I am far from perfect. In fact, I can count on both hands all the comments I have received in the past which point out my flaws. Here are a few:
“You and your sister are so selfish.” – My father in the 1980s
“Why do you have to be such a bitch?” – My Sister in the late 80s
“You don’t care about anybody but yourself.” – My mother (pretty much all the time)
“I may have to love you, but I don’t have to like you.” – My maternal grandmother
“You need professional help.” – A High School teacher
“All I can think of you is a liar. I cannot trust you.” – Ex-fiance
“You’re not a good enough person to be a girl scout.” – My mother when I expressed interest in becoming a brownie
“You can be so nice and generous sometimes but then so hurtful and severe for no reason.” – Internet acquaintance
“You’re the worst mother ever!” – My son after I said no to something
“I couldn’t give a crap about you. I’m done.” – My current husband
“You are mercurial.” – Professional colleague
“Remind me to never get on your bad side.” – Professional colleague
“You’re such an asshole.” – High School peer
These are the things the brave ones said. I am sure when my ears ring there are hundreds of other like statements in which the cowardly say behind my back to others. I have always cringed when hearing the positive remarks about me because I know otherwise. I would like to think I am a good person underneath it all but, I know I am human and I make horrendous mistakes and lapses in judgment. Sometimes out of stupidity, hedonism, or as a response to a hurt that I am dealt.
The one thing that I wished I had done was get to know my family more deeply to see the kinds of mistakes they’ve made in the past to know I am not a one of a kind asshole. My maternal grandmother on her deathbed alluded to a similar life with the statement “Heaven can’t take me and hell won’t have me.” One had to wonder what would prompt such a self judgement. Was it the guilt over the mental and physical abuse she dealt to her family over the course of her life? Or was there something oh so much more heinous?
I’ve worn much of my bad qualities as a badge of honor, deeply believing that if I was a truly good person I would die young. So keeping evil just enough to keep me living longer. Breaking 9 of the 10 commandments and succumbing to all of the deadly sins at one point or another, shows I am far from perfect. Since I know that I failed in really learning the human side of my elder family members, I can safely guess that my child will fail at that task as well. Although he has seen some of me at my worst to know where I fail, I wish to show him all of it so he understands what not to do in life.
I’d like to think that all of us have elements where we serve as a cautionary tale to others. Failures in which we are not proud and have dealt hurts which cannot be undone. But somehow I think I am part of a smaller faction on the outside looking in.