It started out, as a peaceful morning. The sun was shining and while the outside air felt humid, it was not too warm. The agenda for the day was not too hectic at that moment. As my attention turned toward the computer and my online friends, I saw a posting that I quickly commented on. Thinking I was really just commenting to the friend that posted it, I had the temporary lapse of rational thought that everyone out in cyber space connected to this friend could read the comment as well. But yet, in my mind, it was a conversation between me and my friend, not between me and the rest of the world.
Quickly, a friend of hers that I do not know posted a very strong response accusing me of being short sighted and part of the problems in the world. I was quite shocked and surprised that it generated this type of response because in many ways, I did not disagree with the points this person was slapping me with. We probably shared more in common than not but I never got the chance to explain anything. It was like this person was the judge; jury and executioner of what I said and that really irked me. Since it was on a friend’s page, I did not want to cause a scene and out of respect to them, I deleted the comment. Thinking that would be the end of the story, I quickly found out that this action inflamed the person further which surprised me all the more. The other commenter suggesting that I was a coward because I deleted the comment could have not been further from the truth. I no longer feel I have to prove what is right or wrong in these things. I just let it go. And finally after I had enough of this back and forth bantering, I just said whatever and banned this person from seeing anything connected with me or I from them.
Not that anything the person said was in disagreement with how I feel but the way in which it was done left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. Sometimes people say far more in how they respond than what they actually say in words. So be it. I’m over that but it turned a good morning into the start of a bad day without me even realizing it in the moment. And it was unfortunate in many ways because this person may have been able to share some things that I am not aware of. However, now my ears are turned off to this person because my boundaries were violated and there was absolutely no respect.
This may sound like an experience that just needs to be dropped and for me to move on. At face value, I would agree but as the day grew on, I realized just how this impacted a series of events that culminated into my spending time in front of the porcelain god puking my guts out. This even though, would not seem as if it was connected to anything else until much later.
Later in the day after mowing the yard in the hot heat and struggling with allergies, I could feel the pressure of a sinus headache beginning. We also had a visitor come over to do some taping of Jeff for a movie he is creating. The guy seemed very nice with his grey hair and raspy voice but the moment he arrived through the front door, the stench of cigarette smoke almost took my breath away. The raspy and somewhat loud, nervous voice filled the room. Little did I know that these things were beginning to play ping pong with me and connecting dots I was not aware of at that moment.
As the afternoon wore on, and I heard the guy going through the interview process with Jeff, the voices seemed to carry upstairs and be amplified a hundred times. I grew exhausted as my headache began to intensify with every moment that passed. It seemed like an eternity when in reality it was only a couple of hours. I stayed upstairs away from the noise just hoping that would help alleviate some of the irritation I felt. Then as the guy left, I watched out through the window as he backed into the garbage can spilling the contents and driving off as if nothing had happened. Just another random event in the day that acted as glue for the connection of the dots, yet I was not even aware of what was going on.
I began to watch a movie that had of all things, a wife appearing to be beat and murdered in the first scene. Probably not something I should have watched this day after looking back but at the time, it didn’t seem too far out of line and it was such a quick scene that I just tried to overlook it. However, it didn’t overlook me!
Part way in to the movie, my stomach began hurting as my head began pounding from the headache. Heartburn was picking up and I felt like my stomach had a balloon in it that was being blown up as it became bloated. The temperature in the room seemed to increase by a thousand percent as my face and body felt so warm. The lights in the room and the sounds around me began to be irritating to an exponential degree. After some time of trying to bare this, I gave up and went to my bed to lie down. Only then did things really intensify.
Trying to use ice packs on my head helped momentarily but the pain was so intense that part of me just wanted to lie down and die. A jackhammer on my head could not have been any more intense. It was excruciating. I would move the ice pack to my stomach to help alleviate the discomfort and again, it would help momentarily but then just as the pounding in my head, it would come back in full strength as a wave crashing into the shore.
During this time, I could begin to feel a lot of anger come up within me but not anger that was directed at any one thing. It was the random anger I get that has no hooks necessarily to hang anything on. It is the anger that seems to bubble up as a spring of water from the ground with a never ending source. Yet, in the moment, there does not seem to be any events to go along with this anger.
