Hitting people became a “necessary” tool because I couldn’t string together six words to form pithy and biting comebacks. The right response usually manifested 45 minutes too late so I did a lot of smacking back in the day to compensate. The privilege of growing older has brought clarity. Not wisdom, just clarity. I still lack the ability to understand the gravity of a moment as it is happening.
After years of going through weird shit, my head no longer allows my heart to feel grief. This coping mechanism turns my insides blank. I’m familiar with every dark corner when I stumble into Rage. The doorman and I have become pretty friendly at Happiness, so I kick it there as much as I can because he lets me in without all the posturing I had to do as an infrequent visitor.
Grief is, like, way on the other side of town. Fuck that shit. I ain’t got that kind of time.
Then, someone asked me, “Where would you go if you got into trouble?”
I didn’t understand the question. My first thought was “jail,” but that probably wasn’t what he was asking. Plus, I would do my best to avoid incarceration by running away from home and deleting my Instagram account so I wouldn’t accidentally give away identifying details that I was hiding in Dalworthington Gardens, Texas.
“I mean, if every single thing in your life fell apart, where would you go? Most people could just go back to their parents’ home and start over. Take some time to recuperate. But you don’t really have that.”
“Yeah, I don’t really have a home to go back to. I couldn’t just act like someone’s child for a while.” I understood the question. I did not understand the gravity. I felt blank as I said it.
I thought about this exchange as I unballed dirty socks several days later.
My childhood family, while broken, has given me a mother that loves and mostly accepts me, even if she can’t take care of me anymore. When Harv adopted Cal several years ago, I realized that where we start is our biology and the road we travel is our biography.
A happy family now is enough. This my biography. I don’t need refuge anywhere because I am a grown-up and I am a mother. Mothers don’t get to be children too.
I…really, really wish my childhood belongings weren’t locked away in a storage unit. I wish I could go back home again.
When I let the full size of that truth unfurl inside, it filled my chest and neck and cheeks and came out of my eyes and nose and mouth. I just sat down on the floor in front of the washing machine and let myself cry about this thing that I didn’t even know I wanted, but then felt undone after realizing it would never be mine.
It bit into me so hard. The grief I had carefully sealed shut for twenty years tumbled out, and it was messy. For-fucking-reals messy.
I’ve been spending a lot of time inside Grief- eating meals by myself, making my bed on its hard floor, playing a little (shit, fine, a LOT) of Candy Crush. I’m allowing myself not to be happy for just a little bit. And I’m also giving myself a free pass not to feel guilty about it.
I know that grieving will not fix any of my broken past, but it will allow me to appreciate the family I have now…my clique. My ride or dies. My heart.
Ain’t nobody fresher than my muthafuckin clique. :)
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