Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Distorted Vision

I realized the other day that I do not see people clearly, especially in my family. I have a very distorted view based on what I want to see. There is a quote from Anais Nin that says we don't see people as they are. We see them as we are.

My cousin had told me that my uncle had told his mother that he would kill her and cut her up in little pieces and bury her in the backyard and no one would ever find her. I shrugged this off as exaggeration. How you could exaggerate that I don't know. That was a month ago and he didn't contact me much in-between. I knew he was upset with me but I sided squarely with my uncle.

It bothered me the other day when I joined in on a collective poem with several other feminists based on the premise "would you harbor me?". I thought of all the ways I have sided with abusive men in my life because I saw them as I wanted them to be.

My aunt and mother had taken me aside in my grandmas kitchen the other day after my mom had told me privately she felt like my uncles' abused wife. They repeated the story and it hit me that it was probably true. I say probably because I still just can't fathom my uncle saying this. I still see him as a little girl, even though I remember clearly as a little girl walking in on him and seeing his friends injecting drugs into their arms.

It hit me that when my sister told my mom about my step dad she could not fathom it either. This was a huge disappointment I had with my mom that stood in the way of a relationship between us for a very long time. There is so little backing of the women in my family. I have not felt harbored and I imagine no one else has either.

There is also a part of me that realizes that my uncle has been a protector of me all these years. I have always known that if someone (a man) messed with me, he would, if nothing else, scare them. This gave me a feeling of confidence. But it also came at a price. I never take my uncle to task for anything, even when there were times that I knew he was wrong, and I would usually say something if it were someone else.

I have been silent.

I have also chosen not to recognize the words and feelings of the other women in my family.

I hope that I will begin to at least listen with an open heart. I hope I will begin to see people as they are, for what they are, because that is part of being honest where I have failed myself.

And more than anything else, I don't want to fail my daughter.

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