Thursday, July 8, 2010


       I wasn’t always the one on the outside looking in. When I was in my early teens I had confidence.  I didn’t have a weight problem and my skin was clear.   I had a really cute boyfriend who was the captain of the basketball team  and I was head cheerleader and together the two of us were hot property in our small sphere of Catholic school where I went for 8 years of my life  with the same 32 kids who I played with and had my first Communion with and went to birthday  parties with and laughed with and cried with and fought with and made up with.  And in this little universe I felt as  comfortable as I could be and sometimes popular and sometimes not.   Because when you live in a home where secrets are held close to the chest one must lie to keep those secrets inside and when you do that you become known as a liar because its hard to keep all those stories straight and you are not completely trusted and you don’t even trust yourself because that is what lies do to a kid.  The undercurrent of truth is held below the surface never to be brought to the light of day...keep it hidden, keep it underwraps, keep reality in a place where no one including yourself can find it.  bury who you are.  be a fake. and maybe then no one will ever find out the truth.  But I had this boyfriend.  And we were together from sixth grade to eighth grade.  And that seemed to be alright with my parents because I was a good girl and I didn’t know anything anyway and times were innocent and I was innocent and how can you be bad if you don’t even know what bad is.   So I thought that  me and this boy would last forever and get married and I would live happily ever after because he made me feel special and loved and I dreamt of the day we would have our own house and be like The Cleavers or The Andersons.   normal.  And I kissed this boy, but never went any farther because I didn’t even know how far it could go.  I was never told anything but instinctly being the good Catholic girl that I was,  I knew that touching wasn’t allowed and so I didn’t allow that.  I didn’t even know where babies came from..I thought it had something to do with my bellybutton but wasn’t sure.    Catholics in the 60’s just didn’t talk about that stuff.  The nuns sure didn’t talk about it.
They told us things were a sin but we didn’t exactly know what those sins were.  At least I didn’t. When I got my period I thought I was  dying.  My mom told me I was a woman now but I said I didn’t want to be a  woman whatever that meant.  Was I going to start having babies?   How were things going to change?  No one ever really explained it to me.   I was only 14.   I still wanted to be a kid.
    Me and this boy then went to Junior High.  Public School.   We went from a small insulated world
into one in which I was totally unprepared for. We were no longer in the safe and familar confines of Immaculate Conception School but were put out into the big wide world of all the other schools combined  and I was no  longer the big fish in the little sea and I was gobbled up and spun around and got lost in that shuffle of pretty girls who knew a lot more and did a lot more and went a lot farther..and I didn’t make the cheerleading squad, and I didn’t get a part in the play and my good looking boy looked pretty good to all these other girls too so he dumped me faster than a hot rock and I was left alone with a fragile heart that was
broken in two and a feeling of tremendous loss and unbearable loneliness and dealing with emotions that a girl so young should not be dealing with. I would see him in the halls with one girl after another and my heart was shattered and it was way more than my already delicate self could bear.   I shouldn’t have had a serious boyfriend at such a young age because now the pain of losing him was way way way too much for me to handle.  And all I wanted was to have him back.  And all I dreamed about was getting him back.  And those dreams were not gonna happen this time and I was no longer  the bright outgoing girl, but a speck of dirt, lost  in the hallways of junior high, trampled on by girls with prettier clothes and more money and better families and so I went deeper and deeper in my room with my records and with my candy and chips and sodas ...and this is where i stayed. And I was squashed down into nothingness.    and I didn’t join school clubs, or have any activities and I didn’t go driving around town with that handsome grade school boyfriend that I thought I was going to be with for the rest of my life because that is what we talked about for hours on the phone and that was our plan together.  And I was dreaming about this and waiting for it and waiting for high school when we could drive in a car and our world would be our oyster but this dream died in a blink of an eye with me standing alone in a river of tears in the hallways of Farnsworth Junior High.

