How could I ever know the meaning of love? Love, the ever obscure romantic idea that everyone seems to die, strive, lie and fight and struggle with and for and about and to and of. Of. What. I was told as a child by hundreds of people that God is love, the very embodiment of love. More than hundreds of people actually. Thousands of sermons. More than. Love was a fleeting kind word met by a firestorm of hatred, words unfurled, disrobed of love. A broken glass, eye glasses lost, a laugh too loud, psychotic tendencies would turn a normal day into a rage of crazed volleying of words, flailing hands and arms, I want to hit you, but I didn’t, but I could hit you pitted feeling inside of you all afternoon sometimes all night sometimes all day sometimes in the car on the way to church in the car on the way home in the car was the worst. This was one of my pictures of life and was it love? It was my life. My mom tried to love me. My dad tried to love me. His attempts at love were covered over in a muddy mess of radical religious thoughts, control and mental illness, undetected abuse, but we should have been protected from this mental illness. If the community really was a community at all they would detect, defend, help diagnose, help deter and confront, help my mom. Support my mom and be there for her. She was a wage earner. We could have made it, but she needed support.
My dad would beat me for being funny, for being a kid, for breaking stuff, one of the worst beatings I ever got from him was for whisking past a glass jar of coffee grounds and it smashed and broke to pieces, mingled glass, coffee grounds, mingled glass, coffee grounds, kid messes. He grabbed me by the arm, dragged me dangling by the arm and I peed the whole way there...I couldn’t help it, I was terrified...it made him even more angry. The mess. The inconvenience. He beat me so hard and so long that his belt buckle flew through the air and hit the wall. I remember that red face and labored breath...every single time he was done beating me. For being a child. For having an unbreakable will. And unbreakable spirit. He hated me because I was tough. I hardly cried. I didn’t let him shake my joy as a small child. I think that made him very angry and drove him to beat me more than my sister. Don’t ask me how. I don’t know how. God, I guess. Or maybe I was just so tough myself. He fought, crazed. He beat crazed. He lived crazed. None of it made sense to my small heart. I would pray to a God that I thought was there despite being beaten in his very name. Yes, I was beat in His name. Jesus’ name. God’s name. I was beaten for being a beautiful child with dreams and gifts. I was told to shut up when I sang. Stop singing he shouted to me whenever I sang. That was my main gift...I could sing. And that voice has been with me ever since in my head...shut up. Don’t sing. Don’t live. Nobody wants to hear you. Are you crazy? Nobody wants to see you fly and I will make you pay for trying to find your wings. It wasn’t intentional. My dad was insane. He was mentally and clinically ill and in the religious, independent fundamental baptist community Jesus was enough. Secular psychiatrists were frowned upon. He didn’t mean it but he did...I don’t think he could control how he was or maybe, could he? This is something I battle. He was angry. Angry isn’t a good enough word...Is there a better one? I don’t know.
He was angrier about the child like messes and mistakes we all made than our worst offenses. I remember bold faced lying, lies I told to my dad that I was caught in and he would tell me...do it again and you will be in trouble. He said that often for really bad stuff. He didn’t beat me as much for bad stuff, but for being an inconvenience. For being a child. For being a kid. For being the creature I was created to be. For trying to find my wings while making silly little mistakes. I was a joy to others. I was a joy I think to my mom. But not to him. To my siblings? We all wanted to like each other, but we were so damaged we didn’t know how. We just didn’t know how to get along with each other and the majority of us still don’t know. There is a small desire somewhere in our souls to be a unified family but there is a huge risk for coming together for staying together for being there for each other it almost feels impossible and almost dangerous.
What of it all? What is the meaning of this?
People say get over it. Move on. Let go. Forgive and forget.
I dabble between two worlds...forgiving and not forgiving.