Futile Forgiveness & the Death of Hope

When it comes to emotion, I’m usually all in:  I laugh loud; love hard; and bring the phrase “seething with rage” to a comparison of the sun’s surface being a nice place to get a tan.

I come by the last trait honestly, and probably genetically.

My mother is a redhead, and like all stereotypical redheads has flash fire anger that comes out and is over, with the occasional spew of lava.  The trick was to be out of arm’s reach, or to be able to try and redirect the bull with a flick of the cape to a convenient sibling.

Father on the other hand has a long fuse:  it takes a LOT to get him angry; however, when that fuse hits, he becomes a cold fusion reactor.  His eyes seem to change color, and by some Jedi mind trick, he could mentally lock you in place; then move simultaneously in slow motion, yet instantaneously traverse from his location to yours, and fill your personal space with the totality of his quietly, raging presence.  It wasn’t that he would hit – though I remember each rare swat from him in detail – it was the  PROMISE of SOMETHING vague but unpleasant that would happen, up to and including the elimination of your entire existence in the universe, down to the last teddy bear.

Lucky me has both types of temper.

Anger can be a good thing, giving you a quick burst to try and move past a situation; some survival skill, to give rage/strength to climb obstacles and kill sabertooth tigers and shit.  The problem is, when you can’t release it properly, it ends up getting banked down:  embers and coals hidden beneath ash.

There are those landmark moments, the epiphanies from God; from your spirit; your higher power – whatever you call it.  Most people hear them during a halcyon moment of calm and peace, perhaps having a coffee alone on the dock while at the cottage, or holding a newborn, or after kissing The Right Person.  There is sudden clarity of thought, and an inspiration of purpose, making life all together right again.

In addition to my parents’ anger, I’ve got a third setting that a lot of people in my life have sensed, but few have witnessed:  righteous fury.  It’s a major driving force that allows me to do my work day in and day out: the ability be so angry about an unjust situation, that I will try to simply melt through obstacles & traps that are causing others to gnaw their own limbs off, or lie down and die over.

It’s the cold polite rage I can use on an incompetent professional from another agency, because I know how the system works, and can use this ability to imply “if you don’t fucking cut my client some slack, I will not only bump this up to your supervisor, I will make it my personal vendetta to have your ass fired, and if you are a unionized entitled prick, I will ensure that the union steward knows that you are the type of entitled prick that the public absolutely hates, and gives the face of unions a bad rap and lack of sympathy, because FUCK YOU you won’t stop filing your goddamn nails long enough to type in the case number, and realize that a dying person is showing up on your screen, and I will make you suffer because of it” while still being recorded for quality assurances purposes as having been politely professional.  It’s a gift.

A moment of that level anger has been applied only once within: a self-cleaning oven turned on for the first time, to clear away then 35 years of build-up.

Like a reversed rainbow through the prism, all the different excuses I had told myself and false hopes I had had were suddenly turned to the pure light of truth, and I could hear the voice of clarity for myself.  The voice whispered, “This is wrong, and it will never change.  It’s DONE.”

My mother crossed The Line when she told me after Jaymz died that he was in hell, by virtue of him in being gay.  Well, she didn’t say it:  GOD said it…it’s written down…she was just passing the message along.

My mother – the person who is supposed to love you unconditionally – cast her stone, in the name of her god against my dead mate – the only person I instinctively knew did love me unconditionally – and in doing so, let me know that there was absolutely no use in trying ever to reconcile who I am, with her world view.

I have wasted so much time in worry; I have wasted potential family relationships, by avoiding my own; and I have wasted energy on a false hope that one day that there would be this beautiful made for TV special reconciliation.  Stupid me, what was I thinking?

