As I look back at my childhood twenty years later, I cannot think that it was anything remarkable. Some of you may think so, but to me it was a mere rite of passage and a required period of any human life. There were characters in that chapter of life that many would find repugnant, myself one of them. But, to me, it was nothing. If anything, it merely built character.
My father and his family were interesting individuals. His father was a cruel man and a strict disciplinarian. He moved as frequently as he loved and was never integral to my life. My father’s brother was also a cruel and unsavory man. Having been paralyzed in the 1970’s, he relied on his paraplegic state to invoke the empathy of others. He would steal and cheat, receiving no consequences, knowing that he could hide behind a mask worthy of pity. The only time I ever saw the man cry was at the death of his mother, my grandmother – his caretaker. Even then, it was bloody obvious that he was shedding tears at the inconvenient road ahead and not at the death of someone he cared for. My father’s oldest sibling, my stepbrother, is a waste of life. He is the ultimate parasite and is consumed by jealousy. He’s had many run-ins with the law and would often intentionally injure himself to make his assaults look “consensual”.
My father himself is repulsive. He would beat myself and my brother bloody for the most minor transgressions. Some of my earliest memories were of him leaving bruises and scars for my adventures in toilet training. Another early memory involved him ordering me to put my toys into a pile in the front yard so that he could practice his gasoline and lighter skills. He wanted to prove a point, that he was in full control. I learned quite quickly that defiance and self-assurant behavior would get me much further than yielding to his inane threats. As I write these words, no emotion is stirred. We’ve had our run-ins, but I prefer to think of them as animalistic sparring. Purely business in order to determine the pecking order.
My mother and her side of the family were, as I mentioned in the previous post, a cesspool of mental illness. What I did not mention is that they were also unsavory individuals with their own adventures. There were murder-suicides and hotshot drug dealers up and down that side of my family. The running joke is that many of my cousins know their wardens on a first name basis and that family’s name is abhorred in the geographic area that they live in. It is interesting; I was intentionally kept from those people, but my interactions with my father’s side were left unchecked and unbounded.
Between my upbringing and genetics, it is a wonder that I am functional at all…