9.02.2013

About My Parents.

I am super excited to be doing another month of blogging brought to us by Story of My Life.  As with May, I plan on doing only days I want and writing what I want and fuck the police.  So if you don't see 30 neatly planned blog entries, don't say you weren't warned.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to do the first prompt: "Where or what you come from, the people, places, and/or the factors that make up what you are."

Yeah, see? Those who know me can already see my upper lip curling at this prompt.

 

I'd say for me as a person there are a ton of things I've come to terms with really well and it's to the point where it's hard to get under my skin (unless you're me) but one thing I've just never been able to stomach and smile about is where I'm from.  Tennessee. Just that word stirs up all kinds of confusing emotions.  I hate it but I'm proud of it.  I have fond memories there and memories so disturbingly painful they make me cringe just by skimming over their existence.  People who are from there that I love and cherish and people that I despise.  Topping the list of the despising are my parents.  

I thought I would talk about them today.  Every time I talk about my parents it's in this cynical and sarcastic way and by reading my blog you can figure out that they were abusers, but I purposely try to give them no more leeway on my blog or my life than that pitiful amount.  Still, I'm a big girl and I like to write and maybe writing about them now can't hurt me. 

My Mom.  She's easier to start off with because our relationship was less complex.  My mother was the baby of two wealthy Georgians who traveled and loved antiques, each other, and life.  My mother has blond hair and unsettling blue eyes.  She's short--5'3'' the last time we talked--and I inherited some of her looks and her exact same nose.  She was raised in privilege and taught fun things like drumming, rifle throwing, clogging, and who knows what else.  She forced her way into a marriage at 15 and by the age of 16 she was living in Germany with a one year old daughter: my older sister, Amanda.  By 25 she'd had me, and my older brother Danny, and she was living with an alcoholic husband whom she married in jail.  That'd be my dad.

I was never close to my mom.  She never particularly seemed to like me, even when I was small.  I heard a lot that I was a difficult kid, and I wonder how many of my tantrums were caused by her, and how many of my tantrums drove her to hating me.  She always said I reminded her of my dad's other daughter from his previous marriage.  The only part of me I think she loved was the parts of my dad she saw in me.  The only time she ever praised me was when she said "you are just like your Daddy."   She was obsessed with him and extremely overprotective of him, to the point that she abandoned her own family for him at his request, and she lied about his son, my older brother, molesting me, just to get his son kicked out of the house and have more "Rick time" to herself.  

As testament to my mother's concern for my life, her idea of telling me about sex was sending me to my grandmother's house with a xerox'ed copy of a science textbook on the reproductive system.  No warning about periods, no sex talk, no nothing.  

If I could describe my mother in one word it would be manipulative.  She cries crocodile tears, she constantly blames others, and she is a liar about almost anything you ask from her.   She enjoys living life the "hard way" and not taking anything from anyone, except of course money and food stamps and all that other free government care.  Her sour mood paired with her multiple health problems make her a real pain in the ass to be around.  I really believe my mother has a plethora of unaddressed mental issues, like depression.  But, who knows?

From my mother I got my fascination with fantasy and fairy tales, my love of piano, my nose, my want to travel to Europe, and a lot of good qualities that her family produced that somehow skipped over her DNA to mine.  



A pretty recent photo of my dad with my nephew, my sister's son. 


My Dad.  My dad was not from a family of privilege.  He was raised in the backwoods of Tennessee and lived a life of drugs, travel, grueling hard work, and the rest is a mystery.  My dad is a fighter with an explosive temper and an angry face that would honestly make Satan shit his pants out of fear.  He, unlike my mother, showered me with affection when I was young.  I don't know why this is and if he did the same with his other children but it never seemed like they got quite the attention I did.  He taught me to draw.  He taught me gun safety and how to chop wood and the satisfaction one feels after a day of exhausting labor.  

I have never seen my dad cry.  I saw him kill a poisonous snake with a stick once.  I saw him twist a rooster's neck and kill it in a single move.  He's thrown puppies into rivers and stomped one of our dogs until its ribs broke.  He was capable of extreme cruelty and not once have I ever heard or seen a single bit of remorse in his eye.  His advice to me in life was "keep your head down, keep out of trouble, go on about your business."  Yet when unavoidable conflict came up, he urged me to fight and because of him, I fought well.  

My mom wasn't wrong when she said she saw my father in me.  I grew up angry and I grew up with a thirst for power, the same kind of power and freedom that he had.  Nobody told him what to do, he told OTHERS what to do.  He feared nothing and he taught me to be the same way.  I retreat into the forest and sit there with a contemplative look on my face the same way he always did.  My eyes are a weird blueish green like his, and I have his overbite.  He hit me hard and he was far, far more strict on me than anyone else in his life at the time.  He didn't expect that he would teach me a little too well about controlling myself, and once I got of a fighting age, I didn't take his cruel, unfair, abusive ways any longer.  

My dad actually did compliment me sometimes.  He called me smart and strong.  He only called me pretty once.  He didn't want me to read, he disallowed makeup and socializing.  I had to wear boy's clothes to school--his rule--and also couldn't cut my hair any other way than what he dictated. But he did help me with algebra homework and he did teach me the right way to draw a unicorn.   When I think of my Dad I have to remind myself what a bad parent he was and not idealize him lest I turn into another of his victims.  But I would be lying if I said I didn't love him.  He's the most fucked up, insane, least-fatherly-in-a-non-abusive-way guy I could think up, but I do love him.  

From my Dad came my interest in art, my fear of math, my gait, my weird eyes, my love of manual labor, my ability to fight, my anger, my want to be free, my sense of humor, and a long list of mental disorders that still don't trump his. 

2 comments :

  1. Wow,
    this is quite something and I wasn't expecting it at all. Sure I've read a few times in your posts about you not having contact with your parents (or not much at least). But I didn't expect something like this ..


    But you turned out quite well even though you went through all of this and like you said, your dad made you a fighter and you put up quite a fight :)


    Really liked reading this! It's interesting finding out things from other bloggers that you follow closely :D!
    xo

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  2. Thank you for writing this. I can relate to a lot of things. I despise both my parents, but I despise my dad more than my mom. They both have their shortcomings and they are both guilty for being abusive. I really thought I was the only person in this world that despised their parents, but thank you for showing me that I am not exactly alone.

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