I have been processing my weekend at Sian’s and thinking about the experience. It’s been a while since I stayed over at someone’s house and interacted with an entire family that is in no way related to me. Since I left the house, thoughts are swirling in my head and it’s hard to hold one down.
Staying at Sian’s reminded me of being small (a kid) and all the stuff my mother would be yelling at me, at the last minute, as I leave her to go over to a friends’ house. “Don’t forget you manners, clean up after yourself, behave.” More or less that is what I did for the weekend. Even while having fun, I was mannerly to parents, cleaned up after myself and behaved.
I can’t remember when I stopped going over to people’s houses. It must have been when my mother changed her philosophy. She moved from a position where my sisters’ friends were always over at our house, and whom they often visited, to saying,“I don’t like being in people’s houses, nor do I want them in mine.”
This was confusing since before that declaration, on many a Saturday evening, my mother had a number of friends whom she visited and in turn they regularly visited her.
Now that I think about it both her and my social lives changed around time that she remarried. I can’t speak of the relationship that my mother had with my stepfather, nor of the negotiations and agreements that they made; that will be an assumption, since no one has told me anything about that. I can only speak of the effects that this relationship had on my social life and how much I resented that change.
My world shrunk. The more that I said, “No” to invitations, the less the invitations became. The years when most of my peers were having fun (14 to 18), I was cut off and isolated, shuttling between school and home, and on weekends doing something very crappy with my mother and stepfather.
I can see just how much I retreated into my head, further and further away from my mother. I did not understand her behaviour and she did not explain it. There was no point of contact around the subject, I will keep asking to go out and she would keep saying “No”. We were locked in an ongoing dance and neither of us was having fun.
I was relieved to turn 18 and took every opportunity to get out of the house. I know that getting far away from my house was a main reason for selecting the campus that I attended and to some extent the courses that I took.
Looking back, I feel some empathy for my mother since I know as an adult how relationships work and that what we see on the outside is never what is going on inside it. My mom does not talk about it, so I leave her with her private rumination about that time in her life.
I have let go my feelings around that time of my life, though I remain aware that I have to make conscientious decisions around making friends, inviting people to my house and attending events at other people’s houses. My knee jerk reaction used to echo my mother’s words about “being in people’s houses” until I quickly take a rain check and see what I want. I have to remind myself that I am no longer that kid and what my mother said has no bearing on my world. I do not have to live her life nor do I face her conditions.
Now I invite people over and I absolutely love it. This reminds me that I have not had a party in a while and that needs to change.
What impact did your parents have on your socialization? What are your stories around having people over and visiting them?