We Now Return You to Your Regularly Scheduled Moping

(Heh, you just know it’s not going to be Jerry Sutton who finds that last post, but one of his kids and they’re going to read it and be pissed off and embarrassed and they’re going to get that sharp pain right behind their eyes, and they’re going to hate me with every bone in their bodies.

Well, kids, get used to it. We all go through it. Our dads have shitty jobs. Be thankful your dad at least brings home some money. It could be worse: he could be Methodist.)

Anyway, the Professor gave me a ride home and I sat in her car and sobbed hysterically and dripped snot all down my jacket and made that terrible hiccupy noise over and over again and she pretended not to notice and instead offered to beat the Butcher up. And I tried to explain to her that it’s more than that.

And she said that she knew, that she’d sat and watched just about every protective barrier I have come down over the past year. And I hadn’t thought of it that way, but maybe it’s true. Something has changed.

Because it used to be that I’d get down and think that I was miserable because I sucked and any happiness I had was just a fluke until the Universe righted itself. And there was a way that that attitude was actually kind of comforting: my life sucks because I suck; therefore there is justice.

But I don’t suck. I don’t deserve a shitty life. I don’t even have a shitty life. I just have this feeling that I’m barely holding onto the good things I have and the good folks I know and it scares me that I might lose them through no fault of my own. We don’t have much, but what we have, I want to keep. And I’m afraid of losing it.

Afraid in a way I don’t even know how to talk about, because it comes from some place so fundamental to how I understand the world–just when you come to be some place long enough that it feels like yours, just when you find yourself with a large group of people you can’t imagine not knowing, there’s the moving truck and the new house and the new church and the new town and there you are, new again. And so every time something goes wrong, I think that we’re going to lose everything and have to leave.

It’s kind of funny, y’all. Most folks are afraid of being abandoned. I’m afraid of abandoning you.

And also, like I told the Professor, it’s just this feeling, like things are beyond my control. If I’m happy or not, if I feel safe or not, if I feel loved or not, it’s not something that I alone can control.

Which means that I’ve got to learn to be open to people and to trust that when they tell me things that what they say is what they mean and that they don’t have ulterior motives. I have to stop trying to anticipate if and how people are going to hurt me.

The Butcher is just not getting his life together. He’s not intentionally trying to make me spend the day wondering if I’m going to throw up or start crying like a baby. I’ve got to stop perceiving his troubles as such a direct threat to my well-being. For my own sake, I have to stop that.

Eh, I know this is kind of jumbled, but I just want to get it out.

6 thoughts on “We Now Return You to Your Regularly Scheduled Moping

  1. Man. At the risk of being a jerk, first let me quote “Office Space”…nah. I won’t. That’s just below the belt–case of the Mondays or no.

    Then I’m gonna take a deep breath. If you were here I’d give you a hug, but it’s probably good for you that you’re not, because I just ate onions. Either way, I’m gonna tell you what I tell the Preacher’s Kid I live with all the time.

    You grew up in a shitty way. You grew up knowing that you could be moved at any time–that the rug was gonna be pulled out from under you and you were powerless to stop it. More than that, you can’t rail against it because it’s theoretically God whose doing the pulling. Men become preachers and men become fathers and some do both. And they don’t always realise that their job really screws their kids over sometimes. It leaves their kids with that feeling of theotransience–“God’s gonna make me move.”

    You definitely don’t suck, and you can take comfort in the knowledge that the shittiness is (always) temporary.

  2. Aunt b, as an ex-Army-brat (2 years everywhere), your story is very familiar. Our advantage (if you consider it such) was that we pretty much new how long we would be someplace, even before we got there. It made our family unusally close, because you knew that any friendships wouldn’t last.

    I just can’t stop adding this part, because of my gender handicap. I am a man, and as such, commiserating and moving on is not an option. It’s in our contract that we have to try to ‘help’ no matter how counterproductive we know it is going to be! So here it is: zencast.org has 30+ podcasts for download. Maybe wallowing in a buddhist perspective on attachment and impermanence could make you feel better (or not).

  3. Oh, Indifferent Children, that is so nice! I probably could use some wallowing in buddhist stuff.

    We loved living in communities with military kids for that very reason. They got it.

  4. Phantom Scribbler, holy shit. Thanks for the high compliments. I’m glad you like and are lurking, but please feel free to comment as well any time.

  5. Makes you socially skilled, all that moving. It did me, anyway, in a very very superficial way. I wonder if there is a tendency for us internet junkies to be mobile kids?

    You are authentic to strangers.

    – barista

  6. Barista,

    I agree that there are benefits, that’s for sure. My job involves a lot of travelling around and meeting with strangers and, as much as I complain about it, I’m very good at it.

    But I have a hard time understanding what it takes to form long-term relationships. I have some, obviously. But I’m bad at it.

    Let’s take Sarcastro, for instance. I adore the shit out of him and would love to know him for the rest of my life–hearing tales about how many women he’s juggling at once, how many guns he’s got stashed around his property, whatever strange shit he’s been up to, what witty, infuriating thing he says next, and I’d love to see what kind of old man he becomes.

    But I don’t want to marry him or even be romantically involved with him. I just want to like him for as long as that’s feasible.

    And I know this sounds stupid, but I have no idea how that works. I’ve only become long-time friends with people by accident or because they thought it was worth-while to put up with me until I pulled my head out of my ass.

    I can do “short term” friendships well. I can do “sit on the couch talking to people I’ve known most of my life and it’s like we’ve never been apart” well.

    But this kind of regular, middle thing–just know some folks and hang out with them and stop worrying that they’re going to get bored or hate you once they get to know you and so you must never let them get to know you and if they do then you must push them away by being a giant freak–I suck at it.

    I’m getting better at it, I think. But I suck at it.

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