Growing up with conservative Christian parents, we didn’t even own a TV until I was around four years old (that’d be 1990-ish). Then, all I was allowed to watch were Saturday morning Christian cartoons on PBS. Sooo… Unlike most people my age who had an affinity for Sesame Street, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers, most of my memories of kids shows are Christian. I decided to look them up again, just for nostalgia’s sake. So this is what I watched as bitty me…
I thought pickles were pickles, I didn’t find out they were cucumbers until I was twenty-three.
I thought vegetarians only ate vegetables until I was probably sixteen.
I thought Michael Jackson was white until I was a teenager.
I thought it was illegal to drink ANYTHING, and drive.
I thought the Arby’s sign was a giant weirdly-drawn cowboy hat, and it took me years to figure out why they said “I’m thinkin’ Arby’s” when they had that hat floating above their heads.
Until I was probably thirteen, I always wondered what honeydew melons had to do with the list Mom would make for dad on weekends… “The Honey-Do List”.
I couldn’t figure out why artichoke hearts weren’t red and bloody, while they seemed like a vegetable.
Once in a grammar book I came across the word “sandwich”, and told my mom they spelled “witch” wrong, and what was a sand witch anyway?? I thought it was samwich.
I couldn’t understand why it was okay to eat grapes when I was little, but not drink wine.
I thought sheep, dogs, etc. were born with docked tails.
I thought my mom was joking when she said she made me a baloney sandwich…for years I heard it in the phrase, “What a bunch of baloney!” and thought it was only a word.
My friends were baffled when I said I’d never heard of Ramen Noodles. We called it Itchy Bon.
I thought coleslaw was Cold Slaw.
It dawned on me at twenty-three that pancakes are called that because they’re cakes made in a pan.
When I was little we went to TCBY and I pointed out “Ice Cream Sundae” on the menu and told my mom they spelled Sunday wrong.
I was in my late teens when I asked for those “special” giant marshmallows…only then did I discover that all my life I’d been eating miniature marshmallows without knowing it.
I was baffled that a family friend wanted to eat at an Indian restaurant…he wasn’t an Indian!
I was confused when I ate corned beef for the first time and there was no corn.
I thought lobsters at seafood restaurants were like fish at the dentist’s office… Thankfully I figured it out on my own and never had my little heart crushed when I was young.
I remember being woken up in the middle of the night, when it snowed. Everything outside my window would be blue and shimmery.
We’d stumble downstairs and dig into the coat closet underneath the stairs, rummaging around for the basket full of snow clothes. Snoopy hats and thick gloves that were too big for me… Several layers of clothes, and hiking boots that were big enough to be my brother’s. Fuzzy pink earmuffs. And off we’d go, into the snowy night.
Sometimes it was windy and cold, other times just quiet and still. Our sleds scraped over the fresh snow behind us. We’d tied ropes through the front so we could pull them. Mine was pink and my brother’s was orange. Snowball, our Samoyed mix dog, would thunder around us, kicking up snow and chasing out sleeping rabbits from under the bushes.
We’d follow dad up the road, past my best friend’s house, and all the way to the main street where we’d fight past our heavy snow clothes and climb onto the wall made of stone and brick. Then we’d carefully march up and down the steps of the wall, over the big humps of the posts, and on, the frigid air tingling in our noses. Whoever went first was lucky, because they got to shove off the piles of fresh snow from the fence posts. Early on, I was so small I had to sit on the posts and spin around to get over them. When I was older, I could step up onto them, or over them.
Sometimes we could see the stars, but sometimes it was still snowing and there were huge clouds covering everything. Dad would help us off the wall before we reached the ditch where the cow skeletons were, and we’d start on the long trudge up the sledding hill. It was all covered in weeds, and even cactus here and there, but it would snow so much, you didn’t really notice. It took so long to climb up the hill, but when you reached the top, the air was so crisp and you had such a long way to sled down the hill, it was all worth it.
