People May Be 'Who You'... Hope Them To Be (You Know I'm Right)...
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
Artwork by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
I don't know if I'll be living tomorrow. I'm going to eat everything I want 'today'... just in case. Years ago, we were out with my cousin, and her husband ... we went to eat supper together.
She got a little extra on her plate... she was very hungry. She'd been dieting. Her husband took half of her food off her plate, transferred it to his plate. He told her 'you don't need that food'... and he sat there, ate it as if he did.
He, and his big, fat belly sat there... enjoyed that good food his wife didn't need. I looked at her face... it was red, embarrassed. Tears sprang into her eyes... I wanted to cry for her. Suppose it was her last meal?
It wasn't her last meal... but... close to it. Not long after that, she was killed in a head-on crash. When I look at her husband today... I hear his voice in my head... 'you don't need that food'. I see him in my mind, 'eating it like he did'. His fat, little belly moved up, down as he ate it quickly, swallowed it. He never glanced at her to see the pain he caused. He 'needed her food', more.
He never knew the impression he made on me... us. It will never leave. Come to think of it... 'be damn' if he doesn't remind of one of those 'damn' little flesh-colored, fat-bellied kiddiddlehoppers! I never thought about it until this moment!
I don't have an excuse for the weight I've gained. I can only say in my defense that life, and what it's brought to me... contributed to it. I've been hurt many times by the loss of everyone I love, the many things life has hurled at me. But... that's okay 'now'... I made it through.
I'm here... stronger for it. I've learned so much in life... I'm the most grateful person you'll ever meet. I care with my heart... and now, I'm big enough to put my pride aside... say so. Love, caring, giving... being grateful for everything.
Not only that... if I could right every wrong I've done in life, no matter how big or small... I would. There are things we can't go back to change, no matter what. I wish...
I've been in shock many times through the years... and I've lived in a lot of darkness... the worst being when Tommy died. Being overweight is an emotional issue... a deep one. It doesn't matter... it doesn't define who I am. I'm like a yo-you.... my weight fluctuates constantly. That's a 'good' thing... I never forget how 'both sides feel'. :)))
I've been 'lost' so many times in life... it's been hard to find my way back. When eventually I have... I 'woke up to life' once again. I would do healthy things... felt good, lost weight. Before I knew it... something else in life 'knocked me back on my ass'. I would go through the process of 'getting up, dusting my pants off'... 'to try it again'. To... live again.
In my life, many 'bad things' have happened... normally people only experience maybe a couple or three things in their whole life. They live, go on and life's good for them. It hasn't been like that for me. But... mind you... I don't complain, though I write about it. I'm grateful to get to live... it means the world to me. :)))
My life, my experiences have become my stories to tell... my colors of my life. I write what's on my mind... what I think... what I don't think about. My words are mine, no one else's. I don't write anyone's life story, but... mine. If you happen to be in it... you touched my life... one way or other.
I've lived through losing more than 20 family members on both sides of my family. These weren't 'just any family members'... they 'were the very ones I loved with my very heart'. Then... I lost my only child, Tommy, my son..... that was worse that anything ever in my life. I am still recovering... I still can't believe it. I can get very upset quickly... if I allow myself to think of him very long. I have to be careful... it takes time to get back alright.
If you've never lost a child, you aren't going to understand... also, if you want to tell me he's in 'a better place'... I'll tell you, 'no, he's not'. He wanted to live just like you do... unless you are one of those people who just can't 'wait to go to a better place'. I say, 'more power to you'. Simple as that..... I felt anger... can you tell? I hope no one else says that to me ever again...
So, if you've never lost a child... I hope you'll understand you can't just go say things like that. A lot of people who have lost children might begin screaming at you. I can 'feel why'... I instantly hate you. I don't forget you. I won't yell at you... though, if I need to... I will softly tell you how I feel... and I'll smile a sweet little smile, so... you won't feel bad. You might not want to look into my eyes... at hell's fire burning there. Skip said he's never seen anyone's eyes do like mine when they become angry... this would be what he meant.
I'm a loving, caring person... don't make light of my son's death ... with your thoughtless sayings. It shows you don't have anything else to say... don't say anything if it means nothing to you. Say I care, if it does... and go on with your life. I don't need your sayings, I have enough of my own... even if I get part of them backwards.
