Friday, December 02, 2005

Q & A

Following are some questions asked in my comments I left unanswered.

1) From Butterscotch: Are you intolerant of all Christians or just the ones who preach?

I could probably spend days blogging on this matter, so here I go. :p Actually, I’ll keep this short since I don’t have the time to give it the attention it warrants. The question touches on several issues, one of which is the definition of “tolerance.” Reader, ask yourself this: Are you an xtian? If so, are you still alive? Apparently I tolerate you. You’re welcome.

Seriously, what I really despise are a) hypocrites and b) people who use their religion to promote hatred and intolerance. In between those extremes lie a very small group of Christians with whom I don’t agree but do respect. I admire people who claim to be a part of a religion, actually know its teachings, and make an honest attempt to live by their moral code without forcing their beliefs on everybody else. I dislike those who memorize a few bible quotes and spew them out of context in order to promote their personal agendas that generally boil down to “Be like me or burn in everlasting hell.” My true ire is reserved for the largest group, the people that claim to be some form of xtian just because it’s the popular thing to say and yet don’t know anything about the bible except what they consider to be “common knowledge” or whatever they can remember from a rerun of a Charlton Heston movie.

So I say I like devout xtians who don’t preach to me, but in the King James bible written in God’s original English, Mark 16:15 says “And he (the zombie Jebus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” So any xtian that doesn’t preach to every creature is therefore not following his or her own bible and ergo a hypocrite. I guess I’ll have to settle for disliking them all. No xtians allowed in my car. No communists either.

2) What happened to your mother...?

She’s fine. I’m just through with her. I won’t whine and complain about how abusive she was because that’s not my style and it doesn’t do any good but to perpetuate the problem. Suffice to say I had planned to tolerate and support her for the rest of my life, playing the role of the good son even though I have no love for her, but it just got to be too much.

The cement truck that finally broke the camel’s back was a recent conversation, one of my weekly “do my sonly duty” calls wherein I tried to talk to her while avoiding every topic that would draw a tirade or criticism from her. Safe topics are limited to her garden and the weather, with books and TV on the potentially dangerous but allowable list. We had covered the wind and her flowers and I was trying to ask her if she had been to the library recently when she changed the topic to her Social Security paperwork. It’s time for her to apply for benefits, but she refuses to do so without my help. Bottom line, she wanted me to submit her paperwork in her stead including forging her online signature. The illegality didn’t really bother me since I doubt I would get caught and I only believe in obeying laws in which I approve, but that wasn’t the issue. She was pulling one of her usual tricks, making sure I was legally involved in her matters in case she needed to hold something over my head later. This isn’t paranoia – she’s done it before.

Over the years I’ve trained myself to say no to her which leads to her employing a variety of other tricks designed to make me think “Just give in – it’s easier that way.” I refused to budge on this one, leading her to get sullen and angry and pouty (all in turns), and then to finally break out the big guns by playing sick, so sick that she could die at any second and my last memory would be of me killing her with inattention and disobedience.

It didn’t work for a second. For one thing, you can’t break out the sick voice in the middle of a conversation. If you’re playing that card, open with it or tuck it away. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation while she was trying to bend me to her will using a fading, croaking voice, my own voice spoke up in my head and said “Enough.” I interrupted her, told her I couldn’t do this anymore, and said goodbye. I haven’t heard from her since.

The good news is that things have been better for me since ridding myself of her. I didn’t fully realize the damage being done in these weekly anti-therapy phone sessions – I just viewed them as a nuisance. With her gone I was able to complete my NaNoWriMo goal (which I’m sure I would have failed if my confidence had been at its normal levels), and I no longer hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me that I’m worthless and nobody likes me and so on and so forth. Some people have tried to make me feel bad for cutting the hateful old bitch out of my life by saying “But she’s your mother!” as if that explains and excuses everything. I’m running low on time here, so I’ll just say a) if you’ve never been in an abusive relationship, you’re really not in any position to offer advice, and b) I’m happy, fuck you, life sucks, buy a helmet, moving right along.

