I used to get so angry with myself, for getting my hopes up. Getting excited about anything only meant let-down. The first time we had tickets to the circus, and it snowed, the first time I asked for permission to go out, the first time I fell in love. Things never worked out.
When that happens you stop hoping for better. You learn not to dream. And you start to settle. I wasn’t even a teenager yet when I learned that lesson. When I learned I didn’t matter, when I learned that life just goes easier if you don’t hope for what everyone else has.
I also learned that when things went wrong, it was my fault. He taught me that. Mom tried to change it, over-compensated – but her covering his tracks, eternally smoothing over his messes and making him look like an okay husband and father, that taught me something different. That taught me that men are something to be catered to, coddled, we need to protect their egos even when we know they’re wrong. That it doesn’t matter what I need or want as a woman, so long as I am fulfilling his needs and wants.
I still get angry. I’m not sure where to direct it, not really, but I know I’m mostly to blame. Harold is my medicine. I got what I deserved, at least according to Daddy.
Stella – (a working title)