something to be proud of

i was just told that i’m proud of my anger. after thinking about it, it’s not that i’m so proud of it; the only thing i might be proud of in this regard is of my ability to express it, especially when it comes to the written word, which i think is my strong suit. i’m not proud of it, but maybe i believe that i have every right to be angry because of my piss poor relationships with men, from birth. the night i was born, my ‘father’ spent the night in another woman’s bed as my mother was giving birth to me. he was pissed because she was giving birth to another man’s child, a married white man who paid him off so the white man’s ass would be covered as far as having fathered a child by a black woman. so father ‘a’ was supposed to pretend he was my real daddy and everything would be alright. but the thing is, okay, for a long time i knew nothing about father ‘b’ (the white man), but i knew something wasn’t right with father ‘a’. we lived in the same house, but as far as i could tell, i didn’t exist in his eyes. and i didn’t look like him, or anyone on his side of the family (actually i don’t look like anyone on either side of the family). he always favored my sister, his real biological daughter, but much of the time growing up, i was ignored by him. things did eventually get better between us, finally when i was in my thirties, but there was always this residual thing hanging over my head that i believe has affected the way i’ve dealt with men. from my present perspective i don’t see myself as looking for a father figure, although ultimately that’s probably what i was doing. still, even though that’s not what i was looking for, that’s probably what i’ve been reacting against via most of my relationships with men. most of them have been with white men (hmmm, so maybe i am seeking that father figure), so maybe i was trying to get as far away from ‘a’ as i could. ‘a’ was everything society would consider bad: spent time in prison, didn’t finish the 8th grade, had a serious drinking problem. so i guess by being romantically linked with white educated citizens of the world, that was my psyche’s attempt at moving away from him. interestingly, ‘b’ was just that: well educated, had money, and was an upstanding respected citizen of the community (small town though it was), and so maybe by choosing the type of men that i had been with previously, i was subconsciously looking at them as some sort of father figure after all. hmmm.

so now we come to the present day. over the past few months i have been involved off and on with a black man. there have been times when it’s been good: we laugh together and have some similar interests and talk a lot about politics and current events, and oh yeah, the sex has been good too. however, it’s also been quite tumultuous, with its share of shouting matches and resentments, expressed and unsaid. and i’m not sure whose fault that is. probably both of our faults, because i have the type of personality where i take everything personally, and he has the type of personality where he likes to point out negative traits, and he has to be right about everything. i react to that by getting angry and telling him to leave me the hell alone, which he does for a few days, and the next thing i know, we’re in bed, together, again and we start all over again. and i’ve wanted to like him, and i *have* liked him, quite a bit at times, and yet there’s always been something i couldn’t put my finger on. it was almost as if he reminded me of ‘a’. i even had a dream a couple of months back, where he and ‘a’ kept morphing into one another, while ‘they’ were washing my hair. my dreadlocks turned into short straight hair while it was being washed, and in the meantime, ‘they’ were singing a song about my hair. then suddenly ‘they’ turned emotionally abusive towards me, telling me i’d better give ‘them’ what ‘they’ wanted, or else. in the dream, my mother and sister were sitting in the next room watching tv, and at the very end of the dream, i stopped what i was doing and said to the two of them, ‘why did you let this go on for so long?’ i woke up, sobbing.

i’ve never been physically abused (at least not by ‘a’, but by an older cousin when i was in my early teens, which i think is another reason i’ve had this sort of bias against being with a black man), but i certainly think that being ignored by ‘a’ in the way i was growing up counts as emotional abuse, which in some ways is worse than physical. and i think this person i’ve been seeing recently, although he’s never been directly abusive towards me, in his own way he is quite manipulative, plus his stories don’t always add up. i see a huge connection between the way i was treated by ‘a’ and how i’m sometimes treated by him, and if that’s true, it’s no wonder that he would see my anger unfold, even in ways that he might interpret as my being proud of it. but i’m not proud of it. it’s just there and because of who he is, at this particular time in my life, he gets to be the lucky recipient.

we all have our issues, and i won’t get into his here, but in his defense, i will say that there have been times when he’s been good to me, and conversely, times when he’s been shitty to me, and i’ll leave it at that. overall, i believe he was sent into my life for a purpose, as a way for me to be exposed to these anger issues i’m apparently still dealing with (and to actually deal with them so i can move on), and also as a teacher, in some of the positive things he’s had to say to me, as well as being a teacher in that i have learned (and am still learning) how to react and defend myself as far as some of the negativity goes. this is what i’m proud of. not that i can write a blistering ‘leave me the hell alone’ letter, but that i can begin to recognize the roots of my anger and maybe start to not take it out on so many innocent people.

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