Ever since I was young, I have worried about being a bad person.
I can trace this niggling feeling back to my school days, when I zoned out in church instead of paying attention to the long-winded sermon, or forgot to use my napkin at a fancy restaurant. I was constantly doing something that was deemed bad by somebody, and all I was doing was being my free-spirited, flaky self.
I didn’t do well in school, not that I couldn’t have, but because I couldn’t be bothered. There were always books to read, and T.V. shows to watch. I passed my classes without even trying, though, skimming along on a high C and the occasional B-.
Eh, throw a D+ in there, too.
My parents were not happy with my grades and lack of ambition, but not as much as my uncle was, who would pay us kids for only the A’s and B’s. (My brother always made out better than I did.) I was scared to show my uncle my report cards, and I always got a talkin’ to.
Didn’t I want to be a smart girl and go to college?
My interest in college was nil. Bad girl.
The older I got, the chubbier I got. My uncle seemed to take it personally that I didn’t end up blonde and beautiful like his own daughters did.
I can still hear him now….my goodness, didn’t I want to be skinny so I could be a cheerleader and have a football player as a boyfriend?
Gimme an F!!!
That obvious comment of disapproval has stayed with me for close to 30 years.
I never went to college. I never did get skinny. He caught my brother and I with cigarettes hanging out of our mouths, the F word lingering on our tongues. He said he wasn’t surprised that we had turned out to be just like our mother, uncouth and defiant.
That was a huge compliment, now that I think of it.
I think the last straw was when I had a child out-of-wedlock. Growing up Catholic, this was a big no-no. My uncle has never tried to get to know his brother’s grandchild, which comes as no surprise, because he certainly never bothered to know me.
We were “bad” kids, after all, and he basically washed his hands of us while we were still very young. He was MIA after my father died, only coming around to harass my mother and nag at us heathens, running amok.
I swallowed my pride and asked him for help recently. I was both offended and insulted. I should have known better to even attempt it, but sometimes desperate times will make us do asinine things.
After my conversation with him over the phone, I felt like an intimidated little girl again, and very heavy. (Ironic, eh?) The things he said to me were not deserved. Like I previously stated, my uncle does not know me from shinola, and has no right to judge me.
He never did.
I hung up with him last night, and cried for a few minutes. Then, I realized that I would never have to talk with him again, if I didn’t want to.
I might still be bad in his eyes, but at least I’m free.