Thursday, July 29, 2010

In A More Innocent Time

First of all, I'm listening to one of my favorite CD's (Billie Holiday --- Greatest Hits) and watching the Late Late Show with Craig Furguson with the sound turned off. His first guest is Princess Leah herself, Carry Fisher! If you haven't seen her since the original film, where she made every young boy (and girl?) fall in love with her, you wouldn't recognize her. First of all, she has unavoidably grown old, but she has also increased in girth by several fold. Still, she seems to have maintained a great personality and wonderful sense of humor in spite of it all, and doesn't seem to be at all insecure about her weight. Would that we could all be so self confident.

Self confidence! Why is it so hard to cling to at times. Our own lovely Chrissie blogged yesterday of her bout with this insidious demon, as what should have been a wonderful time with her daughter, turned out to be an exercise in fear and loathing. Bless you sweetie! I hope you never have to suffer through anxiety like that ever again.

And now, on to innocence:

It must have been 1953. We had just moved to Germany, and I was no more than four or five years old. It was nap time, and I was in my bedroom on the second floor of a German house that had been confiscated by the allies from a Nazi official. Our family had been assigned this house to live in, until a US military housing unit became available to us.

Lying there in that hazy state of being half asleep and half awake, my mind began to drift off to pleasant thoughts. This time my thoughts centered around a particularly pretty woman I remembered from Sunday school at the US Army Chapel in Bremerhaven. I began to fantasize that I was her little girl, and she had just dressed me in a very pretty little girl's dress, and black patent Mary Janes, with little white ankle socks. Hand in hand we cheerfully walked up to the chapel for Sunday services. These pleasant thoughts also had another effect. My little member began to stiffen and feel uncomfortable. I had no idea what this was all about, but since I was lying on my stomach, my natural inclination was to place my hands beneath me and gently rock back and forth. It felt good.

For some reason, my mother who was always an overly suspicious woman, decided to sneak up the stairs and spy on me. As she got to my room, she poked her head through the doorway, and saw me gently rocking to and fro on my hands. In her usual neurotic fashion, she completely misread the situation and thought I had to pee, but was just too lazy to get up and go to the bathroom. Instantly she became furious with me, and started screaming! She ordered me to get up and go to the bathroom, where she stood over me and demanded that I pee. Of course I didn't have to pee, and therefore I couldn't. I kept telling her that I didn't have to pee, but she refused to believe me, and kept ordering me to pee, until she realized her commands were futile. Of course I was traumatized by all of this. One minute I was in in a state of bliss, and the next I was being brow beaten, and made to feel ashamed of my self. That incident scarred me for life. To this day I am what is known as pee shy. I cannot pee, if anyone is within earshot of me, let alone in my immediate presence, and I am convinced that incident is what caused it.

How can a mother be so insensitive to the emotions of her children, you might ask. Well, if she has a narcissistic personality, as my mother did, and still does to this day by the way, its quite easy, because all she ever thinks about is herself. Even when she is ostensibly thinking about you, she is in reality thinking about how wonderful she is to be thinking about you.

I used to fear her, but now I just pity her. I still love her after a fashion. She is my mother after all, but the respect that I once had for her, born out my fear of her, has completely vanished. Today, in my mind she is the the little girl, and I am the adult, and I am far kinder to her, than she ever was to me.

How about a little Blue Eyes, for your listening pleasure:

Melissa XX


Halle said...

It may be hard for some of the young sisters to believe how primitive and repressive life could be growing up in the 1950's.

If only there were ways to release ourselves from the grip of the past, but no. We need to do the only thing we can, as you have, learn and try to get on with life.

My father was the one who could turn every conversation into one about him. Maybe that is how I first learned to think of others and their feelings as I tried to be as little like him as possible.

Bless you for such an honest post.

Lucy Melford said...

I always found it difficult and embarrassing going to the loo, too. I hope that wasn't based on an experience similar to your own, Melissa! That was awful. (I wouldn't know, because I'd have blocked out all traumas in my customary manner)


Veronica said...

There actually are ways to release ourselves from the grip of the past, if time alone doesn't do it. It would take some kind of cognitive behavioural therapy for desensitization. Any behaviour that's learned (however it's learned, even traumatically) can be unlearned.

Sorry for bad memories, Melissa. I hope you have good ones to hold onto as well.

Rachel said...

Melissa, you are far from alone in your shy-bladder syndrome (paruresis). It effects a lot more people than you might think. I guess it's just something people don't like to talk about even with friends.

I'm afraid for me it is much the same. If anyone comes in while I'm sitting trying to pee then its back on with the pants and off for a walk around the block hoping waiting for them to go away. So many nights out with friends in busy pubs I have found myself making excuses and having to go home because I knew it was the only place I could get relief for my aching bladder.

There is a UK web site that might offer some advice.

UK Paruresis Trust

Rachel XXX

Stace said...

That sounds terrible, as Veronica said I hope you have good memories as well.


Anonymous said...

I can't say I'm potty shy, but I usually avoid those urinals that are set very low. I was told those are for Texans only. I'm a native Texan but not being "well endowed", I never needed one of

Anonymous said...

That is one of Frank's best. Have you ever listened particularly to the background accompaniment and noticed how much it adds to his songs. He was always very fussy about that.
Ohhhh, I have the TV music channel on now and Frank is singing 'Three Coins in a Fountain", one of my very favorites.
Yes, the 50's were a special time period. I spent thr first 5 years in the USAF, half ef those in the Pacific (Korean War) and then came home to a really different world!
Ah, memories!