Rebel Without A Cause

freeGrowing up I contemplated multitudes of nonsensical issues. They ran the gamut depending on the time of the day, the position of the sun, my mom’s mood, and how much I was willing to gamble with my life for my cause. Taking on a Latin matriarch when she’s prickly as swarm of wasps fleeing a hive under attack by a baseball bat, can be dicey. Even the most adept covert asset for the CIA would stand down, but not me.

At the ripe old age of foolish youth and reckless abandonment, I was burdened with the sort of mind that drifted outside of the stratosphere, had a hankering to close the door on all questions, and a unyielding need to understand ethereal concepts such as love and why I had A-sized breasts while Debbie had DD’s. Regardless of the risk, I challenged my limited universe and the government of Mom.

The topics my young, foolhardy mind, decided required severe consideration, such as why Mom purchased Cheerios and Shredded Wheat instead of the popular Captain Crunch and Sugar Pops, or why she for one moment, thought I preferred a pixie style hairdo instead of wearing my unruly locks down my back, defied logic. I had to have a reason, an answer, or an explanation, for whatever was festering to the point of septic in my head. If I couldn’t find the answer on my own, or if Mom was the root of my inquisitiveness, I’d ask her.

It didn’t matter to me if she worked a 3 -11 shift after spending the morning in school pursuing her degree, or if Uncle Ted, who had just returned from a tour in Vietnam, was acting weird. I had my inalienable rights, which to be honest, hadn’t a clue I did. As far as I was concerned, it was her duty to provide me with the keys the universe and to shed light upon my dimmed wit.

Anyone who has a mom, or is a mom, understands the precarious nature of the female psyche. One moment  Mom is Mary Poppins, and in the next, assuming she’s found the half eaten sandwich you accidentally left under your bed, which is covered in brown ants, or if you can’t sit still like a tray of ice cubes in the freezer, she can turn into Captain Hook and send you over the plank.

Like I said if I felt plucky, was channeling my youthful invincibility, even if Mom were in a state—evident by the time of the day she vacuumed the living room carpet and the duration of her one-sided conversation with the Hoover—C4 wouldn’t stop me from asking endless questions or lobbying for some cause. More times than I am proud to admit my punishment for relentless questioning—aka challenging the NO or NOT NOW words, gospel and absolute rule of Mom’s—was to wash all the windows inside and out, and not just once. Depending on how prickly she was, and how big of pain in her arse I was being, she’d make me wash every dish, pan, pot, bowl, glass, piece of flatware, in the cupboards, dry each, put them away, and start again. Mom and Mr. Miyagi believed repetition was the solution to teaching (breaking) the exuberant spirit.  I can’t say I ever learned the lesson fully, nor did I stop asking why or why not. I did, however, after getting dishpan hands, come to understand, strategy, timing, subtlety, the art of war, was more selective,  but mostly, when to keep my mouth shut.

I haven’t changed much. I continue to question my universe, limited as it. I still don’t understand love, but I did learn that it’s more satisfying than a bowl Captain Crunch and a lot less fattening.  There are other side effects, but I’ll leave those to Byron, Keats, and country singer/song writers.

What attribute from your younger self did you bring forward or lose, but wish you did or didn’t? 


The cereal controversy raged off and on over the years.  Mom’s answer, “we’ll get ants if I buy sugary cereals,” never satisfied me.  I countered with, “Debbie’s mom buys Captain Crunch and they don’t have ants.” I may have been daft back then, but I did my research.  To my discredit, when my own kids asked for Captain Crunch I feed them the same line.  They didn’t buy it either.


I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

42 thoughts on “Rebel Without A Cause

  1. I blame the fact that I schedule everything on my upbringing. My parents had a routine and that meant so do I. Now I have routines and when I stray I admit I feel a bit frazzled. I know I need to let go sometimes and just go with the flow, but it’s tough when something has been a part of your life for so long.

    As for sugary cereals, I don’t know how I ever ate them. I recently tried a few I loved as a kid and I couldn’t get through more than one bite. I kind of miss being young and thinking sugar is the best thing ever. 😉
    Kelly Hashway recently posted….Monday Mishmash 7/8/13My Profile

    • Kelly – you are one of the most organized put together writers I know. I often wonder if you allow yourself play days but I somehow can’t see it. :-) Which is why you have dozens of book under your belt. Me, too with the cereals. I tried Captain Crunch a few years ago and was disappointed.

