Hey There, Tar Baby!

I have to be honest, y’all: this blog challenge is feeling pretty stupid to me right about now, but I’m just plugging on because I mentioned in an earlier post that I probably wouldn’t even finish it & now I feel personally challenged to prove myself wrong. Today’s challenge is to talk about my favorite childhood book.

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I’m pretty sure this is the origin of my distaste for  ill-mannered morons.

I chose The Tales of Br’er Rabbit by Uncle Remus (who is actually fictional for those of you who thought he was a real person). Specifically Br’er Rabbit & The Tar Baby; it’s my favorite because my Granddaddy used to tell me this story all the time. He was so animated about it and I loved listening to him. When I was 5 or 6 years old, I tried to immolate the way he told the story & as a result, there’s a rather embarrassing video floating around of me telling it. Thankfully, there was no social media then. 🙂

 

Are you familiar with the story?

Where did you first hear/read it?

What’s your favorite childhood story?

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Guest Post: How Did This End Up Happening?

Happy Thursday All!

Today I’m sharing a post with you written by my former high school English teacher. She needed an outlet and I just so happen to have a blog that is being treated rather negligibly at the moment. Mostly, however, I’m sharing this with you because I can identify with her thoughts on finding normalcy in a life that isn’t necessarily “normal.” I’ll post more on that later, but for now say hello to MeLissa Hicks.


 

   HOW DID THIS END UP HAPPENING?

My parents were every fatalistic statistician’s dream. My mom got married exactly two months after her 16th birthday, and I was born exactly seven months and four days later (you do the math). It was 1968, and I guess there were only two choices: go somewhere and hide until you could give the baby up for adoption or get married. I’ve heard they were counseled both ways. I have never asked my mom if she was tempted to go the other way, but I don’t think she was. The point is I sometimes feel as if I grew up with my mother, and I hope she doesn’t mind me saying that. I don’t want you to think this is a sad story. It’s not; it’s a story of triumph through Lord knows what happens in a life.

I can’t remember a single time when my life was carefree. I had fun. There was childhood and play. I wasn’t deprived or physically abused, but I was not carefree. I have memories from a very young age, but many of them are times of turmoil. My father is an emotionally manipulative addict whose drug of choice has changed every ten years or so. I lived with that…that was my normal. This created a very co-dependent relationship between my parents that went on for twenty-five years before my mother finally escaped (which is another story altogether). Carefree was not in my vocabulary. My dad’s vices caused many issues that required me, at the age of seven, to grow up pretty fast if our lives had not already predisposed me to a propensity towards responsibility. That is the word: responsibility. My sister became my responsibility; my dad became my responsibility. All of this was because my mom had to go to school and then to work for a good long time. Looking back it seems like my father projected every serious event in our lives onto me. I realize now it was in order to manipulate the rest of the family, but at the time I was just overwhelmed by the hugeness of his personality and how much I loved my daddy. It’s funny how children love their parents no matter what when they are little. I wish all parents knew that and took that RESPONSIBILITY to heart. My dad didn’t. My life was good in many ways, but always responsible. I made good grades, I helped take care of my siblings, I got a job, and I did all the things that were expected of me. I was also a rotten, self-centered teenager in the process just like any other normal kid.

We were dirt poor in Georgia in the 1970’s and 80’s. Vintage was not cool and second hand clothes were not without consequences, but I survived. For some reason, I was tough, and after a year of bullying I found books. Then it didn’t matter anymore what anyone thought. I was in Turkey or England or some other exotic place doing other things that were totally beyond my reach. I was smart, and I liked school so my way should have been set. However, I became a statistic myself. I married right out of high school and had my first child at 19, five months after I married (math again).

