By Tanya Hazelwood
Approval and acceptance
Approval and the acceptance of others has always been a high priority in my life. It really bothers me, even if I say it doesn’t, when someone is mad at me or doesn’t like me. I’ve certainly given a lot of people various reason to, that’s for sure.
I remember being a kid in school, being bullied for having crooked teeth, or not having money and it devastated me. A young child shouldn’t have to know what it feels like to want to kill yourself because people don’t like you. All I wanted was to be accepted by the “in” crowd, the popular kids. I just wanted to be wanted.
Drinking caused a lot of that same shunning from people, but this time it was my fault. Being born with crooked teeth or into a family that struggled was always beyond my control but slamming shots of liquor and acting a damn fool was certainly within my control and I chose poorly.
So, now that I am sober I am finally accepted and approved of.
My Mawmaw and I were always close. Very close. At one time I was her pride and joy, until my adulthood. I’ve sat and thought and thought about what could have gone wrong that caused distance between us. Things never felt right. I saw in her eyes the disappointment in me, the disapproval in a lot of things about me. Every time I did things that I was happy about or thought was good I never really got that “I’m proud of you” moment from her as an adult. I know without a doubt she hated my drinking. The mess I was and caused and especially the way I treated my children. And I, of course was jealous when my kids chose her over me. It had to be the same feeling my mother felt when I chose Mawmaw over her. Maybe it was my payback. I also know without a doubt that when I first got sober my Mawmaw didn’t have faith in me. I could hear it in her voice and see it in her face. I don’t blame her. Trust is earned and I’ve put her through enough garbage to know it would take a lot of proving. Today, when I walked in her house as I do almost every Sunday, she grabbed me, looked me straight in the eyes and said “I love you and I’m very proud of you.” I was kind of stunned. I asked what for and she stated that she had been waiting a long time to see what she read in last week’s column about the rekindling of my relationship with my daughter. At that very moment I finally felt like after so many years I once again had the approval of the most important woman in my life.
She reads and clips out every one of my columns and even though she rarely comments to me about them, I have a feeling they are impacting her as well. She’s probably going to kill me for even writing this because she hates her business being in the spotlight (so unlike me) but I want her to know that I love her with my entire life and I am so sorry for ever embarrassing her or letting her down. She also made the statement that if I had touch a drop if liquor again she would hurt me. I believe her.