    • Jessica – I am always trying to trick my kids. They see right through me. It’s kind of a game. I also talk in funny voices. I think being a writer gives me shield against the nagging. I tune them out.

  2. I don’t think you’re a dimwit. Just a bit crazy and I’m a proponent of that. Do you still do windows?

    My mom was tough, too. She made us eat tuna casserole just for the hell of it. Oh, that was dinner. She also ran a tight ship and we weren’t a seafaring family. But she did give us a moral compass.

    I’ve kept my childhood creativity and curiosity and love for sugary foods. I don’t regret any of them.
    Lauren recently posted….Dog Threat Thwarted by iFeline Death RayMy Profile

    • Lauren – I am so glad. I don’t think I am either, but I do have fun messing around. NO! I.HATE.HOUSEWORK. Unfortunately, I am the chamber maid. Your mom and mine probably belong to the same school of being tough just because we can.

  3. I was a big Why girl growing up, and now I have an 8 year old who I think might drive me insane with his why’s!! I guess it’s karma!! And, yes, the sugar cereal debate was at our house too, well it wasn’t much of a debate since my parents said no way!! Thanks for a great post! I love the way you write!! xo
    Kathy Radigan recently posted….Being My Teens Mom Not His FriendMy Profile

    • Hi Kathy, my mom used to say she hoped she lived long enough to get her revenge, which meant that I had a daughter or son, that tortured me as much as I did to her. I’d say you getting paying your dues. Thanks for the wonderful words.

  4. I will dare to say that being a woman is just tough period. We can’t be too hard yes we can be too soft. Thanks for sharing this. I know blogging is such a slippery slope. xo
    adrianairis recently posted….Blackie…My Profile

    • Adrian – I don’t have any hard and fast rules when it comes to blogging. I learned a long while ago it doesn’t matter how or what I say, a reader will see what they need to say in the words on the page. Thus, I have fun and explore the insides of my thoughts.

  5. For myself, it really was the knowing WHY that was important, the idea that my wishes/ideas were being considered, even if I was turned down. Wasn’t so much about getting my own childish way (though that happened, too).

    I found that out when my mother said no to certain things, and my grandma and others got them for me. HAVING them wasn’t satisfying, for more than a few moments, it was having my mother’s approval, understanding how she thought that was what I’d really wanted.
    Beverly Diehl recently posted….Thrill Me, Chill Me, Just Don’t Kill MeMy Profile

    • Bev, the why is a killer. My mom’s word was law according to God. I rarely got my way, but that didn’t stop me from trying to play the system.

  6. Hi Brenda,

    The attribute that I’ve left behind to my youth is my temper — or at least the outward expression of it. Going ballistic made perfect sense to me back then, even though it never really helped any situation. Those around me fed into the stereotype of a hot-tempered Latin male, so they excused the outbursts. What a silly way to live.

    As children, we were never made to wash windows, but that would have been an effective punishment. Now with my family, I’m the only one willing to take on that onerous chore. Everyone else scatters when I pull out the squeegee.

    Haven’t used my Reader in ages, but I received a Google+ notification for this post that reminded me to come pay you a visit. :)
    Ray Colon recently posted….Here Comes the ChumpMy Profile

    • Hey Ray, long time no see. How are you these days? Tempers are tough to leave totally behind. I found I had one as I grew. I have been known to have the passionate outburst now and again. So glad you stopped by.

  7. –I love your mind, B.
    You make me think and this is quiet dangerous!

    When I think of my mommy, I smell cinnamon, sweet buns, chocolate chip cookies, melting butter, Sunday roast. I hear Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette.

    She never finished high school, but she is the most successful woman I know.

    xxxxx LOVE.
    My Inner Chick recently posted….Blogs, Oxygen, Twisted Syllables, & Anne SextonMy Profile

  8. Wouldn’t let my kids have the sugary stuff either! :) With granddaughter, I’m a bit less hard-nosed about it.
    Growing up, I rarely questioned my mom and did pretty much what she told me to do. The reason? I felt her love for me was conditional. :( Did I rebel later? Big time! Do we get along now? Resounding yes! Although, she still thinks I’m odd. Maybe, I am!
    Fantastic post as always, Brenda! Love and blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted….Standing in the GapMy Profile

    • Martha – you are proof former mothers, now grandmothers, break all their own rules. Sadly, I wasn’t a strict rule follower. I was never bad-bad, but I challenged rules and wrote new ones all the time.

