Instructive Contradiction

Recently I have discovered the back and forth method most adults call parenting. Everything is always changing and Monday’s words of advice are sure to conflict with Wednesday’s. I was sitting in the car listening to music with headphones since my brother dislikes music. My mother scolded me, told me headphones would lead to a loss in hearing, and demanded I remove them. i wouldn’t have a problem with this had she not just bought me headphones for Christmas. On the bright side, I also received a Sign Language for Dummies book, so being deaf wouldn’t be too bad.

I was also recently told that I “wasn’t allowed” to work because school is my job (let’s see how that goes for them), and then told I was using my AP classes and massive amounts of homework to get out of working around the house, however the theory that “school is my job” doesn’t hold up when the dishes need to be washed. Don’t get me wrong, I have no opposition to doing chores, but I feel like one way roads don’t go well in my household.

I know parents insist they don’t play favorites, but who are we kidding, we know they do. I suppose I’m my stepfather’s favorite, and honestly that’s probably the most beneficial. He practically stole the car he gave me for Christmas from his sister, a BMW. I have a few hundred saved up for a car I thought I would be buying because I’m also “not allowed to drive yet.” I never expected anything that nice (I’m VERY VERY VERY grateful). My mother favors my eldest sister because they’re more equal than anything. They worked together to pay bills and raise the kids while the sperm donor (the nickname for our do nothing but give us life father) was off and they bonded. It was unfair to my sister, but she’s stronger than anyone I know.

I see it every day. For one kid it’s okay to stay up late while for the other bedtime is set in stone. Some kids get to play in the woods while their sibling is restricted to the yard. Or perhaps one day it’s okay for you to stay out until midnight and on Saturday curfew is at six. Contradictions, favoritism, hypocritical behavior, and empty arguments degrade parenting, pulling the plug to an already shallow pool.

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Displacement in the Holiday

hammer and heelsI love Christmas shopping, or more so watching Christmas shopping.The bench in the mall is my balcony seat, the stores my stages, and the people my actors. The middle-aged man uncomfortably walking around in Victoria Secret who bashfully denies assistance just to ask for help a few minutes later and the woman in heels with blonde highlights and Coach purse clueless as to what anything that isn’t a hammer is inside the hardware shop drive amusement into my  holiday.

Christmas is a holiday of displacement. All of the shoppers play musical chairs and find themselves in an unknown environment. The ones they cherish have them standing in a situation much like walking into the wrong bathroom and the only consolation is knowing that they’re also helplessly confused by the unfamiliarity.

The pressures on. It’s a scavenger hunt to find the best gift, or at least one they don’t return. There’s always that one gift that ends up hidden from the world or sent back to the store, and no one wants to be the one to give that gift, so for the holiday season men roam boutiques and women scavenge through Auto shops, hopelessly lost, but equally humorous.

The Apocalypse Upon Us

The other day I overheard a conservation about the Zombie Apocalypse. How unusual right? The sad part is, as little as I care for those trivial conversations it really pissed me off. Although I’m not a huge zombie fan or anything of the sort, I prefer those without rotting flesh, the conversation really pissed me off. Not because they wouldn’t shut up about a completely irrelevant subject, but because they had the details wrong. The conversation went along these lines:

“What happens when the zombies eat all of the human brains and no one is left?”

“Maybe all the zombies will fear a human apocalypse!”

NO. JUST NO. The zombies would eat the human brains and as humans became scarce so would the zombies resulting in either  a predator prey relationship or the extinction of humans followed by the extinction of zombies because they would starve. Even if the human race died out and then started to return, it wouldn’t bet he same concept. Humans fear zombies because zombies eat humans. Zombies do not fear humans, they eat humans. After all, Humans don’t go around fretting a chicken apocalypse.

I love kids. Mainly because they’re honest and there is nothing in the world I prefer over honesty. Kids have that sense of humor adults don’t understand. They’re so unaware of the dangers and haven’t found any true sense of being. Kids are ignorant and for the most part that makes them happy. I babysit twice a week for my neighbor. She has two kids, both boys, one five and the other ten. They are wonderful. Small things they do make my day. The little one will go to the bathroom with the door wide open, completely unashamed, flush, and walk right out. I’ll look at him slyly and ask if he washed his hands. He’ll hang his head and say no and walk back into the bathroom and shut the door to wash his hands. When it rolls around to bath time he tells me in order for him to get clean underwear out of the drawer to put on after his bath I have to leave the room. I love these kids. So unaware of the world, such bliss.