Still I kept on keeping on. That marriage only lasted three years, and the first thing I did after I filed for divorce was register for college. Well, actually, I bought a truck first…then I registered for college. It took me five years, but I finished, and then went back to get not one, but two, advanced degrees. School had always been my happy place anyway, so I was suited to school and learning. A favorite teacher once wrote a recommendation for me, and I took a peak at it. She wrote that if one knew my family background they would be amazed at how far I had come. I realized that all the years I thought no one noticed the life I had, there were people who not only noticed, but cared deeply. Although I never saw it as amazing; I just saw it as living. Yet as I age, I see many others who grew up much like I did, and never overcame those statistics. So twenty years into a career I started five years after all my peers, I stop and ask myself, “How did this end up happening?” The road wasn’t smooth; it was curvy and twisted and sometimes torn slam up, but I just kept going and going until I got here. It’s been a pretty good journey.

My life is not perfect and it’s certainly not carefree, but it is well lived and I can be proud of that.


 

If you have a moment, leave her some thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading.

Your Bossy, Overbearing Parents And Why You Can’t Wait To Get Away From Them

Dear Kids,

You’re dying to be grown aren’t you? Can’t wait to get out from underneath your parents’ crazy rules and their nearly constant badgering over where you’re going, what you’re doing, why you did that, what you’re thinking, is your homework done, why are you failing, are your chores finished, where’s your common sense, who’s that kid you’ve been hanging out with who smokes, and just what is that fungus growing beside your toilet?! etc…the list is endless right? They just won’t leave you alone. 

You know why they won’t leave you alone? Because they care about you. They love you. Yeah, yeah, you know that already. They tell you constantly. It doesn’t seem like they love you though, does it? I mean really all they do is boss you around and yell at you when you don’t perform the way they think you should. They tell you they want what’s best for you and somehow you don’t see how telling you who you can and can’t hang out with is ‘what’s best.’ You don’t understand how passing calculous is going to make you a better person or why your parents are always up in your business.

It’s not like they ever made any sacrifices for you. It’s not like they give you a place to live, sleep, bathe; it’s not like they provide you with clothes and food or stupid frivolous things like game systems and cell phones just because you like &/or want them. Oh wait…yeah…they do. (And they make sure to remind you of that constantly, right?) But they expect you to earn those things by keeping your grades up and doing chores so it’s not like they’re really giving it to you. You deserve it because you earned it. You earned it by being their child and by (mostly) listening to them. Or did you? Do you REALLY deserve it? What makes you entitled to anything? Your parents have to work for everything they have. Everything YOU have. So how did you earn it?

I’ll tell you; you didn’t. They did. Your parents bust their asses for you to live the life you have and yeah, there are a bunch of people who don’t have it so great and a bunch of parents in the world who, frankly, shouldn’t be. But I promise you, there are people out there in a much worse position than you are. You control your own outcome; why not make sure it’s the best one you can have?

So, I say all that to say this…

Suck it up. Stop racing towards adulthood because being a kid is awesome. The only thing you’re racing toward is a string of crappy jobs, early mornings and late nights, little to no appreciation, too many bills and not enough money to pay them, relationship problems, credit problems, stress, endless hours usually spent at someone else’s disposal, worry, wrinkles, grey hair, sacrifice, always having hard choices to make, sickness, cracking bones, weight gain and erectile dysfunction.

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I’m not saying your adult life can’t be amazing and that it’s inevitably going to suck, but I am saying that it’s not the party you think it is. There’s no one to take care of you when you grow up except you. Yeah, you’ll have a support system if you’re lucky and people that are always there to help, but no one is going to just give you things or do them for you. You have to learn to be self-reliant and responsible and THAT is what your parents are trying to teach you now. They want to see you grow up to be a well-rounded, amazing, contributing member of society and all the things they’re on you about now are just lessons and values they’re trying to teach you to help you succeed in the future. They’re trying to prepare you for adulthood because they know it’s not the carnival ride you perceive in your head. And no, not everything they do and say is going to be right or helpful, but they’re doing the best they can because they really do want what’s best for you. Sometimes, they’ll screw up because we’re all human. Cut them some slack.

Listen to the wisdom your parents and grandparents have to offer you and apply it. Enjoy and appreciate your youth. It really is a beautiful, magical time. It will make adult-hood a much easier transition for you if you try to apply all the positive things you’re learning now & you’ll be happy one day that you didn’t race toward that finish-line called “get out and get a job.” Once you get there, you’re on your own…there’s no going back.

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