Monday, Oct. 11, 2004 - 4:20 a.m.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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Childhood Crying in Pictures
Why should I feel stressed about whether my basement is a mess, or my bookshelves full of overloaded books, games and papers? Why should I worry about my Dad's judgement? Do I remember this photo being taken? Yes. Did I get shit for having not tidied up the bookshelf with the fuzzy felts and other sliding childhood collectables? Yes. Did I cry? Yes. Was I instructed to stand next to said untidy mess so that my slovenliness and sloth could be documented to show the world? Yes. Was I hurt, angry and resentful? Yes. Did it leave a lasting gut impression and immediate fear of judgment when I survey my surroundings through the eyes of a potential visitor to my home? You betcha. I was six.
(note to mothers out there... I STILL have bookshelves that look EXACTLY like this... belittling your kids does not beget good habits)
Why should I feel defensive and judged? Why should I be reduced to tears? Was there someone who photodocumented my fuckups and shame? Do I remember this time? No. I don't. But I see a crying child (me) standing next to her sister... posing for the camera held by her father. Why would someone take a photo of someone reduced to tears and trying to wipe them away? Why would this child be posed together with a sibling to capture this moment for posterity? I have really no idea at all. I was eight.
Do things like this make a lasting impression? Does one get defensive and edgy and quick to cringe under the eye of the other? Hmmm. Good question.
"when I was a little boy I wasnt allowed to show emotion. We were only allowed to show anger. I didn't know what my emotions were. I didn't know what love was. My father was distant, my family too busy, my siblings older... when I was ten... when I was a teenager... when I was a young man.... when I was a father.... I was programmed to... I couldn't help it cuz... I didn't know how to because....."
"What the hell are you so defensive for? Why do you feel I am judging you?"
"Dad, you picked me apart when I was a kid, you told me I was irresponsible when I was a teenager, you wrote me a letter when I was 23 telling me I was irresponsible though I had a bachelors degree and worked full time, you wrote me a 15 page letter in 1994 that I was hateful and irresponsible and made my grandmother and my brother roll in their graves and I ruined the family name...."
"Oh christ almighty! Get OVER it already! That is ANCIENT HISTORY!! CHRIST!! Get OVER IT!! How long are you going to drag things up that happened how many, ten years ago?? GROW UP!! GROW UP ALREADY!! CHRIST!! How long are you going to use things I did ten years ago as an excuse!! Take some responsibility for your own life for once! GROW UP!!! You are like a little child who refuses to grow up!! For christ's sake! GROW UP!!!! GROW UP!!!"
.... mmm. What do they say? Two measures? A little hypocrisy? His history from 55 years ago is valid, but my history with him from ten years ago is evidence that I am immature and fucked up. mmm.
I hate to say, I shouted back. This is what ended up in me asking him to leave. What started it??
Me saying that morning what a pro-Bush online friend of mine said that I thought was ridiculous. (my anti-bush friends said "you sending this to me is preaching to the converted... send stuff to your Republican friends"....)
"What do you even bother with her for? What's the payback for you? What do you get out of it? Your time is more precious than wasting it on idiots"
I thought about it later in the day. I thought. I actually enjoy looking up links she sends me, reading them, looking up her facts and evidence and refuting it. It is like a tennis match, bouncing the ball, can you hit it back or not?
I brought it up again... I said "I think that I like arguing with her even though we disagree in the same way that other people play team sports. I don't understand why someone would wrastle over a ball and pit themselves against each other. Seems silly and a waste of time. But I guess they enjoy the struggle and the competition... I guess I like that in arguing politics."
"Well, if you have time for that. But you don't. You need to have priorities."
"Well, I enjoy it."
"I guess it depends on your priorities"
"Are you saying my priorities are wrong? I am scarcely starving or out of work"
"Some of my welfare tenants have their priorities screwed up , they don't work and they sit on their asses all day..."
"Dad, what does that have to do with me?"
"I wake up at 2am and I think you are working hard. I come into your studio to see what you're working on, up all night, and you're not working at all, you're wasting your time arguing politics on the internet"
"Dad, I am allowed to look at politics on the internet! You read politics in the newspaper, I don't read the newspaper"
"So now it's not ok that I read the newspaper!!!"
"I didn't say that. If it's ok for you to read politics in the newspaper, it's ok for me to argue politics on the internet"
"Oh, so now I"m wasting my time reading politics in the newspaper!"
