So, obviously I’ve been gone a while. Been dealing with a lot of drama and then I was so tired I rarely got out of bed besides work, though I let a lot of that just slide. I used to do battle with depression all the time when I was a teenager. It’s been a while since I had the blues this bad. I’m getting out of it now, but I’m still worn out.
I’ve been thinking of moving. I really don’t like it where I live. It’s a depressing place. Most of the residents are dying or insane, poor and broken. The local economy was dead before the market even crashed. Many of the people around here are in jail or prison. We have a registered sex offender for every 50 people. And there’s also a fish out of water aspect. Most of the people here are elderly ultra conservatives, so when politics comes up (which is all the time) I have to keep quiet.
The other day some people I work with were making fun of a guy for being gay (based on his hand gestures) and I mentioned that it was a generational thing and that I didn’t give two shits what a person’s preference was. They informed me that, of course, it’s wrong. The Bible says so. Then she literally said “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” I had never heard that spoken in real life. I had to hold my tongue.
I get along well with my these people and I don’t dislike them. Their belief structure and my own are radically different, but I do believe a person should be able to be prejudiced; to hate whole groups for poorly defined or thought out reasons. John Kerry’s right, Americans have the right to be stupid and ignorant. I know I’ve been pretty ignorant at times and had to exercise that particular right often and with great vigor. It’s just a reminder that I’m not like them, I can’t be like them and I wouldn’t want to be like them.
I read the Bible from beginning to end as a boy. I’ve always wanted to do the same with the Torah and Qur’an. I liked Jesus. In fact, growing up Catholic, Christ’s liberal message of commonwealth, morality over law, universal love and redemption helped to shape my own ethical and philosophical development. If I was religiously inclined, I would be Quaker. I’m particularly fond of their policies of stewardship over the Earth and peaceful co-existence. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that a lot of agnostics and atheists are also Quakers.
Normally me and religion get along fine with our live and let burn in Hell for all eternity policy that serves us both well. But recently I was included in some other people’s crisis of faith during my own crisis of heart.
A few months ago I met a family that just moved to our area. A husband, a wife and two little girls. She was a co-worker of mine and they spent a lot of time on the grounds. We all got to be good friends. She’s a great conversationalist and our discussions simply flow along. I’m known far and wide as the guy who never shuts up. I even talk in my sleep constantly. I love a good conversation. I especially love it when I’m not just annoying someone by talking at them endlessly until I realize I should have shut up a long time ago and they actually carry the conversation with me.
Her husband was kind of weird at first, but he opened up in time. He even had my back when a bunch of agitated customers (and meth addicts) were getting out of hand and there was a decent possibility that if he hadn’t been there I would have received a serious beating.
I’m terrified and awkward around kids. Always have been. This summer, being in charge of security for a pool, I’ve had to be around a lot of kids of all ages. Still I tend to keep my distance. I never know what to say to them. And if they aren’t behaving, it can be impossible to reason with them. For me, if something doesn’t respond to logic and reason, I have no concept how to deal with it. I have to say though they’re little girls were so sweet. I can kind of see how a couple might end up wanting one or two of these strange tiny people for themselves.
Time went by and they started having marital problems. She said he was growing more and more distant. I tried to cheer her up and encourage her that everyone had fights and low periods in a marriage. Each person deals with stress differently and he probably just tried to take it all on himself to protect them. Maybe not what she wishes he would do, but an effort based on good intentions.
Unfortunately, she was also having serious health problems and a major surgery looming in the future with the possibility that it was cancer. Then the kids started getting sick too with urinary tract infections. She often came to me for medical advice because of my background in transcription. This totally plays on my ego because in my own head I’m a real life Dr. House, sans the doctorate. Or a GED.
I noticed his odd behavior a few days before it all broke apart. We all did. He was so withdrawn. His friendly demeanor was gone. Instead, he seemed to go back and forth between completely withdrawn, angry and pouting. He sat pool side writing Bible passages out again and again. I offered him a job, which he had asked for, because after being here months he still hadn’t found a job (though in actuality he had turned them all down.) He turned down the job I offered because it was only minimum wage and “it wouldn’t pay for the gas.” They live 3 minutes away. Plus, he knew it was minimum wage when he asked for it. He seemed angry that we would suggest it.
