Thursday, August 30, 2012

Behind the Blog 17: My History: Lessons Learned


Behind The Blog is a meme to help bloggers connect their life and interests to the content showcased on their blog. The co-hosts Faye Kathe and Melissa will provide a different topic, idea, or question every week that bloggers can relate to themselves and the books, films, or media they find interesting!

If there is one constant throughout the world, it is that time never stops. It continues to trickle past us and what many people don’t realise is how important that fact is. People study history in school and a lot of people don’t really listen, bored of everyone stating that “history repeats itself.” So this week we’re looking at historical events and how they’ve shaped us today. It could be events in your life, in your lifetime or ones that happened years ago that have affected you in this life.
In relation to media; what historical fiction books and films have you loved? Were the historical details accurate? Was it the history or the fiction that pulled you in?

This is a tough topic to write about. There are events that have greatly affected my life, but it's hard to choose one. It's also difficult to capture the essence of how it changed me. I know that it did, but it's so hard to put into words. You know how people always say, "You had to be there." That's the exact thought that's coming to my mind as I'm trying to write this post. And, of course, since I want to write about an experience from my life, it's not something that I can just make a generalization about, that you, as readers, would then be able to relate to.

No, the event that I'm thinking of is personal. But, that's the whole point of Behind the Blog in the first place.

When I was 12, my mom left. She left 9 days before my 13th birthday. We came home to a note on the kitchen counter, that said she'd be home on Monday. Only Monday came and went, and we didn't hear from her for 6 weeks. The 6 weeks turned into a few months, and eventually it became clear that my mom wasn't coming home. I went to talk to my dad one night, and asked him if they were going to get a divorce. He said yes, I said okay, and turned and walked out. Since it was pretty clear to me already that it was going to happen, there wasn't that much discussion about it that I can remember.

Knowing that it was coming didn't mean that it lessened the overall effect.

Now, there's a whole lot of backstory and personal detail behind the situation that I'm not going to share, for the sake of my own privacy, and the privacy of my family.

But I will say that it affected me a lot. It changed my views on marriage, and family. It has affected my relationships, friendships and romantic alike.

I knew that my parents' marriage wasn't perfect, but before they got divorced it seemed like everyone I knew had parents who were still together. So I didn't think much about divorce, and how marriages can stop working. I didn't have false hope of perfection, but I did think that most people worked things out.  Then, afterwards, it seemed like there started to be more friends and people in my circles who had divorced parents. And I started to wonder, "Will I end up divorced when I'm older, since my parents are?

I started to be a little more hesitant in life working out the way that all the storybooks tell you it does. Not more pessimistic, just more realistic I would say. I've changed my views on marriage both as a result of the experience of my parents divorce and just through getting older and becoming more mature. 

I do want to get married someday. But, it's not a be all and end all thing. Getting married is not my ultimate goal in life. 

And that's one of the positives that came from my parent's divorce. When they got divorced I was sad of course,  but I saw then that the world didn't end just because they weren't together anymore, it was just different. And I think that helps me in my day to day life as well.

You know when there's something you really don't want to do? You dread it with your entire being? Those kinds of things that make your palms sweaty, that kick up butterflies in your stomach, and make you shaky with nerves? Well, the lesson of my parents divorce taught me that things like this, whatever they happen to be, whether it's speaking in front of a group, a meeting where you have to give some bad news, anything that you just really don't want to do, these are just normal parts of life that we have to get through. And, for the most part, we're better for having gone through them

Things were very different after my parents divorce. My sister and I ended up living with my dad, which, when we were kids was almost unheard of. Most kids of divorced parents went to live with their moms, especially if they were girls. A lot of people thought that was strange, but for us it was just the way things were. It was fun living with my dad. We went on trips, he spoiled us with junk food, and best, and most importantly of all he gave us a stable and good life.

My parents divorce also changed me in terms of how I viewed my romantic relationships and friendships. After my mom left, I felt abandoned. I had trouble trusting people, especially people who are supposed to be there for you, like good friends. Those feelings of abandonment have carried over into my adult life, and I (finally!) am starting to let them go.

I have a hard time getting close to people. I have only one or two really really good friends and a lot of acquaintances. There's nothing too out of the ordinary about that. But, beyond friendships, my fear of abandonment by the people that I love has carried over into my relationship as well. My boyfriend Dearran and I will have been together for 7 years in September. And even though I've loved him for as long as I can remember, it took me a long time to trust him. Not even so much to trust him per se, but to trust the fact that he wasn't going to leave me.

Because of that, I kept him at a distance for a really long time. It created some problems for him and I, but we've worked through them, and are going strong. He always laughs when we talk about how I finally let him in, and now I'm stuck with him. (I completely am.)

I think a big part of my finally letting go of my fears of abandonment is just part of me growing into myself. I realize now that my self worth and confidence don't depend on what anyone else does, or has done, or thinks of me. It all depends on me. 