I have fought a battle with cancer... non-Hodgkins lymphoma. How, why, what caused it... to this day I still don't know. Chemicals, big electrical wires, pesticides... who knows? It was a life-threatening battle that almost took my life. I fought for three years to live... I lived, knowing 'I was going to die'.
The thoughts come through my mind, I wonder 'how' I came to have this type of cancer. I wonder sometimes, if it was from the pesticides that ran down on our land, from the land 'above' ours... in the North Carolina mountains when I lived there for years. We had spring water as our water source. I was a young wife, mother at that time. I wasn't aware of what chemicals could do, and such.
When I became very ill, I 'went down' fast. In just a matter of weeks, I was dying... barely living the morning I had surgery. I could only whisper to Skip. Tommy was in Germany... I wouldn't allow Skip to tell him. I was afraid something could happen to him if he knew... he would have died, if necessary to get to his mama.
I lived in darkness... I 'lost myself' once again. Skip was there... Skip was always there... Skip 'IS' my beacon in life. He is like that lighthouse shining at nights to guide ships... I can say this... if Skip hadn't been there for me... I would have died.
I say that with all sincerity. If Skip wasn't there, I wouldn't be here. I had no family who cared about me. If I had drank alcohol, took drugs, bitched... raised hell, got into all kinds of trouble... they would have loved me with their very hearts. Being different created an 'invisible' wall. I never could find the door in it... I really tried. I tried so hard... I loved them with... my heart. Isn't it amazing ... if only I could have been 'truly bad'... I'd been looked up to, idolized, loved... I'd been somebody. Oh, just how come I couldn't have just been 'bad to the bone'?
It's a wonder I didn't turn out to be a really bad 'mama-jamma'... I walked on those paths... I do have quite a temper. It wasn't in me. I'm not a mean, bad person. I would walk on those paths in life full of anger at the things life threw at me... I walked them in hate 'for the world'. I never wanted to hurt anyone else for the pain inside me.
I never could find it inside myself to hurt anyone. I was a 'square' in a round hole. I couldn't walk the path... and 'talk the talk'... I just couldn't. When I was angry... I thought I could. I always had a conscience.
'Damn', I couldn't even drink alcohol... it would depress me... I couldn't take it. I couldn't do drugs... I can't bear my mind to be 'messed up'... I have to be able to think clearly. I did smoke cigarettes for a time, but... when I quit, I never did it again.
I always thought about things... being a 'thinker'... helped me to realize that I didn't want 'bad things' in my life... I realized I did have the choice to go in the opposite direction... I did. I read books all the time... I wrote all the time... I tried to better myself as a person... I learned all the time about life. I just wanted to be 'me'... a good person.
When I say good person... I don't mean I'm perfect. I hope you'll know that I'm not perfect at all. I mean just be a good person in general... that people trust that I am. I can get angry, lose my temper like the next person... I can say a cuss word, too. I think everyone does that. It's part of being human...
As soon as I do such, I'm sorry instantly. I don't like being 'mean'... but, I am sometimes. I have a lot of anger in me... I was born with anger in me... just like the 'hell born in me'. I can raise hell with the best... but, it's not 'me'... I can't stand it. But... I 'know' it, I 'know how'...... If 'I raise hell'... I have been provoked... probably for the 3rd time.
I began to learn that life wasn't as glamorous... as glittery, full of material things. I had had it 'all'... but, was soon finding out... I couldn't 'be a good person' like I wanted to be... and live that life... too. I ... couldn't have my cake, eat it... too. You've got to be a good person for-real... you can't be a really good person, and a really bad person at the same time... you can't.
You 'can be bad enough'... if you need to be, though. That's where people who try to take advantage of you think you are weak ... they underestimate what they find, instead. I know... I've shocked a lot of people when they see I 'do have steel' in my backbone. People misjudge a quiet, unassuming person who is nice...
I would let people get by 'with pushing me' two times, hoping they'd realize to not bother me. Three... three, is my number with most things in life. The third time is when... things happen. 'Those' people never liked me ever again... they saw 'the hell born in me'... come out. I always tried to be nice when it happens... I don't like to hurt people... I always try ...to smile, too. Even a puppy is going to come out of a corner, if he feels trapped.
People don't like you when you 'see' through them. I'm sure many of you have opened your eyes, have seen things you didn't want to see... maybe went on to close your eyes back up... pretend you never saw.
