Monday, October 10, 2011

The Mother

Until you experience something similar on a personal level, you forreal cant understand the struggles people go through and the emotions that result from em. And in the cases where you havent, theres just not much you can say or do but give them the blankest part of you, theirs to mold into whatever solace they seek. 

Your inexperience isnt your fault; its just circumstance. 

I was young. Time hadnt yet given me a very broad range of emotions and empathy. So when tha dampening phase of the mother and the fathers marriage began, i could not for the childish life of me feel the oppression she went through. It took me my whole life to gain this heart, this brain, n without the two i wouldnt be able to trace back my memories and know how hard those years were for my family. Cant decide if hindsight or insight is the greatest gift of our presence in the present. It took the past to build sharp perception for the future, but the future to build clarity and acceptance of the past. 

To anyone, the father is the nicest man youll ever meet in your lifetime. The kind of nice tha makes you wonder how his unchanging, friendly temperament is possible. The kind of man you believed without a doubt didnt have one mean bone in his body. 

But as a man, as a product of his society, as a human, his greatest flaw is sexism.

Dominance exerted at home relieves it of unwanted exposure later. So no one beyond the women of his house see his capacity to put down n degrade. He tore her self-esteem apart, asserted himself in ways that had her choking on her words. He had her backed up against a wall. He made her believe her voice was ignorance. Every move towards reconciliation on her part was perceived as an accusation, bringing out denial, screamed retorts, n low blows in which he spelled out to her all the ways she was imperfect. Forgot appreciation for her, ignored all the ways she had made him what he was. Every word said became a fight. Every silence, hateful tension. Every bottle, an anxious night. I used to collect the bottle caps, rinse the green glass clean. The next night, repeat. After a while, he moved to the couch or an extra bed. I used to ask him why hed sleep there, n he fed me bullshit like, this is better for my back... Never believed tha i had the slightest understanding of events, refused to accept tha i always saw what happened, tha i saw the faces n heard the voices, tha i was always there. This was him coping with shame. But before tha, i cant imagine how disturbingly heartbreaking it mustve been to fall asleep beside the man you loved, immediately after he abused you each night. Emotionally, verbally. Only once in this period did he physically hurt you, n its fucking chilling to think about now tha im older. I remember just tha one bruise on your forearm, how it came to be. I was so young.

I wanted no part of any of the matters i did not know, but my sisters pushed me to keep asking questions, to keep making my presence known. They wanted me to play mediator when they themselves failed to do so. That man would never in hell talk to them about what was happening. This was a mans business, the way he treats his wife, n he refused to let any young girl, let alone his daughter, tell him what was right n wrong. All he needed was the justification in his head, the fucked up mentality that circumstance implanted in him. He was a man, who needed an outlet, n here was his wife. Overcoming her into submission became a dark comfort.

N when the mother cried to me, a regular routine, id be shocked n helpless. Then i got used to it, went numb n blank in my head every time i saw her face, every time she grabbed me up. But now, i overflow with fucking sympathy n love for her. I cry for her when i never couldve before. She spent so many days in her room, crying in bed and facing the wall. Shed cry the hardest not on the days hed rage at her, but on the days he didnt say anything at all.

Those experiences are still very much so with us, n always will be. I see it so clearly in the mother, in the way shes so damn careful about ever upsetting the father. She shuts up as soon as something she says gets his verbal disapproval. He can do as he pleases, at home n away, wearing dirtyass shoes through the house n coming home at late hours with no explanations. When we talk, some conversations are cut short as soon as he walks into the room. When we talk, she addresses his every tyrannical habit, vents about it, n finishes with, but hell never change. When we talk, she warns me about bad men, the signs of em, why i should avoid them. More often than not i think of little details about the father. 

We, the women of his home, hide so much of ourselves from him.  

My trust issues are such a shitty matter. I didnt always get why the idea of speaking up n revealing my thoughts made me mentally n physically distressed, but some things make sense now. Only some. Cos i could never attribute one part of who i am to one aspect of my life. So much more has happened thas led to my insecurity with myself n with my relationships.

Stupid to say so, but through my own experiences, as insignificant as they are in comparison to what my mother has endured, have taught me just how crippling our emotions can be. How we can feel negativity n depression take root in in our muscles, our joints, the crevices between our bones. How they distort our perspective, convince us into believing we are our own destruction. 

And when these events passed, n he slept in the bed again, n she was happy again, the mother was awake. N we all accepted everything as one big mistake, hoping to forgive, forget, n keep trooping. 

I will not always agree with where the mother stands, but i will always respect what she went through to get there. I will always respect her.

My mother loves my father, more than he could ever love any woman. Women like my mother, who know how to love so selflessly after their hope was crushed, are soldiers humbly beautiful in their compassionate triumphs.

As Gandhi told the world, "Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

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