Sunday, September 13, 2015

I Was Taught To Be Silent. I Simply Cannot

I've been feeling quiet all day long. All this beautiful day long.

My brother's comment on my post last night has brought so many feelings to my heart. And what I said in my response to him was entirely true. I would like for him to start his own blog. He is a fine writer and a fantastic photographer and it would be wonderful if he would write his own truth and his own history.


This is my blog. Where I write my own heart.
It's not just about my children and my grandchildren and chickens and gardens and the damn weather.

It's my place where I can relate what I remember, what burdens me, what will always burden me.

This whole situation is such a perfect example of what growing up in a dysfunctional family is like.

And right now, I can't say what's in my heart but I can say this- last week my brother sent me 23 pictures from our family when we were children.

And I'm still not recovered from the horrible memories those brought back to me.

It may be as simple as this- those pictures bring him happiness or maybe no exceptional feeling at all. They are simply, to him, images.
But they bring me horror.
And such sadness that I can't even say.

And so it goes.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Your story. Your experiences. Your memories. Your response to your brother was caring and considerate. I am so sorry that your story and his don't share as many threads as they could have. I am so sorry you hurt. I am so grateful that you talk about hurt and injustice here along with babies, chickens, and the damn weather. Otherwise, it's all fake as shit because we all hurt, we are all scared, we all suffer. Holding you in my thoughts tonight.

  2. I admire you so much. For being able to spot the dysfunctional even though for much your life it was all you knew. And I admire you for being able to spot the good, the real, the pure and recognize it as something you wanted for yourself and your own family. Not many can do that. And that's why I get you and I really dig you. Now keeping doing you and keep enjoying the heck out of that wonderful family that you have created for yourself.


  3. When my mother's mother died, leaving 9 of 10 children behind, the fissures that had existed between the siblings erupted into a battle over her estate (which was fairly paltry) and which lasted YEARS. For some of the 10, my grandmother was a saint. She was strong as hell, progressive for her time (she pushed her daughters to go to college, played basketball and all sorts of sports in high school in rural Tennessee in the 1930s, could sing like no one's business), and to others she was abusive, mean-spirited and hard. I only knew her as my Grandma Sally (actually, Sara, my namesake) and she was small and fierce and terrifying. Watching the way that her children fought over who was right about who she was (she made my mom take diet pills at 10, she bought my aunt a horse at 12; she championed my uncle's singing career, she maligned my other aunt's early marriage)--and now seeing how my sisters and I all see my parents and remember things with completely different emotional baggage--

    well. People are fucking complicated. Grandma Sally was both monster and angel, was both fierce and small. I do hope your brother starts a blog, or writes about your mother as he knew her. Which is as true for him as the way you knew her, I'd imagine. Except, like Keats' theory of negative capability, neither, though contradictory, erases the other. I'm so glad you come here, Mary, and tell your truth. Because so many of us have been told to be quiet and that our truth isn't real, when it is real. Of course it's real.

    Love you and this place. I want all of us to have a place like this, where our stories are valid and taken seriously.

  4. Your blog - yes, and it should be everything you want it to be. If it can't be all of that, then the unfairness continues.

    As I commented on your other post, even within my small circle I see family dynamics that were fine for some offspring and so very different for others, and the feelings generated from those dynamics have lingered to this day.

  5. You were gone for two years Mary when I took those pictures in the summer of '74. They were almost all of our younger brothers. Then I left for college-- exactly two years after you. And please stop throwing your blanket of misery and dysfunction around me by implication. Don't worry about any more blog interference, I'm leaving it for a long while-I'll miss the often brilliant writing but not the bullshit concerning Mom-- it's gone on for years.

  6. Tears prick at my eyes, again. How difficult that you must go through this over and over, Mary. Yet you do, and you so bravely write about it and extend your empathy and compassion to so many others even as you experience the horror quite literally.

  7. Mary it is your truth and your experience. No one can say what it was like for you except you . I send you a warm hug xx

  8. Ach.

    It's ok, Mary. Silence won't make you feel better, so ... if your brother's happy, that's great. It's great. It really is. I think he's making the right decision to stop reading. You keep doing what you have to do - and release any big sisterly feeling of responsibility you might have for him in his childhood. And just let talk of blankets of disfunction slide away.

  9. My youngest sister and I began sharing our memories of childhood together, very tentatively, about a decade ago. It was excruciating but we were able to validate what we were forced to endure in what she calls "The House of Secrets and Incest".

    Our other sister doesn't remember any of that stuff. She says she has chosen to forget and that we too should leave the past behind. She wants to remember us children as happy and ordinary with parents who were doing their best. She says our family was not always that unhappy and to speak ill of the dead brings shame on their memory. I often wish we three could sit down and bring together light and darkness, piece together a bigger picture. But it isn't possible, there can be no common ground between denial and secrecy, and wishful thinking.

    What do we do, Mary? We may go on playing 'truth or lies' all our lives and that estrangement may never be healed.

  10. As you said, this is your space, where you tell your own truth. It doesn't have to correlate with anyone else's truth in order for it to be true.

  11. It must be so crazy making to be told that what is true for you is a lie, to have the things that happened to you essentially denied. It's easy to know why your feelings about your mother are complicated. Why can't your brother understand that? It doesn't deny his truth to honor yours. Hard stuff.

  12. I am an only child so I don't have siblings to challenge my memories. I do know that I am sorry you are hurting. Gail

  13. Just one more voice in the chorus here to say that each sibling's experience of family life can be practically unrecognizable to the other.