I have forgiven, and forgiven, and forgiven…but I have not been able to forget in the past, and that last time I never will let go of.  And crossing The Line – not a line, The Line – is a one-way trip: as straight down drop off the cliff, with me not hesitating to step on any desperately clinging fingers in order for it to be a smooth transition…

I am sure I still love my mother.  In a way, I feel sad that she will never grow past the tiny piece of where she always was, but it is no longer my problem.  I will be polite and cordial and even seemingly friendly with her, just as I would when trapped by a boring friend of a friend at a cocktail party.

After all, I still have hope of having a great relationship with my father.

faults & traits & madness

I remember when my cousin came to stay for a week, and on Saturday night we were watching “The Littlest Hobo”.  I had been reading in the StarWeek tv guide magazine that very day that there were several dogs used as the Hobo on any given episode.  When C said “boy, that’s a smart dog”, I told him about the article.

He shrugged and said “still a pretty smart dog” and we continued watching.  No biggie to him.

While my cousin is younger than me, he was still closer in age than I am to the next sibling up from me, and the kind of stuff I told him was exactly the same thing that they told me.  When he went to the bathroom, I got blasted by my siblings how you don’t tell little kids things like that, and it was like telling them there was no Santa Claus.

I knew where that browbeating came from.  Our family hadn’t been raised to believe in Santa.  As far as I was aware, everyone knew there was no Santa, except for my friend, Derek, who I told on the bus when we were in Grade 4, and he had complete crying jag all the way to school, and I was the asshole, because all the older kids were worried that the younger kids had heard me say it as well.

Huge biggie.

I remember the bus driver, Ellen, looking up in the rearview, alternately amused at first, and then saddened.  It hurt worse than what what some of the older kids were whispering at me.  After Derek was let off, and the the attention of the older kids went from trying to console Derek to berating me, she finally stated coldly, that Santa wasn’t the only one seeing if people were being naughty or nice.

I still have those “thoughtlessly being helpful” moments of crushing someone’s idea with unsolicited information…as opposed to purposefully crushing someone’s idea with unsolicited information; or inadvertently crushing someone’s idea with solicited information.  It’s still one of those faults about myself I really don’t like, causing countless ohno seconds… that moment after the thought is already partway out the mouth, and I’m thinking “oh no…how do I turn this about?”

Because of a need to try and keep up with my siblings, over the years I’ve developed a drive for learning a little bit about everything, enough to keep up with the conversation.  Mind you, I think part of it also came from my father, who read the encyclopedia for entertainment, and loved documentaries.  He liked to learned, and still does…as do I.

It’s a common trait that we both have:  learning something new – mostly outside of the realm of necessary, as opposed to need to learn for work (though not always) – is enjoyable.  Facts are interesting.  They are also the arsenal of the introvert unable to engage in social chit-chat, yet wanting interaction…whip out a relevant fact, and you are still contributing to conversation patterns.

The other side of the opening stories is that childhood feeling of needing to be more grown-up than I was.  Coupled with that was the unspoken (sometimes whispered about) directive “pretend everything is just fine and keep a smile on your face or else”.  The final ingredient?  I have always been aware since I was very little that I was different but didn’t really comprehend what that difference was until the ripe old age of 7, when one of the kids at school called me a faggot.  Someone giggle, shocked, and explained he thought I was a “homo”.

With part of a word, I could look it up, until I figured it out.  The encyclopedia in the house was still using the “abnormal psychology” type of definition for ‘homosexual’.  And I knew from my staunch upbringing that it was an abomination, and they all went to hell, no matter what.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing you have been completed fucked over by life at age 7, with no hope of redemption in the afterlife.  AWESOME.  I know some of my sibling felt that I was a goody-two shoes growing up, but how else are you supposed to redeem your worth as a kid?  And the more you tried to hide that you are different, and the more you try and pretend everything is all good, the more the vultures circled on the playground, innately sensing different and using it cruelly as only children can do.

In spite of all that I promised myself long ago:  I’m going to move to the city, and escape these country ass-wipes; I’m going to meet people like me (i.e. gay); and I’m going to start living my life.  And I can be that mad, quirky, crazy, weird, fun-loving, strange – add your adjective, if you’ve met me – person, because gosh darnit, there are some really nice people I like that rather like that aspect of me!