Kids

Just Dreaming Down the Rabbit Hole

I don’t dream often, and when I do I don’t usually remember the dream. Last night was different though. It was such an odd dream. It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland although it had nothing to do with white rabbits running late or Mad Hatter’s tea parties. I was climbing a staircase, going to level 12, the last level. That was odd enough for me, a complete non-gamer. There was a silver slide spiraling around the stair case. It had a castle-like appearance with stone walls and torches. I came to a wooden door with a heavy bronze handle. I opened the door and found myself in the company of a nervous young man. Level twelve had begun.

An ominous ticking began. The room was elegant, but peculiar. The furniture was out of balance. The bed was a good bit smaller than the nightstand and the sheets and comforter three sizes too big for the bed. I was so small compared to everything where i stood, but as i moved forward the proportions changed. I seemed to know what I was I was doing though. I quickly gathered the “hidden” writing materials scattered around the room and pulled the wooden drawer of the nightstand open. I grabbed the notepad inside and began writing. It was a great paragraph. I can’t recall the words, but it was fantastic. The only problem with great first paragraphs, like all great firsts, is the follow-up. It’s hard to follow a great paragraph with an equally great or better paragraph, so I stopped to contemplate my manipulation of words. I looked across at the nervous man who I then recognized as my competitor. He was stumbling over the bed sheets flowing out onto the floor still looking for his writing materials. I was in thee lead.

I braced the lead in my hand and readied myself for an amazing second paragraph.  However, upon my return to the notepad I found my words had vanished. I started writing again, restarting, this time in ink. In spite of my attempts the words i wrote disappeared almost as soon as i wrote them down. I threw the notepad aside and began writing on the walls, again to no avail. The timer rang out and i found myself on the silver slide  sliding down. My brother, Brantley, was just ahead of me, sliding down backwards, calling out to me. I grabbed his hand and pulled him upright, wrapping my arm across his chest.  I got to the bottom of the slide and as Brantley walked away I looked down the cobblestone walkway with a sudden realization. I was dead. As i walked through the shops and gained information about level twelve I began to understand. The people in this cobblestone town were trying to find residence for the afterlife. Level twelve was simply a challenge to gain access to residency in an old college. No one had passed level twelve. No one could obtain residence in an area where only the living had been, or in other words, If no one died there, no dead may live there. It explained why my words kept disappearing. Level twelve was some sort of writing challenge that I had failed.

I have yet to understand why, but that old college, level twelve, was vitally important. Someone had to die there, and soon.

 

 

Taking Time to Smell the Roses

As a child, Mother’s Day and my my mom’s birthday were always frustrating. When you’re seven and buying your mom a present  the easiest things, er well cheaper things, come to mind. Chocolates, perfume, and flowers, you know, mom stuff. My mom always got flowers, or at least some variation of a plant with a homemade card. The creative gene in me opts for the homemade gifts. I mean why buy a card and envelope for a few dollars when I can make my own and say exactly what I want to say for the cost of crayons and blank paper. I like to go all out when it comes to birthdays and Christmas (oh yes, I’m thrilled this month) with cards, banners, surprises, scavenger hunts, elaborate schemes and drawn out plans. I hated more than anything buying her flowers every single year. It was so repetitive, so boring.  Until I got older it was always flowers though. She was allergic to chocolate and perfume and the one time I bought her jewelry it was never worn. I moved on to more expensive gifts now, wallets, jackets, an occasionally I still buy her a plant or two, but I have to wonder if she ever tires of the smell of flowers.

The Heavy Hand Upon Me

I know this piece is long, but please take your time to read at least part of it, writing this changed my perspective on life, I can only hope reading this will do the same for you.

Strangers are supposed to be the bad guys, and in all honesty, up until two years ago he was a stranger. I never knew the true him, he was just a man hiding behind the title of “father.” At that time however, I thought  I knew him. I thought I could trust him. I had shut my memories out, of the abuse, of the anger, of his tantrums, of the holes in the wall. I don’t really understand how memories that strong can be locked away until you’re ready to accept them, but i suppose it happens. I was young, around 11, but I knew not to talk to strangers and especially not to take things from strangers, but he was my father, why should he ever classify as a stranger? I trusted him. I wanted to trust him, to believe he could never err, to believe he would never hurt me.

