So this happened

I was out yesterday with friends. We’re drinking beer and quoting RuPaul’s Drag Race. We’re operating on various levels of cuntiness while still being charming. I’m deep in conversation with a friend I havent seen in a while, and out of nowhere appears a man who feels me up like I’m a fucking prize stud. He tells me that him and a group of unidentified friends had been talking about me, and they had a wager going on how old I might be. He ask me to disclose my age, and I reply that I want to know first what the bets are and how high the wager is. He says the bidding goes from twenty-four to thirty-six – I’m thirty-seven and very pleased with myself at this point of the evening. I’m perversely thankful for being able to pass for twenty-four in the eyes of a stranger whom I’ve never met, and at the same time I just want Colonel Feely McGropeson to get his fucking hands of my back and stop complimenting the broadness of my shoulders.

My voice of concience tells me to be grateful for the attention, because as we all know, being handsome is the ultimate currency amongst a group of men who shares no common trademark other than their sexuality, and even that is at best debatable. Who the fuck taught me that my looks are all that matters? I’m not even that fucking hot. I look unphotogenically dorky on most pictures but I do have a striking physical presence as all scandinavian men does who are built for a climate where the power of sunlight looses it’s grip six months out of a year. Why do I feel guilty about not wanting the attention. I hear the voice of a woman hawking: “other people would be thrilled to get the attention”… i put this warning in the same box as “children are starving in Africa, so eat your potatoes!”

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Beware of the sulk!

One weekend in June I went home to my parents house in Aarhus. I wanted them to come visit the weekend after because my husband and I were celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. It felt right to have them attend.

Day one of my visit was amazing. The mood was right. Conversation flowed as it should. Barbecuing in the garden was terrific.

Second day of my visit was less amazing. With me still sleeping on the couch, my dad comes storming through the room at seven in the morning. I suggest in a sullen tone that it would do me good to keep on sleeping, and that he should keep his voice down. That was the equivalent of throwing a snow ball down a white mountain. The old man did not allow anyone in his own house to talk to him that way. It ended with me shouting at the top of my lungs while I reduced my dad to three-hundred-pound pure sulk!

We haven’t talked since. It’s only been a couple of months. Two of my cousins didn’t talk with one another for seven years. I wonder if my dad and I will break that record.

Digging in the dirt

I want to write about the place I went to school.

I once read a story about how the Inuits – when out of season – sailed their sled-dogs to a island sufficiently remote for the dogs to be unable to swim back to land. Dogs can swim of course, but water in the polar region is not suitable for long aquatic treks. The inuits come back after a given period to retrieve the surviving dogs which of course in fits of hunger and insanity has turned on one another. It is the inuits who decide which dogs are allowed to breed and pass on their genes – those that fight through and survive imprisonment and torture. It is a cruel practice, but I understand why it was necessary to ensure the survival of the Inuits… they simply had no time for weak dogs.

I learned many things in school. I learned how to stay out of sight of Lars, the kid with the alcoholic deadbeat dad and the alcoholic mom who committed suicide, because his frustrations, rage and lack of empathy had no patience for me – the sensitive kid in class. I learned how to read and I discovered that the school library almost never saw the popular kids – books always expanded my horizon while people continually offered restrictions. I discovered the wonderful patterns of math, how they always made sense, and how my classmates would go from regally allowing me to help them with their homework so they could pass, and an hour later mocking me for having the audacity to believe myself smarter than them.

I walked along intricate routes on my way home from school. I call them intricate… really it was just a route that took me the furthest away from other kids homes. Looking back, I don’t really think it was needed, but it had happened too many times that I had been surrounded by five or seven or ten boys who ridiculed me, pushed me, taunted me, spat at me, hit me, ect. My dad told me to man up! He would shame me for being weak, but he was never there to protect me. Every time I got surrounded there was no one there to starch my backbone and I would crumble because I was just one kid… and they were too many.
I ran home from school crying more times than I care to think about. My mom would wipe my tears and tell me to go back, because it wasn’t proper to skip school. Once in a while she would call my head-teacher and yell at him for not looking after me, but they never did. Once I got into a fight at the soccer field, and I actually pushed the other kid back. My teacher said afterwards that he was glad to see that I finally stood up for myself. I wanted to kill them both right then and there. I was so angry because he just stood there watching the scene unfold. He did nothing to intervene. The kid got away with shouts of encouragement from his team. I felt nothing but shame.
The girls caused me trouble too. I can’t remember who started it, but for a period of a few weeks – maybe it was less – they tortured me. Every time anyone of the girls in my class touched me, they would go to the nearest sink and wash their hands. They would make a big display of it and loudly proclaim that they needed to wash because they had touched me.
I understand the concept of school. Children are sent there to learn all the necessary skills which they need in order to make it as a successful adult in the modern world. In spite of pretending to educate our young, there were many fields of education which were completely left out of the curriculum. I have never learned anything in school about neither taxes, banking and insurance, nor about growing food, recycling waste and taking care of our planet. I wonder why it is so.
I struggle today harnessing my anger. I have never found an effective outlet for it. Even though I live in a world filled with art – being a singer and a songwriter – I have never let go of my restraints to let it all out. I’m thankful that I never grew up in America. If guns had been available when I were a kid, you would all know the name of the school I attended.

