Family drama and old wounds are really irking me this Christmas.
I’ve been airing my dirty laundry on Facebook for the past month or so, but the lack of receptivity tells me that I’m probably becoming tiresome. Either that or everybody hated me anyways and I’m just now picking up on it. I live in dread of one day finding out that everyone secretly hates me and then gets together behind my back to laugh at me. I keep thinking if that happens, I’ll break up into a million little pieces, fade out of existence, drop through the floor and into a never ending free fall.
Why do I think about it so much? I think it’s because I wake up most days feeling like I’m missing out on something, some big secret, some forbidden slice of life.
Now would probably be a good time to mention that I’m hard of hearing. I identify as Deaf with a capital “D”, which means that I am culturally deaf, even if I’m not clinically deaf.
Doctors and other clinical types don’t spell deaf with a capital “d”, therefore saving me from being a massive, lying hypocrite when I claim to be Deaf.
I remember being laughed at by someone when I explained this before. People seem to think it’s ok to second-guess me when I talk about my hearing loss.
Maybe my hearing loss causes me to feel like I’m always missing out. I feel like I got a raw deal. I think everybody should know and use sign language. Of course, that’s not possible. But it doesn’t change the way I feel. And it pisses me off. I’m one angry Deaf motherfucker.
Too angry, lately. I’m getting bitter from holding it all in, and it’s starting to eat at me. My anger hurts the people around me and it always finds a way out.
I remember being depressed and wanting to die even in elementary school. When I was a little girl, I had two stuffed animals set aside for the specific purpose of comforting me when I cried after an angry outburst from my father, and I would fantasize that these stuffed animals truly loved and cared for me and I for them. Those were very lonely moments in my childhood.
Looking back, my parents appeared to use punishment as a break from parenting. My mother would often exhort our father to discipline my sister and I when we became rambunctious in the evenings during family time.
This meant dad would fly up from his spot on the couch in a rage and, without warning, hit us – and we were often sent to our rooms immediately afterward. The unspoken rule was that punishment ended whenever dad had calmed down, and it was left to us to figure out how long that would take.
My sister had some advance warning when my parents spoke, and would stop playing first, so as to avoid being hit. The moment I saw her freeze, I knew we were in trouble.
As we grew older, she developed a habit of stopping in the middle of play and going to join our mother on the sofa, leaving me feeling foolish and abandoned in the middle of a game.
My sister was as subtle and crafty as I was vocal and intense.
Dad was very quick to anger, and was often out of control when he doled out spankings or, more so as my sister and I became older and were joined by a brother, whippings with dad’s belt. He was a really large man at 6’2″ and weighing 250 pounds.
He was a farmer and put in many long days doing demanding physical labor. I’m not sure he knew his own strength. But maybe he should have.
One of my early memories consists of my sister and I in our bunk bed, screaming and cowering as Dad stood near the bed and lashed out at us over and over with the belt. He flipped the belt around and struck me with the buckle end of the belt, which connected with my fingers. The worst pain I’d ever felt flared through me, and I dimly recall shrieking at the top of my lungs as that searing pain forced the air out of them. I suppose that was the reaction dad wanted, because he left the room shortly afterwards. I remember realizing at that point that I feared my father much more than I loved him, and that my mother was, although extra solicitious and tender toward me for the rest of the day, no longer the unquestioned safe harbor and protector she had been in the past.
I believe I was around five or six years old at the time.