Fear Factors

Once upon a time, an irate mother was up in arms over an elementary school teacher asking her child to read, “A Wrinkle in Time.”

She wanted the teacher fired. How dare she ask her child to read such blasphemy? The book promotes witchcraft and replaces God with a central brain called IT. She was joining an effort to have the book banned from their small, rural Ohio, public school system.

I listened to Four (sisters are labeled in birth order) rant and rave in my kitchen over the evil intent of the author. She bitterly quoted sentence fragments out of context to support why it should be banned, clearly echoing someone else’s opinion.

I asked a simple question: Have you read the book?

Oh no, of course not!

Ye gads… A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite childhood reads! The synchronized ball bouncing struck a rebel cord in my young mind, which lead to a tendency to question – even when I complied – all expectations for conformity.

Ironically, Four still believes the great liar will make her America great again and the little boy who was not allowed to read the book grew up to post racist bull about the Obamas on Facebook.

I have decided to explore how seemingly minor, inconsequential  fear factors play into controlling human behavior for my contribution to the Brooklyn Art Library’s writing project.

Tidbits of drafts may end up here as thoughts twirl down memory lane, gathering topics to write about. Who knows? This little project may be therapeutic.

Thanks for reading!

Shun Control

I broke silence, wrote about why I need to join the resistance on my YBWorks blog.

I expect negative feedback from family and friends who voted for Trump. Some will quietly unfriend me on Facebook, others will blow up my phone. I might get shunned again.

Oh well, shunning only works the first time… then you find yourself not willing to let yourself get too close again. Trust is gone… if they can shun you once, they can do it again.

It was my fault… I did the unthinkable… I survived and thrived without a husband and that, dear friends, set a very bad example for my married sisters.

It took awhile to connect the dots. 

I never really understood why I got shunned… the explanation given when my youngest sister broke silence was a vague excuse carefully worded so I wouldn’t ask any questions. She had to deal with some “personal” things.   

Okay, like that explains two long years of absolutely no contact, the bullshit story used to ensure that our paths would never cross, and the disconnect from other relatives who also shunned me as they took her side in our imaginary war.

Yes, word was that me and baby sis were fighting so much that we couldn’t be in the same room, so I was not invited to any family function that she planned to attend… even our family Christmas party was split into two events, held on separate days.

Two long years passed with absolutely no contact before our paths crossed at a family cookout hosted by other sisters to celebrate two birthdays: my 50th and mom’s 69th.

When I arrived, a big “uh-oh, aunt Nancy is here” flashed over faces on in the next generation down. Baby sis was in the house so I walked in… that’s when she hugged me and apologized with the weak excuse.  After talking, we were okay… but the young ones who had taken her side continued to shun me. I found that rather amusing, like who goes to a birthday party and doesn’t say one word to the birthday girl? One niece actually lifted her nose and turned her head as she walked passed me.

The weird thing about shunning is it intends to punish people by withdrawing highly desired contact and affection, as if the person being shunned will be thrilled to once again be welcomed back into the family fold. If too much time passes, the opposite effect is achieved. The shunned person is not so willing to fully embrace those who are capable of shunning people they supposedly love. The closeness once shared can never be restored as the trust is gone.

I know, supposed to let bygones be bygones, life goes on… but, seven years have passed since she broke the silence and we are not as close as we used to be. I still feel a distance between us. As for the young ones, time has made us strangers. We say hello on the rare occasions when our paths cross, but we don’t know each other anymore. Some have birthed babies who are now school aged children that I have never met.

It always bothered me that I never really knew why I got shunned. If there was a plausible why, I could understand. For nine years, I did not know why. Then a light bulb of illumination clicked on just a couple months ago, when I heard an older relative say, “Married women who want to stay married do not associate with divorced women.”

She went on to elaborate, explain the perils of such associations.

I had heard those words before, in regards to another sister with whom contact was limited after my divorce. I had blamed her husband… thought that odd idea came from his church.

Now it all makes sense… baby sis must have taken the old lady’s advice, abruptly cut off all contact with me while she was desperately trying to salvage her marriage.

So, why did I go off on this tangent?

Oh yes… the possibility of being shunned again, which raises a question: Is the possibility of being shunned for your opinion an effective deterrent used to silence voices?

 

Three

Three months… doc said that he tells everyone to give it three months. Now those three months are up and I am still ye mostly blind in my right eye. I had hoped to be one of the lucky ones. The retinal specialist straight up told me, when pressed at my last visit, that most people don’t get it back.

I might just have to adapt… I get frustrated when I cannot do what I want to do, having a hard go working with little pliers, accidentally reaching next to the object I’m trying to hold, and such. I can no longer read a fast paced book cover to cover in one sitting, and some people like to take advantage of my lack of peripheral vision on that side to sneak by me (mischievous grandchildren) or up on me (playful vet) for their own personal amusements.

I tried to tell the vet what the doc said and got chewed out for thinking negatively. I should put it out of my mind, never speak the words out loud, have faith and flat out refuse to believe the vision loss may be permanent. Why, docs don’t know everything… just look at him. If he listened to VA docs, he’d still be unable to walk. Determination and sheer will… as if I can will my eyesight back.

Speaking of will, that man has decided to police the brownies.

OH. MY. GAWD.

I have binge eating disorder… the last thing I need is someone trying to “help” me lose the few pounds I gained over the holidays. HIS doc wants HIM to drop 15 by June… so when he says, “babe, June is coming… what are you doing with that brownie?” after HE just ate one, I’m like flabbergasted.

He doesn’t know what restricting my diet can do. Deprivation is an on ramp to the binge highway of hell. My goal has always been to eat like a normal person. People do eat brownies. They eat one… one now and maybe one later. It’s okay. They don’t wait and sneak a brownie when their man is gone, then freak out, eat the rest and bake another pan, then eat it down to exactly where it was before they removed the first brownie just so it looks untouched when he comes home. I am so NOT going to go there, so this policing the brownie shit has to stop.

Yes, I did ask him to be okay with me saying no to food now and then… like if he’s hungry and I’m not, don’t be upset with me if I opt not to eat. Or, when he fries four pieces of chicken for two people, be okay if I only want one… it doesn’t mean I don’t like it, just means I only want one. That’s what I meant by asking him to help me… I don’t want nor need anyone policing my food.

This may sound goofy, but it is a serious problem.

Since the brownie incident, I catch myself wanting to buy things that I can hide and eat in secret so he won’t know about it. Not necessarily bad things… raisins and nuts, like a frikkin squirrel. That’s really stupid. I can’t do this. I have to be free to eat like normal people.

I tried to talk to him about binge eating disorder but he related what I was saying to his own “sweet tooth” and it was obvious that he doesn’t get it, has no clue on how insane the behavior can get. It’s like trying to explain depression to someone who will tell you to just shake off the blues.

Thanks for reading!