me get in my mom's head enough to understand why she did things the way she had. As a child, I had been molested, and when I told my mother, she literally ran away from me. I had unwittingly shoved a sword into her own festering wound, and she couldn't handle it. Top it with the belief she was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, physically and emotionally abused by her parents (till the day her mother died in 1994 at that) and add in a car accident that toppled her around inside a 15 passenger van in the later 1980s, and you have a mother who honestly was not fully right in the head. So, in the end, we found ourselves learning about life from neighbors, parents of friends, enemies, strangers, and everywhere else those lessons presented themselves to us. The fact that the younger 3 kids (I jokingly call the 2nd litter) are able to cook creatively with flavor, and that we don't just take my very Irish grandmother's approach and just boil everything - is AMAZING. I still have issues with overcooking and scorching though.
All through elementary school, I was called names. I really was weird by their perspective. I honestly was poor. Mom smoked (ugh), and we often came home to find a garbage bag of clothes on the doorstep. But my oblivion prevented me from seeing what I lacked fiscally. It didn't prevent my classmates from trying to make sure I knew what I was missing though. I thankfully was not bullied physically, and I think my oblivion is what spared me a lot of what others tried to inflict on me. I was still hurt by people, and the advice I'd been given never helped me. Looking back, I'm glad to have gotten away from that same circle of kids and that I got to go somewhere new for 6th grade. I was just sucktacularly prepared for any of the culture shock. It did teach me how to adapt to changes. I was around adults almost exclusively as a kid, so I didn't know how to act around other kids. They didn't know how to relate to me either. Even now, most of my friends are older than I am. I finally caught on to the way it worked after several months of struggle. And like most everything I do, once I get the hang of it, I have it, and I flourish (ie: knitting, crocheting, cooking). Then I went back to public school, and my past met me at the door. I'd changed, but no one else wanted to see that. My advantage was that I was stronger because I'd learned how to adapt, and was confident because the academics had become much easier for me after 3 years of Catholic school. I got through the challenges of that year, even begging my mother NOT to intervene and just let me handle it, because she would've just made things worse. I'd learned to read people, and I'd learned how to utilize the grapevine to my advantage. I preferred to hang out with the guys because they were not entirely up to catty BS like 99% of the girls were. Then as high school progressed I still had jerks in my day, but I wasn't as affected by them. Or so I thought. I had no idea of the true extent of my wounds. And I probably still don't, nor do I want to any more.
Over the years I'd been torn down by people trying to make themselves look, feel or sound better. Deep down, I knew I could do more, be more, and take Auntie Mame's advice and LIVE more. I just didn't know how to take a leap of faith.

No comments: