Blogger: Cherry Maggiore – “The Freak of Nurture”
Chapter 23: A Freaky Battle at the Border
After I drop MSP off in Brooklyn, (following a fantastic Greek Mythology inspired weekend in NYC; she’s Percy Jackson-obsessed and it was her Christmas gift from me) I take the 45-minute ride back to New Jersey to run a bunch of errands. Once the chores are done, I head to Lord & Taylor to buy some summer clothes for my upcoming “adult” trip to St. Thomas (meaning no kids under 18. Get your mind out of the gutter. Ha!).
This trip was planned nearly a year ago, and I am in desperate need of my friends, cocktails, Vitamin D and the ocean. My heart is pounding with joy at the thought of getting on a plane this Sunday.
Eight hundred dollars and two large bags later, I jump in my car.
Shopping makes me thirsty (I treat it like a contact sport). As I innocently gulp my iced green-tea, my throat suddenly catches and I become overwhelmed. An undercurrent of emotion wraps around my heart and drags me under water. I can’t catch my breath, and the tears start to fall. You know, the big fat juicy wet tears that feel like Niagara Falls down my face. I am utterly confused.
After slapping my cheek, I say out loud, “Stop it asshole. Get your shit together.” And with these words of tough love, I take a deep breath and start the car to make the four-minute ride home.
Once I walk in the door, I realize I am hungry, starving in fact as I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast (ok, maybe these were hangry tears…).
While on the phone with my favorite Chinese restaurant (Hunan Wok II for those in Westfield, NJ), I crack a bottle of wine and start the laundry while I wait for the arrival of my steamed dumplings, veggie spring rolls, and steamed shrimp.
But again, that fucking lump catches in my throat and the tears begin to flow anew…
It’s now an ugly cry. As the snot begins to run down my nose, down to my upper lip, I snap out of my self-pity long enough to get a tissue, which is when I hear my phone vibrate.
My friend texts me, “What are you doing?” I reply, “Crying, lol.” He immediately writes, “I’m coming over.”
When he arrives, I tell him about the moment it all came apart, the moment I came undone…again.
It all started with my last blog, “This Year My Valentine is My Daughter’s Future Step Mother” and a comment from one of The Daily Feels fans…
“I’m finding your views hypocritical, I love your voice, but it’s problematic when you can’t keep it real.”
Writes Benjamin P on the comments section of my blog. He goes on to say,
“You have discussed your dating life and what generally/ambiguously led to your divorce; yet you can’t acknowledge that Chubacabra might not always be at fault.
You started out as a strong woman, yet I question your biases and views on life, especially knowing that MSP is your priority, but your dating life is of a 15-year-old girl with your earlier stuff (which I love reading about! Great entertainment!). Have you considered what example you are setting to MSP? Are you able to be truthful to her about the choices you are making? While knowing that you are setting an example for appropriate behavior?
I mean no attack or disrespect, I’m confused in the honesty you perceive to give to your readers. Much Love to you and your growth!”
I am in utter and complete awe; I have a fan (who is NOT a family member or friend)!!!! I am totally tickled that he has read my blogs for no other purpose than his own entertainment and enjoyment; this is new and uncharted territory.
But, fuck, Benjamin that was harsh. This fan is an asshole (sorry Benjamin…I did think this at first)! Great, just what I need (insert exaggerated eye roll)!
Ok, …stop the silly name calling Cherry (I definitely have an alias in mind for our friend Benjamin P). Where’s the positive? Where’s the blessing in this? Reread what he said…is there any truth?
As I read his message for the fifteenth time, I see that he refers to my ex-husband as the Chupacabra (I can’t help but snicker), but I especially tune into the word “hypocritical”. Ok, hold on a second…let’s process.
I respond back, polite, grateful and ready to learn more…
“Hi Benjamin, first I would like to thank you so much for reading my story and being moved to write to me! I love a good dialogue especially when I’m being challenged. Maybe you missed some of my blogs, but you are right about me acting like a 15-year old with my dating life. I approached it with the same naïveté and hope. Which is why I stopped dating about six months ago. This has been a tremendous time of growth for me. You may have also missed my first or second blog “The Collateral Damage of the Big D: How to TRY and Explain Why You Got Divorced to An 8-Year Old.” where I talk about having an affair as the catalyst to the end of my marriage when I owned up to it. It was one-night tryst at the end of our 10 years together.
As I’ve also said, it takes two to get married and two to get divorced. There is no one single person to blame. We were not right for each other, and while we went to couples and individual therapy four different times, we just couldn’t make it work which led to a nervous breakdown for me. I never thought I could be intimate with someone and hurt my partner like that, but after years of emotional abandonment and abuse, I cracked. I also dated when I’m not with my daughter.
And interestingly, I have answered all her questions honestly as to why my ex and I got divorced. She knows the truth at her level. It was one of the hardest conversations I’ve had, and interestingly she forgave me and understood. I do trust that I am an excellent example for my daughter. I wake up every day with that in mind and that as my goal. No one is perfect, and this is undoubtedly my side of the story. I’m sure the Chupacabra has his…
I would like to understand how you find me hypocritical. That was one thing I couldn’t rectify from your comments. Thank you again for reading and writing to me. I look forward to hearing from you again! Xoxo, Cherry”
The conversation continues, and he goes DEEEEEPPPP…
“No problem, I do appreciate this opportunity to respond.
Once again, I was drawn to your voice and experience since the first blog, always looking forward to your next adventure, as my girlfriend first showed me your blog. (sometimes we disagree on topics)
At times I feel like a writer; one can manipulate the view/situation to fit your idea/ perception of the truth (Which any good writer should do for entertainment.) Where you clearly stated before in this Blog- that it’s meant to be a cathartic experience to develop some sort of growth, understanding of the past, to make better choices in the future. This is where and why I believe it is hypocritical since you are reinforcing a persona of a constant victim every step of the way through every experience, even this one. This is in no way- shape- or form to say what change should be, or what it is defined as. Yet, the change that you are experiencing, I am not seeing in your writer’s voice; and maybe it’s because your journey is not over in the 16+ blogs (that have started about a year ago)? I still see a woman that has had a tough life because of the choices she made, but you keep the same patterns going.
My comment in regards to being hypocritical is because any person that is accepting and happy for another’s happiness- would not keep throwing jabs in between the lines. (Once again, LOVE YOUR WRITER’S VOICE) But practice what you preach, kinda thing. The nicknames for the ones you apparently don’t care to demonstrate ill-will, not just entertainment.
— As per to MSP knowing things at her level, I’m sure those were not easy topics to discuss in regards to the divorce. As she grows so will her questions and your answers. Yet, that was not what I was referring to, for instance going back to the Blog “Crossing the border of crazy.” How would you explain that morning? If that was your daughter’s husband waking up with a hangover; would he still be a victim?
— Through most issues that we have been a witness too you have chosen a victimized path as if the world just wants to destroy the person you are, rather than being a champion of your own choices, more-so understanding the correlation between your own actions and effects/consequences of. Best, Benjamin.”
Constant victim? Ooooh, that cut to the core. Ok, ok…this guy is clearly intelligent, observant, sympathetic and seriously judgemental. He only knows like 10% of my life story and yet feels very emboldened to make these observations. The power of social media hits me hard. I have chosen to put myself out there, and so I am vulnerable to these types of comments and opinions.
Bottom line, he’s entitled to his opinion, but his views aren’t fact. The question is…why am I giving his POV any credence?
My blog concept was born of the premise that when our DNA and our familial and social environment conflict, we become a freak of NUTURE.
My upbringing was a series of battles where I found myself defending my body, point of view and emotions. After abuse occurred, I was taught that I was the problem. I was trained NOT to trust my own experience or what I saw or felt. My patterns were founded on insecurity and hate of myself. As if I asked for the abuse…welcomed it and deserved it.
But now as an adult who is accountable and can choose NOT to be a victim why do I keep making the same mistakes and continue to revictimize myself. And how the fuck do I stop and move forward?
I started to dig into nurture vs. nature conflict a bit more…
As I’ve shared in my Daddy Issues blog, “How Did a Divorcee with Daddy Issues Celebrate Father’s Day? By Writing the Most Painful Part of Her History…”my foundational paternal relationship was especially wrought with pain and abuse.
When another Fan of the Feels and a fellow colleague read the “Daddy Issues” blog, he suggested I read up on this stem cell biologist, the founder of epi-genetics and author of The Biology of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton. He theorizes that the movie the Matrix is not sci-fi, it’s really a documentary.
Watch this video (it’s 45 minutes but truly worth it!):
Here’s a summary to pique your interest…
“Dr. Bruce Lipton theorizes that from ages 0 – 7 we are in a state of hypnosis. We are in input mode like the Matrix experience which determines our lives and how we act. His book, ‘The Biology of Belief’ explores how cells receive and process information. The implications of this research will radically change our understanding of life, showing that genes and DNA do not control our biology; instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts.
For decades, genetic determinism—that is, the idea that our genes are fixed, immutable, and outside of our conscious control — was the prevailing view of the scientific community, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Dr. Candace Pert, and other intrepid researchers have demonstrated that DNA is actually controlled by signals that come from outside of the cell.
In other words, the cell’s environment matters much more than we once thought.
So change the cell’s environment, and you can change the cell behavior and genetic characteristics. And since we’re made up of cells, we can change ourselves. Positive or negative, our thoughts can literally change our bodies and alter our physical health and well-being. This is excellent news because it means that we have the power to change our lives for the better! Just because our parents drank to excess or developed cancer doesn’t mean that we will too. We have more agency and authority over our life experience than we ever realized.”
Shit, did this just blow your mind apart? It blew mine open when I read the synopsis and watched the video. Because in fact…it’s the combination of Nature AND Nurture that make us who we are. Cause and Effect.
Most people know that stress can trigger sickness but really to theorize and prove that even cancer has NO genetic pre-disposition…it all has to do with our mindset?
And so there is no battle between nature and nurture; they are symbiotic. Ultimately your DNA reacts to external inputs and our mindset. Which means, we have the power to change and reprogram our behaviour and our way of thinking, even our health!
Which brings me full circle back to my tear-fest last night…I got caught up with the Chupacabra and his typical manipulative antics that make me question my sanity when it comes to our parenting time. On top of that I won’t see MSP for two weeks because the Chupacabra has her for Winter break and then his regular visitation schedule.
Add all that to the fact that I quit smoking seven days ago (yes, I am damn proud of myself as I attempt to stop some of my self-abuse) and I no longer have my smoky companions to distract me from her absence. Then there’s Benjamin P and his comments about me being a victim and a hypocrite. And here I am fully wallowing in self-pity, completely comfortable sinking into my victim role…crying my eyes out.
Holy shit, he’s right.
So, I want to thank Benjamin for caring enough to speak up (as the NYC slogan implores: If you See Something, Say Something) about things in my blog that didn’t sit well with him. While on the surface his words were harsh to take in and digest, he did inspire me to dig deeper.
In my response to Benjamin P’s 2nd comment, I told him he would inspire this blog (Blog #23, not the 16 Benjamin estimated) where I would specifically answer his challenges…here goes.
- I will continue to call my ex the Chupacabra and his fiancé Cha-Cha, just cause it’s fucking funny and honestly truly captures their personas. This is my innocent revenge for the consistent aggravation he causes that gives me a giggle and is relatively harmless. It’s worth it, just to see Benjamin use that alias!
- I am the heroine of my story. I will call myself out when necessary, but in the end I am Wonder Woman in my own mind (even if I’m not always as brave and confident as her).
- DO NOT ever question my commitment to being a good mother to MSP. This is NOT up for debate. I wake up with that thought in my mind every day, and I am the best mother I ever hoped to be and better than most. And the only person I answer to on this subject is my daughter. End of story.
- Most people are hypocritical at times, even YOU. What we believe, say and do doesn’t always add up…and it often conflicts without even realizing it. We need truth-sayers to keep us honest, which is why we need good friends and people like you to hold up the mirror. We just have to be willing to open our eyes.
- I was a victim of abuse for most of my life but that does not make me a victim, for life. What I have learned though is that victims choose similar abuse because it feels normal. A vicious cycle. As I discover my self-worth and self-love, I can begin to control the vector of my life. I will stop being a victim. And it starts now…
- You observed my dating life as a 15-year old girl…and yet you didn’t acknowledge that most of the men I’ve encountered behave like 15-year old boys (on a good day). Therefore, I have halted all dating and have not been on a date in seven months because it is virtually impossible to find an adult man (LOL!).
Truth is, I am selfishly using this blog to process my pain, reflect, recover and move forward. After years of therapy, some of which were terrible experiences, I’ve found that writing this blog is cathartic and has had a very positive impact on my life (and on the lives of others who were inspired to share their stories in turn).
For the time being, The Daily Feelers will continue to see my wounds, mistakes, hypocrisy (at moments) and insecurity. But as I become whole, the Feelers will also start to see my version of Wonder Woman come to surface.
There is no magic formula or on and off switch…so expect more missteps. And on the advice of Dr. Bruce Lipton, I will attempt to appreciate my scars, learn from my mistakes and rewire my behavior.
One day at a time, one freaky blog at a time…
Cherry Maggiore is the proud single mom of her 9-year-old super-sassy daughter (aka Miss Sassy Pants or MSP) and 15-year-old pug baby (Tiki Barber); in addition to being an award-winning senior marketing executive at NBCUniversal.
Beside her side hustle as the Freak of Nurture, she also started a home design company after being inspired by renovating and designing her 1880’s home in NJ.
This insanely curious and passionate “multi-potentialite” can be found dancing the Argentinan tango, swing and Hustle every Saturday, cooking her family an Italian Sunday dinner, singing and air drumming at concerts or searching for her next adventure.