Quote of The Day

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Paint Party Friday Bullied in Silence!

I wish these images were clearer. My attempt at illustrating the story!
I always think of my cousin (Mustard) on her birthday Oct 6th, but not once have I had the gumption to pick up the phone and call her. We grew up together, yet the only time we’ve connected in the last fifteen years is at funerals and my brothers wedding. It's  a nostalgic encounter, yet somewhere along the line, a breech of trust probably caused a  detachment. Thirty five minutes apart, and very opposite dispositions keep us disconnected.

As a child I often felt bullied by her manipulations. Seems we’ve both lacked desire for an adult relationship, probably born of jealousy as children. Nineteen months apart in age she was always a challenging child.

I recall one incident as a preschoolers. Mustard spent the night, awoke early, rummaged through my parents medicine cabinet and slathered my whole head of thick chestnut hair with gooey cream deodorant called “Tussy’s”. Shuffled me outside at six thirty in the morning where we proceeded to peddle our trikes on the driveway. A concerned neighbor called mom in a panic after spying a three year old riding her bike with white cream pasted to her head. Years later we laughed at Mustards antics, yet wondered, would we have laughed had it been “Veet “ hair remover on my head instead!
 One afternoon we were sent to play in the yard while mom washed the floors on hands and knees. My cousin was forewarned not to touch the hose.  Mustard seemed to hear everything in opposites,  proceeding to place the hose inside a window, flooding the freshly washed floors and rugs. Mom loathed babysitting her namesake, fearing what her  mischievous demeanor might conjure up next!  I’m not sure the two sisters, (my mom and aunt), ever truly understood the emotional havoc she was capable of. Constantly making promises then lying and reneging. She was a sneaky little girl and I often wonder what made such a young person so devious.

I've edited the saturation on this to look more vintage....
At times dad would intervene, requesting the child who cut the chocolate bar in half should let the other have first choice. He also watched as she hogged beach toys while others stood patiently by.  He demanded she share, and resented how she treated other children with such disrespect.

One year we both received hand crafted doll cribs for Christmas. The following summer Mustard took my crib outside, flipped it over, and proceeded to jump off it, into our three foot pool. Over and over, taking more turns than necessary until Mom caught her and demanded she desist. Just one more time,  but on the second turn, after mom firmly commanded her to stop, she crashed through the middle of the crib, shattering the base.
Unrepairable, I was without a doll crib. Meanwhile hers sat perfectly nestled in her room, housing her dolls, eventually being passed on to her daughter. The right thing to do would have been to make her relinquish hers! No one did!

I had one Barbie and a few hand knit outfits for it. She had three Barbie’s, Skipper, Ken, and every accessory imaginable, with tons of clothes. Would she share? Never!

I wish I'd tried to put  humor into these little illustrations!
We’d each get a dime to place in the collection plate at church, I’d put mine in, she’d keep hers, and take some out of the plate as well. She’d eat two burgers, I’d eat one. She’d make me requisition another, so she could have a third. Of course there was some great bribe involved to coerce  me, she never followed through on her word!

Older and meaner, she manipulated me constantly, her personal prisoner; I had no words to explain what was happening to me. After years of constant abuse, tired of broken promises, one evening in the throws of spending the night, I called my parents and asked them to retrieve me. I was about eight, everyone was furious that I’d inconvenienced them. I couldn’t articulate my feelings, or what had transpired. I just knew I was sick of it.

Do you prefer the vintage coloring or the brights?
After that, things changed. We were together for family functions, and when my aunt babysat me, living only a seven minute drive apart. I just never hung out with her. As a teen we had different interests. I blossomed and she got terrible acne that welted on her face. I had boyfriends and she didn’t.
Digital color alteration
I have always felt a bit intimidated by her. She has really bad OCD and everything she does is perfect. Her house was always so impeccable, in a rather scary way; of course there was a cost to that. They would call me the homemaker and her the house cleaner. People would tease her about being a fanatical perfectionist, with raw hands from constantly being immersed in water; she could be known to wipe a table five times while you were sitting at it. When we were young adults we’d party together on very rare occasions. The men would switch her drawers around, so she couldn’t find her utensils and dishcloths. There are many sweet things about her now. She has many friends, and she outgrew her nastiness and her humor can make you laugh until you cry! We are just too different in many ways. She’s still married and I’m not. She has a more affluent lifestyle than I do. Sometimes in my darkest moments I feel a little inferior now, not that I should. I just know the family judgments that go with my being unique. Hey, my own mother called me an odd ball  because of my artist tendencies. No one needs to hear that. Besides, who can trust a person who doesn’t have books in their house?

