“Vanity, A Childish Sin”

Here I am about 10 years of age going on 11 years.  It was the “Class Party” end of the year, Winter I believe.  Dressed in my one and only White Polo Neck Jumper of which I loved, and my one and only Red Tartan Skirt I was in love with, convinced myself it was an Irish Tartan skirt but of course it was not, have no idea what it was meant to be, all I do know is I loved it.  Long white socks, and  my long fair hair had a Black Velvet Alice Band.  One boy in my Class, he was my dancing partner, told the class one day after our Scottish Dancing lesson (scottish dancing lessons in a predominantly Irish Catholic School?) “Anna Morrissey” (me) “is the prettiest girl in the class”, I blushed then, and I do now as I type it.  I remember him well.

I was dancing around on the double bed I shared with my eldest Sister, in the bedroom which was called “the back room” in the four roomed flat we lived in, we had the ground floor flat, we lived in this big house that was shared with this couple and their son, who was a young Man who had done or was going to do his “National Service”, I liked him so much, he was always so nice to me.  My Mother and his Mother never got along, as for my Father well he kept out of it all.  I was looking at myself in the dressing table mirror as I spun around on the bed.   Suddenly the bedroom door opened and in walked my Mother, low cut top she liked to show her bosoms – yes she did have large round breasts she was proud of, would have denied that if she were asked, but she did like to show them off.  “Get down, what is this” she shouted at me, she pulled me down off the bed but not before her large hands came across my thighs and legs.  I can never remember to this day what came first the white marks or the red marks, all I know is they really hurt, for once I did not get the Bamboo cane across my lower back and thighs.


My Mother wasted no time in telling me how vain I was and that it was a Sin (no doubt a Mortal Sin) and that when I went to Confession I had to tell the Priest.  Was it never a Sin that she liked to show her breasts, of course not, I know my Father never objected to her showing off like that.  Whatever she said would stay with me and I have always found it difficult to this day to accept Compliments.  When I started working at the Prudential in Holborn I used to go so red at the nice things that were said to me, a Boy or Man fancying me I found that difficult to believe.  I wonder sometimes the real reasons why I settled down to Married life with a man 30 years older than me.  So many men in the Pru where I worked could not understand why I was marrying someone so much older, but I did – many ways I paid the price.


Needless to say I never went to the “Class Party” and I never saw my White Polo necked Jumper or Tartan skirt again, they both disappeared.  Disappeared over to Ireland, my Mother used to send Parcels to her Sister for my Cousins, on my mother’s part it was all done to make her look “good Mary”.


I remember this event as the time I found out I was Vain.  Vanity a Sin to be told to the Priest next time at Confession.   I never mentioned it to the Priest, I know that much for sure, and later I became lapse Catholic, still am.  It did leave me for the rest of my life feeling awkward every time I was ever complimented.  What we Mothers do to our Children, not always good.


9 thoughts on ““Vanity, A Childish Sin”

  1. A very good one….sometimes, some mothers do things like this because they like being in the spotlight thus the thought of someone (even their own children ) taking away that position frightens them. I think she did these things just so she could always be the one in control…..Mothers should find pride in their children whether they are better than them or not and not compress them….:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved my Mother to the end, as she laid on her Death bed and I said “goodbye” to her, kissed her and apologised for not being the Son she always wanted ( my mother lost a Son before me, never forgave me, long story), she huffed at me like she always did, looked at me and turned her head. In that instant a weight was lifted off my shoulders, I felt so free.

      You are right, my Mother did like being in the spotlight, even on my Wedding Day she had to outdo me, even caused an argument at the Reception. We Mothers can cause such problems for our Children if we are not careful.

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  2. Anna, God loves you and it doesn’t have a bleedin’ thing to do with you being or not being Catholic. He loves you because he made you the way you are. I wish you’d let go of using those words (lapsed Catholic) and just accept God’s love. And as to sin, I love what Pastor Plato says about it. Sin is what we feel when we feel something is wrong in our life. You did NOT feel anything was wrong as you were primping on that bed as any normal girl your age would do.That was not a sin. Ooo!!! I would have liked to take my whompin’ stick to your mum!

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  3. Yes, me too Cheryl regarding the stick, but I was too scared of her. I promise I will do my best to drop “lapse Catholic”. There are times when it all comes back, hence the blog, and obviously it upsets me but it also makes me see how ridiculous my Mother was. If she had a Son first I doubt that sister of mine and definitely not me would have been born. My Mother loved herself, as far as she was concerned she never did wrong, I think as I grew up she was a little jealous of me, I don’t understand that but have to admit there were times like my Wedding when she had to out do me as far as how she looked, I wanted no fuss and just did my own hair, bought my own dress and Wedding cake and got on with it all. There are so many, perhaps too many little stories to be told.

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    1. The stories need to be gotten out of you, Anna, like Opher suggested. In some ways they are like a poison. Once a person verbalizes their trauma it seems to lose some of the power over them. I understand that jealousy of mothers over their daughters. It was like that for mom with me. She wanted kids in the worst way, but dad had seen so many injured and dead kids in the war he swore he’d never bring any into the world. Finally she talked him into it. I sometimes think she may have felt it would cement their marriage more. She had suffered a lot of trauma in her first marriage and was very damaged. But when I came along I was ALL he could see. And she suddenly got shoved to the background. I believe that caused quite a bit of jealousy on her part. She and I seldom ever saw eye to eye. But the thing is, I can say that now about her damage and recognize how hurt she was when they got married because I’ve written and written and written about it until it finally started to lose its hold on me and I could see that she was really just human like me. So by all means, get those stories out and show them who is boss! Got my check today, so I’m ordering that book for you to play with. I’ll let you know when I have mailed it. Does Amazon mail directly to the UK do you know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The answer to your last question, yes Amazon do mail to UK, have purchased many things from America/Amazon myself. You are very kind and should think of yourself. Reference my Mother, its strange Cheryl how I loved her even when she was beating me with that bloody bamboo I still loved her, why? My whole life to her death I know I was trying to make her want me and love me as she did that sister of mine, but I wasted my life. I know now my Mother was damaged,one way in Ireland, the other here when she lost her Son at birth, my Father was in the wrong he refused her going to the little funeral never even told her where the baby was buried, that I cannot understand, I just feel she took it out on me because I survived and was not a Boy. I would talk to her about my Father, the Son she lost trying to help her but to no avail.

        Yes, writing does help and yes the more I talk about a subject the more it seems to fade. I guess I am bitter for all the years I wasted, but nothing I can do about it now. Like perhaps I should have left David, but I am not that type of person I wouldn’t have the guts, where would I go back to the cage, as it was David put me back in the cage when he bought this house. We are all damaged, some handle it better than others.


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