At my core is a hungry void. I don’t know if it got carved out, or is it an emptiness that never grew shut? It’s mass is my gravitational center. As much as it attracts, it also repels. Nothing penetrates it’s border. Everything it draws to it, clusters and clumps around it’s outer edge. My hurts have accumulated into a thick crusty shell. A longing is in there, echoing. Something vital is missing. A deep need leaks out forcing my fibers to align with it.
I’ve been struggling to look at it. My attempts to focus are ricochet into a scattered field. As I forced my way in, I expected to be overcome with the pain packed around it. Surprisingly I made progress and found some peace.
For my entire life I’ve sensed something I have only now put into words. It’s presence has been so constant I don’t even hear it as background noise. Seeing it, holding it out loud, hearing it in the air is freeing. So far my biggest reaction is simply shocked at what I took as normal:
I repulsed my father.
That is what I have always felt. At first it was a tiny sense, a subtle suspicion. Then a solid truth. In short order it became the believe my identity was founded on.
Looking back, it’s easy to see how I noticed patterns and formed explanations. He was a quiet man. His single word sentences felt short, tried and disinterested. He never abused me, he never did anything intentionally to hurt or deprive me. He also never touched me. It was an unspoken rule that was visceral. Even without words, it seemed to me he was afraid touching would make me weirder then I already was.
I suspect he was reacting to me. I wasn’t at ease with him. Did he pull back because he felt me squirm? Did we deflect each other? Our dance was simply sour, our feet to heavy to ever match. I could be angry. He was the adult, didn’t he have an obligation to make it work? But he was just a damaged person with secrets he couldn’t speak of.
In the silence I grew hungry.
Did the repulsion I sensed carve out my longing? If I felt his love, would it have grown closed? Seeing this, I understand how it fed my fragile standing as a boy. By the time I was 5, I was already isolated, an outsider, the Other. The trauma of the assault fortified my confused conclusions; weak is gross, dirty, repulsive and I was weak. With that, the first layer of pain was laid over the void. This heavy longing floats hard in my throat.
image: photo collage hum