Toxic Mom Toolkit Journal Project

2 Mar

In honor of what would have been Dr. Seuss’s 108th birthday, today’s Toxic Mom Toolkit Journal Question is:

Q: At the very hardest time dealing with your toxic mom, what book saved you?

I think I became a writer simply because I loved to read. I developed a love of reading because I was alone much of the time, unsupervised. When I was small I used to carry very grown up leather bound books around to impress adults. I probably only impressed them as far too precocious. I spent many evenings on my tummy on the floor with my chin in my hands devouring the Wizard of Oz books, Heidi books and Betty & Veronica comic books.

Reading taught me that people’s lives are stories.

When I understood that, I started listening more closely, paying attention and taking mental notes.

I was the child who lived for eavesdropping. I became an adult apartment dweller who kept an empty water glass handy – just in case I heard neighbors fighting. I wanted to know why people did the things they did. I suspected that the way I was raised was not right and I relished observing others acting out their daily lives.

I wrote stories about the widow and the tomcat, my dashing motorcycle mechanic, the way people behaved under pressure or in the throes of love. I took writing classes and read like a convict on death row. I became a self taught writer and journalist.

I read adult books too early. I discovered children’s’ books too late. I have repeatedly been saved by the right book at the right time including, Gifts from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and 52 McGs, a collection of the best obituaries from legendary New York Times writer Robert McG. Thomas, Jr.

Hands down the book that saved me more than once is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It showed me that the first job of a parent is to want what is best for their children. This is my favorite scene from the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7CX_5D6y6E&feature=relmfu

Growing up with a toxic mom sometimes it’s hard to know what is normal, what is better, or what is worse. Biographies, memoirs and fiction focused on survivors have not only inspired me but also saved me from feeling too sorry for myself. They taught me that I could write my own life story.

What book saved you?

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4 Responses to “Toxic Mom Toolkit Journal Project”

  1. d.o. March 3, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    Heidi and Harriet the Spy saved me. They are still my all time favorites. I, too, love To Kill a Mockingbird. Even in middle-age I pull those books out for comfort.

    My upbringing was the opposite of yours. I was OVER supervised, OVER scrutinized, corrected and criticized. The only time I could breathe was when reading, writing, drawing or watching old movies late at night after everyone was asleep.

    • collectingjourneys March 4, 2012 at 11:55 am #

      I know I’ve learned a lot from the Late, Late Movie! Thanks for visiting, posting and sharing your story. That’s how we help each other.

  2. eternaltravelerdesignyourlife March 28, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    “Growing up with a toxic mom sometimes it’s hard to know what is normal, what is better, or what is worse.” This is so true. I realize now we are all a product of our parents. And if those are toxic parents, it is not always obvious to know what is right and what is wrong. Even now when I have finally chased all my demons, often I am kind of tip toeing, thinking: is what I am doing “healthy”. I want to be a good example for my kids. I want to be a good friend to the people I care about. But sometimes you just switch to what was familiar, and you need to step back and stop yourself. It’s not easy…

  3. cc July 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    While in school, I wrote one realistic story (meaning one without fairies or unicorns) in my short-lived literary career, but the imaginary, loving mother had died, and it was just a girl and her dad trying to make it together. I think I wasn’t able to write a natural-sounding mother-daughter dialogue, so I made it easy on myself by just cutting out the mother. The dad in the story was based on my dad and the dialogue completely plagiarized from him, too. I’m lucky I wasn’t suspended from school for that. 🙂

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