Baby’s First Steps
The next set of memories are from the period of time when I was around several months old. By that time, I knew certain words to verbalize my emotions, but not many, I don’t suppose.
These are good memories.
It’s nice to have good memories.
I remember . . .
. . . the house we lived in before the trailer house. This house had a large kitchen that led into the backyard, and had yellow-and-white checkered curtains that framed the window above the sink. I loved looking at those curtains, and any time my mother washed dishes with me on her hip, I’d reach for those curtains. (Yellow is still one of my favorite colors. It represents a happy time for me.)
. . . bouncing on my mother’s hip as she scrubbed dishes at the sink, and grabbing for the iridescence bubbles that would sometimes rise, blinking with a startled laugh when they popped.
. . . bouncing on my mother’s hip as she stirred a pot on the stove, jerking away when she slapped my hand when I reached for the wooden spoon, and jouncing back, holding to her arm for purchase, as she adjusted her hip to keep me a safer distance from the stove.
I remember . . .
. . . the yellow Formica-topped dining table in the kitchen. This was the happy memory of the table. The bad memories of the table came later, when I was older. But in this memory, I used to stand underneath that table, holding on to the cool metal legs for support, and run my hands up and down its tapered length. It was fascinating to me that my hands couldn’t reach all the way around the leg towards the top of the table, but as I ran my hands down the length, I could start to touch my fingertips together. Those were things that intrigued me as a baby.
. . . the tangy, metallic zing of the metal legs that seemed to zap my tongue and fill my mouth with water when I tasted. And since my gums were itchy (I’ve since realized that I was teething), I’d chew on those metal legs a lot. When my mother caught me doing that, she’d try to stop me (“No! Nasty! Bad! Yucky!”), but I was always biting on those tasty metal legs.
One day when I was under that table, flexing my knees up and down, happily bouncing and relying on those metal legs to keep me upright, I decided I wanted to go outside and play. The door leading to the back yard was right there in the kitchen, several feet away from me, and since mom was busy at the stove, I decided I would go to the door and open it and let myself outside. So I left the safety of the table legs and made my way towards the door, wobbling on unsteady legs. I was almost to my destination when my mother let out a loud exclamation, startling me, and I fell on my diapered bottom, frustrated with myself. And with my mother, who had scared me.
She picked me up, fussing over me in a happy way, and I reached for the door, fussing at her in an unhappy way (I hadn’t yet learned to not fuss at my mother), trying to tell her, “Let me outside to play,” but she couldn’t understand me.
When my dad got home a little later, mom put me on the floor in the middle of the kitchen and pulled me to my feet. Then she ordered me, happy and bright, “Go to daddy!”
I stood there, wavering on uncertain legs, trying to decide if I could. Or should.
Daddy crouched down with his arms held out, cowboy hat in one hand, his dark hair plastered against the crown of his head and feathering out around his ears and the nape of his neck. “Come to daddy!”
I took the couple of steps towards him with a smile on my face, and fell into his outstretched arms. He tossed his hat on the floor and swept me up high above his head, and then dropped me down low towards his face, making my belly tickle, and scratched my cheek with his whiskers. “Well I’ll be g**d*****!”
Momma’s bright happy mood suddenly changed, and she grabbed for me. “Don’t say that in front of her.”
There was a brief tug-of-war and mommy won, but I reached out to dad, fussing at him to take me back.
“Oh hell,” Daddy said to Momma, grabbing for his hat. “She’s just a baby. She won’t remember.”
But I remembered.
A Foundation of Lies
In my baby book, my mother wrote down that I was 8 months old when I took my first steps. However, she always told everyone that I was 6 months old when I started walking. So, I’m not sure of the truth.
Maybe to a lot of other people, this discrepancy wouldn’t make a difference to them. But it matters to me because this is just one small example of the little “white” lies I was purposefully told over the years. Or, half-truths. Or, embellished truths. Or the “whoopsie, I forgot the truth so I just made something up and called it the truth but no one knows the difference, so who cares, right?”