Digging in the dirt

I’m waking up after something that feels like a very long nap. I tossed in my sleep for the first time eighteen months ago. I call it tossing in my sleep… really it was just waking up one day and realizing that I hated everything. It dawned on me that the route I had taken in life was leading me straight towards loneliness and bitterness – not liking anything, not caring about anyone, not being cared about. It seemed that I was built perfectly for this. I was intelligent, but biased. I was opinionated, but I didn’t listen to anyone besides myself. I was strong, but I wasn’t careful. I was charming, but manipulative. I was supportive, but also a bully. I was engaging in conversations, but hated when the subject changed away from me. I worked hard, but only when it suited my needs. I made love, but not always to the one I loved.

For some reason I absolutely loathed that I wasn’t getting the attention I felt I deserved. The place I was at didn’t do me right. This didn’t make me proud at all, and I could see that the pattern of not feeling satisfied was something that I’d carried with me all the way from childhood. I decided to go back and explore my past, to see what kind of treasures I could unearth. I won’t skip straight to the end, but I will tell you this… when you go digging through the dirt, your primary findings will be shit!

It all became a mining expedition where I dug for anything of interest. I was a stone-age guy with some new found tools, and I discovered all these amazing artifacts, that I didn’t know what was, but I reckoned they might be useful, so I kept them around until I could figure out what to do with them.

I didn’t find the good stuff at first. Some artifacts I had been carrying around for a long time, but I couldn’t connect them to anything. Mostly I would just stick my face into the before mentioned piles of shit, sniff around, and be very unhappy with the sensation. I would then share my displeasure with the people who happened to be around at the time. I don’t think anyone enjoyed these moments of sharing. I would become so focused on shit, to the point where it was all I could see… and sometimes it was. It would spread out before me like an uninterrupted vein of light-reflecting feces. Everywhere I looked, memories of pain would unveil themselves, but I couldn’t leave. It had begun, and I was covered in shit. Who the hell would want me, looking like that?

I like the parallel to Bastian from The Never-ending Story who in a later chapter goes digging through Fantasias underground, looking for a piece of glass bearing the image of one powerful forgotten memory – which is the artifact that will send him home. Like Bastian I found many memories underground. Like Bastian, most of the important ones bears the same reference – our parents.

I have an older sister who for some reason have always had a difficult life. She’s overweight. She hasn’t taken care of herself, so her teeth is kinda funky. She’s been unemployed for a number of years. Her adult life contains not a single friend that she grew up with – same for me actually. Both me and my sister live almost totally cut off from our family, only seeing them once or twice a year… a difficult task in a country as small as Denmark. The attitude towards my sister has been as follows: “When are you gonna pull yourself together and get a fucking life?” This question, and more like it, has been directed to my sister in what must have seemed like an unending invasion of her pride, her independence, her skills, her intellect and her personality. We didn’t talk about the invasion. We only talked about her teeth and about how disappointed my father was with her lifestyle choices.

My mother is the daughter of a drug-user, whom I’ve never met. She apparently died of an overdose of pills when my mother was fourteen. My grandfather remarried a woman with three children of her own, and when he did, my mother and her pregnant older sister was evicted from their home. My sister and me used to think our grandmother died from cancer. I was thirty years old before my mom told me the truth. My grandfather is dead now. I don’t know when that happened. I can’t even remember his voice.

My father is the son of an abusive alcoholic, whom I’ve also never met. He died three months before I was born. Apparently he beat the crap out of my father, my three aunts and my grandmother whenever he was drunk. I can’t remember ever hearing anyone saying they miss him, or that they wished that he was still alive… not even my grandmother. The first time I felt honesty in a family member’s declaration of love was at age twenty-six, when my grandmother, at her deathbed, greets me with the words: “My beloved Thomas, you came to see me!” When I was a kid, my grandmother was a beacon of peace. She never questioned me when I played with the dresses in her closet, and she let me watch morning TV cartoons until my head hurt.

At age thirty-six I realize that I don’t know my family. The idea I have about family has nothing to do with the one I grew up in. I view them through tinted glasses, and when I take them off, I see people shaped by alcohol, violence, bullying, lies, fear of reprisal, fear of rejection, self-loathing, ignorance and pain…. and it appears that I am just like them. Fuck!