Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Sunday Morning's Mental Meanderings

For some reason, as I penned my most recent political rant, I wondered what my dad would think of the "Current Occupant." Dad was not much of a political animal. I’m sure he had his views; but, along with religion and "family matters," he felt personal politics were something best kept to oneself. Still, I pondered…would Dad have voted for Bush? Once? Twice? The only political statement I remember Dad ever making was that some president who was running for re-election (and I can’t remember which one it was...Nixon?) was doing a pretty good job so far, so why make a change? Was that the prevailing political agenda among my parents’ generation—that if a guy was "doing okay" you just kept him in office? Perhaps… maybe that’s why FDR had to die his way out of the White House.

And then I wondered what Dad would think of my political writing…or any of my writing, for that matter. Would he read? Even if I asked him? Dad worked with computers practically from the time they cobbled together the first mother board. He set up the first computer system in the business office of the hospital he "controlled" for thirty-five years. So he was hardly one to reject newfangled technology. But he retired in 1982…long before the computer became the be-all-and-end-all of communication devices. He’d be 88 years old now…would he have given the nod to the technology of twenty-first century personal connections? Probably not. I just can’t picture my dad pecking away at the keyboard of a laptop. Sad.

Sad because none of my family reads my journal. It’s public. I’ve invited them. They could read if they wanted to. But they don’t. In fact, they’ve made it abundantly clear they have no interest in what I have to say. I’d like to say I don’t let it bother me. But it does sting. More than a little.

As a result, I am unencumbered by the constraints that confound some bloggers. When I read some of my friends’ worries about what might happen if someone from work or from—god forbid—their families read their journals, I have a hard time relating to their fears. I just don’t have that problem. If anything, I tend to be a little more acerbic when writing about family matters than I might otherwise be…since I know nothing short of tying them up, taping their eyes open and holding a shotgun to their heads will induce my family to read my work.

So I had to wonder…what or who would compel me to censor what I post here? And I had to concede that I probably wouldn’t change much for any of my surviving sisters… Our history of the last decade has created a certain climate in our relationship; one that does not encourage me to suck it up and suffer in silence. And the idea of my mother reading is so unlikely I can’t even entertain it. At this point in time, sadly, she’s lucky she remembers she has children (no she doesn’t have Alzheimers; she’s just…winding down.) But even were it not for her aging issues, she never showed much interest in any of her offspring’s escapades or accomplishments, good or bad.

The husband? I read him most of my posts, so he "reads" whether he wants to or not. So I’m not really worried about him.

There are only two people who would have had the power to influence what I write. My dad. My oldest sister. It would have mattered to me if I hurt or disappointed one of them. My sister was extremely sensitive. She spent her entire too-short life struggling to relate to a world that was often too cruel for someone as deeply emotional as she was. My writing would be completely different if Joyce read my journal. But I would have done it, for her. I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t do just to have her here now; to have had her for even a few more years…

And if Dad was reading? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know if I could handle it. Dad was always the guy who set the bar just a little higher than you thought you could reach. Not to set you up to fail, but to get you to stretch yourself to get to the good stuff. And I can’t help feeling that, for the most part, we let him down. He tried to be the subtle, strong and righteous influence in our lives…and most of the time, what we really needed was a baseball bat upside the head. I think I might just turn myself inside out trying to write up to what I would imagine were my dad’s standards. It could have made me into the writer I’ve always wished I could be. Or perhaps the self-imposed pressure would have caused me to explode after my first couple of stabs at writing for eyes other than my own, never to be heard from again.

The could-have-beens. The should-have-beens. Useless to ponder, I suppose. But an interesting exercise, nonetheless…


Tags:

10 comments:

  1. I too couldn't get my family to read my journal even if I paid them! It is rather disapointing.
    Shadie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Odd to think that you would change your style so that Joyce would not be offended. Sometimes we have to tip toe around the land mines that are other peoples feelings. I married one of the biggest babies in the universe. His daughter reads my jnl and if I even hint at one of Joe's antics, she would be on the phone to him! Oh and there are some really great ones. Like the time he sleep walked to the refrig and took out the shrimp, ate some and then put it in the cabinet above the stove. We left town and upon arriving home the smell liked to have knocked us down. It took us a day to isolate the smell.....Almost two years later, I am still trying to defume the area. And I found something that worked!! My realtor in Louisville told me that sometimes the forclosed people are not happy and do a variety of stinky things to a house. Put cloves in vinegar and set it in the cabinet and it might take the smell out. If it doesn't, she told me to lightly sand the area and try again.

