A few years ago, i snapped this image of my brother and father on a visit with them. i kept it all these years because of the odd ghost effect… it was as if my brother was passing through – they weren’t touching. i feel comfortable posting it here because they are not recognizable in it. It serves as a visual representation of how i was raised and the relationships i’ve had with many people… passing through… passing by… sharing space without sharing much else.
Like many other adults, i carry on adult relationships with the script of my childhood… with the insecurities learned and the methods that kept me safe then. When a child is harmed by the people they should trust? Or course it fucks them up.
When i was a child, the sound of my name meant only one of two things:
i had done something wrong or my parents needed something.
Ah, especially when my father called. It mattered not where we were or what we were doing, if dad called us – either of us – it was a call to action.
Drop everything and run to the sound of that voice. Run.
When you arrive in front of him,
hope you’ve read his mind properly and have whatever you need…
on hand… to fulfill his request
because once there, a task would be given
and successful and immediate completion was the only suitable outcome.
i remember one time, answering that call…
my brother and i practically spilling down the steep hillside behind our house
where we had been playing and arriving breathlessly to have dad demand,
“Why didn’t you bring a screwdriver?”
Nevermind that the tools were in his workshop…
oh, about 20 steps from where he stood.
i think my brother had it worse than i did because he acted out more often and struggled more at school. No matter what we did, though, it was never good enough. Demands were confusing, expectations unclear, rules switched mainstream, and the relationships we had with dad – and mom – were largely cold and punitive.
One of the few things that my father praised was my intellect. Our present relationship is almost exclusively intellectual… that’s important to me because it is one of the only ways i can actually touch him.
This comes to mind today because i am struggling with trusting people with my inadequacies or my perceived inadequacies. i’ll damn-near drive myself nuts doing whatever i think i should be doing or could be doing to figure something out… and i’ll research the hell out of something online… before i’ll ever ask someone that is in a power position in my life for help – even for clarification.
i understand, or at least i think i do… the source for this behavior. What i don’t have a firm grip on is what to do with that knowledge or how to go about changing that behavior.
In my work life, countless people come to me for all manner of help and information but i’m just not comfortable being the person who asks for help. i don’t like feeling stupid or helpless… and yet, when others ask me for help… i never assume that they are either of those things.
There’s no resolution to this today. It simply is where i am. Realizing that there are things i am doing… ways that i am being that do not please me… that do not serve me. i wish to change that. The cacophony of emotions… the swirling suspicions of my childhood? i have no desire to replicate them now.