This New Year's Eve I noticed something, a pattern, a pattern I haven't seen before. I sensed it, it bothered me, but I was blind to it. It's rather simple. Nothing alarming or significant about it. Until you understand what it means.
Every year on December 31st I call my relatives and friends in Russia to wish them Happy New Year. What could be wrong about this? Nothing at all. Except I AM THE ONE WHO CALLS. Think about it. Think about it carefully. Not once has anyone called me. No, I take it back. I think once someone did call, only I can't remember who. Usually my mom calls when she needs money, but not on New Year's. To her credit, this last year she called twice not to complain in hopes I'd send some cash but to share good news. Both times I was flabbergasted and afterwards, very happy.
Anyway. What I mean for you to see is what I'm doing to myself. Notice.
I'M BEING A GOOD GIRL.
Since I was born I was conditioned by my family and by society to be a good girl. I won't go into the raging misogyny and gynophobia rampant in Soviet Union at the time I was born, neither will I go into it still raging in Russia now as much as it does in US. This blog post won't fit all of it. I will, however, go into a bit of abusive family mechanics where the victim is blamed for crimes she didn't commit and is told to shut up and be a good girl.
I'm turning 40 this February. And I'm still acting as a good girl.
It's easy for me to type it here and hard to actually do. The behavioral conditioning lives deep under my skin and I feel old and tired and afraid that in the years of life that I have left I won't be able to battle it and win. I can start doing it by doing one simple thing.
I can stop calling my Russian relatives and friends, wishing them Happy New Year and Happy Birthday and the like. Why bother? They never call me. I'm curious to see who will call me on my birthday. You see, I'm expected to cower and behave. I wasn't expected to suddenly speak up about my abuse after decades of silence. On no, nobody wanted to hear that. They still don't want to.
At first I was very angry and lashed out. Then I decided to be a good girl. After all, this tactic worked my whole life. You see the adorable drawing above I did when I was 5? It proclaims my love to my cousin, my grandma, and my father. This was the year my father hurt me so bad I started peeing myself. Do you think any of these people have ever written me a letter saying they love me? Nope. Not once. Though I'll have to call my cousin and ask him if he ever did. He did lots of drawings. Maybe I'm forgetting an instance of him writing me a note. My grandmother is dead, and I don't remember her ever writing to me. My father never did. He is not dead, but if I find him and ask him this question, he'll shit his pants in fear and pronounce me crazy or shut me out. He's an old man now, see, no teeth left to bite me, and he's scared of me, as he always was of powerful women, harboring his secret hate for his controlling mama.
Well, here is a valuable lesson that I've learned this New Year's Eve.
"BEING A GOOD GIRL GETS YOU NOWHERE."