Sunday, August 21, 2011


My mom was a single, working mother. That means a lot of things, but mostly it means that I had a lot of babysitters and was in a ton of daycare programs. For the most part, these caretakers were good people, but I had one experience that was just awful. Like I would cry before my mom would leave me there in the morning, and cry when we got in the car to go home, and beg that she wouldn't ever take me there again. Many reasons for this, and some of them pitiful, like she would put ketchup on my eggs without asking me first (I didn't like condiments until I was much, much older) and then make me eat them. Um, gross.

But more serious, right by the front door was a large jar filled with candy. Not just Starlight mints, or Jolly Ranchers, but beautiful, brightly colored ribbon candy. The kind you see at Christmas at a specialty store. This jar, a beacon of temptation, a siren of sugar, sat right in my field of vision as my mom would put my coat on me and get me ready to leave. I would look at it and want a piece and, because I was four, would ask for a piece. My babysitter would open the jar, pick out a candy, and hand it to me. It was the only good thing about going to her house.

Until one day. My mom had just dropped me off, and my babysitter's husband was home during the day for some reason. He turned to me, his face filled with fury, and said, "Who do you think you are, asking for candy? I almost took my belt right off last night and beat you in front of your mother for that. Don't you ever ask for candy again."

Okay, so dude was fucked up. I get that now, but as a little kid I was terrified and ashamed. I had no idea that it was a bad thing to ask for candy, and from there on out, I didn't ask. And when it was offered to me, I always turned it down.

I think about that experience sometimes. I'm not sure that it was this defining moment in my life, but I do have a very difficult time asking for what I want. I feel like I don't deserve it, or that it's improper, or sometimes I'm just afraid that someone will freak out at me for asking in the first place. I lack courage. I'm not saying that I'm a weak person. I can withstand, endure, pretty much anything. But I will almost always accommodate, give, and keep silent about my needs or desires.

I've been doing really well with high-diving. With taking chances when I wouldn't normally, with trying new things. I think I need to start taking chances with being open as well. With trusting that I can ask for the things I need and I won't be threatened with the belt.

Listening to: Pixies "Trompe le Monde"

xo. kb.


  1. I need to review all the crazy things I've said to a 4 year old.

  2. Patrick, there is a difference between saying crazy things and legit trying to terrify a child.

  3. That said, all's well that ends well, right?