                                                                          - 11-

  My room was on the upper floor of a white with black shutters CapeCod on the South Side of town. It was a room that I shared not only with my older brother but with my father.   It was a source of deep shame and embarrassment for me to have my father in the same room as me.  I didn’t know anyone else who had this and my guess was that it wasn’t too common of an occurrence.  When girlfriends came over they asked who slept in those other two beds so  I  lied and said they were for guests but of course those guests never came  and girlfriends never slept over because then one of the big secrets would be revealed.  I always came up with a reason why they couldn’t spend the night at my house.  My mom was sick was a good one because I certainly used that one a lot and people got use to it. This was a  secret that no one knew about and that no one ever will because I would have died had anyone found out. But I  wondered... what were my parents  thinking...?  Couldn’t they have come up with something better than this? This was a big room.  My father could have built some sort of wall to let me have my own little space, private and separate from them.  It would have been tiny but  it would have been mine.  A wall.   Thats all I needed.  So I could have a little bed with a nightlight and a little closet to put my clothes in rather than a washpole hanging from the ceiling.. And all the pictures in the Sears catalog or the magazines that I saw in the drugstore did not fit the image of this room that I had.  The pink and white bedrooms where little girls slept with canopy beds and ruffles and lace.  And my room didn’t look like the rooms of my girlfriends who shared rooms with their sisters with matching twin beds and frilly curtains and chenille bedspreads just so.  My father didn’t even finish this room.   He just left it with the insulation showing and I would read the instructions on that insulation..."paper  goes toward living space'... because I couldn’t sleep with all that snoring or the screaming and cursing or the smashing of dishes or the thunding of bodies being pushed against a wall.  And I would cover my head with a pillow or rock violently back and forth in my bed to drown out the noise. So my mother, who had to have her own room because she couldn’t stand him , sent her husband, my father to share a room with  his young teenaged daughter, who was already sharing a room with her brother, so her sister and her could have rooms of their own.  While this bright spot of a once shining and capable little girl was sent to her room forever.  lost in this room not of her own.  An ugly, brown paper walled room, to lie awake fantasizing  of a better future that was nowhere in sight.


Fire Byrd said...

The line that's going round my head after reading this is.... what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
And my word girl you had to cope with a lot.
I hold onto the thought about myself that I'd like to share with you... if I hadn't gone through what I went through then I wouldn't be who I am today. All that stuff made me the person I am today with the life I lead now. And I like me.
I like you too!

Everton Terrace said...

I simply cannot imagine. Such heavy burdens for such little shoulders my friend. What strength you must have to have survived and to now be a thriving woman so full of talent and passion. Is it strange to say I wish I could have raised you? I would love to reach back in time and snatch you from that upstairs and bring you here and bake you cookies and dance together and sing. I'm glad you do those things now when you have the power to make your own life, keep on shining dear friend.

Paula said...

MIllions of hugs to you. I remember I had a room with my step father. I didnt dream of a future. I was silent. Just silent. All the time. I just breathed through childhood, tennager years into adulthood. Little Paula loves Little Cynthia, would love to hold you right NOW.

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Cynthia, such a sad thing to have happened to a sweet little girl. It's hard to imagine having to carry the burden you did at such a young age for so long. Thank heaven's your life finally took a turn for the better when you took that huge leap. I'm sure this is NOT easy for you to write about your past but hopefully it's giving you some closure or at least helping you to better understand the little girl still inside you. Now the woman that you've become can comfort her and you can enjoy the life that you live now knowing that the little girl is no longer hiding any secrets. I love you my friend. Thank you for being who you are. MauraXX

koralee said...

Oh my heart goes out to you. I am so glad you were able to move on..and put those things behind you. No one deserves to have those memories... I am sooooo proud of you for sharing all this..someone somewhere will be able to connect with your story. You will make a difference to someone by sharing.... Hugs. xoxoxo

Daphne Nicole & Lynda Cade said...

I am so sorry for what you have gone thru at such a young age. I think it's good that you have shared your story for others to hear, that may have gone thru some of the same things! I'm so glad you have put it behind you and moved on!! Blessings to you~~~Daphne

Chris said...