However my mother would describe these purposeful and deliberate untruths, they all add up to one thing: keeping me in the dark about the truth about my life. Even small but fundamental truths that most people take for granted.
Such as, the truth of how old I was when I started walking.
Or, the truth of the actual date of my birth: I’m still not sure what day I was born. According to the Office of Statistics and Vital Records, I was born on one day five minutes after midnight, but my mother insists that I was born the day before, five minutes before midnight. She explained to me one day when I was about six or seven, that the doctor made a mistake on the birth certificate (a mistake she apparently didn’t catch), and so legally speaking, I was born on one day; but in actuality, I was born the day before.
So she allowed me to pick the day I wanted to celebrate my birthday.
So while some records declared that I was born on one day, other records said I was born on the other. This discrepancy is something I have recently corrected, legally speaking, with the Office of Statistics and Vital Records, so they are certain of the date of my birth. But I’m still not sure.
Does it matter?
To me it does.
Or, take for instance the truth behind my vaccination records.
For most of my life, I thought I had been given all the vaccinations that the government recommended at that time. I found out in my mid-thirties, however, that my mother faked those records, and I actually was not given a single vaccination.
Not that I’m complaining about not having been vaccinated, mind you. But what boggles my mind is why I was never told this! Why lie to me about it?
These are just examples of the “small lies” that I have been told throughout my life. With many things throughout my life, my mother would rather lie than tell the truth. Maybe some people wouldn’t mind these “discrepancies,” but they bother me, particularly because all the lies set the tone for the rest of my life: keep Loren in the dark about the truth about her life . . . she doesn’t need to know the truth . . . it’s not important to tell her the truth . . . she’s not important enough to know the truth.
These lies set the foundation for my life: a foundation that was built on a gigantic web of lies, both the big lies and the little lies.
And this is the fundamental reason why the truth matters to me so much: because I was never told the TRUTH about myself from the very beginning!
One of the big lies I was told as I was growing up is that we were a “Christian” family. And on one level, this statement was true. For all anyone knew, from the outside looking in, we were “Christians.”
However, we didn’t call ourselves Christian. We called ourselves “Apostolic,” and then later, “Pentecostal,” and I never thought of the significance of this refusal to identify as “Christian” until recently. Maybe nowadays there are many Apostolic/Pentecostals who do identify as Christian. But in the Apostolic/Pentecostal churches I grew up in, if someone called themselves “Christian,” it was a “red flag” that indicated they were “charismatic,” and not actually saved.
Which is so ridiculous, of course, considering the fact that Apostolic/Pentecostal churches are charismatic at its very root. But I wasn’t taught that growing up, and we were taught to identify not as “Christian,” but as “Apostolic Pentecostal.” We believed that we were “more Christian” than everyone else, and other people were damned to hell. (But especially charismatics, Baptists, and Catholics. And, according to some unwritten rule, Methodists and Presbyterians were the same as Catholics, so they, like Baptists and Catholics, were all going to hell, too, but in a worse way than everyone else who wasn’t Pentecostal/Apostolic.)
Of course, as I grew into my teen years, these discrepancies that couldn’t be explained (assuming I would have been allowed to question, of course) gnawed at me. It never made sense to me that we had the totality of truth, and everyone else in the world who called themselves Christian was going to hell simply because they didn’t go to a Apostolic/UPC church.
By the time I was in my mid-teens, we had left the UPC/Apostolic church, so we then reverted to calling ourselves “Christian,” the same as most people who go to Christian-type churches.
We weren’t ever Christian in any true, Biblical sense of the word. I’m not sure what my father would have called himself (from the little I know of him, he’d probably call himself a Texan, and to hell with the rest of it, and then he’d have another beer), but even though my mother called herself Apostolic/UPC, and later “Christian,” her belief systems aligned with Luciferianism, not Christianity. And although her second husband certainly called himself “Apostolic/UPC,” he was a Satanist.
Next — Snapshot #3: Labeling Loren
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