Tuesday, June 03, 2008


When I was younger my family lived in a house with a furnished basement. I used to spend time down there because that's where the television lived, but you would only find me there if my father wasn't home. The downstairs was his domain, and I made sure to make it seem like I had never been there at all once I'd turned the TV off. We never ever watched TV together. In fact, we never really did anything together after we'd moved to that house. I stopped showing up for the most hostile passive-aggressive experience on Earth dinner once I started high school, and my father bought himself a car with only two seats in it, and my ass was never invited to grace the passenger side.

My extended family didn't gather together too often, but would occasionally have some reason to come by to the most hostile passive-aggressive place on Earth our house. On those occasions, my father would dress up in a tie and his festive red vest and head down to his basement domain and stand behind his bar like he was waiting for his first customers to stop by. Everyone else would stay upstairs on the first floor. The three velour stools on the other side of the bar downstairs always stayed empty.

If I'd have had more courage I might have sat down in one of them and asked, "What the hell is WRONG with you?" but I was too twisted full of rage and pain. I hated the guy, but I couldn't stop my heart from reeling, thinking that downstairs was the angriest loneliest man in the world.

I've spent my life trying to figure out what was going on with him, and I've never been brave enough to ask. I've also never really had the courage to talk about any of that mess with anyone, and I don't think it's done me any favours.

"Time heals all wounds."
Does it?
Time distances. It ticks. It carries you away and allows for experience that might help you to view the past from a different perspective, but I don't think it heals. It may help to make circumstances that were once so jagged and angry seem less so. But, maybe not.

I was at a bar a few weeks ago and a couple of drunk guys approached me to have a chat. One of them was very nice, but he gestured toward his friend and said, "He is drunk asshole." I took him at his word and avoided talking to his buddy who sat on the stool next to him. At some point, the asshole said something to me (I honestly can't recall what it was, but it was ignorant) and I told him to fuck off. He reached around and grabbed me by the hair and yanked my head back. Hard. I grabbed the bar with one hand, trying not to be dragged off my stool, and grabbed his wrist with the other one.

"Let go," I said. "Seriously, let go of me."
His grip tightened as his friend urged him to stop.
I tried another tact, "I'm a girl! Let GO!"
And he did.
And without even thinking about it, I leaned over and punched the guy in the head. Which felt good, so I punched him again. And now his friend was telling me to "hajima," and so I stopped. Punching him. But I stepped off my stool and kicked him hard in the shin. His friend pulled him away, out the door and up the stairs.

I was alone again, and my mind transported me to the other side of the bar and quickly suited me in a tie and a festive red vest. And so I asked me what the hell is WRONG, and I've spent the last few weeks examining all this wreckage that time has helped to bury and form into a hard hot ball in the basement of my soul. I don't think it's just a coincidence that I've had a bad stomach ever since, and I've felt so guilty when I think about my actions, even if the guy was an asshole. There's no going back in time to make things any different about my past, but I think it's just about time to yank all this shit out into the sunlight because it's affecting my present.

"We consume our tomorrows fretting about our yesterdays." -Persius

Now it's time to figure out how to make myself let go.

"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." -Maya Angelou


MiMi said...

As someone who's been there and done that, (yes with daddy) it is best to get it all out and deal with it...even with him if you can. If you can't, get it all out and deal with it, anyway, regardless of who does or doesn't understand.

You're on the right track! Good luck, hun. It's hard, but it can be done!

Maven said...

I've been there (with my mom) and things have changed somewhat. I'll be 40 in August. It "took a while." And it took a lot of distance and medication (for me) to get where I'm at.

Never underestimate the power of a purge brought on by rage. You need to totally empty it out on him before YOU can move forward, with or without him in your life.

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. --Mary Engelbreit.