As an impressionable kid, susceptible to the same crippling doubt that would continue to affect me as an unimpressive teen and self-loathing adult, I had to contend with my father as well as myself. He had scattered the confetti of neglect in my direction along with the force-feeding of his malnourishing religion. I was the goose, trapped in a man-made device whose restraints’ primary purpose was to engorge me on godfulness from throat to liver, until I became a honed, conditioned pâté, ripe for the spreading.
But there was a thing, and the thing was this: my wings had never wung. They didn’t know how. Everything I did was wrong; nothing was right. And the few aspects of my existence in which I did take pride, however fleetingly, were —of course— unworthy of his unmatchable achievements. He’d always received higher grades than me, and earned better wages. His spelling was better than mine, as were his enunciation, pronunciation, and inflexion. I knew this because he would tell me so. A hundred times a day.
He’d criticise my accent, despite his responsibility for the geography of my birth, wishing to ensure I knew how to speak properly —lest people thought me dense. That was his worst nightmare: that an unworthy, unclever child might cast her reflection on him. Nobody wanted a stupid child, least of all him —especially when I considered that almost biblical, yet perpetually unspoken chant of his: idiot begets idiot, begets idiot. He didn’t have to say it, but I knew it was there, in the voice behind his sight. I could hear the cogs of his brain whirring and churning the mantra every time he turned his pedantry on me and his blatant displeasure in my direction.
I turned to atheism, comedy, and romance, so that the last laugh —and love— would be mine. And they are. Oh, how they are.
Hear me laughing, Pater.
See me write.
And watch how I love —the right way.
Love begets love, begets love.