The Fear is this feeling that was emblazoned into my young developing mind that told me to never ever step out of line. It was like the angel and devil sitting on my shoulders, except instead of the devil it was a strict woman with a leather dog leash ready to whip my scrawny ass if I did something wrong. So the angel told me to pick the good choices and the strict mean lady told me I’d better listen to my angel or else! Essentially the fear stopped me from doing anything that might anger, annoy, or upset my mom. She had a short temper and very little patience for misbehavior. To have a slight grasp on what The Fear is will help you understand the stories I will write in the future. Almost everything she did to raise us had to do with instilling The Fear.
For example: Getting our grubby little hands on something that was clearly not kid-friendly would be met with a very menacing threat. For some reason my mom felt that using the most dramatic wording she could think of would stop us from ever touching any of her delightful items. Her delightful items included fine crystal dishes, jewelry, perfumes, make-up (she had a fabulous set with an assortment of colors, so tempting for three girls how could we resist?), high heel shoes, as well as little knick knacks on her dresser top. Pretty much anything that was in her room and seemed cool and/or interesting to us. What was her dramatic over the top effective way of scaring us out of messing with her precious items?
“Next time you touch something that’s not yours I’ll burn your hand on the stove and I don’t care if I go to jail!”
What made this most effective was that fact that she did not care about the consequences of burning the hands of her children. Really drove the point home! Now, don’t get worried, she never actually performed this horrific threat, it was simply a threat, and it worked. Ok, ok, I’ll admit it; we still got into things we weren’t supposed to get into. I have more stories for that!
When I pictured her burning one of our hands on the stove I saw her as one of those moms that snaps and poisons her babies. In my mind she would be wild-eyed with her hair a mess, her teeth clenched and exposed like she did when she was angry. She would grab my tiny hand and slam it down on a flaming burner; I would shriek and cry, “No mama! Noooo!,” and my hand would shrivel up in the flame. Thank goodness this didn’t actually happen. I just had a very active imagination.
So dearest reader, I hope that you have at least a glimmering understanding of what The Fear is all about.
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