Happy Anniversary

My mom died 30 years ago yesterday. It puts a little crimp on the 4th of July, not that I ever have anything good going on.

I think about her a lot, and usually in negative terms. I’m angry at her strict intolerance, and yet I feel sorry for her because she was a sensitive girl raised in a family of fairly hard people.

She was anxious all the time. My father was anxious a lot as well, but not as much as her. I think this environment has made all their children anxious. My mother had a very rigid and unrealistic idea about how you had to live life, which I have discarded intellectually but not emotionally. My sister struggles with this but I don’t think she has any idea what to replace it with.

My mother seemed to believe that life was a test, every day, with exceedingly high standards. You always had to put other people first, because they were more important, and their needs and wants were more important. Actually, their wants were more important than my needs. You must love and forgive everyone no matter what they do, and whether they stop doing it or not and whether they have any remorse for it or not. You must not express any negative emotions such as anger or frustration, or negative thoughts or judgments of other people. If you feel or think these things, they must be immediately suppressed. Certain authority figures-  teachers, priests, and older women- must never be questioned. Others might be under some circumstances. Sex is bad and dirty. Sex itself, and the associated emotions of desire and feelings of pleasure. You must not want anything. The most basic things- clothing to prevent nakedness and food to prevent hunger- will be provided. Anything else is vanity. You must not want attention or praise for anything.

That’s a recipe for insanity. For a brief period when I was 12 I figured my life was not going to work out for the better in any way and I was going to have to submerge myself in this and hope for relief in the afterlife. Then I thought, “No, this is bullshit, I shouldn’t have to live this way.”

There has to a happy medium for relating to people and living in the world, but I have never figured out what it is.

6 Responses to Happy Anniversary

  1. Johnny says:

    Condolences for a July 4th being an unhappy day, maybe just watch the fireworks or the local parades/bbq’s. I didn’t even watch the fireworks though.

    You didn’t respond to my previous comment. I’m reposting it here, I would appreciate a response.

    I think you had a post where you talked about serving in the military in your younger days? If I remembered that correctly, and you did serve, could you post your thoughts on your military service and “alphaness.” I would think anybody who is a veteran has that going for them or am I mixing things up?

    • I don’t think the military has much to do with “alphaness” as it is understood in the game context.

      The military needs a great many supervisors or leaders; everybody from corporal or the equivalent on up is a supervisor. The population doesn’t have near that many natural leaders, so they must provide people with simple ways to organize, supervise and control others. In my experience I saw little charismatic, alpha leadership below the level of first sergeant.

      Charles Schulz- creator of “Peanuts”- is a good example. He got to be a squad leader by the end of World War II- although he saw little combat- and went from being a very insecure young man to being a proud, confident leader. Then he got out of the army and all that vanished. He became a schlub again and married a woman who was the model for Lucy, and spent the next 20 years being unconfident, miserable and insecure- until he finally got divorced and married a woman who had a more suitable personality for him. It just goes to show military training and experience won’t necessarily help you in other areas of your life.

      • Mahoney (the key board warrior) says:

        What female personality type is best suited to the terminally insecure male?

      • Very calm, easygoing, relaxed, not riled up by much. The first woman I had sex with was like this- I should have stuck with her longer, but I felt I had to be honest about not committing to a long-term relationship. The girlfriend I had after that was crazy, but that’s another story.

  2. […] Man – “Happy Anniversary“, “To Display the Traits, You Have to Learn the […]

  3. Ryan R says:


    Reading your description of the world your mother inhabited and the one you were forced to deal with hit home so hard that I could scarcely believe it. All the items you listed I had foisted on me as well from putting others first to a fault to forgiving people for absurd atrocities. Sex was (and unfortunately still is) dirty and to be avoided. All “negative” emotion must be suppressed and authority should not be questioned, after all, I didn’t want to get “in trouble” did I? And here I am at 27 years old, afraid of supervisors at work, teachers in college, and others because they may get mad and I might get “in trouble”. Somebody shoot me.

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