Monsters In the Closet

Along the Way. . .

Experiences, Insights & Humor on the “Long Road Home”

November 1, 2021

Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

I’m thinking this sounds crazy, but I also have given it a lot of thought, like years’ worth, and over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that as a child I did so many bad things, not because I was a bad child, but because I was doing bad things as a tool to get attention from my father that I got no other way.  Never once can I remember him paying any attention to me unless I had done something that warranted punishment.  It was like the old “just wait till your father gets home” because my mom never was the disciplinarian with us boys, always my dad. One thing was certain, if I acted up I got the belt on the butt, and my dad had an ample supply of which I know I must have dang near wore out.

I was certainly not my dad’s favorite, how could I be? I was constantly doing bad things – stealing little things, lying, sneaking around, destroying stuff, breaking things, messing with stuff I knew better than to mess with – knowing of the certain spanking I would get if I got caught, and I always got caught. Being bad was my hallmark, and my claim to my dad’s attention.

Photo by Tanya Gorelova on

Now, I know I deserved every bit of every spanking I got. I did some monumentally stupid things as a kid, and every time I would get the belt. Then after my punishment my dad would say, “Now I want you to know I love you and that is why I spanked you.” Then he would hug me. Those were the only times I can remember my dad telling me he loved me or him hugging me.

Humm. I believe to this moment that I did a lot of what I did just to get him to hug me and tell me he loved me because I know I never got an “I’m proud of you.” Heck, how could he be with me always being bad and getting into trouble? Never-the-less, as I reflect now as an old man, knowing all this and facing it for myself finally makes sense of things.

My dad worked hard all his life, he didn’t have time for my shenanigans and I was his only “bad” child. I’m over it and I don’t need to be bad anymore, not for anyone’s attention or any reason. So there it is. It’s all better now and I can be my true self. All those monsters in the closet, well, it took me 40 years, but I smashed ‘em. They are no more…

© Steven Maisenbacher “Walks On The Grass” 2021

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an 80-something elder, a child of the great depression and WWII. I have lived a good life doing all the ordinary things valued by women of my generation. Through it all, I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, never quite "at home" in any group, but always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A registered nurse by profession, I am a lifelong student with a love of writing and interests in history and genealogy. In my golden years, just when I was starting to wonder what I was going to do with the rest of my life, some unexpected things happened that led me down new and unfamiliar paths. I’ve since learned it took a lifetime of experiences to prepare me for the new challenges and opportunities to come. The lessons these new challenges bring comprise the magic elixir that keep me seeking, keep me aware, keep me vital.

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