The next day she called in sick and I began a nasty Crohn’s flare caused by stress. I heard something in her voice that triggered it. This isn’t uncommon for me. Stress goes right to my gut. When I was younger, some friends said I was psychic LOL. Skeptical as always, I don’t believe that. I think my subconscious is just trained through my childhood to pick up on subtle cues to predict people’s behavior. I learned early on how to predict disaster because it was a weekly occurrence. No more psychic than a sailor who knows the signs of a storm because it’s the difference between survival and a watery grave.
Later, we learned what had happened. One of the little girls had been caught touching another child in a sexual manner. When asked why she had done it, she said it was because she loved the other kid and that’s how daddy shows his love for her. He then threatened to kill his wife and their neighbor’s husband, so he could run away with the neighbor’s wife, who out of no where was now the love of his life.
There’s restraining orders against him now, CPS is involved and he’s likely going to prison. She’s also well-protected in the meantime.
But even when he’s in prison it won’t be over. If he were dead, wearing concrete shoes on the ocean floor like he deserves, it won’t be over for those little girls. They’re going to carry that betrayal with them all their lives. There’s nothing you can say or do to make it better. Childhoods broken like glass and the best you can do is glue it back together and hope it holds. Nothing will ever look the same to them.
I’ve been alive for 28 years. I go to work, I laugh and live my life, I talk to my friends and do my best to be a good person. I would say that I’m happy. Not movies and T.V. happy where you find some kind of permanent onset joy, but I’m happy more than I’m sad. I’m content more than I’m discontent.
However, to be perfectly (i.e. way too) honest there’s a reason I’m still single. I have trouble even asking a girl out, much less forging a lasting relationship. Because I’m afraid that other people see me the way I see myself. Seeing me through my father’s eyes. My friends pay me compliments. My bosses and co-workers tell me I’m good at my job. My mom tells me I’m a great son. I tell myself that I’m not so bad. There’s more positive than negative in me. But that self-loathing and doubt bubbles up from that old, buried fault line. And I start wondering how a person could care about me when I’m so clearly lacking. Damaged goods. My father didn’t even believe I deserved to live, much less be happy. It’s a personal demon I struggle with all the time. My mind is a house that was built on a sink hole and I have to watch where I step or I’ll fall through the rickety old floor into hating myself again.
I wished that those girls could grow up without that. I wished that their mother never knew that rending guilt that my mom went through at not being able to save her own baby. I wished that they all never knew what it’s like to go to bed scared that a person who was supposed to love them could show up at any time to hurt them. I wished that I would still have my friend to talk to each day. I wished I wasn’t so profoundly selfish that in such a terrible situation I would waste a wish for that last one. If wishes were horses I’d be crushed under an equine mountain.
I’m so tired of monsters. I’m tired of looking at people and wondering how dark it gets in their heads. Wondering if the person they’re showing me is the real them or a distraction. Just once I’d like the chance to see something good and not watch it be destroyed.
After all this, a few days ago, a well-meaning friend (who also got to know the family well and thought of the husband as a great guy too) tried to cheer me up by reminding me that this is all part of God’s plan. I looked over at them. It’s like you could see in their eyes them building that little wall around the misery to keep it safely ensconced and the tremendous effort to build a wall so high and thick that it could contain it all. I answered that I knew that was true. Thanking them for that little pearl of consolatory wisdom, then sharing an awkward silence that they seemed to interpret as a prayer.
Now, as a warning, if you’re religious, you should stop reading (I can’t imagine why you haven’t already considering what a heretical misanthrope I am.) What I say next is coming purely from a place of pain and anger and has no constructive purpose but to get it out of my own mind.
I hated them in that moment. I pure hated them for saying that to me. I hated them for being so naive and perverse. I hated myself for being so jaded and angry. I hated the world for being just so fucked up. I hated God for not existing. If this is how the world is because it’s a chaotic, dog eat dog existence, then I can take solace in knowing that it was a construct of pure randomness. That’s just how the matrix of human suffering formed. I can process that. Not quickly and not easily, but I can do it.