How about you, were you silently bullied by a relative? How did you react?

This is my contribution for Paint Party Friday! Apparently if  too many people look at my images it takes up too much bandwith  so they are bullying me to upgrade by not transmitting my images to my blog, just as another host tried to force me get google plus because I reached my image max... Of course there is no notice this will happen, they just all disappear off my blog...(thankfully they reset every month and today I got them back) This is why conversations on bullying need to start at  a different level, long before it gets to the children.... Any suggestions are grateful!
This week I am again using a new image host!   If you lasted through this long story, bless you....I didn't expect many would!!

36 comments:

Nat S said...

childish, funny and very positive
just love them
Nat

Nat S said...

childish, funny and positive
just love them
Nat

Nic McLean said...

Firstly your illustrations for this post are great - they really capture what the post is about. Your cousin sounded like a right nasty ticket in her younger days and it sounds like more adults should have taken her in hand and intervened more often than they did. It's a shame you don't really stay in touch now but I think if I'd had that experience of her as a child, i wouldn't want to be close to her now as an adult either. I don't have an experience of that with family (other than my older sister - we fought like cat and dog all through childhood as siblings do but as soon as she moved out of home we suddenly developed a proper friendship and we're super close now!) I was bullied at school although it was by the group of friends I was part of - they'd take it in turns to fall out with either me or another girl and make our lives a misery for a couple of weeks then make up like nothing ever happened. Teenage girls are horrible to each other! They did outgrow it eventually and funny enough I'm still friends with them nowadays (in a Facebook and meeting up a couple of times a year in our hometown kind of way as we're all scattered al over the UK)

Valerie-Jael said...

Love your post! Mustard reminds me of a very belligerent cousin I had to spend a lot of time with as a kid! Valerie

froebelsternchen Susi said...

great!!

me? I have learned during the years not to care about what other people do neither what they think or say about me...

I am what I am and I am happy !

the most of the people are boring, stupid and bad in mind....

there are also many wonderful people around the world..but to find them is hard...

I found a few of the good one's -- so I am HAPPY!

Netty said...

Great post, wow she was a bully, luckily I did not suffer with this as a child. As an adult strong opinionated people have tried to dominate me but it tends to wash over me as does their guilt trips. You learn to be strong.
Loving your cute illustrations, have a terrific weekend. Happy PPF, Annette x
http://nettysartadventures.blogspot.co.uk/

Christine said...

Here's to long lost cousins (the good and the bad of it!)

Debbie said...

Great illustrations! And wow - I'm sorry you had such a mean cousin. I can't imagine.

kat said...

Oh she sure was a nasty little kid! The important thing is to be around those that make you feel good now and don't dwell on the negative ones, let them go!
Great illustrations here as always! Thanks for sharing with us and have a great week-end my friend,
hugs Kat xx

Marji said...

Great illustrations for your post. I didn't have anyone like that in my childhood. Certainly added an interesting twist for you growing up.

Kim said...

Wonderful illustrations for a thoughtful storyline. Love this. HPPF!

Victoria said...

Fascinating to read..thanks for sharing these stories and experiences! Hugs, it is hard being bullied..you are one tough cookie though and your spirit shines strong. Such super-Beautiful art telling the stories all the way through..always magical!And always heart-felt and meaningful I must add! I laughed at the oddball artist comment..wear it proudly my friend!I do!!
HUgs and sparkles
Victoria

MeOfCourse said...

What a great post. I think we have all been bullied when we were young. I'm sorry that your cousin was so darn mean and disrespectful to you. It angers me that there are people out there in the world who can be so mean and crass. I always pretty much stuck to myself and still do. The close friends I've had are friends I've had for years. Well no matter what happened, you both have gone on with your lives. I think you did better as you have a family that loves you and respects you. Good for you! Have a great day.
Awesome illustrations. Take care.

Linda said...

Of course I read it all! Your wonderful way of writing your experiences along with the always vibrant and fun accompanying art keep me wanting more! The other thing is that you always draw the reader in, and I bet we all leave pondering whatever subject you decide to bring up. Just keep on being you!

Carol said...

Great post and love the art!!! Your cousin sounds a lot like my younger sister. She lived to terrorize me as a child and she did it so well.

Abigail Davidson said...

Your illustrations really capture your anecdote very well! Art can really have a healing effect, and I think you found a great way to express your story in a positive way!

Lynn Cohen said...

