It’s me, Asshole Jr.
Sorry, I don’t call enough, and I doubt I ever will. I never have a phone and I always have disabling phone anxiety. I know anxiety is something you never understood, which is ironic, seeing as how your nerves caused you so much trouble throughout the years.
First, I want to level with you so that you understand that I understand—as much as I can. After that, I’m going to get dark and vent a summary of over a decade of hatred, but after I’m done spewing that vitriol, I’ll end it on a positive note, because I love you and I’m immensely proud of you. You’ve developed so much over the years.
You were born with Spina Bifida and Scoliosis in the late 60s. The doctors operated on you immediately and then again and again throughout your childhood. You had to wear a brace to school and you were made fun of. You were told that your thirties is when your body would go downhill; that the pain and stiffness would kick in and only get worse. It was the best they could do for you at the time, and it was a miracle they were able to keep you from being wheelchair bound. If that’s not reason enough to become depressed, I don’t know what is. Then, you have terrible anxiety, or bad nerves as you’d call it, and low testosterone, which can be its own cocktail of depression.
You had no idea your depression was destroying everything and turning you into an emotionally and verbally abusive tyrant. When you started catching on, it only made you angrier.
You weren’t abusive (that I saw) when I was a young child. From probably fifth grade on, you became more and more verbally aggressive. Your voice was so booming and deep that it’d hurt my ears from the other room and practically shake the house. You fought with mom, so much. It was usually the trivial things that drove you crazy. Mom’s taste in music; if she liked a song on the radio and it had a lyric in it that would feel threatening to you if she had said it from her to you, you’d start nagging, insecure, until you couldn’t help but yell and chastise her. She’d have no goddamn idea what you were talking about, because you’d attack her taste in music and everything else, not say ‘that line bothers me, you don’t feel that way about me, do you?’ Once, you did this on the way home and I had to endure it on the entire twenty-minute drive as a little kid. We got home, you stomped inside, and as mom and I were walking into the house, she gave me a serious look and said, ‘when you’re older, marry someone with your music interests.’ She probably doesn’t remember that, and I wish I could go back and let her know that isn’t normal even if you don’t like a person’s music, but I think she understands it was just abusive, now.
Naturally, I thought what you listened to was fucking stupid. That would grow to be a theme in my life; whatever you loved, I fucking loathed and wished to violently murder out of existence.
The entire time you were with mom, you openly talked about how ‘good looking’ women were on tv, how you loved ‘plump baby faces’ and ‘big round asses.’ It was absolutely disgusting to me that you’d go on and on about women with mom sitting right beside you, having none of the features you were ogling. She never ogled men like that. I seriously grew up thinking women didn’t feel anything towards men because she didn’t act like you did, but how you acted was filthy and it took me most of my life to overcome the desire to murder ‘plump baby-faced, fat assed women’ because I subconsciously affiliated them with your marriage being destroyed instead of realizing you were the monster, not them. I’m not getting ready to blame my problems on you—I’m fucked up in general—but you fanned the fires of my hate far more than you could ever realize.
The older I got, the more you became depressed and subsequently manipulative and abusive. Your body couldn’t keep up with working at the army depot anymore. You had to retire early because of the constant pain and inability to do what you used to. You couldn’t work anymore, and sitting at home day after month after year completely ruined you. You didn’t do anything at all. You sat in your chair, you smoked, you got fat, and I was made to compensate for your lack of doing anything at all. I was willing, because I knew you were in pain and not as mobile as I was. It became a trap. You’d wait until I was sweeping and then chastise the fuck out of me for not sweeping right (this seems to be a common trend in abusive parent-child relationships) making me do it again and again. When depression was in full swing, everything I did was wrong and something to fight over.
Mom had to get a job to support three because social security didn’t pay you enough. It drove you absolutely insane that she was around people every day that you didn’t know. When the photo studio went out of business, she got a job at the main big box store 45 minutes away, working 2-11pm.
