At Times I feel like…

At times, in some way, I  feel like a man who’s been swimming in a raging river for far too long, still trying to help others get to shore, even though knowing it is too late for him – he’s become too tired and too weak. Yet having accepted his fate, he is only now coming alive.

It’s similar to the man who’s standing on the deck of the Titanic, helping women and children board the lifeboats while knowing that it is too late for him. He knows he hasn’t even got enough time to jump overboard and swim away before the ship goes under and the undertow drags him down with it.

But what gives me the right to feel this way? What real effort have I put in to save anyone? Who am I saving? What am I saving them from?

I’m not really sure. All I know (and I do know this) is that this world is hurting and too many people are hurting along with it. And I think I may have a possible solution. I keep thinking that if I could just get people to wake up, to see, to try, then things would get fixed because nobody really wants to hurt. Not really.

The guy in the river? I’ve only just realized (or maybe think) that it’s too late for me. I’m not young/tough/knowledgeable  enough to go live in the mountains like I’d like to do (hermit/survivalist) and I’m certainly not a good farmer. Besides, every time I’ve been lucky enough to be able to start building a ‘setup’ (house, some land, etc.), I’ve also managed to screw it up somehow (still figuring that one out) and lose it. I’ve spent my whole life trying to get out of the city and put down roots, yet here I am in the city (admittedly/thankfully a smaller one) living in a studio apartment  [happy face here] that is about 11×12 feet (that’s 132 sq. ft.) plus a closet & bathroom. But I do have a small set of roots. [happy face here too]

So what I’m left with is the process of improving/growing my soul, a proper thing for this age, and then perhaps to share some of the little I’ve learned in this life with the hope that it will help. I’ll try to explain with a true story…

When I was growing up, my three brothers and I (no sisters) had the dubious good fortune of having terrible parents. Terrible? Well, I don’t remember ever actually feeling loved. Does that qualify?  Also, I honestly believe (with no animosity, full forgiveness, and non judgemental) that my father was a sadist and my mother was a masochist.

My father beat us often, harshly, and evidently got into it so much that my mother would have to force herself in between us and the belt he was using. I remember standing on the stairs one day, looking up as I watched him use his clenched fist to, over and over, punch my brother in the face, yelling, “Say good morning to me!” My brother refused until my father finally gave up and let him go to school.

And my mother? Well, how would you explain it? Knowing what would happen, she often greeted my father at the door, as he arrived from work, and before he even had time to take off his coat would start right in with so-and-so did this or that. Was she afraid to not say anything? Maybe. But I can’t help thinking that she was, for lack of a better word, a masochist. After so many years, she knew exactly what would happen, as we brothers knew as well.

He’d look at her and then us, say, “OK,” and proceed to finish ‘coming home’. We’d eat supper, maybe do homework or play, brush our teeth, get ready for bed, and turn in – knowing what came next.

After we were in bed, he would come in, go over whatever it was we had done wrong, take off his belt – didn’t even need to tell us to turn over & drop our pants, which we did automatically – and begin to beat whoever it was that was unlucky that night. And he would keep it up. Ten, twenty lashes until at some point my mom would throw herself into the scene and start screaming, “Stop! Stop it!”

Sometimes he would. Other times he’d push her aside & keep going. Other times he’d turn on her. 

On a really good day he might offer, “Do you want your ‘spanking’ now (before supper), or when you go to bed?” Gee thanks dad.  

I even remember that, many days, the first thing out of our mouths after school was, “Is dad coming home tonight?” Meaning before we went to bed. (He spent a lot of time working late and womanizing.) If the answer was no, we’d be happy. Yay! Let’s play! If the answer was yes, we’d be noticeably tense but, being kids, we sure made a good effort at happy & play. 

But I’m not here to bash (ha!) the old man, just giving you some (I believe important) background… Anyway…

We all tried to pretend that things were OK or at least not so bad. You know, ignore it and it might go away. Or, it must be my fault. Or, “don’t worry, be happy.” Etc.