And it all comes back around to the fact that I know now, that, even if my boyfriend and I did break up, (which isn't going to happen, we really are stuck with each other) the world wouldn't end, my life wouldn't be over, just like it wasn't when my parents split up. I would be devastated if Dearran and I broke up, but life would go on. It would just be different. When you look at the exact same situation from the perspective of a  neutral third party, you can see that kind of thing clear as day, but  when you look in on it from the perspective of applying it to your own life, it's harder to accept. It just takes a little while longer to sink in.

Overall, I would say that my parent's divorce although difficult, has made me stronger in a lot of ways.

Books and Media Tie in:

This is a bit difficult for me as I haven't read much historical fiction lately so I'm drawing a complete blank for books to mention in this post. Plus it's a bit difficult since I wrote about a personal event and not an actual historical one.

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Faye (Daydreaming_Star) said...

I feel ashamed at how lacking in personal detail mine is compared to your post but really what I mean to say is, I love this post.
Mostly because I now know we have something else in common.

My parents divorced when I was three years old. I don't remember it but I do remember being raised by my mother and visiting my dads every friday and every other weekend. I remember feeling the seperation, I remember the different partners, but most of all, I remember how it made me realise that marriage is unstable. Most of my friends' parents were divorced also to the point that now, I still don't believe in "true love". I find it hard to let people in because I fear that they will one day leave me - it doesn't help that I also had a situation where a friend did walk away after seven years of great friendship.

So I know what you've been through, and I'm so glad that you're at peace with it all in that way. I can only hope that happens for me too. I am also so glad that you have Dearran and have managed to work through all of those hardships together.

I am honestly just so happy for you <3

alexandrasscribblings said...

Wow, Melissa. This is such an amazing and deep and interesting and just... ahhh... post. And I really, really love the way that - at least it seems that, from reading this - you're able to look at it now. Ugh, that's such a terrible sentence. But I mean, I love the way that you've turned your situation into a strength.

"even if my boyfriend and I did break up, (which isn't going to happen, we really are stuck with each other) the world wouldn't end, my life wouldn't be over, just like it wasn't when my parents split up. I would be devastated if Dearran and I broke up, but life would go on. It would just be different"

This. This is perfect. Honestly, I could quote that whole paragraph back to you, but that would be a little bit redundant, but yes. Yes. I completely agree. It is so much harder when it's your life, your perspective, and your feelings and you're in the middle of it and it does take longer to work through.

You know, my Mum had a bunch of... maybe this isn't the right word, but... baggage? Hurt? Anyway. From her childhood and teenage years. And it's only been in maybe the last decade that she's really properly dealt with a lot of it. Which means that even though she never meant for it to happen, some of her hurt and issues spilled over onto us her children. Especially me, as her eldest and only daughter, I think. And I'm not trying to bitch about it or anything - and it's not like it caused me deep psychological harm or anything at all like that, it's just... how it is. And it was exactly the same for her mother too. But her mother, my grandmother, she didn't start to work through this stuff until she was much, much older. Sometimes, when we talk about it, my grandma remarks that each generation we're sorting our crap out earlier, to the benefit of the next generation.
And I think what I'm trying to get at, in this long tangent, is that if you ever have kids now, or if your sister has more kids, this perspective that you talk about here is just exactly right, exactly helpful to be the best mother and aunt that you can be.

And I completely agree with Faye. Dearran sounds amazing. And I'm so happy for you. :-)

alexandrasscribblings said...

Ugh, I just reread my comment and realised I talk way too much about myself in it :-( when this really should be about you. It's just that this post really got me thinking. And I kind of just rambled down everything that was coming into my head.

Melissa said...


Thank you so much!

I have to admit, I was really scared to post something quite so personal, because I was afraid of people's reactions, but then I just figured I should go for it.

This is one of the reasons I love BTB, because each time we learn just a little more about each other and we have a lot in common. :)

I can completely understand where you're coming from with not believing in true love, it is hard to believe in when you've been through situations like the ones you've been through. And sometimes the hype of true love just doesn't live up to itself anyway.

I hope that one day, you will be able to make peace with the things that have happened. It may take a while to do, but it's definitely worth the journey.


Thanks, I'm so glad you liked the post!

Don't worry about having talked about yourself, that's the whole point of these posts! I like when the posts inspire discussion. Plus, I ramble a lot too, so I totally understand that, lol.

You brought up an awesome point for me to think about, about being able to let these issues go now making me be a better parent (if I become one) in the future. I admit, I am a bit terrified at the thought of becoming a parent because I wouldn't want all of my baggage with my own mom to affect my kids, but now that I'm trying to let go of that, it doesn't seem quite so scary.

Lucas Boles said...

History will repeat itself if we fail to learn our lesson. I feel sorry for what happened to your parents, but I know they have their reasons. Have you tried asking your dad about the story behind it? Yes, divorce will put you into trying times, but we have to take some beating to toughen up. You made that clear in this post. Thanks, Melissa!

-Lucas Boles