I find it hilarious when someone has a perception of me varies wildly from who I actually am. Sometimes, it makes me want to correct the misconception, yet other times it tickles me sparkly to let them think what they want.
Life is absolutely filled with more humor that way.
When I got pregnant with my first son, I had a role in my family: The Fuck-Up. Disregarding all of the surrounding circumstances (my mother’s relapse slash hatred of me), the blame for all of my actions fell squarely on my shoulders, at least as far as my family was concerned. Although many of my actions were not *ahem* the most mature, my family gave me far less credit than I deserved, especially considering that I was 20.
When my pregnancy was announced, my parents were shockingly supportive of me. Well, at least until I found out much later, of course, that they had asked my brother – who is 10 years my senior – and his future wife if they would adopt my child in the event that I “freaked out.” They had such a low opinion of me that they honestly believed that I wouldn’t assume responsibility for my child.
(note: I am amazed that the keyboard has not ignited with the fury of a thousand suns as I type this).
The rest of my family (save for me, of course. I get a special CHARGE when I get to confront people who have pissed me off.) is so non-confrontational that one might assume that each member is far meeker than they really are, I rarely heard about what a Fuck-Up I was considered to be. Aside from snide comments here and there about “responsibility,” everyone was pretty mum.
It was only when I met, and subsequently married The Daver, that I realized just how poor my family’s opinion of me truly was. You would have thought, by their reactions, that Dave had rescued me from the streets, where I was selling crack and dancing (badly) for spare change.
Somehow he had turned my life around for me. You would never have guessed that I was already at the top of my nursing school class, TA’ing for Organic/BioChem AND tutoring for A & P, while working as a waitress and bartender 20 hours a week BEFORE Dave walked into my life.
My brother, who I have a long and sorted history with, decided that if Dave (whom he adored/s) liked me, then I couldn’t be all THAT bad. My parents finally accepted that I had become a more mature and responsible person, although their time line was off by a factor of about a year and a half. In their minds, I only began to turn my life around once I had met Dave.
I do, of course, appreciate that my family loves him as one of their own. I know that I’ll be left out in the cold the moment Daver and I split up, as both of our families prefer him, but I just wish that they could see that as wonderful as Dave is, he did nothing to change who I am and what I will do with my life.
It dawned on me, as I prepared my home for hosting Thanksgiving this year, that if asked, my family would probably mention that they were “having dinner at Becky’s house” and something to the effect of “she’s really turned her life around, hasn’t she?”
Like I was some sort of street urchin in a Lifetime Original Movie who had some sappy predictable plot line: unmarried, younger girl gives birth to a child out of wedlock, heads down the “wrong path” until she meets “the man of her dreams,” and she miraculously changes her path, learns to cook and clean, and becomes a responsible upstanding citizen with an immaculate home.
Who can -and does- now crochet motherfucking platitudes to hang on the wall.
Yeah, motherfucking right.
I can’t do anything about this, of course. It’d probably be easier to train my cats to unload the dishwasher or teach the coffeemaker to speak Ebonics than it would be to get my family to change their opinion of me.
It just sucks that they have to be so off-base with their perceptions, I mean, why can’t I be mistaken for a Fighter Pilot rather than a Fuck-Up
Or, I suppose, more accurately: The Becky Formerly Known As Fuck-Up?
October 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm
I feel you sister! I’m the only person on either side of my family to go to college and yet I’m a fuck-up because I stopped believing in their religion and have tattoos. So sad the way families can treat eachother. I too, am highly misunderstood/misjudged.
October 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm
I’m pretty sure we have been living the same life. I had my son when I was 20 broke up with his Father when he was 4 months. Met my husband when he was 2. Been married for 5 years and have a 3yr old little girl.
October 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm
I know it doesn’t change the fact that you want your family to change their opinion of you, but Becky? Look around you. Look at this community. Look at your pranksters. Look at this space you’ve built, that you are building. You are the polar opposite of a fuck up. And as much as I know it doesn’t change the reality of wanting the people in your life to see you for who you are, it is THEIR loss, THEIR failure and not a reflection on you. Because all of us over here? We see. We get it. And all of us are better for it.
October 24th, 2010 at 1:54 pm
I couldn’t have said it better, and totally agree.
October 24th, 2010 at 7:59 pm
This comment = Epic win.
October 25th, 2010 at 9:04 am
Beautifully said, Jen.
