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As media outlets trot out more and more people who knew Michael Jackson to share their impressions of him while he was alive, we seem to be left with an image of a performer who was very bitter about his past and quite resentful of having his childhood ‘stolen’ from him. Even among those who did not know Mr. Jackson personally, it seems to be common knowledge that he had issues with the way he was raised and the way he was constantly made to perform from a very early age. Of course, that was then, and this is now.

Sadly, Mr. Jackson’s time has now has passed. But even when he was alive, he gave an impression of a lost soul who had big issues regarding his childhood. This was not only reflected in his music, but also into the sometimes questionable relationships he had with children despite being an adult himself.

I did not know Mr. Jackson. But I know people similar to him. People who are convinced that because of what happened in their past, they cannot be happy today. In fact, I used to be one of those people.

My parents went through a very nasty split (and eventual divorce) when I was younger. The ordeal lasted for roughly 8-10 years and things got quite nasty between my Mom and Dad. They both also got quite abusive with my sister and I. My mother was basically a pathological liar who was desperate to be acknowledged publicly as young, single and childless (even though still married with two children).

My mother’s quest for what she perceived as acceptance led to some horrific incidences that would make a psychiatrist nod in understanding when also told that during that time period I was morbidly obese and continued to gain excess weight. In fact, my parents’ problems began when I was in 1st grade – about the time I started putting on excess weight in the first place. I added more and more excess weight through the years. And looking back, I can see that the weight served as a buffer of sorts (between me and my parents – as well as me and the outside world).

Because my father was never home and my mom was often out on the town (so to speak), I was left alone to raise my younger sister. There were times friends tried to intercede, but my sister and I knew that should we tell others the truth, there would be severe punishment from our parents. Despite this constant threat, at one point I tried calling the police to report the abuse. But because we lived on a military base in Germany, there was little understanding when I explained that the abuse was mostly the verbal and abandonment kind and only on occasion was physical. Thus, my sister and I were left to fend for ourselves. So in essence, our childhood was stolen from us as well.

While my heart goes out to Mr. Jackson and his lifetime of angst over his past, I also wonder if he could have just accepted what transpired, realized he’s an adult and moved on. At a certain point, we have to stop blaming our past (or others in our past) for the shortcomings we find ourselves facing in our present day lives.

Yes, I could tell harrowing tales of my Mom’s monstrous behavior. And I can point to spikes in my weight that correlated with may parents’ outbursts and abuse. But I can also point to a moment in my young adult life that I decided, ‘That was then, this is now.’ And that also happened to be the point when a lot of the excess weight began to be released.

There’s an old adage that goes something like this: ‘If you think of yourself as a victim, then you are a victim.’ And I refuse to be a victim. Especially the victim of something that happened years and years ago.

At a certain point, we need to let it go. For our own peace of mind and mental health. That was then. This is now.

I’m not suggesting we forget any past horrors. Or pretend they never happened. But today – in this moment – we need to take care of ourselves and provide whatever we feel might be missing as a result of past experiences. We can’t make the past go away. But we can control our ‘now’ – and our future. And by deciding that we’re going to stop giving the past anymore power, we can positively affect any circumstance we’re facing – whether weight loss related or if realted to some other kind of addiction or mental/physical crutch we rely on while pointing to the past and saying, “I can’t help it because this happened.”

It’s sad that Mr. Jackson’s legacy is as filled with grief and sadness as it is with memories of his incredible talent. But we can learn from him and from his pain. That in itself can be a gift to all of us from Mr. Jackson.

Acceptance. Understanding. And moving on – without pointing anymore fingers or trotting out the excuse of a past gone wrong.

We have today. And we’re in control. And that’s something worth celebrating – no matter what happened yesterday. No. Matter. What.

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11 Responses to “Was Michael Jackson a crybaby?”

  1. Sharon says:

    Ok…so I saw your book…and I put down all of the other ones I had in my hands. LOL…I looove how “real” you are, because you have experienced it. And your sense of humor is wonderful. I am a 42 yr. old cake decorator. Yep..I do it for a living. Been doing it since I was 16. I have never had a weight problem until I drank like a fish in my 20’s. I don’t drink any longer, though. But I had my daughter when I was 29, and just kept gaining the weight. I absolutely HATE to have my picture taken….UGH!! So I am on the 2nd day of the diet plan. I weigh 236 lbs. I would like to own my own bakery within the next 3-5 years. I know you are probably cringing right now…thinking I am going to set myself up for failure?…I love the 3 hour chicken..and I have never had balsamic vinegar before…love it! I am really pumped to get this weight off. I have to read parts of your book alot so I stay on track…otherwise, I will be walking by a donut and scarf it down like I have never eaten before.
    I was abused and left to live on my own at 16. My parents divorced…my mom also was verbally, physically,and sexually abusive to me. SSSOOOO anyhoo…..I look at life like…”Well, what are you going to do about the past?” Not a damn thing. A person has to move on. For one thing, nobody is worth ruining your life over. I don’t understand why people can be so mean. Life really is just way to short. I try to learn from all of what has happened to me, and try not to throw myself a pity party (it happens sometimes). If anything, it makes me a stronger person, and I want to do this for me. I DESERVE to look good and feel good. This is my life…so what if they scarred a small part of it. It’s not allowed anymore. :o) Your life is what you make it. AND “Nobody can let you feel inferior without your permission!” So all of those adults out there that are looking at me in disgust, or the kids that don’t know any better that ask their parents why I am so fat, as I am standing in the checkout line with my basket of ho hos. (It really happened)-(head hung low)…I will get where I need to be. Drinking my water, and eating my chicken. Eating my ho hos…ok scratch that last part…but I really like Ho Hos. Oh well…farewell Ho Hos…farewell.

