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A needle artist

Dear friends and readers,

As I decide what to wear these days, knowing I will be going out much less (now that term time is over), and change my clothes until I'm in that endurable outfit which is right for the weather (not easy in Virginia) and looks okay on me so that I can not cringe too much when I look in the mirror, I remember when I was a girl how my father would needle me over such behavior. The mocking tone, the ridicule. What fuels a desperate kind of rage is the sense of what I fool I was to have been so shamed, anger at myself for not turning to him, and saying, bastard, what's it your business. And remembering how many years such shaming controlled me when I was dressing.

His needling of me was an important factor in my anorexia. And yes when I wrote a couple of short stories, age 15, he was deprecating at best. A mess of mediocrity I was, could do everything a little and nothing very well. Like him. A close friend for a year (age 21 in Leeds) marvelled at this use of alliteration to put me down.

I am angry at my self for not speaking up and countering many such incidents. "What a dog!" to a actress on TV (the center of _Jewel in the Crown_). Was it her function to please his eye?

If only I had thrown these things off decades ago,
Sylvia

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