Maybe you 'saw' someone for the person they really were.... 'there's just a split moment' where you make a decision... you 'let them see you 'see' them'... or 'close' your eyes, look away. If you want to keep them as your friend... you'd better close your eyes, look away. If you let them see that you 'see them the way they really are'... you are going to become the 'bad' person. You are going to be the culprit... you are no good. How are you going to prove you aren't?
People aren't what they always appear to be. For example... as a young, naive girl I used to think the world of an older man who was father to my best friend. What a kind, good grandfatherly-like man he was. He had the bluest eyes, the most kind smile in the world that made me feel like everything was alright.
From the childhood I came from... that meant a lot to me. To be treated in a kind way, spoken to in a kind voice. I'll never forget the shock that man put me in... it was so surreal, I walked around for several days reeling from it all.
I was getting to spend the night with his daughter, my best friend. We were all three sitting in the living room laughing, talking. She got up to go to the bathroom... I was sitting on one end of the couch, he on the other end.
I was sitting there, relaxed. I waited for her to come back, I felt shy being alone... I didn't know what to say to her dad when she wasn't around. So, like a little dummy... I just sat there, looking down at the floor.
Strong, man-arms grabbed me, pulled me toward his chest. He began trying to kiss me, his nasty lips touching mine! I began to fight him... I didn't survive to that age 'for nothing'. He saw a little fifteen year old girl, who had blossomed into a beautiful, young lady... who appeared fragile. What he didn't see was... the hell that was in her, born in her.... burned in her.
I know I hurt that man when I began to fight to get out of his strong arms. I hope I did hurt him bad... I never spoke to him after that. In fact, if I ever saw him again... I don't remember it. He made hell burn in me that day... he sparked those flames of pure fear, pure hell in me. I hope I 'burned' him good.
Not only that... he made me cry. I loved him, respected him... I never-ever knew 'he' would do that. I was so innocent... and I believed he was a good man. I didn't just cry... I cried like a little baby... it hurt my heart. For a time, I even told myself 'somehow, it was my fault'... but, how... I didn't know.
Learning people aren't always what they seem to be.... so many times by that age, I had learned that I couldn't trust anyone... especially a man.
Hands... hands always sneaking out to ... touch me. The shocks I suffered... not knowing 'what in the world' when a hand appeared, trying to touch me....... imagine how a very little girl would feel.
She wouldn't know what was happening, especially seeing a smiling, kind face she already trusted... not understanding 'why the hands were doing what they did... and the smiling, kind face' looking down at her'... not knowing she was too young to know anything.
If someone stood watching, they would probably have seen the expression of puzzlement on a little girl's face... but, instead of waiting to see the expression... somebody's 'ass would have been beaten'. If it were my child... I'm sure I'd turned into a 'for-real bad person'... the man probably wouldn't have lived.
I look back at these things sometimes... I don't hurt from them anymore... I think to myself... all those 'bad' things in my young life ... prepared me to be strong enough to 'find it in me' to even be here... today.
People aren't what they seem to be. How many kind, sweet, wonderful faces have I seen in my life... only to see the masks come off... to see what was hiding under them? When others came close... the kind, sweet, wonderful face...the mask went back on.
I knew I couldn't just walk over, pull the mask down for all to see... it wasn't like on Jerry Springer... where one could physically pull another woman's wig off to show her 'bad hair'.
You can't pull a kind, sweet, wonderful face off... if you did, people would condemn 'you' for being... so bad. I never told anyone the things that happened to me... I learned my lesson the one time I told... I didn't tell again.
No, people aren't who they seem to be. Sometimes, grandpas aren't grandpas... especially when they are step-grandpas. I learned that as a very young child... when I learned 'my father' wasn't my father after all. I went by his name... he never touched me in a 'bad' way... but, he did touch me in a bad way... he would hold me by my ankles, and beat me. I never knew 'why'. I was just a little girl under the age of six. Did he do it to... hurt my mother? He beat her lots of times... she was beautiful... men loved her.
His daddy, my step-grandfather... lived there... his daddy did 'bad' things....... but, who ever knew? I didn't know how to tell on him... in front of everyone, he was so sweet to me. I'd forget, I didn't have words to tell... anyway. But... I had memory.
