“I imagine them without fathers or mothers, like the first gods.”

28 Dec

I ask my brother on Christmas Eve for a game of Trivial Pursuit. Barely looking up from his online poker whatever, he says yes.

I wait. I wait. Until it becomes apparent that I won’t be playing anything.

Like last year. The year before that. Yesterday. 1995. Year upon year upon year of “wait”, “just a minute” or “nah, don’t wanna”

Year upon year of a little girl waiting for someone to hold her hand, sit with her, make it better, make her feel wanted, needed. Years of a little girl wanting her mother, soft arms around her, silky voice in her ear, that sense of being making things alright.

Instead, here, we bought you something expensive and pointless. See how we love you?


I get it. Men just don’t. My father did the best he could with a 17 year old son and an 11 year old daughter. He learned to cook, took driving lessons, shaved off his beard and threw out her clothes.

I sat at home alone. I cried myself sick wondering when he’d die too. I tried to shore up some sort of tradition, eagerly waiting for approval but shrugged off as pointless, useless. I stopped even trying to make a school lunch. I stopped expecting a full stocking Christmas morning. I learned to cook my own dinner.

I learned how to walk my drunk father home with the least amount of yelling at 12. I learned that boys don’t talk about their feelings, and people get weirded out by girls who did.

Shut up. Don’t talk about it. Don’t be so morbid. Stop thinking about it. Shit happens. What’s done is done.

I want my Mommy. Where is she?

I’m learning lately that I’m not over all this as I thought, that inside my chest that little girl is still!fucking!there! after all this time, cowering in the corner, crying, abandoned, alone.

You’re so strong! You’re fine!

NO! she kicks and screams! It’s illusion! Can’t you see I’m rotting from the inside, the core is weak and bent? Can’t you see? Why can’t anyone see?

I know my father had it rough-believe me, I of the hyper-empathy knows. I know what losing a spouse can mean-my heart has been constricted by that fear many a time. For years, I have been all too eager to let him off with a free pass, to love him anyway, for what he couldn’t do.

But that little girl, 20 years later-she should be dying, if not dead. She should be walking away, not still trapped. I have no need of her-and yet she sits, screaming ABANDONED! UNLOVED! at the slightest hint of someone else doing something without me. She bangs on my ribs when someone is wrapped up in something else, murmurs in my ear that I’m not good enough, that I’m defective, to sit real still or they’re leave too.

Memories of an empty living room, left alone with my thoughts to fester, unable to reach out since no one was able to reach out to me. Unable to ask, unwilling maybe, knowing that as a child, you shouldn’t have to ask for love, for attention, for a little fucking hope.

My father fed me, clothed me, on some level did love me. But he always looked past me, to what he needed to do, work, home repairs, or his favorite, beer. Something was always, ALWAYS much much more important than me, and it’s imprinted, like a syrupy hand that I cannot wash off.

I say from time to time that I do not want this little girl anymore, that I’ve grown past needing her, or wanting her, and I just can’t be rid of her. She’s like lice or fleas.

But for once, I want to try and say goodbye to her. Good-bye to the hurt and pain of a family too fucked up to see beyond itself. Good-bye to a parent just not up to looking into the eyes of his motherless daughter. Good-bye to a brother who just can’t deal with it, or let anyone else. Good-bye to a little girl I should have let go of long ago. Good-bye to a parent I tried to make too much of. He was only human too.

8 Responses to ““I imagine them without fathers or mothers, like the first gods.””

  1. Jennifer December 28, 2008 at 8:28 am #

    Interestingly enough, I learned that when trauma happens to us, those memories are stored at that age. When you look back at them, you look at them with the eyes of a child. Not an adult. Part of the healing process comes when you acknowledge the child, and ask to look at the situation with adult eyes. Seeing a situation from an adult perspective changes things a whole lot. It takes practice, and doesn’t happen the first time.

    When I looked at my own abandonment by both of my parents as a child, I was hurt. I felt unloved and rejected. I was the child again, hurt and lonley. When I stopped – and looked at everything from an adult perspective it was easier to see that I was not the only one suffering. That I was not the only one being hurt.

  2. March December 28, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    maybe that hurt child is lingering around on behalf of your daughters… not sure if I’ll make sense, but while I was reading all I could think of was my kids and how I want them to never feel like you did, so alone so unloved. maybe that child stays with you so in your darkest hours you push through knowing that noone will love and care for your girls like you do. I thought a lot about this while waiting to go into the OR. I know they’ll be fed and clothed and I know his father would love them the best he could, but I also know there are tons of things his father would not do jsut because it;s not him. it’s me the one that thinks of those things.

    so maybe there is a reason why you can’t seem to see this girl gone from your life, a good reason… it pains me to feel your pain through your words, and I’m hoping that through that pain you can push through and be the best mother to your girls… I’m an optimist, you know 🙂

  3. thordora December 28, 2008 at 5:11 pm #

    My thing is-I always looked at it from the adult perspective. I always more than understood why my father, and brother, were the way they were, and why things are now.

    I deserved more-we all did. and now, despite believing that I was ok with everything, I’m realizing that my continual need for attention, my screaming desire to be the only focus in someone’s life, is rooted in needing that attention as a child, and not getting it. And never realizing that I needed to move beyond that.

    If anything, seeing things through the eyes of that child has been illuminating in terms of realizing how strong I wasn’t, and how easily fooled everyone in my life was to leave an 11 year old girl to her own devices. Now, I just want to settle it, and move on. Because my family deserves better.

  4. Marcy December 28, 2008 at 5:23 pm #

    Maybe it’s the other direction then — maybe your little one is asking you to take more time to look at things from her perspective, really experience it like you didn’t allow yourself to at the time, and come to terms with what it was and what it was like. Moving on has to come by moving through, sometimes… maybe before you can move on you need to grieve more. Not getting what you needed is the reality, but it still sucked / sucks and merits grief.

    Reminds me of how one of my chief complaints that I brought to my T when I began therapy, was the feeling of obligation to keep functioning, that “I have to because I can.”

    Good, though, that you are continuing to distinguish between then and now — and trying to not let past hurt rule current relationships.

  5. crazymumma December 28, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    I am going thru some similar stuff myself. The child inside, and in my case, a very angry brother. I do not believe there is any way to get rid of her. I visualize my adult self sorta taking her by the hand and helping her figure it out.

  6. angharad December 29, 2008 at 11:33 pm #

    this speaks to me a lot. thank you.

  7. Eve December 30, 2008 at 2:46 am #

    Hullo, I’m new to your blog, having come here on a blogging friend’s recommendation. I want to say, in response to one of your comments to someone else, that “getting on with it” will probably take the rest of your life. It’s always seemed funny in a morbid sort of way that what we don’t get during the first 18 years of our lives takes the next 30 or so to repair and reclaim.

    From what I’ve read, you have the right stuff to get it. But please try not to rush yourself. Be kind to that girl. Perhaps she was already starting to be lost well before she was 11. Perhaps she needs a lot longer than you think she should have. Perhaps you could look at the strength and long-lastingness of her symptoms and surmise that she has just that much pain, and you could be patient and kind with her. I hope you will be. I really admire your courage.

  8. xual December 31, 2008 at 8:00 am #

    Cool. That was so heart touching.
    Visit me at http://www.xual.blogspot.com

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