Tuesday, February 8, 2011

thrice is nice

peek. hello again.

i had a conversation last night over supper with my husband N about this blog. i told him that it felt good to write. he said great but also cautioned me that opening up my life would invite both negative/positive responses. now for the record i'm not blogging for feedback...i honestly truly to the very bottom of my little over caffinated heart don't give a shit what you think... BUT being a self admitted classic 'over share', i immediately got to thinking...how much of what i reveal is truly mine? who does a memory actually belong too anyways? what is the actual truth, mine or your's? will it heal or will it hurt? and most importantly, what is sacred? it's value possibly diminished by telling it here.

would my mother be angry if she knew i was disclosing her emotional breakdown and hospitalization to the online masses? if i close my eyes and ask her in my mind...i see her shuffling her feet and quietly responding 'i dont care what you do heather' 
truthfully my mother wouldn't know a blog if it ran up and hit her square in the face. also i think she'd understand because she also writes theraputically and purges her own thoughts, albiet onto paper. besides if she wanted to kill me surely she would have done it by now.  the things i have done that trump this. my mother was my true beginning, she is the strongest and most honest person i have ever encountered. so much to the point that i shy from her so that i wont have to go back 'there' i am in awe of her resilience and ability to endure. i do not judge her, i have no right. she is the only one absolutely exempt from this in all regards. she made me and i am thankful. 

now if your not my mother here's the deal. if we know each other, if we're related, if you love/d me, and we shared a portion of life together somehow and i make reference to you in my writing; if i say something that comes too close to your heart, i ask that you forgive me. i will only use a capital letter for you. example...M is for my mom's first name. that way a sliver of anonymity remains your's. if someone is able to identify you by your actions, thats your own fault. my intent is not to scar, my intent it to rid and to remember things that have such beauty and meaning to me i cant believe they've never once surfaced in text before. lord knows they've certainly gasped for air throughout the years. 

i guess a part of my self deprication and silence about the beginning is connected to the fact that one of my earliest lessons in life was to stay quiet and to keep back. back from my fathers rages, his punishments, the immense trajectory of his own unhealed past. his father M used to take him and whip him with a long leather strap behind the barn. horrifying to imagine my dad as just a small boy being hurt like that. where does a child put pain like that? most boys keep it inside. it changes you. eventually it finds an outlet. the silence surrounding child abuse is almost deafening. out of respect for myself and my sisters i will say only that the abuse from my father consisted of only physical and emotional, never sexual and that to my knowledge he never once hit my mother. when your a kid it's very scary seeing your mom helpless and crying...because if she's not ok...what's going to become of you? i used to keep all my special things in a box in the bottom of the closet...only now have i thought back enough to imagine why. why i hardly played with them, or left them about on the floor, enjoyed them...i kept them all in the same place in case i had to grab them and leave. i didn't feel safe.

i was the helper, the girl who found things people lost, the one who tried to make it better. i watched and listened. dad was angry and mom was sad. dad got angrier, mom got sadder. why was he angry? nobody talked too much about that. in the very beginning he left her for months on end, isolated on that remote farm miles from anything or anyone, with 4 little girls. no help. no support. nobody. were we bad? were we doing something wrong? how could we fix it? what should we do better? maybe mom hoped he'd change, maybe she thought it was her fault, maybe she was in denial and kept having babies to keep herself surrounded in love despite him, maybe she didn't know any different because of her own abusive father and upbringing. grandpa, something else that nobody talks about. mumble mumble...'he's changed, he's a better man, he's done a lot of healing in his later years'. he's almost 90 so you can't be too mad at him now can you? for fuck sakes i just cashed his christmas cheque last week, he even sent extra money for my 2 kids. i can't be too mad despite the fact that he beat my mom and never once said how sorry he was to her. he never once took accountability because men just didn't in his day. men were just like that. the fact he's nice now is evolution enough. bullshit. his anger trickled down...hurting everything it touched. it made my mom cower when she was bullied, it made he question her own worth, it made her not able to stand up for herself for years and years when she knew she probably should have, it made her stay with dad. it caused us to be in the very same position as her. 

there are so many good memories. mom's homemade bread, skating, the garden, our trikes on the back porch, the cats, playing outside, visiting neighbours, the long lane, our forts, exploring. today she describes raising babies up north to be the happiest time of her life and i don't doubt it for a second. it was an amazing start. what she doesn't mention is that although there were too many good times to count the bad times depleted her already limited reserves, made her emotionally unavailable to her children, and in time completely broke her spirit. 

i feel a very heavy weight on my heart when i think what it was like for her. now as an adult i realize how much she endured and how much more she deserved. my mother is one of the very few people who eventually broke the cycle of abuse.

i had already started drinking and smoking because i was mad and it felt good to do something bad. nobody was watching me, no roof above me, nobody to answer too. at the time i didn't see that mom needed us. i just saw myself. i slept on couches and in men's bed's. i hitchhiked to BC with my friend E and got chased and threatened by trucker's with knife's and old men in car's. touching your leg and smiling at you. i got picked up by police and fingerprinted for being drunk and somewhere i shouldn't have been. i stole money and clothing. i took advantage of people's kindness and looked out for myself. i was scared. i was humiliated and angry. the connection to my family caused a resentment because acknowledging them meant remembering why i felt the way i did, of who my dad was. i pretended i didn't know them because it hurt to be in our family.
did you know that things can be entirely shattered and actually keep on breaking? its unbelievable what a father can break inside the heart of a little girl. 

so it's decided i'm voyeuristic then in my writing this...latoya without a book deal. although its probally the tamest analogy of yoyeurism i have ever taken part in, considering the years of promiscuity, drug and alcohol dependencies/addictions and what my mother likes to refer to as my 'risky' behaviors that where soon to follow.

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