Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
Monday, June 25, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
“We can escape Efrafra. Believe me.” Watership Down
My sister appeared in front of me, eyes blazing with resentment. The pitch of her voice escalated over the murmur of shoppers and announcements. Her actual words eluded me, however I remember some words grasping at my soul. Words like, “father,” “the pain you cause him,” and “intolerable.” Time tore and space distorted, all I could reply was “What kind of daughter were you to momma?” She didn’t even flinch as she reached back. I felt the sting against my face for only a moment as anger loomed. I could feel the red flashes heat my anger.
“I’m your mother now, your father is married to me. Don’t bring that bitch into it,” my eldest sister, my step-mother retorted.
I’d like to say that I slapped her back or responded with a witty biting remark, but I didn’t. Through the anger of being slapped, I felt more of an ache that seemed ancient in origin. This was the sister that had taught me to dance and picked me up from grade school on our Shetland pony. As I looked in her face, the woman that appeared before me wasn’t that woman at all. I no longer tried to forgive her or her actions. I saw her as the same woman that loaded my father’s gun.
I saw her as defined by her actions. She was now just the half-sister that as she plotted with my father to kill my mother. She was the one that whispered not to tell my mom of anything my father had ever done. I took her out of my heart, and suddenly it felt a little better.
At that moment, I let go. Adrenaline like lava was still coursing through my veins.
I knew that any woman who would willingly stick with a Klu Klux Klan member, who beats and drinks, has no soul, no self, no idea of preservation of life and love. She was supporting the same man who beat her and my mom. My mom stayed until I was six years old. See in 1978, leaving your husband in the south wasn’t exactly supported in the community. There was little legal protection. And when my father realized that he had beat fear into her, but not submission, he and my sister unsuccessfully tried to murder my mother. He didn’t even have the balls to attempt murder while being sober, only after 2 bottles of Jack Daniels did he have the ambition to pull out his fists and guns.
The lingering question I had always pushed away came to light. Did she help him more than loading the guns? Was there more to her actions that what I had seen? She was no longer the sheep being forsaken by a dominant figure. She was the predator too.
All these thoughts flooded into my conscious after years of trying to keep the floodgates strong. I looked over at my manager who looked more surprised, and “I quit.” She said I had to return the uniforms, and at that point, there was no way I would return to that grocery store. I promptly undressed and through the uniform on the stack of boxed stale discount donuts.
I went to my apartment where I roomed with three high school friends.
They weren’t totally surprised about me arriving in underwear, however they were when I announced I was leaving town as I carried my stereo and typewriter to my car. I hocked what I had for $100 bucks, and I headed south.
That evening, I remember watching the sunset, and through the pain and tears, I felt a release I had never known. I sent a mental thank you the roomies that had taken care of me as a little sister.
The guys that had become my big brothers would be the friends that understood me, even if they didn't understand why.
Guys are great that way.
I looked at the sunset, as the colors glistened off the waterway in hues of gold and red. And I cried. I cried not only for my pain, but what it must have been like for my mom to go through that type of situation. I cried because I knew I was as strong as she was, and I cried because I missed her, and I knew I wouldn’t see her for a while.
I took five years, and 23 states to travel through to find out that finding oneself takes a little bit every day.
And as I learned from the sunsets, that real happiness is just a vision that gives something without taking.
Breaking out of hell is hard, but the scars are better than death.
It doesn’t always reside with a foundation of guts or courage. Sometimes, the motivation resides in loosing your mind just enough to know you can’t be the only crazy one; to seek different paths because it is experiences we choose that most shapes us.
As I look back, there was no other way to do it differently because in reality, I had chosen to own my life. Life consumed me for the first time. The mistakes were my mistakes, my own narrative.
Life still laughs at my planning and strategic attempts; it showed me exactly how easy it could be.
And eventually, laughter follows tears.