Cynthia~I see so many similarities in our stories~~ I often wish I could hug my young self and tell her over and over that it would be OK. Now I wish that I could do that for young Cynthia too.
We both hold beautiful gratitude for our lives now, for the gifts we've been given. We know appreciation~

Ange said...

Cynthia, when I look at my own kids and how much I love and spend time looking after them. I wish I could've done the same for the little you. That's what having kids does ;..It makes you want to hold and protect all of them.

Paula said...

Before being off again, passing by to show some love. Thinking of you

My name is PJ. said...

You must be a fighter today, because you had to have been then. Wish it could have been easier for you, but I bet you've been able to help lots of folks along the way because of your experiences.

Privet and Holly said...

So many thoughts swirling around in my head after reading this post. I love your honesty. Hopefully writing about those difficult days has been cathartic. I have a daughter who is 15 and luckily we have a very close relationship and we've talked a lot about boyfriends. She had one this year {and it was very innocent} but he recently "broke up" with her and it is very hard at that age; especially so if you don't have someone to talk to about it all. I smiled because my kids go to a small Catholic school and I LOVE the fact that they wear uniforms, so that element of jr. and sr. high is take out of the equation. {No nuns, etc. as it isn't a parish school.} I hope that you will continue writing about your journey. I think that there is a lot here for anyone to learn from about life. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!
xx Suzanne

Just Be Real said...

What you endured for such a young age is remarkable. You go girl! Blessings to you! (((Beatnheart)))

PK Studios said...

All I know is that you are working out so much karma you will be an angel in your next life.... or maybe you already are! : ) Your spirit is an inspiration to all of us bloggies here!

Jacqueline said...

Oh Cynthia,
What an awful situation for a young, girl at such a vunerable age to be in.....but, the saving grace is that it made you the wonderful person that you are today. Although it must have been terrible at the time and has left you with a lasting legacy, it has made you stronger and has probably given you such an appreciation of all of the good things that you now have in your life but, of course, it must have been so awful at the time. Is it theraputic to write about now and to share with others ? They say that, if you suffered at a young age you will have such a wonderful time in the rest of your life and, it looks as if that is true.
Thank you so much for sharing everything with us. It is such an enthralling read and you write about your early life so beautifully. I am always left wanting more and to find out how you coped and how things start to improve.
Lots of love to you Cynthia. XXXX

Sweet Repose said...

I too am a Virgo, we really do beat ourselves up in this crazy ol' world...wanting the perfect everything. Thank the universe we grow up and become the free spirits we were destined to be.

I hated school, just for that reason, too much drama, I just wanted to live in my own lil' wonderland...and still do!

BTW...the beads are from Mango Beads...thanks for stoppin' by!


Pooch Morning Glory said...

you sure experienced some dark times. im glad thats behind you:)
~laura x

Debra She Who Seeks said...

My heart aches for all adolescent girls because it's such a hard time of life generally, but especially for those who (like you) have to deal with terrible emotional situations with no parental or other adult support.

Robyn said...

I am so very sorry to read the pain that the child in you suffered. I am also very sorry that your parents were so broken that they couldn't see your needs.
This is a very well written post and it is heart breaking.
I am sending you big love and hugs all the way from here to there.

Best wishes for a safe and happy adult life
x Robyn

Paula said...

Dear One, passing by to show some love. Little Paula asking little Cynthia if she would love a hug, holding hands and getting better together.

My name is PJ. said...

It's amazing and inspirational that you could move on!

Paula said...

Dear One, passing by to say hello. Your encouragement means a lot to me and for days I am fine and balanced.
I just have posted about Little Paula and the daughter I never have had. I have grown so much, yepp, in very few moments I can see and feel it!
Hugs to you

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

I'm so glad that I finally got to catch up on your latest installment here...each posting just deepens my admiration and respect for you.
You are a true artist in that you have taken that which could have destroyed you and have used it to not only create, but to inspire others.




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