3) From Blondie, regarding my post about the sort of fight I had in the seventh grade: What you do you think you'd do differently Grant?

There were no good endings to be had to that story, but in hindsight I think I would have preferred to have fought and taken the beating. To recap (and maybe add a detail I missed) – I was twelve and alone facing an adult (eighteen) with a couple of guys on his side, although I think one would have stayed out unless his guy started losing which was highly unlikely. My choices at that point were run away, take a punch, or fight back and suffer a complete beating. If I had gone for the complete beating, I probably would have healed in a few days and wouldn’t have to endure the shit talking from my so-called friends who claimed they would have fought back. Of course, I would have had to endure the shit talking from my so-called friends who would have claimed they would have kicked all their asses, so it was about the same. I just think I’d rather be able to honestly relate that tale by saying “And so I fought back as best I could, whereupon he proceeded to kick the crap out of me quite well.” With luck, the anecdote wouldn’t end with “And that’s where I got this lovely glass eye.”

Note – I know my so-called friends were full of crap because over the following years I saw them all back down in other less extreme situations, including dealing with insults from the same bully by laughing, pretending they were part of the joke, and then scurrying away, and by running away when a problem arose that required them to face me. I was the youngest of the group, so if they couldn’t stand against me they damned sure won’t going toe to toe with a guy who’s armpit would have been an overhead shot.


Just Some Gal said...

I think its truly commendable of you to answer the questions Grant. Thank you...

I have some rather opinionated replies but not in arguement... except send her a spite Christmas card. ;-)

Word Verification: lxspnkd lol

Butterscotch said...

The best part of loving someone is that you don't have to like them.

How do I find the book you wrote? I clicked on the link but the searching was beyond me. Alright, alright, I am too lazy to search when I know you can just offer it up.

This was one of the best blogs I have read of yours. There was just something about the way you put the words together. Thanks for answering the questions.

Valkyrie said...

I respectfully disagree. I think you have to like someone in order to love them. Well, at least the truest kind of love which springs forth from fondness and respect.

Weary Hag said...

Call me a flipping idiot but I don't think you have to either like OR love anybody. Just by using the term "have to" you're already diminishing the whole concept.

Nice of you to answer people's questions like this, Grant.

Valkyrie said...

Well, of course not. I can take or leave most people, since I am an unfriendly soul. I don't HAVE to like my friends, but I choose to.

Let me rephrase: I think "liking" someone should come before love.

Malia said...

Those are some very interesting answers Grant, yet more insight into your world. Thanks.


PBS said...

I really like this post, so brave and so honest!

sands of time said...

You were good to answer all these questions so truthfully.My mother died years ago,im sorry she died of course she was my mother.But she was so nasty to me when i was a kid it was hard to forgiveher for all that.Good luck with whatever you do with your mother

Leesa said...

Grant: Very powerful post. I feel like such a child in comparison with what you have been through.

I don't know about loving and liking - what one can or can't do with it. But sometimes people seem to be a poison to one's growth, whether you love them or not. I have a relative that seems to be toxic to me, but she was not my mother.

Again, I feel more like a child after reading what others have to endour (I guess they don't have to edour stuff).

Kira said...

I used to work as a foster care worker years ago, and damn I wish most of the kids I had on my load would write off their useless parent(s) who are weighing them down like an anchor around their neck too. People who say stupid crap like, "But she's your mother!" just don't know what the fuck it means to have another species as a parent.

Butterscotch said...

I love all kinds of people but yet hate many of the things they do... Plus, I have friends that have been around for eons, who I love, but if I met now, I would never be friends with.

Thankfully I lucked out in the parent department, (not counting the years my Dad drank that is).

AVA said...

Dear Grant. I absolutely loved this post. You are so honest and brave and also so mature. You're very lucky to be able to put things into perspective like this and not let them continue hurting you.
I'm lucky to know someone like you.