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Friday, June 19, 2015

Conflicted

My brain is in a bit of a muddle as I turn on the computer for the first time today. I had to go for a monthly blood test today, the one my friend Marie calls my green poke. She calls it that because I take a medicine called Coumadin to try and keep the clotting in my legs controlled and keep it from spreading to larger blood vessels where clotting would be even more dangerous and life-threatening. Eating a lot of lovely green stuff like kale and brussels sprouts will undermine the effects of the drug (that's the green part) and I get my finger poked every month, or more often if necessary, to make sure that I have a desired level of the drug in my system. The poking part is no big deal. You do what you have to, right?

The muddle comes from after the green poke, on which I did really well, by the way. We ran a few errands on the "Since we're out, we might as well..." plan. As we were running trudging about, we realized that the higher than normal (for Colorado) humidity was zapping our energy. We stumbled home and within minutes we had decided to take a long summer's nap. Did I say long nap? It was more like a short night's sleep transplanted to an afternoon. When I returned to the land of thinking people at about 6:00 p.m. my first thought was that I needed to write.

That's what this post is about, actually. When I wrote last, about a week ago (many apologies to my dear neglected readers, you deserve better attention), I had something odd happen in my little brain. After I finished writing and publishing and making notifications, I got the idea that last Sunday was Fathers' Day. I finished everything with the post and said to Trent, "Is tomorrow Fathers' Day?!" He said that yes, it sure was. See, I wasn't the only one who was confused. And one of my friends thought it was too, so there! 

I was rather disgusted with myself because I have begun revamping some of my older pieces that were created when I was a bit less confident with my writing. I am not saying they are awful, nor that my writing now is super-fantastic. It's just that they aren't quite the same flavor as the things I cook up nowadays. So from time to time I intend to rewrite some old pieces that are worthy of improvement. My first was a piece about my mother, and I had originally intended for my second to be about my father.

When I thought that I had missed the opportunity to rewrite the Fathers' Day-ish piece, I was disappointed with myself for losing the timely opportunity. But on the other hand, I didn't really want to write it. Actually, I didn't care. It may be hard for many people to understand feeling that way, but there it is. Ever since having that realization, I think I have had some weirdness going on in the old noodle. For those of you too young to understand that reference, it's an old-timey way of saying in my brain.

What kind of person doesn't want to rewrite a piece in which she honors her father? A terrible ingrate? Some sort of spoiled rotten offspring? In my case, not really, on any of those or other possible insults. I do honor my father in many ways. He went through a lot of horrible things during and after the Second World War. He had to uproot his young family and move them across the world to a place where he knew only a handful of people. If not, all of them would have been killed because of his involvement in, or sympathy for, the Hungarian Revolution. After he brought his family to The States, one more child was added to the family, that child being me. I loved my Papa. I also feared him.

For many years, I only had a few clear memories of my father. One was of him walking through the doorway from the kitchen to the dining room, folding his belt in half as a threat, or a promise, to spank someone's backside. The other was what he did to my mother. The simple, but somehow most awful, way of putting it is that he bludgeoned her nearly to death and left his children who ranged in age from seven to sixteen to find her when she was able to summon the strength to scream for help. My father turned himself in to the police. My mother died two days later. Our family and our lives were forever changed, forever damaged.

For many years, I actively hated him but managed to let go of that at the age of fifteen. I realized that this hate was damaging me, that hate didn't hurt the one that was hated. Hate only hurts the one who carries it in their mind and heart. Instead, I felt nothing. After many years, I was able to learn some things about my father that allowed me to have some more positive feelings toward him. I am finally able to honor him. However, the life experiences I have had as a result of his actions still leave me conflicted. That one horrific experience set me on the path to a chain of many more terrible times. But they also set me on a path that gave me more opportunities than I would ever have had otherwise. Talk about guilt! Knowing that while your mother's death was horrific and led to years of physical and mental abuse while also giving you a life you'd never have had without it? It's the kind of stuff that could have kept Sigmund Freud busy for years.

As a result of my simple confusion over Fathers' Day, it's been difficult for me to sit down to write without dredging up this internal conflict. Obviously I made the choice to attack it head-on. I hope that I have stilled the demons of memory for a while. And I hope that I will be able to honor the positive actions of J├ínos, my father, in spite of his terrible ones. I'm fairly sure that I will spend much of my life feeling conflicted. But I won't let it define me.