We went in on her day off, once, and as we were going in, he pointed at you and snapped ‘Keep your head down, your eyes down, you don’t talk to anybody. You hear me?’ Fucking sick, controlling shit.
You drove her there and back, which I didn’t realize was strange until later in life. I’m going to wager that you wouldn’t let her drive herself, although she eventually did drive herself. I remember the 10pm drive every night. I had my gameboy color with pokemon yellow. I’d sit with my plug-in light and watch the lights from the big light posts fly by as a reflection on my screen when we were getting closer to town.
So much fighting happened in that car. You were always so stupid. I grew to hate both of you because when mom would finally snap and say something, it’d be in response to you, so you’d both sound stupid. Listening to that shit, I thought you were both so far beneath me, beneath anyone sane and healthy. I tried to sing songs loudly to myself in the backseat to drown out the yelling, but you’d yell at me to shut up. I was always far too full of anger at the world to bother crying about it or even taking it personally. No, all of that hate was focused on you, not myself.
I only remember crying only three times because of you.
Yelling and fighting were a part of my life. It was normal and I was numb to it. You had cornered mom in the kitchen, once, voice booming as you tore her apart with your words, and she’d say something to strike back. It went on probably an hour. Honestly, I had no idea why I was sitting at the table with you when this happened, but you called her a motherfucker. It was so commanding and violent and pointed that I felt like you wanted to tear the world apart starting from the space her body was taking up. I fucking lost it, bawling more ugly and loudly than I ever had. Mom pointed at me and said, with this voice of firm, calm disgust, ‘That was me. That was me growing up.’ You let it go after a few more quiet jabs at one another.
I used to have no anxiety about phonecalls. I had this friend at school that I’d rush home to call, and we’d stay on the phone for hours every evening. One day, I had told my friend that I needed to fix my playstation and that I’d need to set the phone down. I did, and you started yelling at me over fucking nothing at all. You just felt like blowing your goddamn top. We had our own argument, although I still didn’t really raise my voice at the time. Thirty minutes later, you saw the phone and pointed to it, saying, ‘Were you on the phone?!’ My blood ran cold that I’d forgotten he was on the other end of the line, waiting, probably overhearing every bit of your shit. It caught me so off guard that I started trembling and crying. I couldn’t even goddamn tell him sorry and that I had to go, because as I stammered it out, you started goddamn yelling over me to ‘not dare pick up that phone’ and ‘don’t you fucking ignore me.’ I think it really fucked me up. I hyperventilate and cry if I have to make a goddamn call anymore.
The other time was later and was the moment I snapped. I really took charge of my identity and flourished because of this moment. Let me preface this by saying: you were always so fucking intelligent. You scored so high on your college entrance tests that the military started constantly contacting you to get you to join and become a nuclear technician. Of course, you’re a goddamned dick, and you thought it’d be funny to tell them ‘No, it’s squirrel season.’ It’s not like it would have been an easier job on your body, you fucking dick, and paid much better than the depot. I could have gone to college, you goddamned cunt. Nah, you would have spent it on guns and cars instead.
Woah, that’s not where I was going with that at all. Anyway, even in the darkest times, I looked up to your intelligence (on anything that wasn’t related to people or politics.) We were arguing, though, and for once, you were wrong about whatever it was we were talking about. I can’t remember what I said, but you pressed on arguing as if I hadn’t said it, and then two goddamned sentences out of your mouth later, you said the exact fucking thing to me that I had screamed at you, as if you were all knowing and I’d never thought about it in my life.
You were dead to me for a very long time after that moment. I shut my mouth, jaw locked tight. I teared up and started crying, yelling, “I JUST SAID THAT, I JUST TOLD YOU THAT.” You kept going like I wasn’t there. I was invisible. I realized at that moment that, no matter how intelligent I became, you’d never even notice because you were all knowing and you were God. I left mid conversation and shut myself away while that sunk in.