  14. it's a shame he seems so insistent that you could have had a different relationship/experience if only YOU would have... he is completely negating your experience just because his was different. what he should be saying is how terrible it was for you and he wishes it could have been different. perhaps your truth is too scary for him to even consider.

  15. I had an experience with an abuser that my brother didn't share. He went through his childhood differently, without shame and the disappointment that comes when you don't feel protected. He also can't wrap his brain around my depression, "dwelling in the past", etc. Maybe you just can't get it unless you get it. No one should have to get it.

    You have the right to your truth though, and the catharsis of writing. I cling to your words and there are days when your joy is my inspiration for finding mine.

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  17. I'm glad you could say this so succinctly, Dayna, I felt like I didn't quite have the right - but I think you nailed it.

    It's a good thing White's expererience isn't the same as Mary's. I'm sure she's glad of that. I just wish his empathy could extend beyond his own reaction to her dysfunction. It is dysfunction. Dysfunction is not some personality flaw, it's ... the result of a dysfunctional upbringing. We know this. Anxiety and depression aren't choices, neither.

  18. Stepping away from your blog would seem to be the healthy thing for your brother to do at this time. I wish my siblings would have been so self-aware. Instead, they chose to print up the offending posts I had written and shared them in the family which bonded them in their hatred of me. Instead of talking to me about what they uncovered, they defensively used it as a good reason to completely shut me out. Obviously, it just proved my point all along, that they are fucked up. Lol!

    Families are hard. Like everyone else has commented, one person's experience within a family can be completely opposite of someone else's. It's all about perspective. And heart. We all have different ones. Events that barely register on someone's emotional radar can completely devastate someone who feels and thinks differently.

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It's hard to know what the right thing to do is. I guess it's best to just keep putting one foot ahead of the other and maybe time and the Universe will reveal the right path. Big hugs to you and your brother.

  19. You give so much love and so much of yourself to us. It is truly a gift for me to be able to sit with you in your sorrow and give my love to you.
    A clear mind I wish for you tonight, nothing but memories of the loving family that you and Glen have created xx

  20. too bad your brother seems to be incapable and unwilling to accept that your truth and reality is every bit as *real* as his is to him. To invalidate your feelings and to place blame (for lack of a better word) on you for what you feel, is so wrong and cruel. Hasn't done much soul searching, has he? Too scary perhaps.
    At least today you can have the joy of seeing Lily and Jason's new home and anticipating how much love will abound there
    Susan M

  21. ashley- Thank you. And if I only wrote about those things, what the hell good would it do? None for me, none for others whose stories I also tell when I tell my own.

    Invisigal- It's funny how even children who are born and raised in dysfunctional families have a sense and a knowledge that what's going in that house is wrong. But they do. I did. And I knew there had to be a better way and I was right.

    Ramona Quimby- You made me cry. Yes. This is how it is. And I am aware enough and smart enough and wise enough to know that my brother's version of how my mother was is as true for him as it can be. And that we all create our own stories to make our realities bearable. It is the way of humans.
    I love you, woman. I hope you know that. And I also hope that you know you can say anything here. Anything at all. And I will hear you and I will be holding you in my heart.

    jenny_o- I don't think we ever grow old enough for our realities to shift. We can grow old enough to learn to view them through more compassionate and experienced and loving lenses. That we can do.

    White- This is not the place for me to tell you how I feel. But you are welcome here any time. And if you do start your own blog, I hope you tell me about it so I can go there and read your words.

    Elizabeth- Well, you know...Must be part of my karma. I might have been a very, very bad girl in my last lifetime. And sometimes in this one! It's okay. In the end, I don't think it's going to matter a bit.
    I love you.

    Leisha- Thank you. So much.

    Jo- Your words were truer than you even know. Thank you always.

    Mary LA- Your words struck a deep chord in me. I have another brother whose memories are much like mine and I can relate so well. But sadly, I think you are right- there are some walls that can never be breached and thus, healing may never occur. Ah-lah. We have to take what we have. We have to do the best with it. I am so sorry that these things happened to you and your sister as well.

    Steve Reed- Thank you.

    Angella- He is not capable of understanding that. He just isn't. And it's not really his fault. I understand that. But yes, it's goddamned hard sometimes.

    Gail- Part of being a human being. But yes- how different it must be to be an "only." Good in some ways, difficult in others.

    Sarah- Truer words were never said.

    Ellen Abbott- You are wise and I think Intuitive.

    Dayna- I think you have completely nailed it. I am so sorry that you know what I'm talking about. But I am glad you are here.

    Jo- Oh god. I SO wish that depression and anxiety were choices. I SO wish that I could just magically release all of this. Thank you.

    Heartinhand- My family reveals what paths I need to take. In that I am so lucky. And I have a wise husband who counsels me and calms me and loves me.
    Thank you.

    liv- And that is exactly what has happened!

    Susan M- What my brother thinks and feels is his to think and feel. I'm okay with that. And yes- today has held many joys!

  22. When I was growing up I had two friends that had been molested by their step-fathers. Their mothers knew and stayed. It was unconscionable and no matter what these men and their abhorrent wives were like in the rest of their lives they were terrible humans. Mothers protect their children. Mothers make sure their offspring are safe.

  23. No words of wisdom. Speaking your truth is important. And one person's version of life can differ so remarkably from another's. Love to you.


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