Regardless, what eventually happened is that we, my brothers & I got older, bigger, stronger (except I was the weakest of the bunch), and we woke up. We just knew, subconsciously, it was going to stop one day. Sure enough the day came.

I was fourteen and my father was starting in on my oldest brother who was 18. He had backed my brother up against the wall/window and was about to start beating him with his fists. My other two brothers and I, without saying even one word, gathered together and lined up behind the guy. We just stood there, ready, but not knowing for what. When the old man saw my brother looking past him, he turned around and saw us. He knew. We knew. It was over. Tough as he was (and he was strong) if he tried it, we’d gang up on him and beat the crap out of him. If not this time, then the next. Still not a word. He looked at us and walked out, trembling with, I don’t know, rage or fear or both. Within about 3 months he found a job out-of-state and was gone. Good riddance.

Here’s the point. What finally ended the abuse was our facing it. That’s all. We didn’t ‘decide’ to do anything. It just happened – because we no longer would make excuses or ignore it.

And that’s what I wish people would do. Face it. Look at it. Talk about it. Life is wonderful. Life is good. Life is fun. Life is love. But there are a few, if not many, people out there who are bent on destroying us and, ultimately, all of life – for profit. I don’t know if we need to stop/fight them. I don’t know if we need to love them (peace man!).

I do know that if we don’t stop ignoring what is staring us in the face, we’ll never get to figuring out what to do and we’ll never make it to the next step in our/man’s evolution. 

Maybe if an ‘awareness’ grows with the next generation(s), the same way the current mess did, it will become strong and real enough to make a difference.

I don’t know anymore. Everybody just wants to enjoy life, which is cool. But the control freaks and profiteers are killing us (literally), all of us and themselves too…

And that’s why I feel like I do. I’ve known about this, been studying it and talking about it best I could since I was about 16.  It’s been 45 years and I’m getting so tired. Even my kids don’t get it (maybe because I pushed too hard or not hard enough, or maybe because ‘those who brainwash’ were stronger & more effective) and because freedom of choice, for me, runs above all others, I let them be & I love ’em. 

But I’m going to keep on swimming because if I can help get just one more person ashore it’ll be worth it.

Like Dory said, “Just keep swimming.”

M

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About SprinklinThoughts

Give good to the world & make sense of it... the world, not the good... well... OK, the good too. :-)
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24 Responses to At Times I feel like…

  1. Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I accidentally found myself watching a movie I’ve never heard of from start to finish… Fireflies in the Garden. Let me tell you, God saw to it that I saw that movie last night.

    Now here I am, reading this.

    You amaze me.

    Like

  2. I’m totally tripped out.

    After everything that has transpired… Everything… I just now read this.

    What on earth. Wow. Amazing.

    Like

  3. Denise Hisey says:

    Wow…that was really intense and powerful. What really stood out to me was this:
    “Here’s the point. What finally ended the abuse was our facing it. That’s all. We didn’t ‘decide’ to do anything. It just happened – because we no longer would make excuses or ignore it.”
    I couldn’t agree more. Well said!

    Like

  4. the_lunatic says:

    Very moving & powerful. You inspire me to push past what I let hold me back, thank you.

    Like

  5. Pingback: Soemtimes I struggle « SprinklinThoughts

  6. Michael Sadowski says:

    Thanks for visiting my site. Loved your post. It could be my own story. It IS my own story. So please don’t publish elsewise the book of short stories about my family will have competition. Seriously…I love the intimacy of your tragic story. Love the way you put it all out there. Loved the happy turn when asshole Dad gets his “walking papers,” so to speak. I empathize with your “existential fatigue”. Going through the same thing myself. Guess it’s a “rite of passage” for middle-agers. You’ve got a friend, fan and follower in me. Keep swimming…even if you feel like you’re only treading water.

