My sister is a hippy. A full-on one (albeit the most confrontational hippy I’ve ever met). She is as hippy as hippy gets.
She’s also been on a Native American spirituality kick since about 6 months before my father died (so about 2, 2 1/2 years). And every year for… I don’t remember, 3 years? 5? 6? She holds an all-night memorial service for my dad.
This August will mark the second year, and she has asked me and my mom to join her. My mom immediately thought it was the best idea ever and bought a plane ticket for me and the spawn.
Here’s the thing. The ceremony requires the use of peyote. Since it’s held in a Native American church, for a Native American religious ceremony, it is completely legal.
However, it is a hallucinogenic drug, and I have a kid. She was obviously my first concern, so I called my sister up and told her how uncomfortable I was with her, my mom, and me all being high, hallucinating off our asses, with no one to watch my kid.
She said, “Most people set up a sleeping bag behind them and that’s where the kids sleep. But if you’re more comfortable, the guy who runs the church has a wife who will take care of her.”
I’m not well versed in the drug world. I’ve never been interested in drugs. And I’ve never taken a hallucinogenic before. I have no idea how I would react to something like that. And even if I were to consider doing it, my 4-year-old would damn sure not be there to see it, and I would damn sure not leave her with someone I don’t know.
But the kid is not the biggest or the main reason why I don’t want to do it.
So I’m a bit cynical as to the validity of this ceremony, and the claims my sister made as to last year’s ceremony. She claims she saw my dad and talked to him.
Here’s the thing about my sister. While yes, she is a yeast-infected mutated cuntbag, who I hope dies slowly and painfully, she is not an unintelligent person.
Closed-minded and intolerant to a degree that would make her get along well with the psycho Republicans if they weren’t on opposite sides of the spectrum, yes.
But she’s not stupid. And she usually doesn’t believe something just because someone tells her it’s true. She makes her own judgments and thinks for herself.
So given that, plus the way I’ve made my living (I was a professional Tarot card reader), I have this nagging little thought: “What if this shit is real?”
Or even take that out of the equation, and change it to “What if I hallucinate a conversation with my father, when my judgment is extremely impaired, in front of my mother and sister?”
Either way, that cannot happen.
It cannot happen. There are things I’ve kept buried that cannot come out. There’s no way to save the situation if it comes out. Because, while I am angry and bitter toward my sister and my mother, it’s my father I hate with every fiber of my being.
Because it was my father I loved.
It was my father I felt like I understood, and who understood me. Of all my blood relatives, he was the one who I really thought “got” me. And that’s why I turned to him whenever I needed help. That’s why he was the one I allowed to see me at my most vulnerable, even when I couldn’t let Kazander see me.
When I was pregnant, and everything was going wrong, I finally reached my breaking point at about 28 weeks, after yet another ultrasound appointment, where they discovered a hole in her heart. After placenta previa, an incompetent cervix, going into labor at 26 weeks, and terrifying amounts of blood randomly showing up for no reason, I hit my limit. Driving home, I was shaking.
So I did something I’d only ever done once before. I called my dad at his work.
He worked a high-security job, and cell phones were not permitted on the premises. And because the security clearance was such a bitch, he had to go to a special room to take a personal phone call.
Thankfully he was at the office in town that day and had not flown out to the test site further north. If that had been the case, I would not have been able to reach him at all unless his superiors decided it was a legitimate emergency (and no, an upset pregnant daughter does not qualify as an emergency in the eyes of the US government).
I didn’t call my mother. I was losing my control and couldn’t handle her starting to cry over the phone.
I didn’t call Kazander. I didn’t know why at the time, but now I realize he would’ve been emotionally supportive, assured me that everything would be okay, and all that.
Which would’ve been very sweet. But I didn’t want that. I didn’t want Kazander. Because Kazander didn’t (and doesn’t) know me as well as my father did.
My dad’s secretary put me on hold while he went to a place where he could talk to me. He picked up the phone and I couldn’t stop crying as I told him what the doctor said. He listened patiently until I was done.
Then he said, “Is there anything you can do to change it?”
“Is there anything you can do to control it?”
“Then what good is worrying about it? And stressing yourself out will only hurt the baby more. Just get yourself back under control.”
That was ver batim. I’ll never forget that conversation and what he said to me.
That was what I needed. And that’s why I called my dad. I felt like he had reached into my mind and told me exactly what I needed to hear. Like he was just echoing what my own subconscious was trying to tell me.
I’d never felt closer to him than in that moment. I don’t think I’ve hugged my father once in the last decade of his life, but I would’ve hugged him if I’d been there with him that day.