That was all that ever mattered to me, you know. That you saw how intelligent I became as I got older. All I wanted was to be considered smart by you.
I stopped living for anyone but me after that. Well, at home. School was still a disgusting mess and I wouldn’t develope a public identity until after I dropped out. The nail in the coffin was when I did drop out, I told everyone how I was going to be homeschooled and be in college before I was 18. I had the capability to do it, too. Mom tried her hardest, but she couldn’t hold a job working long hours and manage it with you wasting her free time yelling at her. What did you say when she suggested you teach me? ‘I’m not going to fucking do it.’ Like my education was a waste of your goddamned time. You were a waste of goddamned space.
During the separation, I was sent away with mom. I admit it was such a sudden thing that I cried out of shock. (Also, you both came in and asked me if I wanted you to split up… like that’s something you casually ask your fucking daughter. Then again, it would have been a hell yes had I not been baffled at the immaturity and staring at you like ‘be a fucking adult and do it yourself.’)
I started to feel free for the first time. I started making mental and emotional steps towards transitioning from female to male, although I wasn’t ready to have that talk with anyone yet. When I was little and I was in trouble, you’d throw a tantrum and threaten to throw my n64 out of the window or break my things like they were trash. In my mid teens, I was terrified that you were going get lost in your thoughts, get angry, and come kill us. That was a serious fear for the next few years.
The separation became the divorce, and mom found somebody new, whose presence in the first few months woke me up to how abusive and terrible her relationship with you had been. I had something to compare it to. I thought you were going to kill us and him, too.
I had no idea that the divorce would be the most sobering experience of your life.
You didn’t eat anymore. You drank coffee nonstop and chain smoked. You lost over a hundred pounds in half a year. Your hair went from brown-almost-black to dusted with grey. It sucked the soul out of your bones. Your family scolded you for everything you had done (they had been telling you that the whole time) and your dad told you he knew mom would never come back the moment she left for the separation. He was simple in his ways, but he wasn’t stupid by any means. He loved mom, too. They all did, you idiot.
I was working at my first job and you came to visit me. I seriously didn’t recognize you until you came up to the register and said hi. You were so slim and having that weight off made you walk so much straighter and better. When I told you I hadn’t recognized you, you lit up like a floodlight. I hadn’t seen you laugh and smile that genuinely since I was like, ten. I had no idea you had changed just as much inside as you had outside.
I ended up, after another year or two, moving back in with you. You did what I considered to be unthinkable—you listened to me. You cut my hair, you taught me to comb it, you took me shopping for a masculine set of clothing, and although you couldn’t wrap your head around the fact that I wasn’t Molly or she anymore, you did everything you could to help me fill in my identity and take on life. I got a second job, and with that income, you started driving me to Dallas every two weeks so that I could see my therapist. You took me to the doctor so that I could start testosterone. You did all of that for me, not understanding a thing about transgendered, but you trusted that I knew what was right for me. I suspect it was partially a bid for approval since mom still didn’t accept me as transgendered yet. It doesn’t matter to me either way, though. That was a lot of your time and effort getting me to those places for the next year or two.
When I left, you were firmly scolding me for not shaving my legs because that was not how a girl should be. When I came back, you helped me change my life.
I want you to know that that’s how I think of you, too.
When I think of the yelling, the names, the feeling that I was worthless trash, that I couldn’t do anything right, the headaches and bullying, I don’t think of you. I think of the combination of factors that did that to you and affiliate them with that period of my life, not solely you.
I think of you very fondly, actually.
