Just Wait Until Your Father Comes Home

A friend of mine, Becca, writes posts on occasion (usually about politics) that bring the frothy-mouthed commenters out of the woodwork. We were chatting about it last week, and she mentioned that I don’t get any crazy commenters because I don’t really write anything that would bring them out in droves. 

I hadn’t thought much about that before, but it’s true. I don’t write about controversial subjects because I don’t want to offend anyone. I don’t want anyone to be mad at me.
For me, my biggest fear always has been and still is getting in trouble. I hate having people mad at me. I was a pretty darn good teenager because I was always so afraid of getting in trouble. I never broke my curfew (I would start stressing if I was even three minutes late, which is ridiculous, because my parents are not hard-noses at all). 
In January or February, my mom called my cell phone while I was in class, but didn’t leave a message. I texted her back to ask what was going on and she replied with something like “Just give me a call when you have a chance.” 
And, ridiculous as it was, I started freaking out like crazy, worried that I might be in trouble. I know that is crazy. I’m an adult; I don’t live at home; I hadn’t even done anything that could possibly  have gotten me “in trouble.” And yet, there I sat, as worried as if I’d stayed out all night and was just waiting for my dad to come home and lay down the law (clearly in my imaginary world, my dad is totally different from my real dad, because he’s not the kind to come home and “lay down the law”).
Fortunately, I was not in trouble. It was just some surprising news that she needed to tell me. I breathed a big sigh of relief. 
My mom is like this, so I come by it naturally. My youngest sister is the same way, but to an even stronger degree. She has, on several occasions, passed out when she gets in trouble (both at home and at school).
Several years ago, one of my parents read a story about a mom and a young son driving together in the car, when the son started feeling extremely sick to his stomach. He cried out that he was going to throw up and the mom pulled over to the side of the road. “Open the door and throw up out there,” she told him. He opened the door, leaned out over the street and then retracted his head, asking worriedly, “Is this against the rules?” 
That story? Could have been written about me. 

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  • Reply Bethany July 17, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I, obviously, like to stir the pot and get people a little riled up. its interesting seeing what people feel passionately about and why.

    I don’t like offending people, though. I don’t want people to read my posts feeling like I put them or the things they love down.

    It’s sometimes difficult to find a balance.

  • Reply Kimberly July 17, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    My mom called to say she had something she wanted to talk to me about. In person. She wouldn’t tell me what it was, and I did the same thing. I can’t even remember what we finally talked about, but I remember the feeling of dread. Never fear, my friend, you are not alone!

  • Reply Melanie July 17, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    I’m the same way and was just thinking about this the other day. I consider myself pretty adventurous . . .but only when adventure falls within the “rules.”

    I remember being absolutely mortified when an employee of a new grocery store informed us (as we were picking out yogurt) that the store wasn’t actually open yet, it was just an opening celebration for the employees. Such a stupid thing to be embarrassed about, but I looked back on that memory with shame for years!

  • Reply s.c.j. July 17, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I’ve always wondered how and where those ‘woodwork’ people come from…it’s like they’re uncontrollably pulled to random people’s blogs that post controversial posts about important topics. Do you know how this works, Janssen? How did all those ‘anonymous’ comments find your friend’s blog in the first place? (just a curious george)

  • Reply Natasha @ Maw Books July 17, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    So funny! I’ve always been a good girl myself but have toed the line many a time. Enjoyed reading this post!

  • Reply chelon:) July 17, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    janssen- you sound so much like me! i too get the pit in my stomach when someone tells me that we have to discuss something…i am always worried that i am in trouble or they are mad at me. great post!!

  • Reply TheMoncurs July 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    That is me to a T…I avoid trouble and rule breaking and contention to the point of ridiculousness. I got it from my mom..we’re rule followers.

  • Reply Carly Jane July 17, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    I hear you! I always say that I am a naturally obedient person. I don’t like people mad at me; I don’t like breaking any sorts of rules; I don’t like the anxiety of thinking I might be in trouble. So funny when it is really unfounded worry 🙂

  • Reply Heather July 17, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Poor Becca. I really feel for her. I too, tend to stay on the “try not to offend” blogging end of the spectrum. But, I’m not afraid to break a few “rules” here and there if I strongly disagree with them.

  • Reply Packrat July 18, 2008 at 12:21 am

    I, too, worry; I hate to break rules (although I did kick up my heels some when I was younger and worried myself half sick over it); I fret; I stew; I get embarrassed when I make mistakes or do something out of the norm…

    Oh, just be yourself in your blog. Your posts are a joy to read even the couple of times I haven’t agreed with you. 🙂

  • Reply Merrick July 18, 2008 at 1:51 am

    I somehow missed that trait…I am SO not a worrier.

  • Reply Noelle July 18, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    I hate to offend people too. I think I tend to agree with people or say nothing at all. I’m probably the most rule-following in my family I had the same dread about being a few minutes late for curfew…

  • Reply Angela Noelle July 20, 2008 at 8:22 am

    My sisters and I all share what we call the “chin wobble”. When a teacher, parent, or grown-up in any form gave us a rare telling-off, our bottom lip and chin would tremble uncontrollably, no matter how much we willed it to stop. If my chin could have spoken it would have declared: “Stop….telling…me…off…can’t you see one of those who is already supremely remorseful? Your work here is done, move along, before tears arrive as reinforcements”.

  • Reply Lisa July 28, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    oh geez, this could be me too. Even now at 33 I have a hard time doing things that could even vaguely be “against the rules.”

  • Reply Melissa Clarkson September 23, 2014 at 12:03 am

    I relate to this so much. I'm always so concerned about offending, upsetting, disappointing, etc., people, even strangers and/or people I don't care for, and especially my parents. It's something I've started to work on over the past few years because it's very stressful to live this way.

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