Human lives are impacted from intrinsic and extrinsic sources, meeting in the moments of our lives.
This page will describe some of the “bad” occasions which highly impacted my development. I trust the dynamics between the two will help act as an interpreter for my writings here. The incidences I describe are how I remember them.
My father would at times describe our great fortune at my expense. He would tell how at six months old, and unable to stop my crying, he threw me into the wall at my crib, where I thereby fell down into the crib, apparently dead, or so he thought. Upon moving me, he was relieved to discover I was alive, then he made a promise to himself never to rage at us children. We were then more fortunate than his brothers offspring. Rage did not, however, exclude spankings, the belt and threats to break your back.
Over the years I have discovered many dysfunctions and inhibitions which seem easy to assume connected to that early experience, which dad described as making me into a “good boy.” after the event. Apparently quiet as a mouse. This would be infant PTSD, which I have never been treated for, even though I have live my life with intense social anxiety disorder.
My life moved on forward in a kind of hiding state. I lived in dreadful fear of rejection, and had but one friend for a while during childhood. I lived in a quandary; how to win approval of my two older sisters who seemed to be usually teamed against me, or in their own world. My life revolved around home, the rocks in the driveway, the amazing clouds in the sky and all that flew and meandered on the ground.
When we had visitors or some event; a holiday party, I often found myself listening in on the adults conversations, then told enough times to get it, that I was not wanted there, to go and play. We are having grown-up talk. People outside of home were a mystery, as was how and why the world was the way it was.
Dad would declare to us that we were superior to others because we were both Italians and from a brilliant family of craftsmen and inventors. An example of this being when I spoke to my fathers mothers little brother ten or so years ago, he said if anyone wanted to know anything about anything, they went to my grandfather. My father received a full scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago but allegedly turned it down to support the family. Though I was fully half Lithuanian was off the radar. And as an aside, my Grandmother (French-Canadian on my fathers side) looked like a Native American girl as a child.
I looked forward to going to first grade, but missed being with my mother. I sat in class that first day as she left, looking forward to the adventure. Another boy had a long tantrum at leaving his mother, which cast a disturbed air over the very start of class.
As a five year old in my third day of school in a room of 63 students, the student monitor declared to the nun that me and two others had talked while hanging up our clothes in the closet. Being that I was truly in my own world, completely inhibited socially, not knowing how to even begin talking to a stranger, I was both stunned and deeply offended.
The three of us spent all day in the closet’s blackness, the others spoke of not coming to school tomorrow; one said he would pour catsup on himself to show he was too ill to go to school. I just sat on the floor as if in a dungeon, a perplexed criminal, except I could smell the lunches that were in bags on the floor. Someones banana got smashed while I moved in that void, I felt bad for having done that to some invisible someone.
We could hear the nuns instructions to the class, that those boys in the closet are troublemakers, and an example to them to avoid. The next day we were secluded incommunicado in the hallway, and the next day and the next. I already came from a father that hardly spoke to me and a mother who was often silent. I held this experience at five years old like a cattle brand to my perception; Remember how wrong the nuns could be, and notice how no one speaks to you nor lets you play with them in the playground. I began walking three blocks home for lunch, where I had about ten minutes to eat then walk back to school. This I did for mot of my 8 years of grammar school.
No one ever seemed interested in me. I had to drop out from trying, I felt so offended for just wanting friends but finding none. To this day, when I hear of those incomprehensible crimes carried out by the outcast kids at schools, I know family and society has let someone down big time, then blamed the perpetrators as being somehow the sole monsters of their own making.
[Our culture is even better at making excuses for itself than those who commit carnage on innocence. It is to some authorities (usually status quo privilege) benefit that ignorance of full connection rules societal control. Who needs The Whole to be accountable and responsible after all? We all do.]
When called on in class to read, I shook and trembled, my face flushed red and my throat seemed to swell. I would read in my trembling voice. I lived in dread of going to school, and when there, tried to be invisible, placing my head out of the nuns sight or slouching in my seat.
In seventh grade, my mother came home to die. I had seen her deteriorate over the months. Months before, when I came home from school, I saw her as never before. I did something I had never done. I asked her what was wrong. I had to know why today the life had gone out of her eyes. She told me she had a tumor.
I grabbed a dictionary and went into the bathroom to read up on tumor. It said something like it was a fleshy growth, and I thought; that doesn’t seem too bad. Little did I know.
There were the horrible radiation experiments; burns coming at her from different angles. There was the time she stood outside in the near total eclipse, hoping God might do some magic. There were the rushed to the hospital to get a pain killer days. When back I would think; thank God somethings really better. Then she eventually went away for weeks. Now she was home to die.
It was late evening, she was in great pain. I think she thought she was dying. By now she had tumors everywhere, so I could barely make out between the agonizing moans, she was calling my dad. He was out at some bar as had become the norm.
I ran out into the night, starting at the closest bar. I ran inside and looked and looked then asked the bartender if he had seen him. No. Then off to the next one as fast as my legs would take me. He’s not there. Now to the last one I knew of a mile away. He’s there! Thank God. I told him mommy needed him and was trying to call him. My message to her was to be; “I’ll be home in a while.” Whiskey glass back to mouth.
