Sunday, September 27, 2015

I had an ex, once, who looked different everytime I saw her. I never could understand it; she just seemed like a different person each time. As if my mind couldn't contain her in all her dimensions so it always imprinted on part of her and was befuddled when the rest came out.

That's how I feel about my dad, too. It's difficult to separate all the versions of him, sometimes in the same scene. The dad that drunkenly dragged my sister and I into our frigid backyard in the dead of night to tell us how our mother used to love him before we were born is the same father that was so intentional about making sure we were warmly ensconced in blankets before he did. I can't say he's a monster who didn't care about me. But I can't say he did what he did because he thought it was in our best interests either.

And I guess that's part of the challenge. People aren't all good or all bad. I want to hate my father, but I remember all the things he did that shaped me in ways I value. I want to love my father, but I remember how he screamed at me, how he blamed me, how he poisoned me against myself. I don't understand how he can say he loves me and then treat me so terribly.

And I'm not sure why it's so important for me to understand, either. I think about him so much, trying to make sense of what happened, trying to come up with some "unified theory of Fort" which will make it all fit into place. So I can understand, so I can move on. But he's a blackhole. He's a contradiction. He's scattered. Or, I guess, I'm scattered.

I want him to stop having so much power over my life. I'm not a child, I don't have to navigate him anymore if I don't want to. But there's so much of me that still feels like I'm trying to figure out how to survive living with him. I don't know what to do with that. But I guess awareness is a good start.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

So, transition has been really hard. SLC is pretty good, but it's different. The people are different, the space is different, the energy is different. I don't know what I can get away with, I don't know what to avoid. I don't understand it, the way I understood the place I spent almost 29 years of life. I worry a lot. I feel sad most of the time. It feels better when I cry, but most of the time I feel like I just need to keep it together. I just need to keep all the horrible things inside until I'm finished. With my dissertation, I guess, but there's still more life after that. It's not like things just get easy.

I'm feeling things more, though. I used to just listen to painful music or watch painful television and see it with my mind. But now I feel it. Not all of it. But, like, it hurts now. I can feel the pain, relate to it, better understand why people would talk about feeling devastated by art. I'm thawing. But there are still monsters everywhere, and I feel more alone now than I have in a very long time.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sometimes I idly wonder if my father knew what he was doing. I usually tell myself "No, he's just caught in a web of his own" but I don't know how true that is. Surely you know what you're doing when you lock yourself in a room with an eight year old for hours and tell them about how sick you are, how unhappy you are, how no one cares about you (wanting them to throw themselves with care upon you even as you both know you'll reject them anyway when they do), how everyone in the world is selfish and cruel and powerful except for you. I mean, you would think. But I don't know.

I want to say he lacks self-awareness. He only ever talks about the feelings of others ("you hate me," "you're trying to destroy this family," "you've never loved me"). He never says, "I am afraid" never says "I feel neglected" never says "I need someone else to make me feel better because I don't think I can do it myself." He is a perpetual victim, and me you and everyone we know are the perpetual perpetrators. And I want to say he's just constantly reacting to a fear of something not happening, to words not said, to thoughts not thought, to slight twinges of emotional reaction on my face which make him feel so out of control he lashes out in shaming accusation to bring it all in line. Perhaps the actions lack conscious intentionality. But surely the desire to never remember those actions does not.

It's sometimes scary, to see how he's trained me so well. To silence myself, punish myself, shame myself. I can say so many words, but my feelings all leave him unscathed and me with nothing but guilt and recrimination over how terrible a child I am. My chest feels like tar, bubbling and black, swallowing any cries for help. And I don't want to hurt him, don't want to break him, don't want to avenge myself upon him. I just want to be free. I want to be free. But the tar pulls me down, pulls me back inside myself, to fight and choke and die bit by bit as I continue his work of self-annihilation.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Before I can feel my fear, before I can feel the feelings of myself, I have to feel the feelings about myself. I feel ashamed of how hurt I am. I feel angry that I still feel this way after so very long. I feel afraid I will feel this way forever. I hate that I feel all that I feel, that I don't feel good and fine and well as all sane and happy and productive citizens should. I am afraid of myself, I am infuriated at myself, I am humiliated over myself. And through those feelings about myself lie what I feel. May I someday feel that, too.