How Estranged Are They?






Playing the game Risk with my siblings around Christmas time



Phone camera shots of blurry photographs, in an album I’m not allowed to see. That’s all I have. Josephine is a saint for doing so. I don’t even have a baby photo, though since my son’s birth I pleaded. I barely remember what I looked like as a baby, and I’d love to see the similarities in us. I want to show him. The last I heard a brother, the same who refused to go on Dr. Phil, destroyed all photographs of me, infant ones included. I have a small file on my computer that I’ll be sharing with you, until they run out.

My sister understands pain that my brothers and father wouldn’t; the sexism of a cult she hasn’t seen through yet. She was never dubbed Slut or Dogmeat as she didn’t wear foundation but she suffered, her voice unheard. I’m ever so glad that she’s forgiven me for my anger, my nasty teenage words. All the learned behaviour: the yelling, the screaming. Turning to inappropriate humor as some means of therapy, amused by the horror on their faces when I cussed, as if that meant I’d burn in Hell. I still have a problem with my language when I’m super stressed. Damn it. But I think it makes me human, and it’s a forgivable 'sin.' 

I won't say I’m perfect or like them, never admit a wrong. What a joke that would be! How would anyone take me seriously? I’ve learned that true connection springs with honesty and I’ve sought this my whole life, to feel loved and truly accepted for me, and my faults. I don’t want to be loved for a fake version of myself; it defeats the purpose. 

This story needs to be told, for all its ugly, for all its beauty, and for all its realness. Some will hate me, but thank God, some of you care, display kindness, respect, compassion. And I can’t thank you enough.





The Rejection Is Forever


I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen my family since this photograph, taken in my parent's shed, right before my final escape. My nose has a dent, a deviated septum. I know it’s not very noticeable here, but it’s broken, from a headbutt and punch to the face. And it will break again. I would make a point of deleting photos where it was obvious. Make-up helped disguise it. Years later, I would get surgery because the bridge split in half.

I escaped, yes, but in another sense I was thrown away. Disowned, discarded. No phone calls. No visits. No interest. It’s not like I’d committed a heinous crime, gone to prison, or was a drug addict then, using them for all they got. Drugs were not a part of my life and never was I handcuffed. I told on them. It wasn’t a lie. 

A decade passed, and at a large family gathering, I hugged an older brother, Malachi, and my father. 

“I love you.” I nearly bawled. 

“We love you, too, Becky.” 

They said it back, awkwardly, under the watchful eyes of relatives. I meant what I said, but I didn’t believe them. They never reached out. My youngest brother didn’t have any memories of me, besides those they told him.


In another few years, I bumped into Dad again. My spouse and I were attending a Message funeral. Dad reached his hands out to my one-year-old but he turned away and cried. For the rest of that function, he didn’t speak to me. He ignored me. Everyone saw it. The only immediate family to have visited my son since his birth is my sister, Josephine. There were nine of us, two parents, and seven siblings. But they forsake their own nephew, and grandson. He’s innocent. What could he have done? 


     Forgiveness


I’m not sure I know the meaning of the word. The justice system doesn’t either, do they? I haven’t much faith. Their punishments are too severe in some cases, and not enough in others, particularly white offender rape. However, if I ever need again to utilize the law when dealing with the injustices of my family, then I will.

My mother used me. My sweat-stained cash was insufficient. I couldn't buy her love. She  pocketed thousands, calling me the prostitute who washed Jesus’ feet with expensive oils and I suppose she was Jesus. She’s said worse. I can't speak to her. Some days I think she's cruel, and other days mentally ill, and others I can't decide. One week I was evil and the next, cherished. I can't diagnose but BPD (borderline personality disorder) has these traits.  



Hugging my father was a gamble at forgiveness. That liberation has come and gone. My heart feels safer with no emotion, though it’s there, buried. Sometimes bursts of anger are the only feelings, which I quell with meditation and re-focus. If I saw remorse, heard an apology, maybe it would manifest naturally. Family is everything. But I fear the freshness of open wounds. How can one guard their heart and forgive? It may always be a mystery. I haven’t entirely forgiven. Is that wrong? I hope I will, for the sake of my own well-being. Anger is a burden, unhealthy; it creates disease in the body and every day it’s a poison. I do not welcome it into my life. That’s the closest I’ve come to forgiveness, by banishing an anger that finds new avenues to seep into my brain(I received some great advice recently: when you write out of anger, keep it for yourself and trash it when you’re ready. But only write for others from a place of love. I try to do that.)

My brother who drugged me, how could I forgive him? I see him as a child, beaten as the rest of us, his blood painting the walls. My heart aches for that child. I know he won’t say sorry but if in his eventual old age, when he faces his guilt at the end of his life, maybe I can give it then. 

That's the closest I get. Forgiveness is an ongoing struggle. Closure? Well, I strive.... 

Thanks for reading.







                                   

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Introduction

What The Lack Of School Taught Me

A Brief Look At PTSD, Covid And Motherhood