    Like

    • Hey Michael, thanks for the comment(s).
      If your story is similar to mine then, in a way – ‘bummer man’… but, in another way, I suppose that makes us brothers of a sort – which I believe is one of the goals of life. I agree that the ‘fatigue’ could be part of middle-age “rite of passage” but it started long ago, when I was young, and seems like it’s been going on for much too long. But it’s kind of like swimming – you have to keep trying as long as you’re in the water, else you drown. So I keep trying…
      Anyway, thanks for the encouragement… Hope your writing goes well.
      M

      Like

  7. risinghawk says:

    Reblogged this on The Fortress Of Potential and commented:
    This is a brilliant post! I believe that there are a few of my regular readers who can relate to the experiences he shares. I encourage you to support his blog. The wisdom is evident.

    Like

  8. risinghawk says:

    A powerful story . . . powerful experiences. Your words, they are healing to you as well as to others. Your work, and your life, as I learn about it now, will not go unnoticed. There are many blessings yet to come for you – when and where, or even in what lifetime I cannot say – but they have come, and will continue to come. Those who have gone through what you have gone through, and can still love . . . well, it is those such as you that are the hope and the wisdom of humanity. Blessings to you…

    Risng Hawk

    Like

  9. nyparrot says:

    Thank you for sharing this very personal story. I am so sorry to hear that this was your experience growing up. It saddens me to realize that there many kids growing being abused and disrespected by their parents. My childhood was nothing like that, and I can’t even start to imaging or comprehend why would any parent NOT love their children… Did you try to complain to some special services that could have removed you and your brothers from the situation? Do you have kids of your own?

    Like

    • Services? In to 60’s? Back then it was considered ‘the way’ to bring up kids, wasn’t it? I do remember a priest coming over a couple of times – but no change. Yes, I have 2 and as I say in answer to another comment below, I’m genuinely happy to say that I broke the chain (of passing it on to the next generation) by not abusing them and seeing them grow up into (as objective as I can be here) intelligent, ‘good’ young adults who can’t even comprehend abusing others, never mind actually doing it. Anf if it helps anyone else reading this – it was not ‘easy’. Thanks for asking.

      Like

      • nyparrot says:

        You are strong and good hearted person, who carries light into the world in spite of own hard circumstances. I admire you. I didn’t grow up in 60s (I’m a bit younger than that), and I also was raised in Russia, but I’ve heard stories of this kind from kids who grew in 80s. More power to you for breaking the spell. God Bless!!

        Like

      • Holy. Woah, man. Thank you Father…

        And thank you Brother. Wow.

        Like

  10. Well written and moving story that is important to share…

    Like

  11. elroyjones says:

    Your father and mine had a lot in common.

    I don’t think people want to wake up, they seem to prefer indenture.

    Like

    • Your dad too? Sorry. I hope you’ve managed to recover at least somewhat. The results in my family were disastrous. But I did manage to do one thing right. I broke the chain and never abused my wife or kids. The one thing I really set out to do & I did it. Great! But I still screwed up somehow because although I swore to never leave my wife & kids, my wife asked me to leave when my son was 14. God, that hurt – same age as I was (but I stayed in the area, which was good). And I think I ended up best off of the four of us. Anyway…

      I’m not sure if ‘prefer indenture’ is really it. At least I’d like to think I’m being charitable and giving them the benfit of the doubt. Is it not possible that they are so brainwashed (literally) that they don’t even know what choice is, or how to choose, or what to choose? Sort of like the frog in the slowly boiling water thing. Or like describing color to someone who’s been blind from birth. Unfortunately I think it’s going to take a really sever shock to bring them out of it. Hope they survive.
      M

      Like

      • elroyjones says:

        I agree that there are people who have been effectively brainwashed but there are people who prefer indenture because thinking about anything other than living the status quo is uncomfortable. I hope I don’t have to live to see the day but I think I may. Society can’t completely unravel because the working class is what keeps the special people feeling special.

        I wouldn’t describe the way I processed my father’s lunacy as recovering. I had an epiphany when I realized his craziness was not a reflection of my worth and that was the end of that. My mother packed us all up and took us out of that environment. He died a long drawn out miserable death. Mum got to die suddenly at her own kitchen table with barely any pain or warning. I decided not to have kids. Your kids are lucky to have had both of their parents in close proximity.

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