He was also the first one I told when I found out I could no longer breastfeed, and my doctor referred me to an oncologist. And again, he told me I can’t do shit about it, so what’s the point of worrying about it?
My dad was nothing if not efficient and productive. Born on Christmas day, he was the personification of the stereotypical Capricorn.
I loved him. Despite the fact that I never quite knew if I hated him, or if he hated me. We understood each other. Because we were each other. No one else will ever know me the way he did, because he was me.
And he taught me what I’m capable of if I don’t keep my control. He was a violent, explosive man. He was a sick, depraved man.
He wasn’t a good man. I don’t know if I could say he was even a decent man. He looked like a Mexican Harrison Ford, but inside, he was ugly.
And so am I. We were two monsters trying to find some kind of redemption. He taught me what happens when the monster rules you. He taught me what I will turn into if I am not aware.
He was every bit the monster my sister loved calling him.
But he knew me. And I knew him.
Or, I thought I did.
The issues I dealt with growing are many, but one that still bothers me is the rampant favoritism that my mom showed my little sister. That is why I refuse to have another child. I will never put my first-born through that. She will never know what that feels like.
And I know what it sounds like. The rich, entitled brat is sad because she didn’t get that second pony.
That’s why, instead of being upset, it felt good when I found out that they admitted it to Kazander’s parents. Their words were, “Don’t get us wrong. We love Jenny (that name still makes me cringe), too. She’s our first born. But there’s just something about M.”
I can’t remember the exact words after that, but they went on to praise my sister and all her “accomplishments,” and justify their reasons for loving her more than they loved me.
Like getting kicked out of Canada (I’m not joking, she was literally escorted out of Canada and asked not to return).
I wasn’t mad, though. This was not news to me. I was stoked they’d said it out loud. To someone else.
Now no one can say I imagined it, or was just looking for attention, or whatever. It felt good to be validated like that. I wanted to hug them for admitting it.
Until about a month after my dad died. I found out that he was the one who had said it, when I assumed it had been my mom.
And that was a brutal betrayal.
I thought we were two of a kind. I thought he was the one I could trust. The one I could turn to.
I thought he was the one who saw me for who I am and accepted me for it.
And of course, I discovered he’d said that after I had a tattoo done on my arm, lyrics to the song that would’ve been our father-daughter dance, had he not died 2 months before my wedding. The words are in German, his first language, and say, “You’re a part of me for eternity.”
So that’s going to be covered up. I hate having that reminder there. I hate looking down and seeing it there, every day, that constant reminder that the one person I thought I was close to ended up choosing the homeless, jobless, high-school dropout, drug-addicted, unshowered (literally), raging fuck bitch of a spoiled, entitled cunt of a sister who still depends on my psychotic fucking mother financially at 28 years old.
He chose her over me. The one person I thought I could count on, and he chose her over me. And every time I see the tattoo, it just reminds me one more time that my blood family hates me. And really, I can’t help but laugh. That’s my dad, for you. That tattoo, and the relationship, the memories it represents, and the way he manipulated me, the way he tricked me into thinking he was there for me, was perfect. One last “fuck you” from the man I thought understood me.
And I harbor a lot of bitterness, resentment, and rage. If I do that ceremony thing, and believe that I’m talking to him, a lot of pretty dark shit is going to surface, that my mom and sister know nothing about.
Hell, my mom doesn’t even know that I know about their confession. She has no idea I know about the favoritism. And I never plan on telling her. My kid adores her, and really, she’s just not capable of handling that emotionally. She’s a fragiile woman.
And besides, it won’t solve anything. It won’t make my childhood go away. All it will do is hurt her, and I’m not spiteful. I’m not going to do that to her. No matter how satisfying it would be to destroy her.
So the ceremony cannot happen. I can’t be a part of it. But both my sister and my mom will be pissed beyond belief if I refuse, and I’ll get to go through yet another round of “Well, you’re just a bad daughter.”
And one of these days, I’m afraid I’ll snap and lose control, and then my daughter will lose her grandmother. So I’m keen to avoid that.
So there’s a loophole that I plan to take advantage of. Menstruating women are not permitted in the church. So fuck it, I’ll dump a bottle of dark red nail polish on a pair of white pants if I have to. And if they keep trying to pressure me into doing it anyway (since it’s a private ceremony, supposedly the rules are a bit more lax) then I’ll say that I just had a miscarriage.
My mom’s been bitching about me having another kid for the last few years (since I won’t tell her why I refuse to give the spawn a younger sibling). That would shut her up for awhile.
I don’t lie, but in this case I will make an exception. I will heap lie after lie on top of another. But I will not risk that shit coming out. Even a negligible risk is too big a risk.
I’m not doing it.