A journal entry from July, 2005
“Here I am wanting to tell a story. As I sit blankly, staring into the screen of a laptop that is not mine, in an apartment I do not pay for, I am wondering where did my imagination go? This wondering takes me back to a specific memory, the conjuring of which does not logically answer the question but, none the less is what comes.
My father, 40ish, my brother, 14, and I, 8, are driving over a set of old railroad tracks in the family’s 1980 Chevy astrovan, affectionately named “Willy” after Disney’s horrible movie about a whale of the same name. The van was so full of farm and construction related detritus, that the carpet actually sprung to life with growing grass and several dozen baby praying mantis. We lived on a country road in rural Alabama about 15 minutes outside of a small, KKK infested town named Roanoke.
So anyway back to my memory. We are driving over a set of railroad tracks in the afternoon heat of a sadistic Southern July. Dad was explaining to me that when John hits me or calls me fat it is only because he cannot hurt my father. It’s just transferrance of aggression. John calls me stupid because he feels stupid, and he calls me a whiny, fat, brat because he feels like a whiny, fat, brat. Projection. My father had hurt my brother, and my brother abused the only thing he could, which was me. This is my father. Calmly explaining to his eight year old daughter the mysteries of human emotional motivations. Calmly explaining to me on a sweaty summer afternoon in Alabama, that he was to blame for both our pain. Calmly robbing me of the right to be angry. Opening my eyes to the fact that he would not protect me from my brother because he was guilty, not sorry. It was not about me, it was about my father. He was saying this in front of my brother, who was silently seething with hatred for both of us in Willy’s back seat. There were times I was afraid my brother would do permanent damage to me, or more likely kill my father. Which he almost did at 19. All of this is what comes to mind when I wonder where my imagination has gone. It has been suffocated by the weight of what has become more real. What I can see, and perhaps what I believe to be the total insignificane of human life.
I did not have a bad childhood. It was wonderful compared to most. But what I did have, I thought, was a very keen understanding of emotional motivations. All seen through the distortion of the super negative. It is hard to grow up with a father a narcissitic as they come and an angry, critical mother. Narcissism in a parent is a strange thing. I have not begun to understand it. But enough about my parents, I have grown to accept that I chose them to be born to, and not the other way around. Freedom from the idea of logical conclusion is hard work, but I am fighting the good fight to get away from one and one is two, stupid!”