Sunday, November 21, 2010


In a strange attempt at psychoanalyzing myself I have been thinking about some of my most prominent childhood memories. I suppose it isn't strange that my childhood was a happy one for the most part or at least until I turned 6 and my mom got married.

I vaguely remember hiding from my aunt (who was in her teens) thinking she was mean cuz she was a lot stricter when she babysat than my mom or grandparents or great grandparents were.

I remember the purple and pink tent (or maybe it was blue?) that went over my four post bed that I slept in. I loved hiding in there. I felt secure.

I remember going to sleep at night and my mom and my step dad (when they were dating) sitting to the side of my bed. I always played with my mom's hair, rubbing the ends against my cheek and brushing my fingers through it. I couldn't sleep without doing that.To this day I still have a 'thing' for hair. I also remember the first time I told them they could leave. I don't remember being scared. Just confident. I was ready.

I remember sitting on my den couch closing my eyes and flipping through the channels on the TV as fast as my fingers could push the buttons and trying to guess which channel it would land on.

I remember the big Greek family get togethers. The smell of stale smoke and an alcohol that I am still not sure what it was or is. But if I were to smell it, I'd recognize it. I remember the cheek pinching and the loud voices. Thea Unthula (my great grandma's aunt - who was alive long enough for me to remember her scary face mole) scared the crap outta me. I always hid in my great grandparents bedroom when I knew she was coming. There was Bertha (originally named Parthanope) who was my great grandma's younger sister and she always wore ENORMOUS dark tinted glasses. Mary (or Maria) was my great grandma's older sister and I remember her flaming orange hair and loud rough voice. I miss those times.

I remember my Uncle Herc (who was actually the oldest of my great grandmother's 5 sisters and brothers and whose full name was Hercules) He smelled of tobacco and on holidays I would cuddle up next to him and pretend to sleep while he napped.

I remember during the holidays the Greeks would come up from the Valley (and anyone who lives in the Los Angeles area knows what the Valley is) and would stay the night at my grandparent's house (where I too lived at the time).

I loved to see my great grandma put curlers and bobby pins in her hair to make it curly for the next morning and the next morning how beautiful it always was when she took it out. It always bugged me that she combed out the curl to spray and set it. I also loved watching her 'put on her face' (aka put on her makeup)

I remember hating being away from my family. I hated Sunday school and I remember in kindergarten watching the carpet, stuck in the same place I was sat asking the teacher over and over again what time it was and that I missed my mommy.

I remember as a very young child (maybe 3-5) standing on a kitchen stool and 'helping' my grandpa make his protein shakes.
* Remember, when I was 5 my grandpa was only 40 so it was more like a father-daughter experience than a grandfather-granddaughter experience.
He would add in all the ingredients and let me press the buttons on the blender and then he would give me my own small glass and I remember it tasting sooooo good.

Speaking of my grandfather being more like my father, I remember our 'father-daughter' dates. He would buy me flowers. He would take me out to eat. Any place I wanted. We'd dress up and I'd feel like a princess. After we'd eat we would go shopping. Wherever I wanted. He's still like a daddy to me.

I remember my first encounter with my biological father. I was younger than 6 but not sure how old. He took me to Chuck-e-cheese. I don't remember much except being nervous about going with him (someone I didn't know) alone.

My first memory of my stepfather (as I have mentioned many times on my blog) is of him yelling at my mom from his open truck window through her truck's open passenger window, over me. I was 3ish in my car seat. I remember fear.

And this is where I break off on an irreversible tangent.

Several posts back Princess Dieter made a comment about thinking about why I am a masochist. For those not familiar with the word, a masochist is someone who derives pleasure from their own pain. At first the comment made me laugh. Absurd, right? Right? Well, no. She actually had/has a point. In many aspects of my life I am a masochist.

Weight, husband, fights between my mom and step dad - it is all painful and yet some part of me derives pleasure from it. Sick? Yep. Crazy? Probably. Yet it seems to be a common trend not only among the obese/overweight but especially among obese/overweight women.

Feeding my 'fat cancer' strangely gives me a masochistic pleasure. Having my husband hurt me and turn around and apologize only to lather, rinse and repeat gives me a kind of masochistic pleasure.

