Part 4: How they Mistreated Me


May 30, 1992- Here is an impression of my life: Bekah, are you going on a date? Beka (sic): Can I have some milk? Mom: it’s in the refrigerator! Gawley!

As an eight-year-old, writing complete sentences took a lot of energy and effort, and I could not be bothered to explain the connection between this milk imposition and questions about my social calendar.

This is the first time exasperation with my parents shows up in my journal. I’m eight years old, and being told to get my own milk.

1992.Does this look like the face of an 8-year-old who gets her own milk?

I’ll give this much to my adolescent self: My parents were products of the James Dobson school of family management, and their methods have given me years of fodder for dinner party storytelling.  Absolute obedience was their thing, and they expected it with a smile. They didn’t quite demand that we say, “Please sir can I have another?” while we received our whoopin’s, but that would not have been out of character.

I, however, am not one to be outdone…ever.

Jan 11, 1995 – I’m so mad at mom I could SCREAM. Leeanna and I make plans. NO! Mom and Dad have to go to Bible Study so I’m stuck baby-sitting my brat sisters! I don’t even WANT to babysit them. They’re impossible! I’d like to go just one time without having to turn off MY LIFE so I can be unsocial so I have time to bend over backward to obey the #1 rule: DON’T ARGUE. I’d like to be on my way to the Dittlinger Memorial Library with my best friend. But NO! I only need one book. I have an hour and a half to burn. But NO! I finally find my long lost library card that mom wouldn’t spare one measly dollar to replace! But NO! I’ve got to memorize an at-least-20-line long poem by Jan 25. But NO! The day was going just fine and I was hoping to keep it that way. But NO! Leeanna and I have plans for two days. But NO! I’d like to say, or even scream this at her. But NO! Because I have to stand on my head, chew glass, spit dirt, juggle 20 balls, produce quarters, roses and broccoli out of my ears, hold an elephant on my toes a ladder on my nose, repair the O-Zone layer, bring back the dinosaurs, sit through Barney, find out the mystery of the Bermuda triangle, climb Big Ben, read and memorize Webster’s First Dictionary cover to cover and grow beans out of my nose if she says so to obey the number one rule: DON’T ARGUE!

The rage never lasted long, of course. It was usually tied to getting what I wanted, a problem easily solved.

Jan 12, 1995- I’m not mad at my mom any more. In fact, I’m very happy at her. I got to go to the library with Leeanna today. I got 5 books.

Of course, sometimes getting what I wanted wasn’t as simple. 

April 15, 1995- For once I’m not mad at any body. The one thing I really want in the world is to guest star—just once, maybe—on Home Improvement. If there’s one thing I could possibly have before I die, it’s that. More than getting married.

Somehow my dreams managed to be embarrassingly small-minded and yet entirely unrealistic. And I’m sure I had no ulterior motive of making JTT fall madly in love with me during my guest appearance, what with my fuzzy hair and snaggletooth smile. Though, according to my journal, I didn’t care if it ended in marriage, a distant secondary goal.

I don’t buy that for a minute.

The overwhelming theme of my journals is the longing for love. I sniffed out my own ulterior JTT motive by placing it in the context of entries like this one, written a mere four days later.

April 19, 1995 – Annika RUINED my Beckyanna Bousteé poster! [A magazine self-published by me and my best friend, Leeanna. The brand was a clever combination of our names, incase you were wondering about the exotic title.] I am majorly P.O’d at her. She thinks just because she has the chicken pox she can BOSS everybody around. Write more later.


I’m not mad at Annika, but my emotions are aflutter. I want to die in the arms of the man I love most (not now), I want to feel his embrace around my tan shoulders. I want to kiss his wet, tender lips as they near my own. I yearn for the passion of my fantisophical life.

1994. Don’t mess with this smug bitch.

Here, my ailing sister won the game of hormone roulette. The wind blew and apparently I went from enraged (and thus probably snarking and rude) to ambiguously horny (which means I was probably alone in my room, gazing out a window). You might think something dramatic had occurred during the “con’t” portion of the entry, but I probably just ate or took a nap.

Some observations on this:

1) who was the Harlequin romance novelist I paid to write this crap? “aflutter?” “Yearn?” How old am I?

2) Clearly I had yet to kiss a boy with wet lips, as I would later rank a wet-lipped ex-boyfriend as “the worst kisser ever” on that criteria alone.

3) How is it that the same kid who can correctly use words like “astounded” and “accommodations” thinks that the adjective form of “fantasy” is “fantisophical?”

My alternating anger and fantasy, along with my constant whining about how we don’t have enough money to bankroll my lifestyle (more on that to come), were fueled by books. I wanted a dramatic arch and the improbably stylized life of gal pals living in small towns or boarding schools with lots of costume parties and fancy banquets. 

As much as fiction fueled my discontent with reality, I’m thankful. Books enlarged my dreams. Like a baby deer stepping out in the big world, my first steps were pathetic and ridiculous, but they were steps.