Thursday, November 09, 2006

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

That's the song that's playing right now in this free-internet-organic-vegan coffee shop which is sometimes my office. Oh wait, no, it's a remake that's sampled the beat. That's a bit of a letdown. Today is a bit of a letdown. My attitude is not quite for shit, but close.

The winters in rural Connecticut have become too much for my parents, or so they've been saying for a few years now, and they've decided to move. Where my parents are going to move to, I have no idea, and I can only imagine that they are running away from me as fast and far as they can. (Whatever, it's my fantasy.) They have ripped up carpets, polished wood floors, and this all seem to make the move very imminent. They are throwing away photos by the bag-full, photos of us, thousands of photos. I suppose they have hundreds more, but still. My childhood home, where I threw tantrums, had spin-the-bottle parties, and punched in the closet door. It's weird. So my mom calls and wants to know if she can throw out the books, the stuff in my closet, the crates downstairs.

-I'd rather you didn't.
-Why not, what will you do with it?
-I don't know, but I want to go through it first.
-Oh, okay. Well, I guess we could put it in storage here or something and you could come get it.
-Why, when are you moving?
-We don't know yet. A few months.

And I can't help it, it feels like they're throwing me out. Not in my rational mind, but in that part of me that feels despair that I've been told not to come to Thanksgiving, the part that feels betrayed that my brother doesn't stick up for me, the part of me that felt they'd be better off without me when I was a teenager. It's not rational. I know better. But those things are woven into the fabric of my insecurities. No, more than that, all those ways in which my parents let me know that I wasn't good enough just as I was, that I needed to be something else, someone else, someone better, those are the very threads that make up that Insecurity Blanket.

Do I know better? Yes. Do I know that god loves me unconditionally? Yes. Do I know that E. loves me more than I've ever been loved before? Yes. Do I know that my friends are amazing and supportive and love me? Yes. But it's a travesty of childhood development that nothing affects the way I feel about myself as much as the way my parents feel about me. Someone should do something about that. Freud's dead, Jung's dead, someone step up to the plate.

Most days I think about parenthood with trepidation. I don't want the responsibility of being the reason some poor kid is all fucked up. But somedays, like when I'm with my friend M., and I'm watching her parent her kids, I think maybe I could do this. Maybe I could give my kids something special. Maybe I wouldn't be anything like my parents were to me (except in the good ways -- I'm not saying my parents were monsters, they just didn't ever teach me how to love myself). Sometimes I think I'd like to adopt kids, there are so many without enough love, and I have a lot to give. I mean, good Lord, my parents keep rejecting the love I give them, so I have extra love to give! But maybe I'd like to take in foster kids. It seems unfair that there are kids in the world who need love and attention and stability and most of the time we are so centered on procreating in our own image. I mean, what would I have done at thirteen if someone said to me,

-Don't hate yourself. Here, come live with me, I'll show you how much I can love you. I'll show you that you're good enough just the way you are.

What would that have meant to me? And my parents loved me, even if it was in a backhanded sort of way. We fuck up our children, and we fuck up the world, and they watch us and learn from us and then they do it with more style and spectacle than we could ever have dreamed. Man, everyone should have to take a class before they become a parent.

I'm not saying being a parent is easy, but I'll wager it's easier than growing up. Nothing has wounded me more than my adolescence.

Okay, okay, I'll get off the high horse. What do I know? I'm not a parent.

I'll tell you what I know: I know what it's like to have my mom not even be able to look at me because she's so disgusted by what she sees; I know what it's like to be hidden away from friends and family so no one sees what a freak I am; I know what it's like to be told that I must be the child of the devil; I know what it's like to be told not to cry, and then to be told that I'm heartless because I don't cry; I know what it's like to see my mom become depressed for days or weeks because she doesn't know what she did wrong with me; I know what it's like to have my mom pray for me over and over again, year after year; I know what it's like to have my dad be mad at me because I'm jobless when I barely have enough money to eat, I don't have a place to stay, and he's told me I'm not allowed to ask my brother or aunt for help...

...and the worst is I know what it's like to know that they do all of this because they love me, they're miserable because they love me, that I cause them pain and tears.

No kid should ever have to feel that. Ever.

Yes, absolutely, my parents love me. Without a doubt they love me. God help me if I ever love my kids like that.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Parents are a topic I steer clear from. I know exactly how it feels, and I fail to understand what kind of love is it that makes them push us away from them when they should be holding us to their chests and helping us cope with ourselves and the big bad world.
No they are too wrapped up in themselves and concerned about 'their' hearts, 'their' feelings, 'their' upbringing...and how we have let 'them' down...everything is always about them...when in doing so they are forgetting they are letting 'us' down. Whatever happened to the unconditional love that parents are supposed to have for their children?
For me, I have come out to them, they have denied, pointed fingers, cursed, got depressed...called me everything from being possessed to being the root cause of my father's parkinson's disease.
So, I have chosen to play along with them. But this was after a prolonged period of tension between us. I moved out, told them the real reason that I couldn't bear to live with them this way, and now I behave as if nothing ever happened. They have no clue of my chest surgery nor my T...will deal with it when push comes to shove...
Sorry about rambling on about myself..
always with u,
Shiv

Anonymous said...

Parents are a topic I steer clear from. I know exactly how it feels, and I fail to understand what kind of love is it that makes them push us away from them when they should be holding us to their chests and helping us cope with ourselves and the big bad world.
No they are too wrapped up in themselves and concerned about 'their' hearts, 'their' feelings, 'their' upbringing...and how we have let 'them' down...everything is always about them...when in doing so they are forgetting they are letting 'us' down. Whatever happened to the unconditional love that parents are supposed to have for their children?
For me, I have come out to them, they have denied, pointed fingers, cursed, got depressed...called me everything from being possessed to being the root cause of my father's parkinson's disease.
So, I have chosen to play along with them. But this was after a prolonged period of tension between us. I moved out, told them the real reason that I couldn't bear to live with them this way, and now I behave as if nothing ever happened. They have no clue of my chest surgery nor my T...will deal with it when push comes to shove...
Sorry about rambling on about myself..
always with u,
Shiv