Saturday, February 22, 2014

When I Grow Up

Thanks everybody for all the kind comments from last post.  It was really interesting to me to see how many of you understood exactly where I was coming from.  Sometimes, it's just nice to know we're not alone, isn't it? <3

For today, I've got a page...actually two share with you from my Journal 52 art journal (you can read more about J52 HERE)  The prompt for this past week was "What did you want to be when you were growing up/what is your dream job?"

I had a hard time with this prompt...I actually had to ask my mom if she could remember what I said I wanted to be!  

I've talked before about the fact that I don't really remember a lot of my childhood.  The funny thing is that I remember odd little things...tiny smells and sounds of specific things.  But for the most part, huge chunks of it don't exist in my memory.  If my family starts talking about something that happened, I can remember more.

I grew up with a very not-nice father.  I think our brains make us forget things we can't handle, and I think that's why I don't have a lot of memories of being a kid.  So when I read the prompt (before I asked my mom if she could remember) "What did you want to be when you grew up?", I could only think of one thing:

"I think I just wanted to be free."

I remember VERY specifically wishing that I could be free.  To be free from my dad's be free from hypocrisy that I saw, even at an early feel free to be a kid and not be afraid of what was going to happen to me if I was 'bad'.  My dad left when I was 16, and I felt very lucky when that happened.  He died a few years ago, and I'm lucky enough, most days, not to hate him anymore, but only pity him.

Freedom is a funny thing, because I don't know that we are ever truly free.  Not often, but sometimes, things my dad said to me when I was little pop into my brain.  

There were a lot of things that he said that don't bother me anymore.  Like being called stupid.  I'm not stupid...I'm actually pretty smart!  It doesn't bother me, because I have proof that he was wrong.  I'm at least smart enough to get myself through life, and who needs to be smarter than that?

But there are other things that I can't seem to shake.  The worst one for me is "No one will ever love you."  And I know that it's not true.  My brain knows that there are a lot of people out there that love me and care about me.  But feeling it, believing it...that's tricky.  Because love is not always a constant thing...once it's there, it can be taken away.  And we can fool ourselves into it and out of it.  And love isn't necessarily reciprocated, sometimes it's one-sided.  And we use the same word for loving food as we do for loving people and we throw around the word like it isn't such a precious thing as it is.  And so love is scary, but we all want it anyway.  We want it so bad it hurts.  And I don't think I'm the only one who feels like that.  I think in the back of a lot of people's minds, there is a tiny mean voice (or sometimes a big booming one) that says 'What if you are just unlovable?'  or 'What if it's a lie?' or 'What if no one loves you ever again?'

I work really hard to squish that lie.  I remind myself that it's a fact that my father was a lying jerk.  I remind myself that even when I don't feel loved, there are people out there just wishing they could make me feel it...even it I'm having a hard time seeing them.  I remind myself that, very importantly...maybe even most importantly, I love myself.  Therefore, at the very least, one person loves me.  And I remind myself that my family loves me...the ones who are my family by blood and my artsy family online too.  And then that mean voice that sounds like my dad shuts the hell up.  As it should.

And so that was my first page...but then I thought, 'Self, you need to have a happy are depressing the crap out of everyone.'  So I texted my mom and asked her if she could remember what it was I dreamed of being when I grew up...

Look it's Baby Sweets!  That is me as a little kiddle, probably five or six years old with my younger sister, Gretchen.  It's really funny, because I couldn't remember what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I remembered what Gretchen wanted to be right away: a 'pay lady'.  For those who don't know (everybody reading this...haha), a 'pay lady' is a cashier.  When we would go to the grocery store, Mom would say "We're ready to go, we just have to pay the lady."  ...and so a cashier became the 'pay lady' to my sister...I think she just wanted to push all the buttons on the register.  For those who are wondering, Gretchen got to live her dream...she was several times in her life so far, a 'pay lady'. 

And mom said that she seemed to recall that I wanted to be a teacher or a writer.  I have absolutely NO recollection of wanting to be a teacher...Mom said I was really young when I wanted to be a teacher.  