October 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm
I completely understand this. In my family I was the resident clown available for laughs at my expense whenever needed. Don’t get me wrong, I love to laugh at myself, I do not at all take myself too seriously. the thing is while they laughed at my antics I laughed to myself when they believed them. But this role wasn’t me. I was a little clumsy but I played this up most of the time. I was smart but they believed that I was some kind of buffoon. I moved away and then came back again- but I won’t be that person anymore
TASHA @ SNARKOBABBLE says:
October 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm
THIS is why I love you. Fucked up or otherwise. 🙂
October 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm
I can SO identify with this. My parents and I have a good relationship these days, but even now as a 31-year-old woman with a husband, masters degree, career, house, and a baby on the way, I feel like I’m always still trying to convince them I’m a good, responsible person. And it’s all because of their perception of my pretty much normal young person risk-taking and assholery; I was their first, so everything I did seemed way worse than it was. My second husband was the one who got my life on track–never mind I was in grad school and supporting myself when I met him.
Clearly you’re kicking ass at life and it sucks they can’t see all of it because of their own faulty perceptions.
MAD WOMAN BEHIND THE BLOG says:
October 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm
Awesome post Aunt Becky. My family has treated me the same way. Screw up until the husband came along. Why couldn’t I be a Software Engineer?
aunt becky Reply:
October 23rd, 2010 at 2:02 pm
Lord knows I couldn’t be anything without someone else. Man, that still chafes my ass to think that they view me that way.
October 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm
Becky, is it possible that your parents see themselves in you? Maybe they had regrets about how they turned out and thought that you were headed down that same path? I know that I am a far from perfect parent and I see some of my faults in my children. One thing that I do is to acknowledge their accomplishments and let them know that I am proud of them. At least, you have learned how not to raise your kids.
You have helped so many people with your blogs and your work for families with babies suffering from birth defects. I admire you.
October 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm
Thank you for this site. Reading entries like this help me realize every day that I am not alone and I am not damaged.
You are awesome.
BRANDI CORTES says:
October 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm
You were wrong, there were some sprinkles in there! They were just not pretty pink “life is lovely”, baby blue “my parents think I hung the moon”, or sunshine yellow “nothing but harmony on the horizon for my clan”.
But let me tell YOU something Mistress Prankster…those sprinkles (the fakey pretty ones) are bullshit. The ones you just gave us are real and honest. Those are why we love & keep coming back for more.
I wish your family got it; wish they could see how you’ve helped so many with the click of a few buttons. Your fuck ups have been our saving graces.
So stick that in your turkey and smoke it!
October 23, 2010 at 3:34 pm
You know what is sad…they have no fucking clue what they are missing out on by having such a screwed up view of you. You are truly an incredible woman and I’m so glad you are my friend.
October 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm
Becky: the Fuck Up who wouldn’t give up.
I will always embrace my fuckupityness. Had to go there to end up here.
It is a beautiful time of year coming up where we all sit a little too goddamn close around the table.
Never forget how very right on you are.
October 23, 2010 at 5:50 pm
I could have written nearly the *exact* same post. 20 yr old single mom, saved by the hubby, etc. And it’s an awful feeling to be 32 years old and still thinking you’ve done something wrong in their eyes, when you have done NOTHING wrong. I am the one to call my parents to chat, not vise versa. I am the one who comes to them for holidays and vacations, not the other way around. I feel like I still chase around what their “perception” of me should be, as opposed to what I have authentically become – ON MY OWN. A stable, well-rounded, fantastically awesome (if I do say so) 32 yr old mom of 3 and married for nearly 10 years to my “savior”.
October 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm
I think that fact that your family was unable to convince you that you were a fuckup (cause you weren’t) is a fantastic testament to your strength.
And as a fellow member of the fuckup club I adore you for writing this.
October 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm
What Jen said!
Anna Marie says:
October 24, 2010 at 11:48 am
Ah Becky, you are the least fucked up person I know. You rock and I am PROUD to call you my Aunt Becky. And just so I don’t lie awake worrying tonight, that bit about you and Dave splitting up was just a “for instance”, right?
October 24, 2010 at 8:02 pm
You and Dave? Split up? Never happen. They’ll break up Starsky and Hutch first.
Heart you, Aunt Becky.
October 26, 2010 at 11:36 pm
Huh. And here I had no fucking idea that we had so much in common.
I’ll have to write a post about this, but in short: my sister is the favored child and I am the fuck up. My sister was, for many years, addicted to alcohol and meth, has appeared in some porn movies, and is married to a felon.
While I judge her for none of that (and she and her wife are both clean, sober, and working legit jobs), I’m constantly amazed that my messy house is the thing my family (including my sister) find unforgivable.
I am the family fuck up and as far as I can tell, nothing will ever change that.
So yeah, I hear you.