I have a lot of memories before I grew old enough to know the words to. It was like 'connecting the dots'... as I learned words, I knew the name for 'stuff'... it took longer to understand what the 'words for stuff' ... meant. I had to be married, and older... to know.
I see 'why' people kill children when they do the things they do to them. These must be the people who 'know about memory, memories'... they must have been aware that children will one day learn to put in words what was done to them.
Maybe that's why... some people do things... to children very, very small. They don't think a little child would remember. I have to say to this... when things are different in a little child's life to hurt, or to feel different... the child might not realize what happens to it. But, it's when 'impressions' are made in a child's mind... that becomes a memory never forgotten. Maybe ... I should have been murdered as a little girl... I remembered a lot, faces... but, I never told.
For instance, another example... when I was thirteen, fourteen... one of my mother's friends had a boyfriend. She lived with him, so... I had seen him around, knew who he was.
I ran away from my Grandma Alma, and George's. The hell, oh my God, the hell-raising got to me. I wanted to run away... or just die. I chose to run away... I got as far as Durham, NC. I was afraid, I didn't know where to go.
A car stopped to pick me up... a familiar face! It was the boyfriend of my mom's friend! I got into the car, I was so glad to be near someone who 'was part of my life'.
Looking back now... I'm grateful it was 'him' who picked me up. It could have... it could have been a lot of things... I might not be here, today. The man 'did try' to touch me... I'll give him credit, he left me alone when he realized I didn't know, didn't want 'that'. I never told on him... he never told he saw me. I never saw him again... until I was a young woman in my late twenties.
Our eyes met when I walked into a restaurant where I was known. Everyone was greeting me, I felt good... I looked beautiful, and I knew it. Every woman knows when she looks good, her eyes will scan the room to see if men are noticing... you know it's true. :))) I was no exception.
My eyes met a man's eyes... he was looking at me. I stood for a moment... I placed him. It was the man who picked me up when I was a runaway. I didn't feel anything toward him... I smiled briefly, turned away... went on with my life. We 'knew' who each other was. I thought to myself... thank-God, he was the man who picked me up...
This morning I was thinking about things... how people fool one another. It's a part of life... if we really knew, or really faced up to the truth of how some of our most respected, 'good' people really were... they'd be in prison, or forever shunned. But... you know... we have to close our eyes... life is life... it is what it is... we can't always be truthful about what we see... know. Keep your mouth shut. You know... I'm right.
I was thinking of people who think they hide behind wealth, their worldly goods... feel protected. They go to church every Wednesday night, every Sunday morning... every Sunday night. They are perfect people... everyone trusts them. Sometimes... little girls know more about a woman's husband... than she, herself... knows.
If you don't believe me... watch those young girls... the husbands. If you open your eyes... there's another 'world' playing out in front of you. It's all hidden in the word of the Bible, beautiful clothes, and people with good reputations... they are all good citizens of the community. You ... know... I'm ... right.
You've probably 'been there, done that', too. The more 'those christians smile'.. the more everything is going their way. Do I sound cynical? I am... I always look where no one else looks... I know there's another 'life playing out behind the scenes'.
It does seem our world is all about ... sex. It is... sex, drugs, money. Whether you like it... or I like it... that's the way it is. I learned long ago, that's what rules this world we live in.
On the other hand... I, also, know there's a place for good people. They just aren't noticed as much... they aren't always trying to be 'out front screaming look at me'! They are just focusing on doing good things, being a good person. They don't feel the need to brag, to have better than others, to be dressed best. They've learned that the things we all seek in life are ... on the inside of each of us.
Think about it... if all of us loved, cared, gave from our very hearts... how do you think the whole world would be? That's saying 'all of us', together ... loving, caring, giving to the other in all sincerity.
How in the world could 'hell be raised', then? If we all focused on that, we wouldn't worry about 'opening our eyes' seeing something we don't want to see... Sadly, this is something we don't have to worry about... I don't see how the 'whole world' could ever be as 'one'....a caring, loving, giving world.
It's all about greed, comfort... self. Ones self... one's creature comforts... sex, drugs, money to ensure they live in comfort, every need ...satisfied. All the while... they appear to be 'good' people, good, solid citizens of the community, good neighbors.
Just remember... people aren't always 'who you' think they are? They may be 'who you' hope them to be... you know I'm right.