So you come from a broken family that endured some hardships. You grow up and learn how not to dance in the way of the herd. But you want to still love them and be loved by them. Why? Because they are the only herd you have for family.
You can change your friends but you cannot change your family.
So, when you have grown past all the brokenness and want healthy interaction from the rest of the herd, prepare yourself for a shock. You will be outcast, tossed to the wolves. Because you spoke out.
You spoke out of turn.
You spoke out of time.
You spoke out of health.
You spoke out of healing.
You spoke out.
And they are not there yet. They will not engage in the health you wish to live and walk, the love you want to share and care, because they cannot. They are incapable. Incapable does not mean they are helpless victims either. They are incapable of making healthy choices. Instead, they will make another unhealthy, uninformed choice and deem you/your family wrong for it all.
Happen that some people could just say “I love you” once in a while and that might be enough. But when they are all busy honeying up each other and constantly leaving you out of the loop as if you don’t exist, eventually you don’t.
Because you don’t want meagre crumbs. You want them to be as “on the table” as you are about the past and stop choosing the “paint it pretty” mode of denial or blame. “Pretending” something did not happen is a surefire way to ensure that it keeps arising again and again and again in some form or other, in some pattern or other played out with others you may not even be related to. I wore enough blame for 10 armies and I shall never wear it again.
At age 9, I took a licken’ as it was called, a bad one for a missing brother who was a tot. My older sister told me she felt so sorry for me, my legs were raw and it wasn’t even my fault, I was only 9 and he didn’t go missing on me, he went missing on Mom but Mom was just so pissed off she wouldn’t stop beating me.
Camping trips were ruined by big fights between our parents. They both took judo so that didn’t help. Once when we were given a deer roast (which I would never normally eat, couldn’t bear the thought of it) but hunger changes you, our parents got in a fight and Mom threw the roaster and all at Dad’s head. I had been trying to calm the four little ones who were crying and upset as always when our parents fought.
Don’t worry, I’d say, they’ll stop and they’ll go out after that. They usually did. But that day I was doubly panicked. The dog was going for the roast and we were all so hungry, I dove out in the middle of their fight and got the roast before the dog did, put it back in the roaster and took it in the room where we waited until our parents were exhausted, went quiet and went out. Then I made dinner for all five of us. I was 12.
At thirteen I was beaten with a broom because my father left for my stepmother. Other adults knew long before I accidentally found out when I went to the mainland to spend the weekend with my father who worked there and came home on weekends. But it was me who was blamed, even slapped once at age 17 when visiting, still, for something I had no control over and did not do. Mom said if I’d have told her sooner, she could’ve stopped it. But she couldn’t stop it anymore than she could stop the woman dad had before we drove from Ontario all the way to BC just to get rid of her.
The brokenness didn’t start happening just because we moved to the West Coast. That didn’t help, of course, but I also remember fights and blood galore from the Townline, even Pickering before that and then Blackstock either in the house or on the driveway. Going to school with friends who lived in quiet, stable homes I longed to live in and sleepovers were so exciting because not only was everything clean, quiet and safe from strange drunks pawing you from your parents parties but there was food and we were encouraged to have fun, be kids and actually play without worry of making too much noise, mess or being an inconvenience to anyone.
After grade five, we left Blackstock and in grade six we were living in a one bedroom duplex on Celina Street with the five of us kids sharing a bed, being pissed on nightly by those who weren’t yet potty trained. After that we lived on High Street in Whitby. What a high street it was.
Drug addicts, drunks and cockroaches as big as grasshoppers scurrying along the dark, dank halls with us to our two bedroom apartment with two windows. I remember being there with the four “little ones” and nothing to feed them. I went downstairs to Bo or upstairs to Georgina’s mom to ask for food. If they had it, they gave it. Once, some drunks forgot a bucket of KFC on the hood of their car and we kids saw it and stole it. I used to get mad at my parents and yell at them. “Why did you even have us?” “How come you have money to go to the bar and we don’t have any food?” I was 11 then.
Once when Dad was choking me on the floor on High Street, Granny, his mom, jumped on his back and beat him about the head with a wet dishcloth. I tried to kill myself after that. I was still 11. It didn’t work. I was sick for two days, everything was fuzzy and then I got some new boots and a coat to wear to school. They tried but my parents really had no clue. Of course, I liked the coat and boots but it didn’t fix the problems I was coping with at all.
I was just starting grade 7 in Ontario when we moved to BC. Two years later, I tried to kill myself again. I was thirteen by then. I just could never see a way out. If this was life, I didn’t want it.
Now I see a way out. Writing it out, writing it away, getting all of it out of me once and for all so that I can never be lassoed back into the corral of dysfunctional relationships.
A way out.
Hello, book, I think it’s time to start writing you again… I was writing my mother’s life before she even fell ill in 2009, she kept asking, when are you gon’ta git that book done. We lost her in 2010. I had only 15 pages and every time I tried to write, I cried my guts out and simply couldn’t carry on.
Now, Mom. Now.
Now, I think I’m gon’ta git it done.
Blame is a way of staying a victim or keeping others victim. In choice lies freedom. I choose to walk freely, write freely, talk freely.
Much love everyone, life may be unfair but we don’t have to be.
Just Janice JAM(c)2April2012