    Wella! It worked! And would make a wodnerful entry but Joe would be embarrassed when one of his family members would bring it up.

    Your Dad would certainly respect what a talent you have become with your political commentary, whether he agreed or not.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'll be honest Lisa ... I went private because of a friend.  Underline that.  Italicize it.  Bold it.  A friend ... and her opinion ... sent me to private land.  

    I can honestly say I would not go public again unless it were under a different screen name that 'my friend' didn't know about.  Otherwise, to allow her to read it would mean that I would have to censure myself for the benefit of her.

    I keep the friendship with her because there is more about her I like ... than not.

    :::sigh:::  Like you, I've invited the family and other friends.  My oldest daughter is the only one who cares enough to stop by.  And that's why I just putter along with my own life and my own 'stuff' ...

    ReplyDelete
  4. sistercynthiadrMay 6, 2007 at 3:19 PM

    My parents never gave a hoot about anything I wrote.  Writing was rather silly and self-indulgent to them, and I confess, I'm still not over that.  My sister doesn't care about anything I write unless she can plagiarize it for her benefit.  Don't even begin to ask how many grants I've written for the non-profit she manages without expecting or getting payment.  (To be fair, she did give me some very nice costume jewelry and other gifts.)  I honestly believe that my journal would embarass them all.  Being open about weaknesses and vulnerabilities ran counter to our family values.  I told you I was the black sheep.

    ReplyDelete
  5. When I started blogging I sent an e-mail to my 5 sibs and to most of my friends, telling them about it.  One of my friends reads me faithfully, but none of the others do, and of my sibs, insofar as I know, only my younger brother reads me regularly. When I posted irregularly for awhile, overwhelmed by my commute and long hours, David griped about how little I was posting.  I was irritated with him until he said on the phone one day, as an aside, "I get up, make coffee, turn on the computer, and go straight to your blog.  It's the first thing I read every day."  That meant a lot to me, because I love my brother, and I make more of an effort knowing that.  

    I enjoy your writing so much, Lisa.  Your family is missing out on so much, not reading what you write.  Their loss.

    Judi

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mom likes my stuff. I think dad would have gotten a kick out of the politics and garden stuff. My sisters? I've told them I have the on line journals but I know they've never even taken a look. And it does hurt a little sometimes. And I've had to accept that we probably won't get to know each until all the kids are out of the nest. If then.

    Jackie

    ReplyDelete
  7. sunflowerkat321May 8, 2007 at 2:57 AM

    Sometimes I wish I could share my journal with my family...because I would like them to appreciate the relationships I have with online friends.  But, the truth is that I live with high maintenance people who are easily offended.  I need this place to blow off steam and I would have to censor myself, or pay in blood if they were to read some of what I have written.

    My sister does read my journal, and sometimes I've been sorry that I invited her in.  I tell her everything I want her to know.  There have been things that have happened between us that I've wanted to blog about....but I know that it would cause problems between us if she were to read about it here.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I see no reason your family wouldn't be very proud of you and your accomplishments.  Of course that logic goes out the window when it's family we're talking about, doesn't it?  I enjoy so why wouldn't they??

    I was so concerned about what my online friends would think of some of the things I wanted to blog, I created a separate blogspot page.  Oh, I know they can get it if they wish since it's public.  I've grown (the older I get the more like me I become) into a place where I want to be the genuine me, and do feel more free having expressed it, even if no one reads but me!

    My parents don't own a computer, family members who do could care less.  If my son does, he hasn't commented, but I doubt he does.  

    ReplyDelete
  9. this is the writing of yours that I personlly like the best....


    my mama always two things polite people never talk about:
    Religon and  Politics
    between us, we have got it all covered


    let me tell you that censoring sucks andI understand why people left England for it

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lisa,

    Here are your five questions?  I eagerly await your answers!

    Judi

    1. Where were you born?  List some of the places you’ve lived and/or traveled.

    2. Name a truth you’ve learned in adulthood, e.g., an aha! moment, but one that you might not have believed as a kid or even as a young adult.

    3. Name three favorite guilty pleasures - personally, I’ll admit to Egg McMuffins, Snoballs (those coconut covered cupcakes) and cotton candy...

    4. Where/when would you go if you could time travel?  Who would you meet?

    5. What’s your greatest strength?

    ReplyDelete