Love, Abuse, and Grandparents

I want to get this out before I forget it or it becomes part of the laundry list of topics I want to discuss on here and find that I do not have the same fire as I did when they were fresh. A couple nights ago, my mom and I visited my aunt and ended up staying at her house chatting until midnight. We talked about various topics, but the one that stood out the most to me (aside from my needing a new car) was men. Or specifically, the men in our lives, past and present.

This is related to the topic of my needing a new car, as my dad is being rather stubborn and skirting around the issue. I don’t know how to explain it without my fingers tingling from frustration that there isn’t a way to just hook my head up to a machine and transfer everything in a neat little file full of the whole situation…but anyway, the subject divulged into how men are pretty much all hotheads and you need to know when to tell them things so that they don’t explode like shaken up bottles of pop. The answer, if you’re wondering, is when they’re in a good mood. And though neither my mom or my aunt mentioned it, I’m sure they were probably both thinking after sex – but I think they abstained from saying that because they think my virginity = ultra saintly nun-like knowledge of sexuality – and also because it’s probably an awkward topic between them (my aunt is not young).

That said, I discovered as the topic went on that during my grandpa’s last few months alive, he was very verbally abusive to my grandma. But before I continue, I’d also like to add that I learned that before they were married, he was, only once, physically abusive to her as well. My aunt recounted a story that my grandma told her about a time when my grandpa’s friends were spreading rumors that she was being unfaithful to him, and while she was ironing a shirt (with a really old school iron, like, made out of iron, that you had to spit on or something) he came over to her and hit her upside the head a few times and walked away, but not before she threw the iron at him, which nearly missed his head and could’ve killed him. Afterward, he asked “what was that?” and she asked “what was THAT?” A few days later, after discussing it with my great-grandmother, she told him that if he ever lays a hand on her again, she would heat a large pot of water until it was boiling and throw it on his head while he was sleeping. He never touched her like that again. However, he did verbally abuse her to his dying day.

My mom was telling my aunt about my dad calling her of “of the devil” (that’s the best way I can translate it in English – it’s a very rude and hurtful way to verbally berate someone in Romanian) because she said something somewhat snippy to him after he complained about her going to the zoo with me a few days ago. That’s when my aunt told us about my grandpa’s verbal abuse which often consisted of calling my grandma “of the devil”. I suppose I should also mention that my grandpa’s last year of life was plagued by diabetic complications including an infected leg (he refused to take medication for diabetes because he was afraid of needles and medical anything, like I am) which resulted in his death. Consequently, his poor health also deteriorated his state of mind. From what I remember, he wasn’t happy, as expected, to be sick. But he always spoke to me kindly, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with the fact that I was his favorite grandchild, the only girl, and the first born. He loved me very much. But this isn’t about me, not yet anyway.

In his negative state of mind, my aunt told us he called my grandma all kinds of names, swore at her, blamed his illness on her, said he wished he could kill her with an axe (that was so terrible, it was ALMOST funny, except it wasn’t), etc etc. All kinds of terrible, awful things that I could never dream of saying to someone I love, much less my wedded spouse. However, my spiritual beliefs lead me to believe that the corporeal negativity that surrounded my grandpa around his dying days was just that – corporeal. I cannot count the amount of times that I have been in near car accidents and I know that my grandpa pulled my wheel the other way or pushed my foot on the brake. I firmly believe that in the core of his spirit, he was a loving and positive being, and that any negative energy he felt while he was still alive was part of his natural learning curve on earth. I believe that once he died, he became part of the oneness and he knew what he said/did was wrong.

That said, unfortunately, his verbal abuse was passed down to his two sons, my dad and my uncle. My uncle is worse – he is not only verbally abusive, but as with the two girlfriends, (one of which is now his ex-wife and the mother of my only first cousin) also physically abusive. It really upsets me, actually. Imagine being 5 years old and icing a grown 20something’s face because your uncle hit her for arguing. It was rather traumatizing.

Thankfully, my dad is not physically abusive and never has been. He is, however, verbally abusive. Prior to move to America, his verbal abuse was more derogatory and nasty. Currently, it is more hurtful and scarring. I like to think that he chooses his words in a way so volatile that he knows exactly what button to push to make me feel like the shittiest, unworthiest person alive – like I do not deserve anything because I disobeyed his wishes or what have you. I distinctly remember being called a cow on several occasions when I was younger (before my mom intervened and told him to stop saying things like that to his own children) and various other deploring things he spewed my way that my brain has thankfully managed to tuck away and not remember.

This isn’t to say that I’ve had a rough childhood. My childhood and life at home has been phenomenal compared to the devastating lives of far too many people who’ve grown in truly horrific situations. Nonetheless, all degrees of abuse are that: abuse. And it does not matter what degree you’ve endured, it all matters. Being someone’s punching bag, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, is not only challenging, but scarring.