If there were a God and it just set the whole thing in motion and left, I guess I can say “Well, it probably had no clue this would happen.” Still, a tad bit on the sociopathic side.
But if there’s a plan. Then this universe is more cruel than I can fathom. Then this planet is a prison with no guards and at least a couple billion wrongly convicted inmates. I simply don’t see how this brings people comfort. I don’t understand why you would want to believe that God had a plan that involved two innocent little girls being violated by their own dad. I have no fucking clue why a person would want to believe that. That would rip my damn heart straight out of me and it’s already dangling by a thread after all this.
The idea that when we all die and go to Heaven and see the final M. Night Shyamalan-style twist ending to this thing, we’ll all turn to each other and be like “Oh, now it all makes sense. Yeah, that was totally worth billions of rapes and murders, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Holocaust, Rwanda, the 2003 tsunami, the Black Death, all of it. Shit, what fantastic writing God. Seriously, I can’t wait for the sequel.” Sorry, this movie is the sickest crap I’ve ever seen and the ending isn’t going to make it any better.
My friend meant well. She’s a good person. She wanted to cheer us both up. To make it seem like all this suffering wasn’t for nothing. And who knows how this all turns out. I went through my own personal hell when I was younger and, excepting a couple broken hearts like this, I’m hanging in there. All wounds clot over in time. The bleeding stops and sometimes nothing teaches a person empathy like terrible scars. Every time you’re about to treat a person like crap because of the hand they were dealt, you feel that familiar ache and remember that day that life cut you down to the marrow too.
I shouldn’t be angry at her or her beliefs. She doesn’t begrudge me mine. Ah hell, maybe she does. Maybe when I was angry at her, she was peeking at me pretending to have a moment of prayer and I was just the fly in the ointment. How do we all put up with each other?
I wish so badly that I could become God. You’ll know when I achieve apotheosis. You’re debts won’t be paid off, work will still suck, you’ll still be going through a messy divorce and you’ll still die when you get old (or sooner if you claim that I helped you score a winning touch down or write a hit country song), but until you’re 18 I won’t let anything unbearable happen to you, and even then, you’ll never have to be afraid of genocide or atomic bombs or being among 300,000 other people washed off into the sea by an “act of God.” People will still be assholes, but no more monsters in human skin.
With me, your God would be a pompous baffoon, he’d talk too much (90% of the world’s shrubs would be on fire 24/7 to recant the events of a classic MadTV sketch or tell you fun facts about the mantis shrimp he just read about) and he’d remind you every day how much he did for you to feed his own martyrdom complex, but I’d watch over everyone, every second. So, vote for Fanatical Hypocrite for God, because the current administration really dropped the ball.
She went through her surgery and we spent that week in the hospital with her whenever I wasn’t working. Keeping her company and bullying her overworked and beleaguered doctors into taking better care of her because while she’s patient 10 million to them, she’s the only one of her we have, so they better take good care of her. Somewhere in the world a nurse just rolled her eyes. She had a rough recovery, but she’s alright now. All that anesthesia and pain medicine kept her miles away from her problems and now it looks like the weight of reality is settling on her shoulders.
I kind of miss my
whiny even whinier teenage self. He would have threatened to kill himself and written a crappy suicide note about how he was crying tears of blood on the inside because the world was so blah blah blah. I miss that. It was therapeutic to be that selfish and annoying. When you get older, you realize you’re going to live through it. It’s terrible and it’s broken you’re faith in your world and your ability to trust your fellow human beings for the twentieth time, but you’re gonna drag yourself further down the road out of habit. Besides, self-absorbed as I am and probably more hindrance than help, I have to be there for all the people I love. All we have is each other. God help us all. Or not. We’re used to it by now.
“I beg your pardon
I’m not looking for a cure
Seen enough of my friends
In the depths of the godsick blues.” –Acid Tongue by Jenny Lewis