I love DListed, which today called Honey Boo Boo our modern day Shirley Temple.
I'm still thinking Gay Panda and Lady Friend are the same person........
In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.
PART TWO: He’s stealing money, Mother Panda said. She showed me the missing checks from the back of her checkbook, the ragged edges along the top, the skip in numbers. He’s maxing out credit cards. We’re in terrible debt. One day we might be homeless. She instructed me to always, always, always check the mail as soon as I got home from school. Remove any credit card offers and hide them! Frantic about our financial situation, I raced home the two miles from school every day and fingered through the mail in search of those telltale credit card logos. Then I rushed to my closet and buried them inside a dresser drawer.*** Safe.
He’s trying to kill us, Mother Panda said. He knew the car had no brakes and let us drive away in it anyway down the hill. The mechanic screamed at him. I have no idea if this story was even true****, as I don’t remember the incident she related of turning the car down the hill with the cubs in the backseat, and the brakes giving out. But that stuck with me, that Father Panda was trying to kill us. These were my family stories as I grew up, wondering why she stayed and kept having cubs with a man she thought was trying to murder us all.
There are plenty more stories, but they aren’t needed here. Mother Panda could not stand to share the spotlight with another parent, and she used us to further her war against him. At the same time, she pretended that this was not her intent. He says that I’m turning you into my foot soldiers, that I’m brainwashing you! Do you feel brainwashed? And of course we said no. How insulting! We could make up our own minds! Draw our own conclusions! And we could not see how she had led us there, because we were cubs. It was not hard for her to do this, because Father Panda was an angry and distant man. She could pin any accusation she wished upon him, and he was so withdrawn into his own frightening world of Uppity Black People and Feminazis and Those Damn Liberals that we had no way of knowing if any of it was true. Our relationship grew so strained that we refused to call him Dad any longer. Only he and him, and later it. Ugh, it's home.
When I was in high school, I enrolled in Advanced Creative Writing. We had to write a story every week, and this was a heady experience for me. I talked all about it to Mother Panda, the giddiness of a new story, the fear that it could not be drawn to a resolution, and I have never forgotten what she said. You will never be able to resolve a story, Young Panda, because you haven’t resolved your conflict with your father.
One that she had played a large part in creating.
There was no way to win in this home. We were not allowed to be close to him; we were not allowed to pull away from him. We were only allowed to be her echoes of however she felt about him at the time. But this is not how emotions work, flipped on and off like light switches. I looked at my writing warily after that. Will I be able to finish it? Will my endings always be poor because I never brought the story of my life to a conclusion?
UPDATE: (in explanation of *** and ****)
*** After several years of doing this, I had accrued quite an impressive stack. I could not throw them out because he might see them and know what I had been doing, so the stack simply continued to grow. I believe I left it there after I moved out in my early twenties, and I have no idea if that secret cache has ever been discovered.
**** Upon reflection as an adult, I don’t believe this story of hers was exactly true. The most likely scenario was that Father Panda was procrastinating in taking the car in for a Wellness Check (both Panda Parents put these off until the car broke down somewhere) and the brakes had been a touch spotty lately. So then they gave out when Mother Panda was driving and scared the hell out of her, and the mechanic was angry because it was so far past the Wellness Check as to be ridiculous. But Mother Panda presented the cubs with the story Father Panda is intentionally trying to kill us, when the truth may have been in prosaic procrastination, of which both were culpable.
PART III TOMORROW!!!