Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lessons from 2011

Disclaimer:  This post contains adult language, sexual content and in general dark and twisty stuff.  I am not  kidding.  Proceed with caution.

At first as I looked back on 2011 I thought to myself, "hmmm I've not really learned much of ANYTHING this past year."  No big life lessons.  No great awakenings.  Nothing revelatory.  There just really didn't seem to be much of anything at all.

This made me grumpy.  Well grumpier than I usually am. 

I mean in my book, shouldn't I at least be able to think of one thing I'd learned, even if it was small?  And so because I couldn't and because it made me grumpy, I continued to wrack my brain. Wrack.  Wrack. Wrack.    And.........    Nothing.  

I decided to try again a  bit later....  Wrack.  Wrack.  Wrack.  And...... More nothing.   Then just as I was about to give up resigning myself to eternal grumpdom, I came upon a Dear Sugar column in The Rumpus.    And it was here that I found it.  Something revelatory, something miraculous, something big. 

Below in its entirety is Sugar's column Baby Bird.

 Dear Sugar,
 WTF, WTF, WTF?  I’m asking myself this question as it applies to everything
every day.

Dear WTF,
My father’s father made me jack him off when I was three and four and five. I wasn’t any good at it. My hands were too small and I couldn’t get  the rhythm right and I didn’t understand what I was doing. I only knew I  didn’t want to do it. Knew that it made me feel miserable and anxious in a  way so sickeningly particular that I can feel that same particular  sickness rising this very minute in my throat. I hated having to rub my  grandfather’s cock, but there was nothing I could do. I had to do it. My grandfather babysat my older sister and me a couple times a week in that era of my life and most of the days that I was trapped in his house with him he would pull his already-getting-hard penis out of his pants and say come here and that was that.

I moved far away from him when I was nearly six and soon after that my parents split up and my father left my life and I never saw my grandfather again. He died of black lung disease when he was 66 and I was 15, the same as his father had, both of them coal miners.
“Do you remember how we used to have to jack him off?” I asked my sister one day shortly after he died. We’d never spoken of it. I’d never said a word about it to anyone. I was ready for my sister to say no, for everything I remembered about my grandfather and his cock to be an ugly invention of my nasty little mind.

But she said, “Yeah.” She said, “Wow.” She said, “What the fuck was up with that?”

There was nothing the fuck up with that and there never will be. I will die with there never being anything the fuck up with my grandfather making my hands do the things he made my hands do with his cock. But it took me years to figure that out. To hold the truth within me that some things are so sad and wrong and unanswerable that the question must simply stand alone like a spear in the mud.

So I railed against it, in search of the answer to what the fuck was up with my grandfather doing that to my sister and me. What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuck? 

But I could never shake it. That particular fuck would not be shook. Asking what the fuck only brought it around. Around and around it went, my grandfather’s cock in my hands, the memory if it so vivid, so palpable, so very much a part of me. It came to me during sex and not during sex. It came to me in flashes and it came to me in dreams. It came to me one day when I found a baby bird, fallen from a tree.

I know you aren’t supposed to pick up baby birds. I know once you touch them their mama won’t come back and get them, but this bird was a goner anyway. Its neck was broken, its head lolling treacherously to the side. I picked it up and cradled it as delicately as I could in my palms. I cooed to soothe it, but each time I cooed, it only struggled piteously to get away, terrified by my voice.

The bird’s suffering would’ve been unbearable at any time, but it was particularly unbearable at that moment in my life because my mother had just died. Her death was ugly. She was only forty-five. And because she was dead I was pretty much dead too. I was dead but alive. And I had a baby bird in my palms that was dead but alive as well.

I knew there was only one humane thing to do, though it took me the better part of an hour to work up the courage to do it: I put the baby bird in a paper bag and smothered it with my hands.

Nothing that has died in my life has ever died easily and this bird was no exception. This bird did not go down without a fight. I could feel it through the paper bag, pulsing against my hand and rearing up, simultaneously flaccid and ferocious beneath its translucent sheen of skin, precisely as my grandfather’s cock had been.

There it was! There it was again. Right there in the paper bag. The ghost of that old man’s cock would always be in my hands. But I understood what I was doing this time. I understood that I had to press against it harder than I could bear. It had to die. Pressing harder was murder. It was mercy.

That’s what the fuck it was. The fuck was mine.

And the fuck is yours too, WTF. That question does not apply “to everything every day.” If it does, you’re wasting your life. If it does, you’re a lazy coward and you are not a lazy coward.

Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it.


So that's it.  Thanks to those who have loved and supported me through all of my WTF moments.  Happy New Year Sweet Peas.