With that mindset i went on trusting. Most children know taking alcohol is bad, but what if your parent gives it to you? They love you, why would they give you something that would hurt you, why would they hurt you? Even today I cannot answer this, I will never understand why my father would want to hurt me. When he went to the store and bought me two bottles of wine, two big bottles of wine, as an 11-year-old I thought he was being a cool parent. As he gave me a few shots of peppermint schnapps I thought I was so lucky. When I drank both bottles— although I don’t remember most of this— I couldn’t tell you who he was. I broke my brand new watch that night, trying to walk. He sat there and played Monopoly, I went around the house in a drunken stupor not even remembering my own name.  My sister took me to bed and gave me a bowl to throw up in. My sister lifted my head over the bowl when I was affixiating on my vomit and then later lifted my face out of the bowl of vomit I was trapped in. It was my sister who brought me ginger ale, not my father, not the man I had trusted. I lost a piece of me that night. I lost my 65 pound, eleven year old, innocence under the weight of his heavy hand.

I remember now, all the abuse, mental and physical. Once, he forgot me at a birthday party, I walked home. Once, he convinced me that my mother didn’t love me, that the divorce was her fault, that she was trying to hurt him. Once, he had me testify against my mother, she didn’t retaliate. He has told me, and had me believe so many lies. I will never forgive him.

It’s been years since I’ve talked to him. We were going to my grandmother’s funeral and he was supposed to pick my brother and I up. My sister called me and told me he wasn’t coming and asked her to (although she had finals the next day). I told her no. He later told me it was my mother’s fault he didn’t come, that she told my sister she was not allowed to. This led to the biggest fight of my life, an 11-year-old against a grown man and his new wife, poignant words thrown against one another with the intention to hurt them, to break them.

Even now, even though he’s been out of my life for nearly three years, he hurts me. He messes things up. When I began to recall the abuse, when I remembered the lies I felt the effect. Two years ago A friend of mine and my best friend since third grade were with me at a lake house. The best friend lived with an abusive father, oh how I could relate. My primary focus was getting her out of that house, getting her safe. The friend and I were talking about it and she told me there really wasn’t anything I could do. That statement, those words hurt me so much. That was something I expected to hear from the sperm donor, from the abuser. I was powerless to the heavy hands upon She and I hated hearing there was nothing I can do. My friend would never understand that. She had a close to perfect life and had never felt the hurt inflicted by someone who “loved” you. I couldn’t look at her without feeling that pain, that infuriating statement. I stopped talking to her and for two years she thought it was because I was mad at her for looking through my phone— although that is a pet peeve of mine. I lost a friend because of his heavy hand still upon me.

I don’t like people touching me, even now. For people I care about, a boyfriend for example, a grit my teeth and smile. Sometimes it isn’t so bad, but sometimes, I want to scream. In school one day he reached out for my hand and I jumped back. I had recently had my father mentioned and he was on my mind. Every time my boyfriend, a guy I’d known since third grade, a guy I know would NEVER hurt me, came toward me I jumped backwards. I could see the hurt in his eyes, the sadness, I wanted to reach out to him, but I couldn’t. I hated seeing the pain he felt when he realized I was afraid of him in that moment, that I didn’t want him anywhere near me. I hate my father (or as I prefer to call him “The Sperm Donor”) for that. I can deal with every one else being upset that I don’t want to be near them, but not this person that means everything to me, not him. I lost hours spent crying and the will too believe “love conquers all” because of his heavy hand still upon me.

I wake up frequently in tears, fidgeting under the covers or sitting upright curled against the wall with my hands over me. I feel afraid and I can’t remember why. I remember his face, occasionally a piece of the dream, but never the dream itself. I feel the fear, the pain, the tears, and mostly the helplessness. I feel vulnerable. The feeling remains throughout the day, the fearful anticipation of the dream coming back, of the dream being reality. I lay awake sometimes, afraid to fall asleep, afraid of my own subconscious. I lost sleep and security because of his heavy hand upon me.

I told my old friend  the real reason yesterday. I apologized to her for taking so long. I don’t know if she and I will ever be friends again, but I feel as if the hand lifted a little. I spent the day with my boyfriend yesterday. We went to a kids movie, and I held his hand the entire time. I feel as if the hand isn’t so heavy anymore. This morning, I lay in bed until noon and dared the dream to challenge me. I feel as if I’ve knocked his hand aside. The hand, the heavy hand upon me, I know it will always be there, lurking, waiting to push me down, to throw me down against his weight, but I found myself. I made that scared little girl who couldn’t fight back, fight. I made that broken picture a new frame. I made my broken faith and hope a crutch, and I will never give that up.