Having backstoryed all that, I remember sitting on my aunt’s couch and feeling more and more infuriated imagining the scenarios of my grandpa abusing my grandma. MY grandpa, abusing MY grandma. Two people that I love and adore with all my heart, having discord in their relationship? It truly hurts me to think about it. I have never dealt well with people genuinely arguing. My parents very rarely have a legit argument, but when they do, it makes me extremely uncomfortable and I want to cry. Although recently, as I’ve gotten older, I have a tendency to step in and scream at my dad to shut the fuck up because it’s distressing me. He usually tells me to shut up back and I tell him no and continue to tell him to stop arguing. I also do not like it when my friends argue, especially with their significant others.

However, my grandparents’ situation got me thinking: should I ever find myself in a relationship, I pledge here and now to never, EVER, allow my partner to abuse me. Abuse is not love. I don’t care how corrosive of a relationship it might be. No one should be subjected to berating words or bruises. I am too intelligent, too emotional, and have too much self-respect to allow anyone to disrespect me like that. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but I am saying if it does, it won’t happen for long.

Messages

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my brain has this tendency to unearth Romanian words in place of really simple ones like car trunk. Earlier, a group of four very tall siblings walked into my store and the first thing I thought wasn’t wow they’re giants, it was wow, they’re uriaș – the Romanian word for giants. I have no idea why this happens, but it happens quite often. It’s like I simply can’t remember the English word for whatever it is I’m trying to say, but then I automatically remember it in Romanian.

Anyway, I don’t remember how exactly I had planned on transitioning this post, but I recently altered my body in a permanent way. I’ve been oscillating between loving it and feeling a horrible sense of regret and guilt. So much so, that the day after was conveniently Sunday and I went to church seeking answers. Thankfully, I got them.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s very hard to hear at my church cause it echoes. However, what I did hear, I firmly believe I was meant to hear: that we all have our crosses to bear and that God forgives all sins. Honestly, this made me feel way better about my decision because I take it to mean God doesn’t really care what I do to my body.

Funny thing is, like I said, I keep oscillating between loving and kinda hating it. The next day, I was painting and thinking about life and my recent decisions while listening to traditional Romanian music. While I was in a “I can’t believe I did that, why did I do that” phase, the following lyrics played: “păcate sunt pe pământ” which translates to “sins are of the earth”. It’s not necessarily that I go seeking these messages, but that whoever is watching out for me is sending them to me to make me understand that what I did isn’t the end of the world and isn’t something worth being condemned over. And it is such a relief every time.

Earlier I was feeling negative about it again. I sat down and scrolled through my Tumblr dash and found this: ”
Our culture teaches us about shame—it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. We weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us—from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate.”

I swear someone is looking out for me. I have to believe that because it can’t just be chance that these messages are hurtling themselves my way. Also, somewhat ironically, this recent body change has brought me closer to God. Or perhaps broaden my spirituality. I’m okay with that.

Church and Crystals

Remember the last time I went to church and blogged about it? And I mentioned there’s a chandelier in the center dome that’s like the size of my car? I snapped a picture of it today cause I decided I needed some Jesus in my life or something.

I thought I got there late enough today to not endure standing up and sitting down and making crosses over myself, but apparently 11 AM is still early cause the pope didn’t start talking until 11:35 and I was like sweet baby Jesus and kept looking at all the paintings of the saints and once again thought about aliens and what I learned about saints and architecture in my art history classes.

I hit up downtown Ferndale after and had a lovely time down there by myself. Although winter is really depressing cause there’s like no one else walking around willy nilly. I bought some new crystals (and a pendant) and a really legit cutting board that I don’t have a picture of (yet). I also bought energy chunks and date and coconut rolls from the Natural Patch.

I plan on exploring downtown Ferndale more in depth in the future. I know there’s more to it than just the west side of 9 mile, but I kinda feel like I need a buddy to do it with, you know? Same goes for downtown Berkley and downtown Birmingham. I’ve explored the majority of downtown Royal Oak though. Baby steps!

Poetic Justice.

So Alyza gifted me with Macklemore’s album, The Heist, a few weeks ago and I finally listened to it tonight while I was doing my laundry. It’s actually a pretty good album. I wasn’t expecting as many “political” songs, but rather more raunchy shit. I was surprised, but in the best possible way.

And it reminded me of just how much I love “political” music. I think I might be getting Billy Talent’s Devil In A Midnight Mass lyrics “Put my trust in God that day; Not the man that taught his way” tattooed soon. Actually I’m listening to that right now and yeah, I will be getting that on my body sometime in the future for sure.

There are two poetic philsophies that define my views on life. That is one of them. The other is from Mihai Eminescu’s epic poem, Luceafarul, and translated, it reads “For all are born to die, and die to be reborn.” Another planned tattoo. Except it will be in Romanian.