Of course I read every word you write. It's always interesting, sometimes humorous sometimes serious ... Today's is not funny. Nothing your cousin did was humorous! Hurtful is not funny. I'm so so sorry that the adults in your life did not SEE all there was to see in her early behavior. That child had major problems, in need of therapy at a very early age. Seems like they developed into other quite serious mental health issues in her adult years as well. OCD is a serious mental disorder!
I can fully understand why you'd choose not to cozy up to her today.
But please dear friend, also don't feel inferior to her in any way either. Thank your lucky stars that you do not have her problems, and don't put yourself in her line of fire ever again.

Be proud to be a member of the "quirky artist realm"! Really, people only call us that because they don't relate, or understand.

Your little girl paintings are delightful, even if the memories associated with them are not!

Hugs from me, always!

SLScheibe said...

I have a rude and belligerent cousin too. Ugh. I loved your sad story and the wonderful art to go with it. The paintings are awesome! Heal with art, best way to do it :)

Studio Kaufmann said...

I just adore your pictures - you are like me - full of childlike wonder. I hope we never grow up!

Robin Panzer Art said...

Wonderful illustrations and story! Happy PPF!

Debbie said...

your pictures really help to tell the story. It's sad that you were bullied, but I can tell that you are a positive person with a great attitude.xoxo

Gloria said...

love your illustrations. But feel sad about your story. I don't understand people like that...even though she has changed, the "hurt" stays with you.

Lorraine said...

your cousin sounds like she has problems with ocd. Love your paintings and prefer them bright. A house needs to be overflowing with books and artistic things to feel right..happy ppf

Anne Manda said...

Lovely illustrations especially considering they are inspired by unhappy incidents in childhood! Kids can be so mean re: Lord of the Flies!

Pia Rom said...

Sweet paintings along with a funny story..thats why I love your posts...my english skills are not good enough to understand all of the meaning, but I love and laugh about what I translate...love the painting with the tricycle ♥ Conny
Piaroms Art Journaling

Aga Gasiniak said...

dear and beautiful Giggles. Great and honest post. Thank you for it. Beautiful illustrations as well. Much love to you :)

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

I wasn't bullied by any of my family members, probably because we are pretty closed knit group. However, I was bullied at school for my artsy nature, which was often misunderstood. Blessings!

Kristin said...

I love your story - and always do! You have such a way with words and I love the illustrations that accompany them.
Family can be a funny thing, right? At least you know you were the good one :)
(Oh, and I love the bold colors ;) xoxo

Kristin said...

I love your story - and always do! You have such a way with words and I love the illustrations that accompany them.
Family can be a funny thing, right? At least you know you were the good one :)
(Oh, and I love the bold colors ;) xoxo

Paper Creations by Shirley said...

Wonderful illustrations to go with your story about the bullying cousin. Thanks for stopping in at my blog:) Shirleyx

Kristin Dudish said...

I often wonder what makes people act the way they do...
The illustrations that you've created are a great accompaniment to the story.
I've been called an "oddball" quite a few times... I like to think of it as a compliment (whether it's intended that way or not).
xo
Kristin

Tammie Dickerson said...

Love your post - stories and illustrations! Our lives unfold in the most curious ways. You are the woman you are today because of the experiences of your life. I grew up thinking everyone was like me, and took my abilities for granted. It wasn't until I started plein air painting with 100 other artists, that I realized - "HERE are my people!" Each one saw things as I did, and have a passion that common folk just don't have. Cherish your gifts, big and small, they are what make you so special :)

minnemie said...

I do not remember having such a cousin... but my children do have one now:-o. It makes for interesting family meetings as we try to kindly yet firmly navigate/grow with them through this dynamic. I bet drawing these held some measure of therapy for you:-)

Lisa Isabella Russo said...

I think for this story I preferred the vintage colors, but they are both very nice! I'm sorry you had that happen to you as a child, I think it's completely understandable that you don't see your cousin often.

Francie said...

First, I love your illustrations of the little girls. OMG what a story. I was quite close to my cousins and it is sad that it was your cousin who bullied you so. It sounds as though she had some real issues. And yes, I was considered "different" because of my artistic tendencies but it was with a combination of awe and uncertency...like they did not know quite what to do with me.

Kirstin McCulloch said...

OH - I am so late in visiting, but as I read your post I just wanted to give your child self a big hug. It sounds like in the end Karma caught up with her - who wants to be perfect all the time (With OCD! No thank you!) you are perfect with all your imperfections + are living the life you want. I bet she was totally jealous of you growing up (probably still is!) - but I know this is not such a great comfort, because it doesn't negate your feelings at all. I know + have been in a similar situation.

So big hugs to you + sorry I can't help with the cyber bullies! x

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