So I’ve moved to the city, I’ve met people like me, but I haven’t started living my life.  Only for a short time, when I jumped down the rabbit hole to follow my love, and things got curiouser and curiouser…but then that stopped.

Now I’m trying to get it things restarted, by checking the map of where I’ve been, so I can try and remember where I was going…or pick a new direction to take.

(Note:  I’m not nailing myself to the cross by showing the world what a martyr I was, nor revealing secrets for the sake of entertainment.  There are people in my social circle who have had far, far worse lives – but those aren’t my stories to tell – and there are some things in my life I will truly never take pen to paper over.  My twisted logic is, if I take all the dark and horrible secrets that I’ve been keeping locked up and let them out, then they simply become facts.  Facts are simple, neutral things.  Secrets hold dark power, and destroy lives.  I will not be destroyed.)

 

The last 6 years

Let’s catch up:  traumatic childhood; hellish high school; unbearable university; followed my dream to moving in Toronto; got stabbed, rebuilt.  I did what I do best:  I survived and I waited.

All good things come to those who wait.

I was working at a job I enjoyed, surrounded by interesting people.  I was able to go out briefly – usually after work – for a couple of hours, and enjoy myself, though I stayed away from crowds.

Thus it came to pass that a friend invited me to see a show at a local club, and stood me up. And as I had been looking forward to it all week, I said to myself “F*ck it, I’m going out.”

Arriving, the club was already starting to get packed, and I searched desperately for a friendly face to latch on to.  I found one, clinked drinks, and made small talk.  He laughed at something I said, and replied “you should tell Jaymz that.”

“Who?”

“You don’t know Jaymz?”  He turned and tapped someone near him.  “You need to meet this guy.”

Jaymz was scented with charisma, and wore fun and attitude,  like an dowager empress wearing silk and jewels, and sprinkled with lotus water.  Similarly, he knew what power he had, and when to wield it.

“Hey.  We were going back to my place to spark one up.  Come.”  Not an invitation, but a command – I’m doing this, you are welcome to join, or not.

I followed.  At some point we said good night to the matchmaker, and went on talking.  And then it was morning.

Weeks later we argued about whether we should celebrate the day we met, or the day we fell in love.  I won with “were you in love with me when you brought me home, or when you woke up with me?”

Jaymz taught me more about how to live than I had done until I met him.  Ordinary things became extraordinary with the correct amount of cheese, glitter, or vodka added.

When I got forced out of a job, due to the machinations of an evil new manager and ended up at his place, he ran out and came back with a bottle of champagne to celebrate being free of the bitch.  And then he cursed her that the same game would be played on her.  (Eventually, yes it was, as her habit of blaming one person and micromanaging them until they were in tears started to get obvious).

And when I held his dead hand in the hospital it was not only his life I grieved, but the uncertainty of how I could live, I mean REALLY live without him.

In a perverse way, I sometimes think it was his machinations from the realm beyond this one that tied up what should have been a simple estate into years of fighting, him knowing that I wouldn’t stop until it was done…and when it was done I’d be beyond the pain.

Except then I had pain.  And fatigue. And more pain.  So the last year has been trying to figure out WTF is going on with me.  And by the end of last year I had the answer of fibromyalgia.  Great, a chronic pain condition, just what I always wanted.

So, here I am three months into being 40 thinking “I have spent most of my life waiting for my life to get better, and with the exception of a few brief beautiful times, it hasn’t.  What am I doing wrong?  Or is this all there is supposed to be?”

There are three choices:

  1. Give up – exit stage left.
  2. Give in – simply think this is my lot in life, suck it up, buttercup
  3. Give it all I got – find a different way of being

Not ready for 1 and 2 would just lead to 1, so, door number 3, here we come.