  9. Great post, Brenda, and love the commentary. Like Martha above, I felt my mother’s love was conditional, but some rebellions were/are unsquelchable. I wished I’d never lost my smart-assedness. However, our mutual love of food has persevered and endures in me with an ongoing desire and satisfaction in gathering the family around the table!
    Astra recently posted….Believe me, it’s not you, it’s yew!My Profile

    • Thanks, Astra. I like my mom is still trying to figure me out. I think she loves me but only because she has to. Mostly, I’m certain she thinks I’m strange. :-)

  10. The stubbornness of my father. Pig headed? Oh my! I really wish I could leave it behind like a trail of breadcrumbs and return home without it. I’m working on it. I’m working on it.
    Barbara recently posted….No ItineraryMy Profile

    • I don’t know, Barbara, sometimes being stubborn is what’s needed to get a person up that mountain of the valley of Nirvana. It’s what keeps me pushing through my pile of rejections.

    • Jodi – I think it makes us both good at what we do. You work tirelessly to get to the root of something. It’s a lot like I do when I’m writing a story or a post.

  11. Brenda, you’re a tonic for a mom…whose not your mother! How on earth did your mother manage to study for a degree and then work 8 hours and come home to That?!! :0 I smiled in recognition of the vacuum cleaner being pulled out at weird hours…always a Very Bad Sign…still is in my house!
    As for what I wish I hadn’t lost….the ability to sit quietly and be completely still, unnoticed by anyone. I saw so much back then; I miss so much now.
    Edith recently posted….The Mathematics of Love by Emma DarwinMy Profile

    • Edith – believe it or not, but she went to work to buy a new washing machine. Once she had a taste of independence there was no stopping her, which I’ve come to realize influenced my outcome. As for sitting still… hard to as we evolve. I’m sure you miss less than you think you do.

  12. k~

    This reminds me that the Universe has a funny way of adding experience to expectations to get education from the whole kit-n-kaboodle of any circumstance or situation. My Mom’s rules were pretty simple, do what you’re told and don’t whine. Sugary cereal? Nope we didn’t have it either, but she picks it up for my son at times (laughs).

    Fun walk down the signs and symbols of motherhood and that magic pile of beans it all started out at.
    k~ recently posted….Rain and Rainbows (100 Word Song)My Profile

    • K – well said about the sings and symbols. Mothers lose their rules once they become grandmothers. I’ve heard this is the way.

  13. Another, one of a kind post. Brenda, you are unique. I love your mind and the images it weaves. Think your mom and mine might be long lost sisters, your “prickly as swarm of wasps fleeing a hive under attack by a baseball bat” sent a chill down my spine. Never had sugared cereal! And questions weren’t allowed. I was delighted to leave my “mommy dearest” in the past and wait while she mellowed with age. Wish I’d had a mom like “Inner Chick,” but we don’t get to pick mom’s like a great pair of shoes, do we? LOL

    Nancy MacMillan recently posted….PTSD / Diary of a Vet’s Wife goes to The White HouseMy Profile

    • I’ll take that as a compliment, Nancy. :-) No, we can’t pick our moms or the shed their influences over our innocent selves so easily.

  14. I used to be very embarrassed by what I didn’t know. After noticing a friend continually and unabashedly asked questions – never hesitating to say “I don’t know what that word means,” or “I’ve never heard of that.” I realized I admired her for it and the reason why was my own fear of being seen as stupid. A deeply held belief beaten into me when every and any mistake elicited admonishments from my father of “What are you stupid?” Shaking that less then attractive attribute took years – and good riddance.
    Lynne Favreau recently posted….After the Violence: All Quiet On The Eastern FrontMy Profile

    • Lynne – I am so very glad you found a road to leave this part of your past on. It’s been my experience that life is hard enough on it’s own without have to drag along someone’ else issues.

  15. Funny you bring this up. This weekend I was watching surfers at the Jersey shore, thinking that if I’d learned how as a child, I’d probably be very good at it. The same goes for skiing, and some other things too. For whatever reason(s), my sister and I were on our own to find our passions. I wish it had been different.

    Great, thought provoking post, Brenda.
    June O’Hara recently posted….Insomnia: An Email To My Guy FriendMy Profile

    • Monica – Me, too, hate them ants. Sadly, that’s not the reason she deprived me of Captain Crunch, but I respect she held her ground, at least until she had a grandchild.

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