I then came home with devastation in my heart. I had failed my mother in her greatest need of me. I was the biggest failure ever. Mom is home and I bring home nothing. In my mothers moment of need I was empty. Somewhere today, some girl or boy is in that place, alone, where there is nowhere to go and home is a living hell, and “Extreme Makeover” won’t be coming.
(These will be the homes Extreme Home Makeover does not call upon, for they carry a narrative beyond simple devastating tragedy by illness or accident. They carry the taboo of great dysfunction, beyond the grips of new faucets and great rooms filled with 50″ plasma TVs. These tragedies are not made-over in a week and a vacation. The magically awakened community will not be gathered at the door in the thousands. Keys will not be handed over, with mortgage paid off. The community would rather not know.)
In seventh grade, between funerals in a six month period; my mothers sister (my favorite aunt), an uncle, my mother, the only grandparent I ever knew, and JFK, all were gone. At a funeral, we kids broke out in uncontrollable laughter when one of us acknowledged the funeral home as our new home since we’re always there. I saw the world concerned about John-John, affection pouring into him, while people just shook their heads at we kids. How unfortunate we were. We would hear it was a shame what happened to us, and that was usually the last you heard from that one.
After my mothers death, dad tore down the grotto he had built for the Blessed Virgin Mary in the front yard, a 3-4 foot statue. It was facing the street at an angle, surrounded by a stone arched shelter. The flowers planted in front of it were ripped out. A sledge hammer finished off the rocks and statue.
Years latter, after countless police visits and night fighting called in by the neighbors, then those last months of staring at a corner in the kitchen, drinking from sun up to bedtime, he undoubtedly fermented in his silence, how wrong a life can go. At his suicide he told those of us there enthusiastically, that he was going off to teach God a lesson. Two weeks before, he excitedly told me and my next oldest sister to keep the family together is he were to suddenly be gone. That sister was not there at the suicide, and until a couple years ago, believed the stepmother had killed him. The weights of silence.
My two remaining sisters told me one recent Christmas, that before our fathers suicide the “guardian” and father had me like a slave. I was always told to be working on vacations, giving most, if not all of my income to them. I worked at several different jobs since 15 years old. After my fathers suicide in front of some of us, my childhood bank account was gone, the house gone, my car co-signed and given over to a step brother.
Even before my fathers death I have slept out in the snow with a rug for cover, and slept with a big kitchen knife under my pillow, since the stepmother/guardian threatened to kill me. Dad had said never to hit a woman, but I thought I certainly had the right to fend her off after the first slice to my face. She had previously woken me in my sleep by pounding on my face, saying I’m going to kill you.
After dads death the famous superior Italians never visited (well, one or two maybe once), even my fathers sister quit visiting because she could not stand the guardian. That guardian claimed to have the power to send me to Vietnam, and with no known resources; what did I know? She needed me to keep some extra money coming in and do all the rental house repairs since her kids tended to botch things up or complain of how bad house chores were. I ended up having no friends (boy or girl) all during high school.
Oops, I forgot to mention my constant tooth problems; the missing teeth, the cavities and the nights up so many times with throbbing pain. One was not to bring on extra cost. My hand was over my mouth while I spoke for about 8 years. Oh yeah, this was important as well. If my seat at school was more than one or two from the front, I could not read all of what was on the board, including homework assignments. Ten minutes of reading a newspaper or book usually gave me a bad headache; a pain between my eyes. I’d wait a while then read again and it would take even less time for the headache to return.
We were indoctrinated in the premise that perfect children do not to have serious problems. We never had a car since dad admitted he could not trust himself because of his drinking. Never had the money anyway. Cardboard and hammer were my protections against the nails that bleed my heels going to school at parts of differing years. I would try to disguise the limping when a foot was particularly irritated.
Once I had untreated walking pneumonia which had me spitting up brown and green-black and blood into a large metal bowl overnight for a number of days, seeming to half fill it. My oldest sister had it a couple weeks before and received penicillin. They said no one else better get sick. My little bedroom had no door, it was an enclosed front porch room off of the living room where the constant coughing must have been heard. Ever since my right lung gets colds worse than the other.
By thirteen I was sad I could not remember my mother, how she was as a person. After my fathers suicide, a good ten years, I had nightmares he was alive and living a different life. I would see him in my dreams, and he would reverse course and disappear into a life he wanted away from us.
SOCIETY SACRIFICE AND RESPONSIBILITY
And so I am here to tell you this in this regard; society will abandon you in every way, then ask you to do your duty for it, to defend that very callous and indifferent culture when your body is suddenly theirs for the taking ( the draft for instance). That is not my opinion, it is the fact that I know from experience. This may be one side of American reality that many refuse to face, but instead, will courageously blame the victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time–life isn’t fair boy. Cognitive dissonance has its manipulative advantages for predator and opportunist alike. It is why conservatism is built upon it.
