What’s in Your Closet
My oldest son made an extra effort to get home from college to see my dad before he died. He was in the hospital, his health was deteriorating rapidly. He had been on insulin and oxygen for years because he indulged in sugar and cigarettes most of his life. We all knew it was coming, you can’t abuse a body like that and expect it to keep on living.
Noticing my father’s lack of mobility due to the massive construct of machinery attached by tubes, plugs and tape, my sweet son started to cut up the meat on his grandpa’s dinner tray.
“What are you doing that for?” My dad shot at him, smirking, hateful, ready to make a fight where there is none.
“I was just cutting your food, Grandpa, so it will be easier for you to eat.” My son replied, afraid and ashamed that he had actually done something wrong.
“Well, that’s women’s work, you don’t have to do that.” Mocking him for showing compassion, insulting the women in the room…
I probably don’t need to explain how many ways this is just wrong. He wasn’t being egged on to say these boy-talk things. My dad was trying to corrupt my son and teach him to carry on his legacy of hateful misogyny. He was trying to rewrite the love and respect for all humans I tried to impress on my child throughout his life and shame him into being disrespectful toward the opposite sex.
My son shed tears over this. As have I, when he told me what happened years later. I apologized. He said he was sorry I had to grow up with that. He said he wouldn’t have survived it. He doesn’t really understand on what a slim cord of light I survived my childhood. My dad was a racist and a misogynist. When I was little, I learned to laugh at his jokes and pepper my speech with his phrases to make him laugh to provide me a slight protection from his wrath. By the time I was a tween, those jokes just were not funny anymore, and though my noncompliance to his hate regime meant I would fight a constant battle over my sovereignty to choose love for myself and everyone, it was the only path my spirit could take, even if it meant I would have to take it on the chin. I’m just a “fun size” chick after all.
My friends were a rainbow of outcasts in a backwoods white bread mid west town in the ‘80’s. I was terrified to bring them home because of the nasty and abusive things that my dad might say to them in person then listen to him bitch and complain about it all later, making fun of them, threatening to lynch them. Hate damages people. Listening to hateful words damages people, as does living in fear. Many suicides are absolutely preventable if more people would speak words of hope, love and truth into the world instead of lies, hate and fear. We have endured it in our lives, homes, schools, and streets for too long. Today 10 year old children callously tell friends and strangers to “Go kill yourself” over petty arguments while we suffer and struggle with a shocking number of suicides across our country.
My generation learned to laugh at everything ridiculous as if we could chase all the fear away in hope that it’s only a bogart in the cupboard. It was the most effective card in our deck of magic. For some unfortunate people, it was one of the few they picked up. The deck was stacked against us from the beginning, then they made everyone play by “prison rules”. Please forgive us. I know Millennials sometimes think we are horrible dragon-skinned mutants for our flaming shrieks of mirth at the twisted irony with which the world would shackle us. Perhaps they are right. We can do more than laugh because there are more of us who have love written in our heart than those who want to cast stones.
This disrespect for our children shoved down our throat by both major presidential candidates exposing deep roots of domestic violence and accusations of pedophilia expressed on the media daily is undermining our struggle to teach our college children what consent means. Neither one of them appear to have shown the moral, or cognitive aptitude to lead as polls suggest 71% of the people do not want to vote for either one of them. People are terrified of the genocide that is happening around the world as it teeters on the edge of nuclear war and they terrified at the incompetence of the individuals they are being coerced to endorse to guide us through these difficult times. Pray for our country, pray for our children and their freedom.
It reminds me of a super scary story that contains one of my favorite quotes.
“There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed.”