"Dad, that is not what I said!! I don't see how you can tell me whether I am supposed to be working or reading politics... I don't bug you if I think you are working and I come in and you are having tea and reading the newspaper!!"
"Oh right, I'm always wrong. You're always right. You have to be right. You're PERFECT. You're perfect and everyone else is wrong. Now I"m not allowed to read the newspaper!!"
"Don't be silly! I like arguing politics on the internet, and you like reading it in the paper! And the other night you wanted to hear the debate! Was THAT a waste of time and bad priorities?"
"YOU are the one who turned on the debate!"
"Oh christ! You wanted to hear it, and it is not WRONG, That's what I"m saying, it is OK to listen to the debate, and what the hell is so wrong with me reading politics online at 2am?"
"Christ almighty, you're shouting again!! You are SO DEFENSIVE!! Why the hell are you so defensive? I swear you couldn't go into therapy or see a psychiatrist cuz you'd argue with the psychiatrist! you LOVE to argue!!"
"I'll have you know I WAS in therapy for like 5 years!"
"Well, it doesn't seem to have done you any good, you don't seem to have learned anything!"
"Right! If I wasn't in therapy I probably would be on antidepressants like my mother, or have committed suicide like my brother".
"You are so angry and fucked up... you are a time bomb waiting to go off... you have such a chip on your shoulder, all you want to do is argue. You are frustrated at nothing."
"YOU frustrate me! What I do isn't ok with you! You pick and pick... what the hell is wrong with me reading politics on the internet at 2am, I have 50 books published not counting collaborations, and I need you to tell me I should be working??!!"
"I pick at you? I pick at you?? When the hell did I ever judge your life you're so fucking defensive. GROW UP!!"....
... and yeah, I'm fucked up, but it's not his fault and if it was his fault I should be over it, cured, fixed by now.. *He's* not fucked up he says. Except that he has spent the last three years plus as well as half of last week telling me WHY and HOW he's fucked up because of his childhood. But I apparently am supposed to be GROWN UP and MATURE and OVER *MY* childhood.
He, at 51 can write 15 page letters disowning his daughter for ruining the family name for writing COMIC BOOKS, but at 41 I am not supposed to be defensive or argue or have my priorities wrong. Fuck. I forgave him my childhood, I forgave him my teenagerhood, I forgave him his homophobia, I forgave him his disowning me. I gave him chance after chance.
Now I don't blame him, but he cannot expect me to NOT be what he formed me to be. And what he STILL is.
Some people, it is best to just acknowledge that they can change a bit but will never change in essence. Does that make sense?
I think *I* am fucked up.
But I have never told anyone they are irresponsible and not ok in their life because they are gay, or because they don't have a house a wife and three children, or because they write comic books that disturb me, or because they argue politics on the internet at 2am.
He told me he wouldn't come back to visit if I didn't write my will.... it will give me incentive to write it. Guess who has lots of disincentive to write her will now.
I wish I had written this better. But you get the picture.
End of this entry. Childhood crying in photos.
DAmn!! I wrote another entry, a fun one, about hanging with biting girl from Toronto tonight, but the computer froze before i saved it. fuckity shit. Sorry folks, really DID want to put something more fun. Tomorrow.
But I just wanted to comment on the Feminist Quote of Today from Eleanor Roosevelt:
""No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."That is ridiculous. Do you think I "gave my consent" in those above photos? And once once has that view of themselves as a child, do they "give their consent" when those feelings are plugged into again by other people when they are an adult? I don't know. You can logically argue "I am a success, I am fine, I am a good person" but will your soul your insides actually believe it? Dang. That sort of a quote is sort of victim blaming. It is like "no one can mug you without your complicity". It is true you can fight to the death, but it is possible you are weaker than your mugger, or taken by surprise from behind.
Well, people CAN make you feel inferior. And if you don't have a solid base as a child, it will be an uphill battle, not only against other people trying to do it, but against doing it to yourself, constantly, often, maybe everyday. It is not that hard to undermine someone's self-esteem. Just give them things to do that they are incapable of doing, and eventually they will judge themselves to be inferior and will be "forced" to agree with you. Everyone is incapable of something, you just have to find it.
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Goodbye Michael. May your next life be kinder to you. - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
*inspired by Chaosdaily