By conservatism, I do not mean conserving the constitution, or a valuable and revealing tradition; I mean that which opposes newness, opposes difference and condemns it without effort to understand. I mean what is at its core, the opposite of the Golden Rule or Categorical Imperative. Conservatism as a fear based insecurity complex which defines and preserves itself in opposition to the needs, desires, or simple presence of something other. These are the ones the fear merchants prey upon. They are the ones who hide behind flag, or God, money or others sense of conserved privilege to their group, and not The Whole of humanities presence and conscious concerns.
I was with my cousin as we hitchhiked in the mid seventies to look for farm work across the country. My cousin was a few years older than I. He came from an abused home, perfect recruiting target, and so he was. He volunteered not once but twice to go to Vietnam. He served this, your USA, in one of the most horrible jobs imaginable. He was a sniper, at times behind enemy lines and up in treetops. He told me those massacres were not unusual. The reason was; you could not trust anyone not to be an enemy.
Back in the US, he is told, along with me and his girlfriend, to leave Florida, cause they do not like our kind there. Our crime was both hitchhiking, I presume, and having long hair. Freedom does not include these things if you were wondering. My cousin got quite mad at the officer, telling him he had gone to Vietnam to fight for freedom against the communist, and here he finds they had already taken over, denying him a right to live and work.
The cop called me over and said that I seem to be the sensible one, “What is that guy, an Indian?” (my cousin looked kinda Ramboish, and he’s some part Indian like me). “Get him to cool down and in a half hour I better not see you here again. Just leave the state, you are not welcome anywhere here.” I thought to myself; Oh Mr. officer. You do not know how close you had pushed that guy. I had to convince him it would be insane to attack an officer.
Later, when I would reflect on the officers job, it was to enforce the conformity that the conservative mindset so needs to feel secure. Somewhere all around there, there were clean cut families that would see us as an enemy. Him, their very freedoms fighter! Freedom to let others not be free. Freedom to exclude by appearance. How courageous a citizenry.
To be truly free, independent, and have your own style of expressing who you are, is poison to the crippled conservative consciousness that is so steeped in insecurity separation from The Whole, The Commons, that they must remake the world to conform to their own ideas by damning those who are different. To escape their own incongruities of expression and repression, they must perpetually target “Liberals”, who somehow can allow for some lacks of conformity and tolerate freedom of expression. In that sense then; conservatism is against our nations premise, and those imperatives of Jesus Christ. They can be in this distorted state, while believing without a conscious doubt, that they are true and blue to both. What was it once said? Forgive them. They know not what they do. They know not cognitive dissonance, nor confirmation bias. Let alone consensus reality distortions and contortions of appearance reality designer narratives.
We went 4 days without food and water as we walked and walked down a long desolate highway. Got a one day job cleaning up a small campground that was on the way to a famous amusement park. We got there (famous park) in the hope of finding a job, since the cucumber crop was not near ripe and nothing else much was going on. (We had been assured that citrus would be ready.)
There was a long drive into this world famous park, where about halfway in a security truck drives up and tells us we are not welcome there and are to be escorted off the premises. So much for work and the acrobatics both he and I could have probably had fun with in costume. I could juggle and walk well on my hands. We both had partner stunts we created as kids, flipping and somersaulting and such.
Moral to that story. No matter what you do to serve your country, what horrors you endure to keep America free, if you are not a good conformist and look like you are supposed to by the cult, I mean culture, your sacrifice is not worth a lock of hair. Even the little money we had to go on some rides was not worth a penny there because of so called business freedom.
What I am speaking of is the betrayal endemic to the conservative mindset. I have seen it up close and in person. It will not ask for reason, just following orders. It will claim God or freedom, while it will tell you, yes you, that you have none and deserve the treatment and respect of neither. This conservative delusion of superiority operates its incantations 24/7/365. This is how an epidemic of indifference creates alienation. This is how dysfunction, instead of being addressed as a true reaction in need of redress, it is termed ill or criminal and hidden away from public view, carrying the blame, incorporating the shame and often festering into ostracised subcultures.
Somewhere amidst the law and order and alleged freedom and responsibility, that conservatism, as it now is and abstractions it claims to stand for, is the primary deception of the self, galvanized into orthodoxy of one breed or another to hide its inner dry rot of civilization, originating at the center of the conservative delusion.
Yes they will paint it over with all the abstractions of good, and clean, true, honest and righteous. They might even call it salvation, or being reborn. If it is so, it is salvation with a blackened, blinded soul, reborn into alienation. And so, the conservative is always trading off of fear, insecurity, and separation from wholesome functioning by anxiety, to persecute others in its name.
This is their purging projection of the darkness that dwells within, that can only be illuminated by understanding and returning to The Whole of Life, even with its ambiguities and uncertainties. It is where we actually are. Conservatism is a prison of the mind and heart, where their own self accepted bars, keep them from experiencing the grandness of Life, even with all its differences and dimensions yet to be known. It can be said that they reject God and true nation themselves, to live within a grand delusion that worships fear instead of love. Their life-raft of insecurities mission is; to never understand fully, wholly, what Life really is, nor what Love can really do.
Life and Love are. When denying their presence, it is we who create dysfunction and alienation. Often called evil. It is we who must act for their return.