Monday, April 29, 2002

An unsent letter.

Wow. I think this is the angriest thing that I've ever written. It kind of bothers me to read it.

it's been one day home and i already can't stand this house.

tried following advice today. here's an idea: why not be honest with your father? you can interact with him as an adult, right?

wrong. things are just easier when i decieve him. he doesn't respect my ability to make personal decisions about who i interact with and i should just keep on pretending that i'm the "good son" that i've tried to portray for the past 18 years. developmental problems? hell, yeah. maybe there's a reason i hide things from him. maybe it's because when i don't, he doesn't like the result. in this house, i have no agency. i never have and i probably never will. i could never talk with him about personal relationships or what i felt about certain people. if the answer isn't the correct one, it has to be crushed. and as long as he can hold finances, bond, college, and career over my head, i don't know if i'll ever be able to become independent.

i never rebelled against my parents when i was younger. sure, i was interested in radical things, but i always hid that from them. we never really engaged each other about those issues. i hid abbey hoffman under my fucking bed and we all pretended that i was a good student who would continue the tradition of our family's liberation from our old impoverishment.

well here's a fucking clue: i'm *not* that good student. i'm not an asexual machine who goes to bed at 11 PM, gets straight A's, never drinks, wins debate tournaments, pursues an academic goal as an english teacher, enjoys attending the university of pittsburgh, doesn't have feelings, doesn't see the drama in your personal life, and obeys the law. i'm the fucking disjunct that you never wanted to believe you created. we've been repressing all of this anxiety for years because it's just too "painful" to look at and now, when we finally might have to come to terms with the dogshit painting that is who i've become, we can't even look at it. it's too horrible. maybe it tries to burst at the seems and transgress the imaginary threshold that we all use to pretend that i'm perfect, but no one wants to accept it.

i told you one little thing tonight, dad. well, it's actually something that's very significant to me. i tried to expose a small corner of what i want and the way i live my life, and it visibly upset you. i don't think this is about the sanctity of your house as a concrete space. it's about the sanctity of the imaginary representation that you've constructed of my identity. there's a whole circus of flames and blood behind that curtain. today you saw that one part, which i think is beautiful. back in december you saw another part when i responded with rage and violated cop cars. doesn't matter. it's all ugly to you.

i dream about leaving my current role and just running far far away
i have strong feelings for people.
i don't give a shit about getting a degree.
i hate pittsburgh.
i listen to music that celebrates street violence
i hate organized religion
i read horrible, violent books
i think sex is great
almost every class i've ever taken bores me. i'd rather read whatever the fuck i want in whatever order i want, regardless of what someone else thinks i should do
i spend more time hating debate than liking it
i've fantasized about illegally destroying vivisection laboratories.
i'm pro-choice
i have no hope for our species. i don't think we'll be saved. rather, i think history is a confusing maze in which we keep hurting each other over and over again because whatever strange force created us just fucked up
i used to be terrified that you thought i was gay.
i'm unhappy with what i've done with my life. i had everything available to me and i just didn't care enough to use it to my advantage. i wasted it all because i stopped being passionate about most of the things that i do.

i don't like where i put myself to please you. it's just like when i did judo back in junior high. remember that? those classes were my weekly burden that i dreaded going to. i wasn't comfortable with any of the people left in it. i hated going home feeling like shit all the time. i was tired of doing vigorous workouts because i'm a LAZY PERSON. i complained to my sister once and she gave me one of the best pieces of advice i've ever heard: if you don't like what you're doing, then don't do it. why would you waste your short life on things you're not passionate about? abby, chris, and my counsellor have all said the exact same thing in different ways.

so i tried telling you all that i hated something everyone thought i enjoyed. i tried so many times and could never manage to say the words. even on the few times that i did, i was never greeted with an affirmation of my feelings. i'm not sure if i was even believed. finally, i managed to talk seriously about it with mom. she withdrew me from the classes and for a whole summer i never told you that i was no longer in judo. tenth grade came and we could just ignore the issue by saying that it conflicted with debate and PE courses at LCCC. i don't think the question of what i wanted to do ever came into the picture. i was too scared to say anything about it to you. a few years later you asked me if i missed it. i told you, "kind of." here's what i really wanted to say: "no! quitting judo has brought me more happiness than most other decisions i've made in my life."

or the divorce. did we ever talk about that? at the time, i didn't even realize it was happening. i had to have an older kid at school explain to me what a divorce was and how that's what my family had gone through. i still have no fucking idea what happened. maybe i don't have a right to know everything, but in the 14 YEARS since it occured, we have never sat down and tried to address that painful part of our lives in a serious way. the stupid kids can't handle it, even when they're almost 19 years old. sure, you sent me off to a counsellor to "talk about it" when i was in fourth grade. it was an idea, but we still never *really* talked about why i have such a huge need to conform to your expectations or why social interaction terrifies me.

this is all part of the way i think about myself. and you know what? i'm going to continue down the same path of never revealing a fucking bit of it to you. because we've all always known that it hurts too much to talk about these things or to be honest with each other. occasionally, you'll see eruptions that shatter the fantasy frame. next time, it won't be in the form of vandalism. maybe it'll be more subtle, but ten times as self-destructive. you'll see the flares, but you'll never see what's really going on, because I WON'T TELL YOU and you can just believe and mandate away the source. you may respect me as an "intelligent young man who makes you proud," but you'll never respect me for myself, on my own terms. i'll just keep doing fucked up shit that demonstrates how false that lie really is. but through all the repressed horror, we're just going to keep crawling through the shards of broken glass and smouldering carpet in the living room and i'm going to keep lying to you over and over and over again, because neither of us wants to talk about what's really going on.

newsflash: i want to have the chance to screw up in the world. i want to gamble and have fun. i'm too young to play someone else's game. maybe you should just tell me to fuck myself and send me off to prison. at least then, when i get tortured, i'll know i earned it all myself for what i really did, not because i was putting on a pretty show for you.

i had a long talk with mom about all sorts of stuff today. we talked about things that i'd always been too scared to tell her. did she criticize me or call my feelings into question? no. she said that she respected me and wanted me to be happy. she was glad when i told her about abby. did i get a barrage of accusatory questions and demands? no. remember how when we got home, she mentioned all of the stuff we'd talked about and how much you and i had to go over? did we ever have that conversation? you don't want to hear it and i don't want to tell you. as far as i'm concerned, we will *never* have that conversation because it's so much easier to just sneak in the back door and hide my life from you.

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