I’m currently reading a memoir entitled The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls that my amazing friend sent to me with a bit of fabric I purchased from her. Seriously, my friend, Jenniffer is one of those rare gems of a human being who lights up this world. I bought $13.00 worth of fabric from her and she sent a big box full of goodies, from a quilt top (and extra fabric to finish it) for Kat, books for me, and a set of Dahl books for Kat as well. I mean…she’s platinum, you guys. Absolutely precious and wonderful and I’m blessed beyond measure to know her. The crazy thing is, I’ve never met her in person. I met her via Instagram, because of our love for quilting and supporting others.
When I started a group to make fleece blankets for a local homeless shelter, she jumped right in and gathered others from around the country and turned my tiny, insignificant “group” (me) into a real group, with so much love intertwined. For the blanket drive, she sent not just a blanket, but a BOX OF BLANKETS. I cried when I opened it, just like I cried when I opened the box with the books and the fabric, and the quilt.
I’m not used to people doing nice things like that for me. It’s usually the opposite. That sounded so pathetic. I’m not complaining. I do what I do. It’s not about receiving anything back. If it was, none of what I’ve ever done would have been done from the heart, right? Besides, I’ve been blessed in many other ways and it all evens out. I’m just making gan observation.
Anyway, I’m reading this book and it’s insane how much I can relate to every single person in this memoir. I won’t give anything away and I do encourage you to read it if you haven’t already, because it’s beautifully written, but I have to chat a little about it. One thing that stands out to me is this: even as a dysfunctional family, one thing they had was togetherness. I think as long as a family is close knit and supportive of one another, the individuals can overcome huge obstacles. This family is crazy to put it mildly, but I love every single one of them, even the drunk father and the head-in-the-clouds mother, who I hate to admit, reminds me a lot of myself.
I remember when I moved my sons into the old log cabin that had no indoor plumbing or heat and I said, “It’ll be an adventure! It’ll be like camping all year long! It’ll be fun.” It was fun, most of the time, but it was also hard and downright uncomfortable at times. My sons had a freedom most children do not get to experience these days, but they also took baths in cold creek water and I distinctly remember a rat or two pilfering thought the kitchen some evenings. Did I mention it was hard at times?
I can also relate to the author and how she and her siblings had to protect each other from so many evils in the world. I remember having an argument with one of our babysitters, who called my little sister a “lying little bitch.” My sister was five years old. I remember holding a stick as big as me over my head and chasing a boy down the street because he was picking a fight with my brother. Yet again, I remember hitting a fourth grader in the face with my loaded book bag for bullying my six-year old brother.
They did similar things for me. Maybe that was just the usual thing back then, when kids didn’t have helicopter parents lording over every little thing their children did, like so many parents do today. Back then, kids got into mischief and even danger and relied on each other to get out of it.
We also played outside – all day long. We played games like the kids in the book did – kick-the-can, King of the Mountain, and we rode bikes all over town, even on the back roads we weren’t supposed to be on because we might get hit by a car.
My childhood was great.
Sometimes it was hard. Sometimes it was very terrifying, like times when dad got real mad at us for laughing before we went to sleep. He really didn’t like that and when he said, “be quiet and go to sleep,” we’d better damn-well do it. On the whole though, I wouldn’t trade my parents or my childhood for anything and this memoir by Walls has cemented that even more in my mind.
This book is beautiful. It’s also a great example of how we can look at our lives and boo-hoo our way through, carrying that weight for forty or more years, or we can put it down in the past, and live the best life we possibly can. We can realize that nothing is wasted, not even the crappy times or the terrifying times, or the traumatizing times, because they taught us something about us, about the world, and about how hurt people hurt people.
None of it is wasted, unless we declare it to be so.
None of it is wasted unless we hold it in and let that poison kill us slowly each and every day of our precious lives.
I’m not all about “thinking positive” and stuffing down our real emotions. I’m not all about clearing our minds of negative thoughts in favor of a slew of affirmations. I am for acknowledging our emotions and understanding that they are valid and that they were valid then, and also realizing that our memories are no longer our reality. We are different people. We are no longer five years old or eleven years old. We’re grown and we can use our experiences to support others.
An exercise that has helped me when I have gotten a little lost in the past is to feel that emotion and then ask the Universe to take it from me and transform it into something beautiful. I imagine it floating up into the universe and changing into stars and then I imagine the light sprinkling down upon the earth. It helps.
Maybe it will help someone reading this today. I do hope so.
With that, I wish you a beautiful day.
If you’re interested in the book, find it here.