We had a spat again last night. I mentioned Cory, the youngest of our two sons, not calling regularly Sunday nights like he has for over the last ten years or longer, ever since graduating high school.
Immediately Samuel says, “Oh, he is busy with painting,” completely negating my statement which to me expressed a sadness that the need or want to contact his parents weekly has changed.
I don’t believe he is busier, but rather the opposite. With no job he has plenty of time of his own to do as he chooses. It’s a shift that may be here to stay and though I don’t like it, I don’t care to pressure Cory to call if he does not feel the need or urge to call.
But it turned bitter and as Samuel says, I attacked him. Try as I might, I cannot remember exactly what I said, but we each have our own approaches that do not seem to change nor work successfully between us for open or loving communication. We talk on wavelengths that never seem to meet, a fourth dimension, though ours is not newly discovered, it’s been the battlefield all along.
I eat my yogurt by the fire, not by his feet on the couch before going to bed, like I usually do. I think about the fact that he is probably right, I attack when frustrated, popping the air from him like a balloon gone airless, deflated.
I look at him over the tip of the couch and don’t like what I see, a man who cannot get it, cannot, after all these years, come in with a different approach; not fix things, just listen and let me be how I am, express a feeling without making excuses for the other person, whoever it is, making me feel invisible once again, as if my take, my feelings, my thoughts are not to be.
I just want to express how I feel and be listened to. And oddly he says the same thing, that he gets no opinion and he’s better off saying nothing at all. I feel that’s just a cop out for his inability or choice not to talk. He can chat about inconsequential things which I’m not good at or interested in, but not the deep stuff which fascinates me, why people do what they do, what is underneath it all.
I wake and no warmth is blowing down the hallway. I turn the fan on high at the coal stove but it blows cold. Feeling the cast iron gingerly it is cold. The fire’s gone out? Opening the funnel there is no coal, and I immediately feel guilty over my treatment of Samuel. I did punch the life out of him. I attribute the fire not being fed to my feeding the fire of discontent between us. I did it again.
I fight tightfisted, punching hard. I have fought all my life for my life. I come in fighting and make adversaries out of those I interact with even if that wasn’t their intention or mine. I’m my own worst enemy and I will not stop. I cannot. I cannot let my guard down.
Now is the time to put the gloves down but I don’t know how. I know my eldest son Shane grew up with a rage monster. I see it even now in his face and he is 34. If there’s an edge to my voice, or frustration, or other emotions curdling through, watch out, I’m on the prowl. His smile becomes forced, tensed, and I feel badly because I know he grew up fearful with a mother who wanted to bash someone’s head in but used cupboards instead.
How I did not cream my kids with the rage I contained, I just don’t know. It still surprises me greatly that they turned out as well as they did. And yes, they far surpassed any enterprises I took on at their ages. Both graduated from the same prestigious college. Both applied for and were chosen for the job of a Residential Assistant position which meant free room and board, making the outrageous expenses of college doable.
The job added an additional workload and responsibilities to their already pressure filled curriculum’s in the Information Technology field, a burgeoning degree being added to the cutting edge universities. Both graduated with great successes along the way which continue in all aspects of their lives. I know these men add to the world in so many ways, not just their ability in the work world, but their caring and compassion for others, and without the deep seated mistrust for others their mother is branded with.
I could not finish the two year college I attended quitting one course short of one class. I did finish 20 years later as a registered nurse with Raymond’s help and support. So it blows me away to see what they accomplish and continue to accomplish.
When the SHE MONSTER comes out, tread lightly. I have sons, their daughter-in-law’s and a few friends, one especially, who loves me as I am, yet I still watch, am wary, and ready to fight; even among those I’m most closest to, who truly love me. And a sweet, loving husband, a quiet man, but one I want to appreciate not fight with, yet the gloves are ready.
I continue on with the periscope up, looking for danger because danger is all I’ve known. Even interspersed with galloping up the hillsides with my horse during the most luscious of summer days, danger, that of the human kind was never far away. It exists in my psyche where my family put it. A family led by the eldest who hated his own crimes so much the only way to tolerate himself was to ensure the only girl who he sexually attacked was smeared consistently, continuously, and regularly over time and through the years.
And so expertly done, not even the wisest and smartest among the other six brothers noticed. A shadow was cast on the little girl and she believed it too. To this day, the undercurrent that I’m bad and undeserving of life exists within me like a scourge that cannot be extricated or erased; a shadow not blown away no matter how much light shines through.
And that is the damage most thorough. Not the attacks on my body, but my mind, my psyche, my precious core of a personality growing that sucked up the looks, comments and attitudes of those around her, adding blackness to the thoughts about herself, becoming her. That is what I’m left to live with and hear it all around me wherever I go. She is bad, unworthy, it is OK to treat her like dirt.
I am always fighting. I will not stop. I cannot stop. This is my Fight Song…