I have spent years, now, in a gene war with myself. Any trait or characteristic in myself that reminded me of my maternal grandparents was subject to intense ridicule and outright violent aggression by me. Well, by the rest of me.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said that I would gouge their genes out of my DNA if I could, nor do I know exactly when it was that I realized that I had been attempting to do that very thing for most of my life, but I know for certain that a lot of my health problems over the years have been a direct result of my efforts to literally sever from myself every trace of those nasty pieces of child molesting garbage.
My lilting soprano from granny? Despise it. (By the way, I refuse to capitalize the first letters of proper or improper names of pieces of garbage.) My penchant to psychoanalyze every person like papaw always has? I want to cut its fricking head off and watch it bleed to death. My instinct to speak to people I love with sweet endearments, like “Doodlebug”, as granny always did makes me want to vomit. My bravado in the face of direct challenges or confrontations like papaw makes me feel like a false hero, an anti-hero.
Little seemingly benign things like the smell of vegetables simmering into a broth make me wretchedly angry at my initial pleasurable reaction, and replaces those feelings with repulsion. granny was a good cook. I don’t want to remember with fondness the smell of her kitchen. she and her good cooking skills can rot in hell. her seamstress skills which she passed on to me? I hate that I love to sew. I refuse to sew most of the time. Altering patterns and stainless dressmakers scissors and the sound of my machine pedal make me think of the few good things she taught me, then of her alternating sweetness and coldness, then of disgusting nightmares of her and papaw. Then my love of sewing makes me cry. That makes me angry. I hate to cry.
People would be surprised and horrified if they knew just how much anger I seethe with. Anger at them. Anger at the parts of me that remind me of them. Anger at anything in the world that serves as a reminder that those two pieces of garbage were ever in the world; much more-so that papaw still breathes—but I pray for him to continue breathing for now. Anger that most persons turn a blind eye to the things children and others suffer at the hands of pieces of garbage everywhere.
How do I reconcile with the parts of myself that remind me of monsters, even if those parts themselves are harmless, even good and helpful? I’ve stopped trying to self-murder them out of me, but they are there, still, and parts of me, still. They are parts of me that feel hated and unwanted and unloved. What to do for them? With them? I don’t know the answer.
The war has ended but there is no peace. There is a slow, seething, relentless rage. I often feel I’m about to boil right up and over with it like granny’s old pressure cooker when the whistle would go off and steam would be roiling out the spout and it looked and sounded and smelled like an alarm of an impending atomic explosion. That is how I feel more than half of my waking time. A third of my sleeping time is interrupted by my waking up feeling this way, another third by me waking to pray for forgiveness for feeling this way. Why can’t I just be grateful to have survived and have all the blessings that I have? The war is over but the aftermath is me. I’m still a disaster area.