Was going to write a pleasant, congenial blog post about trees so I didn’t have to be real about what I have been feeling as of late. I have decided to go another route completely and make this “branch” prompt about branches on my family tree. The heck with trees, I just want to talk some truth today. I’m actually allowing my brain to “regurgitate” all kinds of krap that I hold inside of myself. I think getting my DNA tests back and researching various family is causing me to feel things that I usually choose to push way back as I live my life on automatic. I was in such a bad mood yesterday after a distant relative “innocently” made a very thoughtless and incorrect comment about my life to me and I flew off the handle. My mood has not improved as I have had time to reflect on many things.
Some of you might have read some things I posted about a year ago when I was finding out more things about my family that I had not known or was not sure about. That is when I received a few things from a family member regarding news coverage of the vicious crimes my father was involved in before I was born and that he was only captured when the police shot out their stolen car and stopped he and his “gang.”
My parents marriage was a freak show that lasted 19 years with many hiccups along the way. They were separated many times for various reasons such as other women or incarcerations. There was that one time that my father was actually one of the Detroit 59er’s but that was a complete “bust” as well. A person with a positive brain would concentrate on this story, but that’s not what I’m going to do since my father decided to get drunk and give up as usual. He has so many opportunities I could only dream of and threw them all away for whatever reason.
My mother had a chance to divorce him when she was incarcerated while pregnant with me as a possible accessory to his criminal actions and a few times after that but she wouldn’t let go. It wasn’t until recently when I heard someone explain the psychological make up of those that choose to stay with narcissists did it make sense to me. They were a perfect fit. She hated herself and he agreed with her. He continued to commit various crimes in between infrequent employment, running around with other women, drinking and brain operations to help ease grand mal seizures caused by scar tissue received falling from a horse as a young teen.
Never heard any stories about my father because neither of his parents cared about him or their grandchildren. I never knew either one of them. I met his alcoholic father a few times but he never said a word to me the times we were down to their farm years ago. His mother took off because of his father’s drinking and refusal to hold a job and she never looked back. She didn’t want her son, because he cramped her style trying to find another man. I don’t really know what she was doing but she managed to move all over the country for a while until she came back to Detroit to fulfill her dream of marrying a wealthy man.
I saw her for a short time while we lived in an old farmhouse in the country nearby owned my her new hubby. He owned a number of businesses and homes in and around metro Detroit. My father was running one of the businesses until he began stealing from his own father in law because whatever he was being paid and living in a free house was not good enough for him. He was fired and we were kicked out, forcing him into yet another mediocre job to survive and moving into a very run down, rat infested home in Detroit.
My dad was nice looking and could be very fun and charming when he wanted to be. I will say as abusive as he was when he was drunk, I still preferred him over my mom. He taught me to play the guitar, banjo and the piano, loved animals and shared everything he had with me like his collection of records including John Lee Hooker and Johnny Cash and his only guitar. With my mother everything was “you don’t need this, no you can’t have it.” My father was never good with money and sometimes even at our poorest, he would say “hey kids, let’s go down for some ice cream.” My mother would say “they don’t need ice cream” because she knew we couldn’t afford it but my dad would say he knew we didn’t “need” it but he wanted to get it for us anyway.
My mother was an odd, inhibited, beaten down person that didn’t like to cook or clean house and completely ignored her family unless she was fighting with my father about something. She had to be suffering from depression but was never treated for it. She would vacillate between being lost in books and newspapers completely ignoring us to lashing out if you provoked her and we loved to provoke her just to get any kind of reaction. My brothers still talk about how we knew our mom was not paying attention to us so we would ask or tell her outrageous things to hear her pat answer of “that’s nice kids.” Stuff like “mom, Bryan just set the house on fire.” “That’s nice kids.” We would laugh! “Hey mom, Bob just stabbed Bryan.” “That’s nice kids.” Course we stopped laughing when he actually did it one day.
My mother was also a victim of a closed head injury when she was hit by a Trolly in Detroit as a teen, suffered a severe concussion as well as fractured skull. She was is a coma for quite some time according to my grandmother but fully recovered having to relearn some things which put her back a year with no memory of the incident. My mother’s intellect never appeared to be affected and she love to put the rest of us down or laugh at my dad because he was not very bright. Can’t imagine why he chose the company of other women to her and always spent as much time away from the house as possible.
As I write this out and edit so many things are becoming clear like why the chip on my shoulder is so large and why I have so much pain and emptiness inside of me. I never had the love that I needed so desperately. Many of us don’t. I was never invited, never felt welcome, was always considered a misfit or an outcast, just like the rest of my sad, loveless family. I never meant for this post to develop as a bitch fest about my parents but folks have to realize we are all victims of circumstance no matter what our station in life.
Years ago I finally told my mother that I never felt loved by her or anyone in my family. She was half-assed defensive about it but I told her our family was unGodly. The Word of God was NEVER spoken in our house and where there is no God there is no love. I truly believe that. I believe the only reason I survived this freak show somewhat intact was that I did get to live my first four years with my Christian Aunt and those years are the most formative even if you cannot remember everything that happened. My sister and I used to stay with her and my maternal Gram on weekends after that because it was too hard for my parents to take care of us all. I am not a well-adjusted person nor do I cope with things well because I feel every slight or disappointment that happens is just another reminder that I will never win in my life and I am right. It’s not a good feeling. When I was younger I could convince myself that things were going to get better. I was wrong.
I can pray all I want but I know the spiritual truth of this evil world because I’ve lived it. The more good I do, the worse things that happen in my life. God only knows why because sometimes good things do happen to good people but more often than not “no good deed goes unpunished.” That saying came about like Murphy’s Law, from real people living real lives and seeing certain things in action, not in wish-fulfillment. I believe in praying to God to thank Him for each day and for strength and mercy but I have given up on the dream that I will ever have things the way I think they should be in my life and in the world. I have seen such suffering and pain in others as well as myself that defies any logic of spiritual reciprocation. The great thing about that is that is does not discourage me because that’s not why I do things. God knows my heart that when I do it, I do it freely for Him, not for a favor from Him.
Those that have many trials have to decide to how they wish to respond to those trials. I just saw something the other day about the load some have to carry is not about the weight but how you choose to carry it that will break you. I know some alcoholics that bitch and moan and cry about the same thing all the time because for some reason they cannot mature enough inside themselves to understand that this is life and sometimes there’s not a damned thing you can do about it no matter how hard you try. Which means grow up and deal with it instead of feeling sorry for yourself. Develop a grateful heart, a heart for God. A heart for revenge if you must. Revenge against evil and that is in doing good. This type of thinking helps me cope with my reality.
5 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Clinging Desperately to Any Branch of my Family Tree”
Thank you, that was an excellent article and one which must have been quite emotional to write. Life and people are very much more complex than we’d like to think and our own attitude and belief is, as you have shown, what allows us to cope.
You are welcome. It was hard but it was cathartic as I am the type that stuffs my emotions and moves on without processing much of anything. More time to try and figure out what really happened in my life.
Your a very good writer.
Thank you. 🙂