  2. Gregg says:

    Oh, my gosh, Sharon! I LOVE your share. I laughed. I cried. I cringed. I thought about having some Ho-Hos. LOL! I can totally relate to your grocery store story, btw. I’ve been there, done that (or been humiliated by that, I should say). I really appreciate you sharing all that you did. Those of us who are survivors of whatever’s in our past (abuse, addictions, etc.) need to share with one another and take away the “Deep, dark secret” connotations that would only serve to derail our efforts today. Of course, what happened in the past shaped us (no pun intended). But all of our foibles make us human. And being human is what brings us together. Well, that and a mutual love of Ho-Hos (or whatever other temptations might occasionally lure us). I’m glad my sense of humor speaks to you. I find it my strongest asset, even today. I also applaud your efforts and totally support your dreams of owning your own bakery. Why the heck not? Baking and decorating cakes is not something that totally clashes with efforts to get healthy and more fabulous. In other words, YOU CAN DO IT! I know you can. And I hope you’ll “report back” to keep me (and all the other people you’re surely inspiring) posted. Go, Sharon, GO! 😀

  3. Aim says:

    What a touching article…thank you for sharing this with us and reminding us we all have ‘stuff” but it’s what we do with it that can make all the difference in how we live our lives. I always say to my brother, ” I am who I am today becuse of my stepfather,” a verbally abusive jerk. My brother always responds…”then we should thank him because you’re strong, smart, motivated and loving.” After a lot of personal work, hopefully I was able to make a frown a smile. Keep up the great work, gregg.

  4. Teresa Fischer says:

    Sharon, Sending you love, light and positive energy on your journey. It is a journey with some unexpected twists and turns but Gregg knows this because he lived it and is still living it. Keep us posted along the way. I’m about a third of the way in my weight-loss journey and I find Gregg’s wisdom and support so helpful and inspiring. It’s all about lessons learned (sometimes re-learned a few times) and shared. My own advice – always treat yourself with love and respect. It can be hard if the adults in your life did not do this when you were a child, but you can learn to do it. When I talk negatively to myself (not as frequently as I used to, but it still happens), I ask myself – sometimes outloud – “Is that loving? Is that respectful? Would I say that to a friend?” Eating healthy is loving and respectful. It can also be very healing. Your journey will inspire others so keep posting. Healthy CyberHugs – Teresa

  5. Gregg says:

    Wow, Aim… Very powerful words: “I am who I am today because of…” So true. And again, so empowering. Come on, everyone… Repeat after me: WE ARE WHO WE ARE TODAY BECAUSE OF… (I really, truly am moved by this, Aim — as I’m sure others are, too!) Thank you!

  6. Gregg says:

    Tremendous words of wisdom, Teresa. Thank you. I know they were meant for Sharon. But I’m sure she won’t mind if I share in your wisdom. I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished. At the end of the day, we all have baggage. But we can check it at the station and move on — TOGETHER! (Can I get an “Amen?”) 😀

  7. Teresa Fischer says:

    AMEN! Love the metaphor about leaving the baggage at the station. There are moments in the journey where it just feels too difficult but if you keep moving forward – even a tiny step at a time during the difficult days – you reach the other side and that is joyous and worth all the tough times.

  8. Sharon says:

    Wow! Thanks guys!! You are so wonderful! AND AMEN!!!! Hallelujah! lol…Aim..I totally agree with you about being strong, smart, motivated and loving. We have to remember that what doesn’t break us only makes us stronger. I am a firm believer to that my friends. We have all lived that in some point in our lives. I am wishing that I wouldn’t have told people at work that I was dieting, but I think they would have figured it out, cuz I’m not making love to the rack of donuts every morning. HAHAHA….I love to read what everyone has to say, so motivational!! You guys are GREAT!! WOO HOO!!!!

  9. Gregg says:

    OMG, Sharon… You had me at “making love to the rack of donuts.” LOL! Thanks so much for your comments. Keep us posted on your progress. We are with you every step – and bite – of the way!

  10. Sharon says:

    Teresa-
    I just wanted to tell you thank you for the warm thoughts. Man…I had a rough day today. I made a Preacher Cake for my sister. I took it over there..and the smell in the car….OMG!!!! I almost threw it out the window!! LOL…Knowing my luck, I would get a ticket. I don’t think the officer would understand that I am dieting, and that I am just driving around town with a fresh baked cake in my car. SOOOO anyhoo…we got over to my sisters, and she offered my daughter and I a piece. I was so tempted..then I told my daughter to give me a bite of hers and she said NO!! GET AWAY!!.. At first I was kind of pissed off!!. Then I thought well…hmmm…she is really my only “in person” support right now, and I have to thank her for that. Now that is love…what a sweetie. I hope you all have people in your daily lives that can do that for you. I feel blessed.

  11. Gregg says:

    Counting blessings is such a good way of staying on track, Sharon. Still can’t believe you make cakes for a living. That makes what you’re doing even more of a triumph. Keep up the good work. Your comments and posts are blessings to us!


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