Thursday, May 2, 2024

What About Your Life? Chapter 20


Chapter 20

What about Your Life?

My mother believed in spanking her children, but only she was permitted to do it. 

She told me that once she spanked me for so long, she felt guilty. I had scattered shoe trees my father had brought home from the shoe factory about the yard but wouldn't pick them up. No matter how much she hit me, I wouldn't do it. Finally, she took my hand, and we picked them up together. Which is what she should have done in the first place. I was so young I don't remember it.

I slightly remember being switched on the legs with a cherry tree twig, but I don't know what I did to deserve it. I vaguely remember the dancing and stinging. The only spanking I remember was when I was 7 or 8 after our move to the Dalles. I was horsing around with a cereal box and a bowl stacked on top of it. The bowl fell and broke. Mom grabbed me, and me being a big kid by then, she clumsily turned me over her knee and whacked me on the butt. It was kind of funny, really, and I realized it didn't hurt. Spankings always hurt my feelings, though, and I never believed I deserved them.

And they teach children to hit. 

Once, when I was new to Mike and Mom's family and playing with paper dolls, the cat, thinking that paper looked like a fun plaything, pounced into the pile of paper and stirred it around, as cats are apt to do. I hit the cat. Immediately, Mike hit me. 

Shocked, I ran to my room. Mom talked with Mike; he came into my room, apologized, and never struck me again. I believe Mom thought a man should never hit a girl, and I agree—neither should a woman. "Spare the rod and spoil the child" caused many a blistering.

Once, when my two girls and I had been biking, I don't remember what precipitated the tantrum, but my oldest daughter threw herself to the ground, and I smacked her thigh. 

My youngest daughter exclaimed, "Mother! How could you?!"

My mother must have been spanked. I don't know about it. She adamantly believed you should never slap anyone. And with children, you only swat them on the butt…or legs.

(Oh my, could it be that I have trouble with my lower extremities from those days?  I called my daughter and apologized for smacking her.)

I don't know why it is embarrassing to be spanked and why it is also embarrassing to be bullied, molested, or unloved.

The moment I wrote the above sentence, I got the answer. 

When Joseph McClendon was sleeping in a box in Lancaster, California, after somebody tried to kill him because of the color of his skin, he thought, "If someone would do that to me, there must be something wrong with me."

That's it. 

As McClendon erroneously thought something was wrong with him, kids probably believe something is wrong with them that they deserve such treatment.

Nothing was wrong with McClendon, as there is nothing wrong with kids who get hit for some infraction. They're kids, remember? It's a quick, lazy fix for a parent. 

Although I remember a group of mothers, a continuation of a childbirth class, who got together for a time afterward. One said, "Maybe a swat isn't worse than being yelled at."

Indeed, are those the only choices? 

I wonder how much spanking contributes to the prevailing "I'm not good enough syndrome," which is rampant in our culture. I'm not good enough to be loved, find a mate, write a good book, a play, a symphony, paint a picture, or start a business. 

"I've been bad and deserve to be hit. I am a girl, a less desirable weaker sex, and must keep my mouth shut. Boys will be boys, you know." 


That's the biggest Bullshit I've ever heard. 

When Joseph McClendon lived in the box, a man gave him a book.

The book was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

He read it and returned it to the man who had given it to him, understanding that when someone offers you a gift, you should give them something in return.

The man said to pass it on, not the book specifically, but the principles. Now McClendon is a neuropsychologist in LA and a presenter at some of Tony Robbin's events. "It isn't the motivation," he says, "it's the 'Do."

When you have the idea—take immediate action to make it work. 

 Okay, here goes:

I have an issue with asking people for money. I want to write professionally, and I'm happy to serve readers. Yet, given how much hype, pressure, cajoling, bribing, and trickery (like fake fonts that look like you have gotten a personal letter when it's an ad, for heaven's sake), I have the impression that people pay only when they get cajoled into it, or have to.

I, too, pay for things because I have to. You don't get a beer at a ball game without paying for it. If I order a meal, I must pay for it. I buy groceries, pay the mortgage, pay the electric bill, the phone company, the Internet service, and the garbage collection company because those things would disappear if I didn't pay them.

But what about giving freely? 

Once, I got $100 from my dad and decided we should do something outrageous with it. So,  a pile of kids climbed into my daughter's Rabbit convertible. She drove us to La Jolla, California, an affluent community—because we wanted to support abundance. I had purchased A Course in Miracles Cards, and we stapled a dollar bill to a card, drove down the street, and gave away all 100 one-dollar bills.

The kids had a blast and said, "When you feel like doing something outrageous again, call us."

They probably wanted that money but gave it freely and had fun doing it. 

I notice I strayed from my process by saying something contradictory to my previous statement that I wouldn't pay unless I had to. It's fascinating how the mind wants to distract us. 

Giving my writing away for free lets me avoid rejection. That's my belief, but it's only a belief. Beliefs can be rock-solid, so the trick is to replace them with a different one. 

The trick is to let go of tired old excuses and to go for what you want.

Now, what about your life? 

Here is what to expect:


Table of Contents

    1. Your Story Matters     

2. A Tweety Bird, A Father, and a Water fight

      3. Meeting My Father    

 4. Reboot

          5.  Stories

      6. On a Zig of Was It A Zag?    

 7. And Then Came the Day  

 8. A Mentor

9.   Hog Heaven

10. Silver

11. Boots

12. C-r-a-c-k

   13. My Mother Kept Hiding Anything Sexual from Me

14.You Can’t Edit a Blank Page

  15. Green Apples and Salt

16. Tomatoes

17.  You Know What

18.  Ode to Tuna Fish

19.  Licorice

20.  What about Your Life?

21.  The Grand Canyon of Your Mind

22.  We Aren’t in Kansas Anymore

23.  Can I Hold Fred?

24.  Type Faster

25.  Getting Published

26.  Ten Thousand

27.  A Blubber of a Balloon

28.  What a Difference 40 Years Makes

29.  Thursday

30.  Judgments

31.  Wordlessness

32.  What in the Heck is a Channel?

33.  Bizarre Thoughts

34.  On the Road

35.  On Davis Mountain

36.  A Star Fell on Junction City

37.  This Was a Real Nice Clambake*

38.  A Six- Foot Rattle Snake

39.  Funny

40.  Hi Jack

41.  Why is The Sky Blue?

42.  Did the Big Bang Bang?

43.  What On Earth Have I Done?

44.  Death by Morphine

45.  What? Hawaii Again?

46.  Fleeing the Island

47.  Stand Up

48.  A Typo

49.  June

50.  Bill Fisher

51.  Jewell

52.  A Well-Written Miserable Story

53.  Sunday, May 28, 2023

54.  I Named Him Gabriel

55.  What We Need is a Wise Grandmother

56.  The Chicago Book Fair

57.  Art is anything You Can Get Away With*

58.  Prince Charming

59.  Aloha

60.  May 31, 2023, 50,000 words and a P.S.