Sometimes I’d be scared, looking straight down that huge hill all the way to the bottom, or be afraid I might slide all the way into the ditch. But I never did. Sometimes dad would sit behind me, or push me so I’d go fast. Sometimes my brother would go with me, and sometimes we would race each other. Snowball would run along beside us, trying to climb into our sleds on the way down. We’d laugh and scream and our voices were the only sound in that huge empty field.
It was fun sliding down the hill but took so long and it was so hard climbing all the way back up again. My boots would slip in the snow and so I would try to walk in dad’s footprints, but they were always too big for me to reach. But up I’d climb, over and over, until we couldn’t breathe from the cold and our noses were red and our toes were numb.
Then we’d climb back up on the wall and make the trek back home, where Mom would always be waiting for us to tell her how much fun we had sledding, while we drank hot chocolate and tried to warm up. Then we would finally curl up warm and tight in our beds again and fall asleep, waking up the next morning to a beautiful white world.
Several years later, bulldozers leveled my sledding hill flat and built a school where it should have been. But every time I drive down that road and look at the wall, I remember walking on it through the snow in the dark, and smile. I will never forget the sledding hill.
The main theme of the past three months is that I’ve discovered I have an enormous hole in me, in the shape of a father figure. I think it’s been there for a very, very long time, and it’s only just now becoming apparent to me.
We left my dad when I was seventeen; I’m twenty-five now. I have deep hatred for him, and have not allowed him into my life in any form since the day we left. After a few years, the hatred became dormant, and I did start to feel a bit of longing when I saw my uncles; I remember thinking a few times that maybe one of them would want to adopt me. I shook off the idea as silly, because seventeen should be old enough to be without a father, right?
I haven’t thought about the desire for a father in years, but what has happened is a definite attraction to older men. I’ve always gotten along well with middle-aged men, even just as I hit my teens, but it has blossomed into full-blown indifference about age, as far as my attraction goes. To put it into perspective, the last man I let out a dreamy sigh for was fifty-eight years old.
I’ve never connected my attraction to older men with a daddy complex, before. I suppose that was blind of me. I took it to mean I was mature and enlightened; above all those silly girls who only wanted silly boys. Now, that is largely true…I don’t have patience for party animals or immature guys…but I think it’s fairly obvious that there is a deeper psychological base for all of this. Anyway, all this sort of went over my head until the past three months.
I met a man online, and when he told me his age I made a joke and called him daddy. Things sort of spiralled from there, and though he lived a very safe distance away in another state, we began a very crazy and intoxicating roleplay relationship. I couldn’t honestly tell you how it happened, but we began roleplaying 100% of the time, as father and daughter. It was sexual and relational, and I became very deeply emotionally attached to him. When I realized that I was trying to make myself live the fantasy that he really was my father, I freaked out at how far it had gone. I took a step back and started paying attention, and realized that he was lying to me about his life… I cut off contact with him about a month ago. I cried. I still can’t believe how powerful an effect I let him have over me.
That, coupled with even more recent experiences, sort of triggered something between an epiphany and a panic attack. haha I realized that I have a very desperate emotional need for a father figure, and it extends well into the sexual realm.
It also caused me to consider many other things that have been rattling around in the back of my mind, such as my desire and apparent need to be dominated, and also how my self-esteem could easily make it possible for me to accept physical abuse. I used to work with a guy who was extremely condescending and would yell at me in the back room…I’ve been thinking about how turned on I was by the tone in his voice when he yelled at me, and wishing he would come to my house and treat me like that. Lately I’ve been considering everything from the idea of being emotionally dominated, to being controlled by a stand-in father, to seeking out someone to punish me…I’ve even been Googling BDSM puppy slave lifestyles. I feel very lost and confused, depressed and scared. I feel like I’m on the verge of finding out something is really wrong with me, but on the other hand, I want to just accept anything I uncover and dive straight into it, whether or not it’s healthy. I want to be free. I’m sick of fighting myself all the time.
The bottom line is, there are a lot of things I’m realizing that I want and need, and it’s scaring the hell out of me but turning me on just as much… I always think things over in-depth before making any decisions, and I feel like all these things just showed up pounding on my door wanting to be decided upon. It’s pretty overwhelming and exciting. ;)