I grew up with my grandparents on the poorer eastside of Indianapolis. Some of my earliest memories are having been made to feel as if I'm not good enough, even in my family. I had two aunts and two cousins; one which was close and age and my encouraged rival.
I always knew my mother had given me to my grandparents, but whenever addressed, all was hush and given with a conspriational look. I last saw my father on Christmas when I was 8. I remember getting batman underoos more than him.
Holidays were strange to me. My aunt Diane was my best friend then, a surrogate mother...and my first discovery of how fickle people can be. Christmases brought a kind of joy only children can fully embrace, but I still recall trepidation of the event. My rival, cousin Mark, whome would always get something similar to me giftwise, always had to have a little bit more. One year we both got Atari's, but he also got three extra games.
This would be a pattern for several years to come.
In retrospect, my grandmother, always present....was overly protective and sometimes tyrannical. My first taste of freedom ocurred when my aunt Diane moved out and I got the upstairs room. It was three times as large, and most importantly, it had a door with a lock. The Brooding Room, how I spent so many hours lying there, dreaming of escape, of my life ahead and of love.
My dreams imprisoned me as I soon realized that different feeling I've always had, was true. After my first kiss with a boy, it became immediately clear I had a life full of strife and isolation before me. And if I forgot, my grandmother was there to remind me.
Maybe it's because I became more aware, or that secrets started leaking, but the general ambience of my family began to crack. My aunt Diane was in an abusive relationship with an asshole named Phil and she lost herself, taking on his personna. My uncle Johnny killed himself, thus disrupting that family unit I so envied of my two cousins. My mother moved further away from me, both physically and emotionally.
...and as my grandfather was having yet another affair, new to me, I discovered that he used to beat my grandmother. All through this, I got larger and larger, on a daily diet of fattening food and bitterness.
I now know and understand the reasons behind many of the events, but they shaped my understanding of the world, and relationships in general. My first best friend, Charles, disappeared on me after he discovered I was gay. My first kiss, Rodney, experimented and then disappeared as well.
Anyone can leave, at any time and without even giving an excuse. So, I found two friends I couldn't get rid of even with disease and treachery. We were so young then. It was here that I learned the power of lies and treachery. Time and time again, it was impressed on me the value of isolation and guarding one's true emotions.
When I was sixteen, someone broke into my grandmother's house and destroyed all of my things. That christmas, my Aunt's asshole boyfriend took a sledgehammer to my car in front of witnesses. Nothing was done...nothing until I came home and was given forty dollars; which happened to it's worth to the junkyard. I never really dared to have anything after that.
The family was fighting: My mother was dealing with bullshit from her marriage to a younger guy, my aunt Diane going through that 'break up, get back together hell' that only obsessive couples can do, and my Aunt Teresa got married to a liar and user, thus leaving her sons to fend for themselves. My older cousin Randy, never the social type, moved in.
I began to...evolve. Black became my chosen color as it expressed my mood. I started cutting myself to release pain I couldn't vent, and I could only feel anger, saddness or a love so obsessive that I ached.
Then my grandfather had his heart attack, and began to change. As he got better and realized his own mortality, he began to change as only one at the end can do. The problem is that my grandmothers pain had never been addressed. Now she was responsible for both his and my care.
It was then that she began to start trouble. I smile writing that because the words seem too simple to explain the web of deceit that's been spinned between us. Threats and ultimatums flew faster than the everchanging seasons. I immersed myself in my friends and escaped with D&D.
Through gaming, I met John...and to escape the hell that was State street, I started spending nights at his house. I was told I couldn't come home in March of 1994. By that time, I was completely in love with John and we'd just started our tragic relationship. But I tasted freedom again.
Through these years I devoted myself to John and The Relationship. I put that in caps because it was an entity to itself. It was so important, that I lost sight of myself...and it was filled the same with lies.
I removed myself from most family involvment. As my mother was going through her divorce, I discovered the dark secret that made her emotionally unvailable. My Aunt left her asshole boyfriend to find another and my other aunt teresa discovered her husband was a cheap user, had the subsequent divorce followed by a heart attack.
Things happened so fast. John and I split in the exact way I feared, Raymond died and Raphael racked up several thousand dollars using my identity. My grandfather finally died, leaving my grandmother alone for the first time in almost 50 years.
and in her lonliness, she began to spread her bitterness like so much molasses. I stopped going to holidays, and I'm afraid it influenced my mother to as well.
Now, my aunt diane has married what seems like a good guy. He has to be to put up with her mouth. My aunt teresa has adopted her eldest randy back into her life. They bought a house and has him living in the basement. My mother has been hurt so many times that she lives alone and doesn't let anyone get close to her.
me, well, I've had a few short relationships since John. And I've had what I thought were great friendships. Apparently, I'm just discovering that I'm so fucked up in the head, no one wants to be with me for any period of time. The pattern of disappearances, lies and short romances can't be ignored.
While talking with my mother Thursday. It's now obvious, all of this self hate, self deception and the inability to trust stems from my grandmother.
Are we doomed forever or do I dare hope there can still be love for me?