This I Believe

Rickie - Allen Park, Michigan
Entered on March 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, love, setbacks

“I’m an addict for dramatics, I confuse the two for love.”

I just can’t say it anymore. I can’t pretend to have faith in an emotion that is so utterly abused each and every day. I’m out of breath for love. Not in the way kissing a girl in the rain can smother the air from your lungs, but more from the crushing debt we’ve acquired using the word so often. Love has nothing left to give us, and the way we’ve grown accustomed to labeling everything with love, I wouldn’t be surprised if it leaves altogether.

“I Love you.” She’d say in warm embrace each and every day I can remember. Even when I was arrested, drunk, or throwing a raging fit, sometime in the next half hour those three little words would be leaving the lips of my mother to her ungrateful son. I never quite understood why she said it so often, till she explained to me the complete lack of ‘love’ as part of her childhood. My mother grew up in an abusive home, where she hardly ever heard such words. Her explanation for telling us each and every moment she could, was because of her honestly felt adoration of her two sons. However her actions were quite contrary to the romantic parental words that rolled so easily off her double-tiered tongue. Throughout my life, if I have ever had anything considered a weakness it would have been my mother. Her rather sketchy dealings with me, and purposely-misconstrued twin meanings have left me to deaf to her statements of love and kindness. My entire childhood consisted of these dualities, reflecting the frustration and pain of the abuse she sustained, while entailing it with the redefinition of love she sought to hand me. I’ve been moved in and out of my family more times than I wish to count, or even admit too. Not because I was a problem child of any sort, rather that my father was a problem father. At one point after my father had recently moved back in with my family, his wondrous recovery became transparently clear to me. I was soon moved into my aunt’s, the safe house of my childhood, and spent lonesome months there by myself (as my aunt worked a hectic schedule). My mother called me near the end of the summer, and invited me back to the house for dinner on the condition of my immediate return to my aunt’s that very night. That night not only did my dad cook my steak bleeding raw and bleeding, but my mother refused to take me back to my aunt’s that night. The following nights were just as constrained, and filled with lies and excuses. She solidified my position in her household once again, and forced me to bear the weight of my father’s presence and subtle tortures. A small taint of her love, that has become the very reason I don’t respond to her now as she berets those three words to me now.

As aforementioned my father had his own definition of love. Alongside of my mother, my father grew up in not only an abusive home, but from what I have seen with my own eyes, a very delusional family life.

I was very conflicted with the opinion I had of my father for years. I gave him endless chances in my ruined innocence, hoping each time it would be the last. He’d let me down so much. The last time I cared was when I was fifteen. I remember distinctly the last tears that streamed down my face in true love for my father. It was at my Uncle Tony’s, at the house that had apparently been in my father’s side of the family for generations. I walked into the decrepit house expecting to see my father in his usual state, however after walking up the creeking stairs and pushing aside the bed sheet used as a door I was astonished. Sitting on an old cot in a room with paint chipping off it sat my father, in a truly human state. His eyes were red with his head resting in his hands, eyes fixed on the floor sitting in his jeans and white tee shirt I was so fond of younger. Back when he held me in his arms early on Saturday mornings, watching Bugs Bunny in our old house sharing the same huge bowl of cereal and spoon. I approached slowly as not to disturb the tranquility of a man I so often found ready to rip me apart anyway he found righteous. He gently rose his eyes to mine, tears rolling down and whispered in his crackling voice “I love you”. My young heart skipped a beat and I couldn’t choke the tears any longer after not seeing him for months. I fell into his arms and cried like I have cried few times in my life. He held me firmly against his chest as I soaked his shirt in my tears.

This would be the only time I ever ask him to move in with us again. After a few weeks of smooth sailing and joyful reunion, my father fell into his usual self again. The slow gradual recession destroyed the miniscule amount of faith I had left in my father, and was completely crushed as he wrenched his fingers around my throat and tossed me across our patio room that coming winter. For some reason I was stupid enough to think “I love you” meant something other than the abuse of a child’s dreams.

The misconception of love extends much further than the influence of my parents. However my parent’s showed me human kind’s version of love much sooner than any relationship with women would ever prove. I understand the failings of my parents, and I suppose that’s as good as things are apparently ever going to become. Still I find the concept of love to be as confusing as the definition of life, heaven, or anything worthwhile. You have to find what it is for yourself. No one is happy with anyone else’s version of love. On the other hand we mislabel too many things as love, and that’s why it’s so hard to find. So maybe it has left us, love grows tired of abuse too.