This is how I spent 80% of my childhood–like I did last night–caught up in the malignant chaos that is the real spiritual center of our family.
That was bad enough–that malignant chaos–like any storm, there were little lightning strikes–fat, stupid, ugly, faggy, incompetent, etc. bullshit that hit us all the time, but you got used to it, kind of, and you learned to live with it, mostly, because my god, you did not want that chaos to find something to organize around. Best if it just discharged regularly in small ways.
Because, when there was something, something to give it shape, it was going to tear through the house until someone got beat or someone left or someone was hysterically crying–mostly the beating and crying together, but sometimes all three.
The Butcher has never really forgiven my dad for all the times he left and swore he was never coming back to his shitty, shitty family. I have never really forgiven him for not keeping his word.
I love my parents, but I don’t know why they decided to have children. They waited five years. I think to convince themselves that they wouldn’t do to their kids what my dad’s father did to his. Well, thanks for that small favor. I’d have died if you ever beat my friends up. Still, none of my childhood friends like you, so it’s not like you made up any points there.
My dad would knock the recalcitrant brother around clear into high school. It didn’t keep him off drugs. It didn’t keep him from knocking random women he hardly knew up. It didn’t make him a better man. And it didn’t rid my dad of his demons.
I don’t know how long things went on with the Butcher, because I left for college. Somehow, I don’t think it was like it was for the recalcitrant brother, because the Butcher does not remind my dad of himself.
I don’t remember being beat very often. Because I am a girl* and I’ll start crying long before there’s physical violence. Still, I managed to stop crying at fifteen, because that was the year I spent devising ways to kill myself that wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. It was nice to have an out. My mood improved.
Y’all. I just want to be happy. I just want to have a life full of smart, interesting people who are funny and who love me. I want there to be only joyful chaos. I want the people I love to have peace and happiness. I want them to know they deserve that. But most of all, I want to know that I deserve that.**
And I don’t know how you do that, except to live the life you hope you deserve.
So, that’s what I choose. Even if being happy has to mean that I have to be open to experiences, even ones that hurt me. Even if it means that I have to be alone in order to feel safe. Even if it means we set up some new rules about when and how often they can show up here.
Even if I don’t believe I deserve it, I’m going to live the life I hope I deserve.
* It occurs to me that those of you who are already convinced that my opinion of men must surely be based on my constant exposure to killer hobos will read this and say “Aha, this is why she’s a feminist.” Maybe so. It doesn’t negate the fact that I’m right.
** I hope you all know me well enough to know that I’m telling you all this for my own self, so I can try to understand some shit, and not because I’m looking for sympathy. When the day comes that I’m looking for sympathy, I promise to start a LiveJournal with the rest of the miserable. (I kid, I kid!)
This tugs at me–I hear you.
‘I just want to have a life full of smart, interesting people who are funny and who love me.’
I think, when I look at your cast of characters over there (with those exceptions you have noted), that you do have that in those people.
And I like you, too, you Coaler, you!
Brava! Beautiful and touching in a meaningful way, as always.
I hear you, too. Stupid, lousy beatings…
Not here to offer sympathy, but rather encouragement. You seem to be good at surrounding yourself with those smart, interesting people…lean on them.
For whatever it’s worth, I think you’re brilliant and very funny, and I love reading what you write.
I must say that I applaud your bravery. Even with the annonymity of a blog, I can’t allow myself to be so honest.
Always enjoy you.
I love my Dad, too, but he was known to both berate, call names and get physical. The cool thing though? Out of 9 kids, 6 of us broke the cycle with our own kids. The other three didn’t have kids, one (the brunt of the worst of Dad – isn’t there always that one…)because he was too afraid of becoming like Dad. But he has a great wife and 2 beautiful dogs.
I guess my point is that it is possible to break free from twisted patterns.