Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Monday, January 14, 2013

Apples and Trees

     So, as I've mentioned, I'm trying to take time for myself and offload some of the various activities that keep me way busier than I need to be.  Things are going swimmingly (pardon the pun) well.  I'm the happiest I've been in awhile.  Still a few things that need, let's call it, "fixing," but I am dealing with them better and better everyday.  I am more refreshed and more up to "starfish grabbing" than I've been in awhile.  There is one thing though that I can't completely seem to get away from, and try as I may, it keeps coming back over and over again... 

      ...This thing of which I speak is genetics.

      Okay so maybe not totally genetics.  I don't want to get into the nature vs. nurture argument here, but I can't seem to put my family's past behind me. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know, or at least have been introduced to glimpses of the fact, that I didn't have the best of relationships with my biological mother.  So instead of a few more situational glimpses, I'm going to briefly detail what happened.

     Let me first say that I have forgiveness in my heart for my biological mother.  After spending time examining it, and getting bits and pieces of information from my father, I realized my mother couldn't help who she was.  I don't know if it was all "nature."  I don't know if it was all "nurture."  I would put my money on it that it was a combination of the two, but my mother abused me from the time I was twelve until I left home at age sixteen.  It was verbal abuse at first, but then became physical.  The stories I've told in this blog are all from before that age, but you could see where our relationship was headed.

     I have worked very hard to achieve some sort of "normalcy" to my life.  Anyone who was belittled constantly starts to believe their own unworthiness.  Any one beaten starts to wonder if they deserved it and isn't fit to have better in their lives.  It has taken great amounts of self-examination to function as well as I currently believe I do.  I am grateful that I have a wonderful marriage, in-laws who love me, a decent relationship with my Dad, and that I don't breakdown at the sign of difficulty or become riddled with anger like I used to.  I've cried alot.  I've had to face who I am honestly.  I have had to change my mindset habitually every day until positivity and love truly became part of my thought patterns.  I had to love myself, and my past, for better or worse.  I am fully reconciled with that part of my life...

     ...Now to the point...

     I have a favorite saying as of late.  "The apple didn't fall far from the tree."  See? Genetics...

     I have tried to roll down the hill and into the village below in my best attempt to get away from the tree, and become something greater, like an apple pie....but I digress.  One of the other apples, however, is trying desperately to get me to be part of the bushel again.  Remember how I just said I was fully reconciled with that part of my life?  Maybe I'm just okay with the "tree...."

     ... I hadn't thought about the other apple...

     I was amazed at all the pain this person, uh, "apple" was able to resurrect in my life, but I really shouldn't have been surprised.  I started to see my biological mother in everything this person did.  Over the last year I have relived every single indiscretion taken out upon me as a teenager through watching this person's actions. Sometimes I would even be the recipient of private message insults and threats when to the rest of the world they would come off as a delightful, knowledgeable, and maybe even trustworthy.  Knowing how they behaved, I had tried for so many years to distance myself. Technology has made the world so small, and it's harder than just not answering phone calls any more.  I found myself going back to that bad place in my memories because of the distress that this person was trying to create for me, and even a few others around them.  Every part of the seed of this apple had come directly from the roots of the tree. Much like my biological mother, they just couldn't help themselves...

     ...and then I realized something...

     I am no longer that abused little girl.  I have forgiven the "tree."  I now have to forgive the "apple" because it was born of the "tree" and has never been able to see how to roll down the hill and into the village to become something greater (like the apple pie).  I want to say something most people don't realize about forgiveness.  They think that forgiveness means you have to forget and pretend like nothing ever happened.  Not true.  Forgiveness is for them, but ultimately, it's really for you.  It's an understanding of why that person did what they did so you can move on with your life and realize it wasn't because you were a bad person or you deserved it or any of the things that can hold you back from your life.  The forgiveness process includes, even though you understand why someone is doing what they are doing to you, never letting them have that option again...ever...

     There are some ways to escape technology and to keep others from harassing you. I think I'm figuring out how to do that while continuing with the more peaceful person I've become and life I have.  I've just rolled too far away from the tree to be put back in the bushel. 

     Where's the ice cream?  Say what you want, apple; you can't touch me.  I'm a pie now!

     Happy Fishing!


P.S. - Some of you may wonder why I refer to my mother as my "biological mother."  I don't want her to be confused with the wonderful stepmother I had when I moved in with her and my Dad after leaving home at sixteen.  I have been known to call my stepmother my mother, so that's why the distinction.  I think having that stable home with her, my Dad, and my foster sister aided this "apple" to roll down the hill. For that I will forever be thankful and feel blessed.




  1. Thank you for sharing, Dana. It's never easy to fully admit to people your past nor what it has created for your present. I understand having a splintered family; I understand having a family with traits that you try desperately not to have. I understand wanting to be there for your family but knowing, no matter how unfortunate it is, that having them in your lives (if even for a time) is a bad idea. It's not easy.

    With that said, how you are handling it is fantastical! Realize what you need for yourself and your happiness and make it happen. You can't fix other people but you can decide how you want to react to them. That is all you can do. <3

  2. Thank you Amy; I appreciate your kind words! You are so right about not being able to fix other people, but you decide about how you want to react. It all comes down to are you going to happy or are you going to let someone drag you into their unhappiness. They can't make you feel any specific way; it's all about how you decide to feel.