I remember when I was tiny and you’d sing Christmas in Prison to me, and laughing because I thought ‘turkey and pistols carved out of wood’ that they were going to eat the pistols with the turkey. I remember you saying you had to go to the bathroom and sitting down in your chair instead, and us laughing so hard because I legitimately thought you mistook your chair for the toilet. I remember you shaving all your hair off and me patting your bald head like it was a new puppy. I remember when I dropped my little nanopet in the dishwater and it fried it, and you spent a long time taking it apart with a tiny screwdriver and laying out the circuit board and its parts on a towel hoping it would dry it enough to work again. (It didn’t, lol. That was my favorite one too, it was the little nano cat. Damn did I cry, but it meant the world to me that you tried.) I think of when you were teaching me to drink coffee, starting with powdered vanilla creamer, and we would sit in the recliners all day with the windows open watching the old black and white Tarzan movies. That scene where Cheetah looked through the telescope at the movie projector, saw the projection of the train coming right at the camera and jumped backward like ‘oh shit!’ thinking it was really a train coming at him, we lost our fucking shit hardcore and couldn’t stop laughing.
You’ve always told me absolutely terrible, lame jokes and southernisms and quoted random shit that I still think of to this day. Like, when we’d get home from a road trip, you’d say in this foghorn leghorn sing songy voice: “Home again, home again, jiggity-jig. I shot at a rooster, and I killed a pig.” I still think of that when I get home from being on the road for a few hours, without fail. Every hat I’ve ever worn, you’ve told me you liked it and asked if I had two, and when I’d say ‘why?’ (before I finally caught on,) you’d say, ‘so I can shit in one and cover it up with the other’ and just laugh and laugh. I almost fucking cried at work because a dad called his son ‘turkey’ just like you used to/do to me and it made me miss you so much.
I think about just how much you taught me to think. You taught me so many fields of interest. You taught me the names of cultures that the school books would never even get close to touching on, you enlightened me on history, on ancient archeology and migration patterns of paleolithic man and the origin of our own bloodline. You taught me about evolution and science, of how beautiful and amazing and full of fascination life was. You introduced me to some awesome old literature and mythoses. Don’t get me started on geography and writing, oh writing and words and poetry. If you hadn’t become what you became for those years, you could have taught me more than that school ever could have in half the time, and you’d always put on educational programming or tell me about something that some field had just discovered (and sometimes why they were stupid and why it was clearly this way instead, only to be proven totally correct by later findings.)
I have to blame you for my chronic fear of tornadoes, though, which lasted several of my childhood years, because if there was tornado footage playing somewhere, you had it on the tv, and you loved that damn Twister movie, sooooo much. Lol it’s so campy, but man did it seem real to me then.
It delighted you that I took so well to poetry, prose, and music. It made your day when I’d overhear a song on tv, get ‘that look’ on my face, rush into my room, and start picking it out by ear on my keyboard. You bragged about that to everyone.
You still only get paid once a month and you live like two hours away, but you’ve helped us several times when we got hit hard by life. You even bought me a car when ours died, and then it died too, sadly, but you still fucking bought me a car and paid it off without me realizing you were still making payments on it. You’ve several times sent me money to help me get through things when I’m afraid I can’t pay the rent for awhile when it’s already late. You came up to visit me on my birthday, and we didn’t even do much, but it meant the world to me that you came and met Shane and went out to eat with me. You liked him. You treated me just like you treat me, goofing with him and telling stories and whatnot.
You’ve relaxed and opened your mind so much. I’m so proud of you. I miss you.
We do still talk, though it’s through facebook. You are usually trying to get me to listen to youtube links, and I really really wish I could figure out how to politely discourage that because man we do not see eye to eye on most things music. Other times you’re dropping a sticker or a lame old joke on something I’ve shared or posted.
I seriously need to talk to you more. Maybe if I start writing again, I can get you to read my stuff. Not meaning that in a selfish way, but you always did try to keep up with my projects and writing, so maybe it’ll make you feel something good if you see I haven’t given up on it.
Well, you asshole, I love you.
You better get on and respond to me soon, because I had to tell you that I loved you over facebook, too.
Hope to get to see you for your birthday at the end of the month. :)