But I did remember wanting to be a writer.  That was actually a dream of mine for a long time...I can't believe I didn't think of it!  Books were a big escape for me as a kid.  Mom would have to force me to go outside and play, and even then she'd practically have to frisk me to see if I was hiding a book!  I had a good imagination, and I remember reading things and them being so real to me.  I think that I wanted to be a writer so that I would be able to make up my own stories to live in...

"When I grow up, I want to be a writer." - Amy
I used the picture above as a reference, and I'm a little disappointed in the way it turned out.  Actually it was pretty good as a line drawing, but then I started coloring it in and  I should have just left it alone...  On the positive side, I do like that I used my (non-dominant) left hand to do the writing on the looks like a little kid wrote it, which is what I wanted.

Thanks to the internet and the blog, I get to be a writer now.  In a small way, I get to live my dream...even if it doesn't pay any bills.  :)  I do get very excited when people comment that they like or relate to things I've written here, or when someone compliments something I've said or written in some way.  I started the blog as a way to share my art and to document my progress with that...but somewhere along the way, I started blabbing away and couldn't stop.  These days, a post doesn't feel finished to me until I've given you the story behind the art!  Maybe if my life were more interesting, I could have sold the copyrights by now! :)

So that's what I've got for today...I wanted to be free and I wanted to be a writer (and that, clearly, I was an adorable child...hehehe).  What did you want to be when you grew up?  What about now?  Has your dream job stayed the same, or do you have a different idea of what you want as an adult?  (Mine would be being independently wealthy and not having to have a day job...then I'd just make art and write about it all day long!)


  1. Both pages are so sweet, children are so innocent and love able, and your just an older child, still cute and love able!

  2. That was a very brave piece of writing. I'll bet it was hard to write, but that you felt better after it. I too had an unhappy childhood with a father who didn't love me. You never really recover and you and I hope I have done the best thing possible and that is to have a good life.
    Emotionally I am still a bit of a mess with trust issues but I manage. I wish you Sweet Red Clover every possible happiness and look forward to seeing your lovely art on Journal 52.

  3. Oh Sweets, I am so sorry that someone was "not-nice" to you. You have such a big heart and I can't imagine someone doing that to you. I love you, not in the same way that I love dark chocolate, but definitely the same way that I love sweets. Hehehe, pun intended!!!!

    Your little "Be Free girl is precious. I love the way you used your left hand to imitate your childhood writing. You did become a writer, and a very skilled one at that. You bring happiness to everyone who reads your blog and fb postings. Hugs to you my friend! Pamikins

  4. Your dream came true. A writer or poet is not defined by the money he makes - it is the words he/she writes. I published 5 books (with a big publisher) and I cannot live on it. Like many others.
    I had a mother, who was a bit like your father and I very well understand you. Parents should not rule their kids, they should love them. But the most important thing is, that you learned to love yourself and have confidence in your abilities! Keep the good spirits up -
    Hugs Gabriele

  5. This is a beautifully written post Sweets. I can only agree with everyone about making money having little to do with whether or not you are a writer (or an artist, or a teacher, or anything really). When you want to be something, it's in the being that you become it, not in any kind of compensation that might come from it.

    My mom had some issues when I was a child too. I think we might be hard-pressed to find anyone who does not have something from their childhood that still haunts them. It's in the healing I think where we discover the lessons and the growth that we can pull from all kinds of horrible circumstances and difficult situations - especially those involving our parents, and especially if they were abusive or unkind in some way to us. You're doing it now in fact - healing through the memories and by writing about it all <3

    I do have to say that with regard to the "L" word, I love to throw it around :P I spent a long time being stingy with it, and not saying it nearly enough to anyone, so now I find that I'm full of love and I want to share it with as many people as I possibly can - even if the only way to do that is to tell them that I love something they've done or said, or how they look or feel. I don't want to ever go back to feeling afraid to say it when I feel it - and I think sometimes the only way to overcome the fear of saying it, is to say it all the time ;)) Thank you for sharing all of this Sweets - it's good stuff and I love coming here to see what you're up to <3


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