4:43 p.m. - 2001-10-10
I am the oldest of five children in a split family with steps and halves and all the other realities of modern married life. I have recently given myself the gift of letting go of a lot of the childhood bullshit that was holding me back in my life, and have become a much less tortured little ball of anger for it.
But as I grew up, I was very angry. I was naïve enough to believe all of the drivel that was presented to me in childhood via books, talking puppets, illustrated cartoons and after school specials. All the crap about sharing, good guys winning in the end, being honest with people, especially adults, being the key to your well being and happiness blah, blah, blah…
It took me a long time to realize that this was propaganda designed to make dealing with children easier for parents, teachers and any other adult. They are giving us this little fantasy world to shield us from the awful truth of society, but also to lubricate our upbringing and training.
A lot of my teenage angst was born out of the realization that I had been lied to. It took me a lot longer than most to let go of the "should be" world. Due to this I was considered the black sheep of the family. It was even suggested that I be sent to one of those camps for troubled youth.
The truth is I was such a straight laced little goody two shoes it makes me almost want to cry when I think of all the fun I missed out on.
I didn't smoke weed until after my high school graduation.
I didn't drink until I was 21. Yes I said 21.
But when I did start doing these things, I was honest with my parents about it, I didn't hide anything from them, just like the sitcoms taught me.
Even though my more adventuresome younger siblings were busy trying out all the pills and liquids and powders and tabs and fumes, since I was the most forthcoming, I was the bad seed in the eyes of the elders.
I thought my pop would appreciate the honesty and open communication of our relationship, even if he didn't always appreciate what I was attempting to communicate. The truth, I found out through observation of my brothers more successful relationship with him, was that he was more comfortable in the dark.
For my dad the empty whipped cream cans found in my little brothers room were a clear sign that he'd better have a talk with him. About spoiling your appetite for dinner by eating whipped cream. Nice and easy.
Another prime example of this theory can be found when I was making the transition into young adulthood. The pain I was putting myself through, hormones, and the genetics that governed my brain chemistry, were all peaking. That, coupled with my lack of ability to cope with my unhappiness gave me what could only be described as a significant anger problem. I am still very thankful to the people in my family who stood by me even while I was subjecting them to some poisonous shit. There came a time in my life when I suddenly recognized this behavior completely. It was as simple as realizing that if I saw someone else screaming at my family the way that I did, I would probably be driven to violent intervention.
I wish I could say that this was all it took to make me stop mistreating my loved ones cold turkey, but it took years of painful self reflection and soul searching.
That story will probably reveal itself in this journal over time, the point I am making now is a little less introspective and long winded. ( I fucking hope…)
The relevance of my short fuse to this topic, is that I admitted I had a problem expressing anger to my family and friends. This was no news to them as you can imagine, but my willingness to accept it as a fault ended up becoming a new coal mine of opportunity to add fuel to the fire. From then on, anytime I even started to get upset, the "anger problem" card was immediately pulled and explained away my frustrations with whomever I was speaking to. Suddenly, I had given up my right to ever express an emotion that came close to anger. I couldn't have a reason for being upset. I had an anger problem. That's all.
This new dynamic became one of the sure triggers to sending me into a fit of rage. A self fulfilling prophesy in powder form, just add water.
That majority of that issue is now behind me, I'm a much gentler Heckafresh than I used to be in the midst of adolescent male development. I still notice, though, that when I do make the realization that I have acted in the wrong, reflecting upon it to a loved one may not always spur a response like;
"Thanks for owning up to that. I'm glad you see that now and plan to stop (eating the last lychee cup, giving me unsolicited advice, saying that internet diaries are strictly for 'puter nerds…). I'm sure glad I have a boyfriend who is not too stubborn to admit when he is wrong! Let's go get our mad hump on!"
It could go something like;
"You're sorry? That's great. No, I'm happy that you're not going to do it anymore, it just makes me sad that I was right about you being an (inconsiderate lychee hog, know-it-all asshole, insecure freak who is even jealous of an inanimate internet diary…) all that time and you said I wasn't. No…I'm not in the mood tonight."
If I sound like I'm still bitter, I don't really feel that way anymore. Now I just see it as a lesson on life, admitting your mistakes will not make you look any bigger in the eyes of your loved ones- Full House was a crock.
I HATE you Uncle Jesse.