The World is a Very Lonely Place When People are Not Allowed to Make Mistakes
When I met her I was two years old. She let me know immediately that I had been a mistake. I was made wrong and that the way for her to love me and to protect the world would be for her to train me to be good, in spite of my wicked nature. It was going to be a hard job because even at two years old I was ripe with manipulation and greed and disrespect. She was a hero and certainly God brought us together so that she could help divert the pain that I was already bringing to the world by existing.
It was not easy for her, long hours, wooden spoons, burning water and diligence. She kept a constant watch. Even when I was in the relative safety of my mothers house during the rest of the week I could feel her with me. I could feel her watching, I could cry thinking she might find out that I wore baggy shirts she didn’t like and still rocked back and forth when I was expected to sit still. I listened to rock and roll, I masturbated.
I knew she was going to kill me. I knew it wouldn’t work. She could not get me to stop making mistakes because I WAS the mistake. Eventually she would give up, I wondered if they would find my body and if she would get in trouble or win a Peace prize.
I tried so hard. I memorized every rule she ever made and I followed them to the letter. But the rules would change and I would be in trouble again. A lot of times I was in trouble because other people loved me. Clearly I had manipulated them because they were otherwise reasonable people and I was unlovable.
Every tiny thing I did that was not to her liking was devastating. My stomach would sink when she looked at me, fire in her eyes. When she would flick me in the forehead for being the stupidest person she knew I would feel knives in every inch of my skin.
Where I was raised there was no such thing as an accident.
Where I was raised there was no forgiveness.
Whether I did not finish dinner quickly enough, or cried when shampoo got in my eyes or came inside too early because I was cold or shut the car door the wrong way… I was a criminal. It was all evidence of a larger more dangerous disease: Me.
If the stove broke we moved. If the neighbors were loud we moved. If the walls were flat we moved. If the sun came up again we moved. If her boss said she needed to work longer hours we moved. If the furniture company found us we moved. If she met a man we moved. If she left a man we moved.
If her sister snapped at me for getting finger prints on the microwave door we didn’t speak to her for five years. If her brother got bailed out by her mom again we didn’t see them for five years. If one sister owed another sister money or if one sister was caught sleeping with another woman or if one sister said the wrong thing at the wrong moment we didn’t speak to them anymore. They didn’t exist except as a cold story of how we had been done wrong.
Where I was raised, if you were uncomfortable, you ran and when you got a safe distance away, you only looked back to decide whose fault it was.
My No House
I didn’t run because of anything, I just kept a steady pace. I was the blur you saw sweeping through your living room, I was a hand in your back pocket helping myself on an Austin sidewalk. I was the beer you thought you had left in the fridge but couldn’t find when you got home. I was a warm place you lay down with in every cheap motel on I-80. I was a shadow, a deep feeling, longing, praying, wondering if anything would ever be different, shadow. I was the shine on the back of a rainbow fish that is already disappearing the split second you thought you had seen it.
I could not subject myself to people and I could not be subjected to them. Mistakes were inevitable and fatal to all the good feelings I wanted. Every relationship beginning, friend, lover, sibling, every one began with a timer being started. I was always wondering, who would fall down first? Who would we blame later when we were both alone again? Everyone would always be alone again.
Again and forever and always.
Where I raised myself you never held on and you never let go.
My New Olde House
I am tired.
I am tired of being loneliness. I just want it to be a passing feeling like the rest.
I am tired of the world I was given, where no one loves each other past and for their frailties.
I am tired of holding on so hard to what I think might make people love me.
A seed will not sprout in a freezer.
The soil is damp and warm under the surface.
All that running made a good strong heart. The beat is the sound of all those years of living when it didn’t make sense that I was.
A heart made of running….now meant for what takes more strength.
Strong enough to forgive and to see and to let go and to hold on.
The world is a lonely place when people are not allowed to make mistakes, and I am not alone anymore.