A few short years back, I was being wooed by a sweet woman with a pixie cut who loved to run. She wasn’t trying to hook up with me, but instead with my dad. She called me several times every day, listened to me cry about my own problems, bought me a computer, sent me flowers, came to St. Augustine to help take care of me when I had surgery, and was my all-around best friend. Or so I thought.
My dad was recently divorced from his wife of 14 years whom I loved deeply but I wanted my daddy to be happy so I kept putting in good words for him on behalf of his “running coach”.
They finally began dating and as soon as he placed a conspicuous ring on her finger, holy ish, the woman’s true colors emerged and she was nothing like the pretty little picture she had worked so hard to paint. She immediately began criticizing everything I did, my parenting skills, the fact that I was pursuing my Associates Degree while her kids were off working on their Masters and Bachelors, that I was a single parent (how classless is THAT!), that this, that that, that EVERYTHING. I was uninvited from the wedding the day before it happened (another story for another day).
I’m a really horrible person, you guys.
The really sad thing is that when you hear something often enough you begin to believe it. Not me, but my Dad.
He started treating me like crap too, believing everything that horrible woman said. I could do no right, though that was a common theme in my life growing up. I never was quite good enough. Not just from him. Maybe I put that pressure on myself growing up, I’m not sure. I’m kind of good at lots of things, but not really good at anything. I am a good artist, but not amazing. I’m a good dancer, but was never even in the top 10 on my competitive dance team. I’m a talented writer, but not quite talented enough to make a career of it. I was a smart student but not dedicated enough to become noticed.
Not that any of this matters in this scenario, but at least you know where I’m coming from when I tell this tale.
It happened on the second to last Thanksgiving that I got to spend with my Mamom.
Mamom was cooking, I was perched on a stool in the kitchen, The Workaholic was standing around me and there were a couple other family members situated in the small kitchen.
I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I feel like for this to be relevant, we were talking about weddings or marriages, or rings, or something similar. The Workaholic and I weren’t yet engaged and this was his first major holiday with my family. The Devil had a gorgeous ring on her finger, and I asked her how many carats it was.
The Universe stood still. Darts flew out of The Devil’s eyes and landed squarely in mine, begging me to speak again, as she began yelling at me about how tacky I was for asking such a question. She ranted on and on and on for at least a full minute as the stool beneath me spun, bucked, and reeled beneath my shocked and stiffened body. The floodgates held still behind my eyes as she ranted on about how horrible I was, and classless, and disgusting. I can’t tell you what else she said because my ears were suddenly full of cotton and I could no longer hear her, only see her lips flapping as the world tilted beneath me and my eyes welled higher than the Mississippi during a torrent.
All I could manage when she was done tearing me down to a miniature half an inch tall lump of goo, was to tell The Workaholic “Get. Me. Out. OF HERE.” Poor Mamom thought that I was upset because she had said she didn’t love my dark hair. She heard The Devil ranting and raving but couldn’t figure out where the anger was coming from and didn’t realize that it was being directed directly at my soul where scars would still linger five years later.
We left and didn’t come back until Thanksgiving Lunch was served, where I tried to make myself as small as I possibly could.
What do you think?
Isn’t that a question you ask your girlfriend when she gets engaged or married? “OMG BETSY! Tell me about your diamond! How big is it? Is it clear? What does the ring look like? Do you think he ACTUALLY spent two months salary on it?” We weren’t in the company of strangers, this was, after all, family. Even if my question had embarrassed her, do you think her public scolding and telling me I was tacky and classless was necessary? Even if she had answered the question, I wouldn’t have known how much money my dad spent on the stupid thing. The Workaholic bought me a near-flawless diamond that cost a mini-fortune but it was only .6 carats. My dad could have bought her a less clear diamond with lots of flaws, and even at 3 carats, it could have been the same amount of money as my meek (but absolutely gorgeous) diamond. I wasn’t asking how much the ring was worth, I asked how many carats it was, because it was really pretty (though not as sparkly as mine), and very large, and I wanted to know.
And WHY, five years later, does this still haunt me enough that I feel I have to write about it here in this very public place?
There’s SO much more. Each incident could last a chapter in a book. I’ll save the time I almost beat the ever loving shit out of her when I was 8.5 months pregnant for another day. It’s a really good story and needs to be told, but tonight isn’t the time.
Tonight, we’re talking about diamonds and sparkly things.
Tell me your take on the situation.