Other People’s Houses – Day 9, Blog 9

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?

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7 thoughts on “Other People’s Houses – Day 9, Blog 9

  1. Growing up in a rural area, sleepovers were very few and far between. Houses were small, abdominal so were paychecks. Instead usually me and NYC friends would socialize at school or church. There some occasions where we’d play at each other’s house for a few hours, but that was it. It wouldn’t very until I was an adult that I realized that some parents (including my own ) were ashamed of their houses and the opinion if others about said houses. But to kids, home is home and should be a welcome mat to nurture pride and socialization.

    1. Thanks Melanie for sharing this. I agree with you “home is home” and that’s about all we wanted to share with our friends.

  2. I know the feeling..I was never allowed to go to people’s houses I had ‘work’ to do. we not much has changed but have my own house coming

    1. O’Leo thanks for the comment. You gotta come to my house soon. We have some work to do. LOL – writing work that is.

  3. What I am noticing Maxine is how the concepts of consciousness and choice in how we want to relate to people, in our home and out, is often given up when we live out the scripts our families gave us. Thanks for bringing awareness again to my desire to consciously choose how I want to live in relationship with others. My house is often empty and the only way others will join me is if I invite them in. Thanks again for the reflection! Janine

    1. Janine, thanks for engaging in the discussion. I continue to make decisions about life and it is amazing how with attention I find resolution. It is also helpful for me to identify where it all started and pay the utmost homage to those events. Good luck with your new and evolving script.

  4. Wow…just tuned in after a day or so out of the loop. Have been really enjoying your blogs. Takes real courage to share such potent emotions. We share something else in common…I can relate all too well to some of the experiences of which you speak about growing up. It’s funny how our mind latches on and internalizes past memories that we thought was forgotten. Glad that I am not alone. Wish I had your courage. This is a good outlet. Continue to share.

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