Thursday, September 11, 2008

i will not crush her/his heart

I just drank a couple of beers and ate a super cheesy veggie burger at one of our smoky watering holes.

kk and i had a nice time sitting there talking to one another and sitting there staring at one another and sitting there listening to the not so delightful open mic in the other room.

my dinner came out with a mini-bag of better maid potato chips in the red plastic basket that held my veg burger. better maids always throw me back to my childhood. no matter what, i get sent down that rabbit hole of littleness. my ma ate the things by the handful. for the first years of my life (up until age 7), she lived on better maids, coca cola, and marlboro reds. yes, my mama was an avid smoker. she weighed all of 110 pounds and ran around like a chicken with her head cut off.

she was and is an excellent mother and grandmother. and i really fear getting into some of the sad parts of my past here in public, but there is a connection to the present.

and those damn better maids fueled this important conversation about childrearing over at the bar tonight.

my parents believed it was okay to hit their kids (they no longer believe this, but it is a little too late for me). so, one of the hard pieces connected to me really coming to the decision to have a kid with kk was the fact that i was raised getting smacked around by both of my parents, and sometimes that smacking did get out of hand.

couple the legacy of a childrearing style that i am deeply opposed to (that is the smacking and whipping and hitting of kids to keep them in line)with my huge-ass temper that was (i believe) birthed out of the violence i was exposed to (and subsequently inflicted on my sister, Eone,--we fought physically like angry wind up boxing dolls) and well...

while i know i could never raise a hand to a child, it is the raising of my voice and the brutality of the words that are capable of coming out of my mouth that have me still, to this day, concerned.

i have intense mood swings. kk is more than kind and puts up with the fierceness that piles up in my heart and then spills like toxic waste out of my mouth (and sometimes just my eyes or my body language). I go to dark places--places that only a few people, closest to me, see or know about or maybe even recognize. over the years these bouts of intense anger and depression have lessened, but still they do come on and kk asked me today," you will not crush our kid's heart with your words will you?"

and i promised, "i will not crush her/his heart."

and i do promise that. and i work everyday on lessening the legacy of the wounds of simply being alive among people who also were exposed to harshness and dysfunction as children, my parents. i hate to even use the word dysfunction cause all in all i believe that life itself is chaotic and many things are out of the path of reason and human understanding, but my parents did the best with what they knew and were exposed to and they loved me in spite of their anger and fragility.

and i will do the best with what i know and who i am and the support i have encircling me. no crushing here. i know this to be true, cause even though my heart may have been pinned down at times by my parents (this is true as a child and by the hurtfulness connected to their reaction and resistance to the revelation of my queerness), my heart has never been crushed. however, it has been tempered and tarnished, polished and pressed and now it pumps harder for what is right and good than it ever has before.


starrhillgirl said...

Oh, this was a good thing for me to read this week.
These are some of the truest things I know about being with children, or anyone, really: doing the best we can and loving folks through our own anger and fragility; knowing who we are and being encircled by our people.
Y'all's baby has a fine, fine home to come into.

Zoe the Wonder Dog said...

It is hard to not go down the road of worrying over which parts of our fucked up selves we are imposing on our children. There are parts of me that I so know I do not want to give to my kids, but sometimes, despite my best efforts, I can see my own anxieties in them and I know where they came from. I've run away at moments -- quite horrified by being so weak as to let my own demons hang out there where the kids can get at them. I lock up the toxins around the house, but apparently I can't do the same with the poisonous pieces of my personality.

Other days are better. I can step back and impose perspective. I can go to my children and tell them why I yelled. That is something my parents never did. They were always parents and never people. They never admitted that they screwed up. They never apologized.

I've decided the best I can do for my kids is to let them see the process. Show them that I am still working on me and my love for them helps me in that process and also offers me some of the biggest challenges. And say I'm sorry when I fuck up, which I do, everyday.

Strawberry said...

One of the best things about becoming a parent is that you can vow never to make the same mistakes your parents made ;)

Anonymous said...

I have begun to thank Creation for giving me difficult-to-love people to practice on. I think if I can show them some love I can learn to control my own verbal bile, and not get any on my baby girl. I learned verbal slash and burn techniques early from master practitioners and I had not finished learning new ways before I went and got my baby. It's coooomplicated, the most profound test of my life. I'll let you know how it's coming.