When I was between 6-12 my mom and step-dad fought A LOT and they didn't hide it. It was loud and it was mean and it was scary. Sometimes I would find myself in my room listening. Sometimes I would put myself in the middle of it . . . never interrupting. Just listening. I was never told to leave the room, nor did my presence change the heat of their arguments. I acquired a kind of adrenaline rush when they would fight. It was exciting. It was a thrill and it made me want to eat. Whether out of fear, some kind of masochistic pleasure/celebration or anxiety I ate. One fight in particular I ate an entire box of Popsicles. AN ENTIRE BOX.

My relationships with men (other than my grandfather) have not been healthy. My real father offered my mom money to abort me then left as a marine to Japan before I was born. I don't know the first time he saw or held me. You already know my first memory of him. Not the kind of first memory a little girl wants of her daddy. (A loud game place wreaking of greasy pizza, greasy children and dirty games/toys with an enormous rat wandering around - did I mention as a child I had an abnormal fear of Chuck-e-cheese?) My step-dad was around since I was 6 months old but I was just the baggage that came with my mom. He wanted her, regardless of the expense. My expense. I vaguely remember other men in my early childhood life - one particular Sunday school teacher who always let me cry in his arms when my family would leave me to go into the 'big church', a couple other of my mom's sporadic boyfriends, my biological father's step father - an Italian, devout Catholic and generally a good guy, my step dad's father - a man whose family was messed up hiding secrets and dishonor and so much dysfunction. There were two brother's at the church we attended. One was the pastor and one was a Sunday school teacher. I always thought they were the same person because they were soooo nice to me.

My first boyfriend was ridiculous and disgusting and stupid and then I was raped by a man old enough to be my grandfather. The year of my life I spent on liberal house arrest for that was an eye opener in and of itself.

And of course my husband. A user - abuser - macho - Mexican - but I love him. Only God knows why, but I do.

There are parts of my life that for no reason other than self-preservation I have blocked. There are areas of
complete blackout memories when I was 10-12. Much of my adolescence until about 16 is foggy at best. So from day to day, I try to work out my issues and their correlation to my eating habits. I try to control myself but try not to control everything. I have a very hard time with moderation with so many things. I am either completely in or completely out of control. And not just with eating. Life in general is either running so well as to be tedious and boring or feels so out of control I wonder how I will survive until the next morning.

Today I was put in a situation I did not appreciate. First, it is a known fact that my step-dad, like most men in my life is a user and an abuser. He will always take advantage of a situation to his benefit. When he moved here several months ago my mom warned him that HE WAS NOT TO ASK THE TWO OF US FOR MONEY... EVER. So, barring ALL the details of today's situation my step-dad rightfully went out with my debit card to buy something I had asked him to buy since he would be at the store and it is but-frickin-cold here in the Pacific Northwest. I didn't want to take Buzzy and Breezy out. So he went. He bought it. With my card. As I asked. Good boy. He then called me to tell me my mom (who works at that store) had asked him to buy something for her and that it had cost more than he had anticipated and now he didn't have enough money for dip (chewing tobacco) and asked if he could use $6 off my debit card. I said ok. Then my mom calls me asking for my step-dad and I say he isn't back yet. She says he left the store a long time ago and where could he be. I said he went to get his dip. Well, WWIII broke out because apparently he had told her he had sufficient dip to get him through the night and then went and asked me for money. So, there were lies from him to her and I was smack dab in the middle. Not cool. Not fair. Not nice.

And with that I will end this very long post. While your eyes are probably burning while I reminisced down memory lane it wasn't quite as cathartic as I had hoped. Maybe I'm not looking deep enough or maybe too deep... or not in the right place. Regardless . . . life moves forward.

XO Kristen


  1. You are a very trusting person to let somebody else use your debit card. I have never and would never do that.

    Your grandfather sounds like a great guy. Be thankful for him every day. What a gem.

  2. I have been reading your blog for a while and I just wanted to chime in today after reading this post. I have not really thought a lot about my childhood in a long time, so after reading all your memories, I sat here and tried to remember things from my own lifetime. Thankfully, most were good, although my parents fought a lot when I was little and it was scary. It still is, in fact. My dad was recently put in jail because of it.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I'll be here cheering you on!

  3. Our childhoods resemble each other a lot, the only thing I have different, is that I had a dad. My dad passed away when I was 13 he was my best friend and not a day goes by that I don't think about him. But he choose alcohol over his family and it inevitably took his life. I'm crying just writing this short paragraph. I wonder why we have issues with stuff? (sarcasm)

  4. There is nothing wrong with fearing Chuck-e-cheese. It's a HUGE rat. It is to be feared. I love the dates with your grandpa.


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