Day 8: Someone Who Made Your Life Hell, or Treated You Like Dirt

Throughout my lifetime, I have learned that I cannot make everyone like, love, tolerate, or befriend me. It is a fact of life that I wish more people would learn at an early age because once you get into the “real world” the mantra seems to be every man and woman for him or herself. Don’t get me wrong, there are people in the world who have genuine “Christ-like” hearts and souls that help people every day of their lives. Mother Theresa comes to mind as one such person. However, it seems that for every Mother Theresa like person, there is that one person who makes a point to find everything you do or say wrong. Nothing in this world would change their mind about you. I’ve never understood why this is but it happens and it has unfortunately happened to me with someone who supposedly cared a lot about me.

As stated in my Day 4 post, I grew up an only child. My mother’s only child. I was also the only grandchild in a family with five adult children. After all these years, I am still the only grandchild unless you count my daughter who was adopted by my mother’s sister and husband. Either which way, growing up I didn’t have anyone to share the brunt of the attention. I won’t lie, from newborn to about fifth grade; it was GREAT getting all the attention from my mother’s parents, sisters and brothers. I would be taken places, bought things and spoiled rotten. My Papa (pronounced paw paw) and I spent almost every waking moment together. If I was not in school or with my mom, I went with him. He was/still is what I would think a great father should be. According to my mother’s youngest sister, Papa was a hard ass and mean. I didn’t see it. I thought he was the greatest and wanted to be near him always.

Too bad I cannot say the same for my relationship with my maternal grandmother. Part of me used to think, she might have been jealous of my relationship with Papa because I hardly wanted to spend time with her. See Papa died when I was twelve. My mother and I had only been in Texas for nine years. Nine years of being able to spend morning, noon and night with the father I had ever known. Nine years of going out to the pasture to tend to the cattle and land, to the corner store in town for a quarter cup of coffee and to Sunday School with him and my great-great Uncle Jim. Nine years may seem like a long time, but it really wasn’t especially to a child.

If I remember right, things between grandma and I became complicated when I was in sixth grade right before Papa passed away. Papa had been in and out of the hospital for months. On the weekends and sometimes during the week, I would go visit him with whichever family member was going. Well when we would return home, it would be uber late which meant I would not get enough sleep to stay awake at school the next morning. I remember repeatedly falling asleep and bringing home less than normal grades in my Social Studies class. I think my teacher understood what was going on but my grandmother and mother’s youngest sister didn’t. I remember being called over to my grandmother’s house one night to talk to my aunt on the phone. Apparently grandma told her about my grades and she [my aunt] proceeded to cuss me out to high hell. I was twelve or thirteen then. Did I deserve it? Not to that extent. As I sit and think about it, I can still hear my aunt yelling at the top of her lungs through the phone. I can still see my grandmother sitting on her bed just letting it all happen knowing damn well it wasn’t right.

From that moment on, I really didn’t trust my grandmother. How could I trust someone who seemed to do everything possible to make me feel like I was the bottom of the bottom? Everything I did and/or said was literally under the magnifying glass. And no matter how crafty I got at hiding things from her, she somehow managed to find out about it. I may sound like a brat right now but the emotions felt when I was teenager and even through my junior year of college were absolutely real. How does one assume something about another person and not even ask if it is true? Why would anyone go completely out of their way to make sure another person is miserable? I wish I could say that despite all of her hurtful words and emotional torment I loved my grandmother but the truth is I don’t feel anything for her. She is my mother’s mother and I will always be respect of her; however, anything past that, I cannot do.

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

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