I tried my hardest to breathe and scream into my pillow but it seemed as if I had no energy to do this and I felt further exhausted. As my body sank back down into the bed and I found a moment of peace and comfort, I drifted off into a relaxed state. All of the sudden from out of nowhere, my right leg jerked as if it was going to fly off of me into outer space. It woke me from the relaxed state and then I felt my body shiver and shake with trembling. As these things happened, my headache came back with a vengeance and the heartburn within me increased while my stomach grew more agitated. The ice packs that I was using were not helping alleviate the growing nightmare of pain within my body. I tried to work on my enteric brain but even that was providing little comfort for me. The pain was overwhelming. The pain was unbearable.
It was in this moment that a series of images came to my mind along with some smells. The image was of my father storming out the door after he and my mother had fought or I should more accurately say after he beat the daylights out of her. In the image, he got in the car just like I remember and took off into the night. It would be many hours before we would hear him come back through the door and even though I was supposed to be asleep, my eyes remained opened. The terror alert level was quite high. He would come back home sometime many hours later into the early morning, smelling of smoke and appearing intoxicated. I would listen to him apologize to my mom and then they would make up as if everything was fine. No one would ever talk about this the next day or dare utter a word about it. It was a secret that was not to be told. These things filled in the image my mind recalled as I laid on my bed with my head pounding and my stomach violently shaking with pain.
As I ran into the bathroom and knelt next to the porcelain god, my stomach vomited its contents with fury and frequency. My body wanted to collapse on to the floor but the events of the moment would not allow it. In a weakened slumber, I made my way back to the bed and collapsed into my pillow. My body had no strength to hurt or move any further but the headache had decreased significantly at that moment. I fell into a restful moment of sleep waking up not feeling as bad as I did only a short time before.
As I recounted all of the things that happened during the day, I could begin to see how the smell of the cigarette smoke, the grey hair of the visitor and his loud voice, the confrontation with the lady online and feeling as if I had to take cover from the loudness of the events going on in the house were all connected. Each activity in itself did not paint a picture but when you put them all together, it was easy to see the entire portrait.
Even though it is hard for me to admit, I saw so many horror filled moments in my house. My younger brother shared with me many years ago, the things he remembered, yet to me it is like he is talking about some other family. I know that loud noises especially voices get to me and I know that there are some smells and scents that just about bring me into a full rage. For the most part, I cannot explain either of these things except as being triggers to events I have witnessed.
While there are many people who go into town to the bars to drink, I did not think my father was one of those. For the church we went to completely condemned drinking any alcoholic beverage. Our church preached time and time again where I can almost quote it from memory that if you take one drink, you will become an alcoholic because one drink leads to another and another and soon you cannot stop. Even going into a restaurant or establishment that served alcohol was prohibited because someone might see you and think you were drinking which then might cause them to drink and become alcoholics. Since you were responsible for your brothers (fellow man), and if you caused them to become an alcoholic, you were responsible for their sins.
That is what was taught and of course it was backed up with scripture in the bible like the verse in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which reads, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. It is a lovely verse of scripture but when used to control and manipulate others, than it becomes dangerous as so often the purpose of this verse or others like it by the strict sect of Baptist churches (GARBC – General Association Of Regular Baptist Churches) we attended.
So this secret that my Dad had which I didn’t not even fully realize until now went against every teaching of the church which he used to control and manipulate all of us with. What a conflict of monumental proportion! When you mix that in with all the other events taking place, it creates such confusion that for me has been difficult to sort out. The lines and the boundaries are all blurred and unclear. The horrors lurk in the shadows as the infliction of pain is witnessed. It is the existence of the well that bubbles up from within that has no paintable portrait but a feeling of despair, anger and exhaustion.
These events make me wonder about myself at times. I feel like the oddball in life, the oriental reject as my dad once called me and I feel as if I don’t fit in. Sometimes, I struggle to know what is real and what is not or why the anger within me builds. I could fool myself into thinking that these things don’t exist and I could try to just push forward in life acting as they don’t but I would only be fooling myself. It is in these times, that I know I’ve got to heal through them rather than continue running from them but this is nothing short of being extremely difficult. I would love things to be different. I would wish and hope that no other person would be a witness to the events I have seen. It is a daily horror that haunts me and a complete healing of wholeness that I long for.
I remind myself of just how far I have come but my eyes still cannot close to all they have seen. Once again, I am a witness to how our emotions, the events of our past and our memories impact not only our current day but the core of our body and mind.