stacy was here (and probably spinning....)















Stacy Was Here :
Back at the Beginning

Thursday, July 18, 2002

so I've been thinking a lot lately, about why I hate being in this house so much, why it's so oppressive to me, why being within 5 miles of it starts me on a spiral of depression. and I've come to the conclusion that I can't feel free here, because there are too many memories and too many secrets wrapped up in this house and in this family. and I hate secrets, at least, this kind. so here goes. welcome to my catharsis. if you don't want to know too many personal things about my life, this is where you should stop reading.

at the center of this house and my loathing for it is my grandmother. when she was young, she met my grandfather working at a department store in los angeles. they fell in love, much to the chagrin of the family on both sides, as she is jewish, and he was not. well, whether because of her stubbornness or because they really did love each other, they got married anyway. the general concensus is that the only reason their marriage lasted was because she was hell bent on proving her parents wrong. they had six kids together, though she raised them mainly on her own as he would frequently disappear for long periods of time. she worked her ass off, did a lot of things that I don't agree with, but in that sector of her life I'll not cast any judgement, because raising six kids, basically alone, in that era must have been harder than anything I've ever been faced with. but there is one thing about her that I have never been able to come to terms with, and I still can't. when my aunt fran was little, she was the black sheep of the family, always trying to get affection from my grandmother, but always feeling like she could never do anything right. well, when he wasn't gone all the time, my grandfather molested her, violated her in ways no one should ever be violated.

I have come to terms with my grandfather, because I know he was sick. I'm not making excuses for it, because there aren't any. what he did was horrible, but his formative years were characterized by abandonment, molestation, and more abandonment. he was carrying forward what was done to him, and he was never helped because people didn't talk about these things back then. something in him never knew what he was doing was wrong. I know this because I spent the last years of his life studying him. I know this because the night before he died I came home at 2 am and he was standing on the porch waiting to make sure I got home okay, but he had been bed-ridden for months. I know because at his funeral and for weeks after, until she also got sick, every time I looked at my aunt fran, I could hear his voice in my head, wracked with sobs, saying "I'm sorry... I'm sorry... I'm sorry" over and over again. so while in some ways I hated him because I thought he was symbolic of the destruction of my family, I came to terms with who he was and what he had done.

but back to my grandmother. at some point, my aunt told my grandmother what my grandfather was doing to her. the fact that my grandmother knew has been confirmed by other aunts and uncles. whether it was really verbalized or not, she knew. and whether it was verbalized or not, my aunt was made to feel that it was her fault, and that my grandmother resented her for it. but no matter whose version you believe, one thing is true. my grandmother did nothing to stop it, did nothing to bring it to light, and never once before my aunts death made any effort to validate the anguish that my aunt carried around with her for her entire life. even as my aunt lay dying, my grandmother could not find it in herself to admit that she had ever done anything wrong. when I was a child, one cousin, this same aunts daughter, said that my grandfather had touched her, and when confronted about it, my grandmother still defented him and insisted it was a lie. my aunt kept her daughter away from him and told him that if he ever tried to touch her again, she'd kill him. then later, when I was about six, another cousin walked in on her dad watching a porno and told him "thats what grandpa does to me." he finally ended up in prison on that one, and still my grandmother vehemently protested that he was innocent. she had known all this time what he was and done nothing, and there we were a generation later, a new set of victims, all because her loyalty to him was greater than to her own children. she lied over and over, refusing to protect the children that she had given birth to, and that is something that I will never be able to understand or come to terms with. I have grown up around her, completely cold to me, manipulative of me and my sister. neither of us were ever touched by him, probably because we are both opinionated, vocal, and not easily controlled. she still doesn't know about all of this, because she's twelve years younger than me and there has never been a reason to tell her. but my grandmother is still around, embittered, and still trying to control everything about our lives. she smothers us under the guise of affection, which is complete bollocks. all through high school she would go through my room, looking for something to get me into trouble with my mother. she watches me and my sister sleep, we've both woken up and caught her. she haunts this house, and any time someone gets irritated with her, she plays the decrepit card, starts coughing, trying to elicit pity. it never works anymore, but she does it anyway. and my whole life all of this has just hovered like a cloud everywhere she goes. she'll never talk about it, and that leaves everyone in my family stuck in limbo, unable to make a coherant picture of our shared familial past. it can't ever be gotten through or gotten over while she's around.

and that's why this house makes me so incredibly claustrophobic, why I always feel like I can't quite breathe freely here. I need to find an apartment so I don't have to come back here next year. I want a place that she's never been in, never will be in. I want to live somewhere that isn't filled with lies.

posted by Cat Named Eggroll @ 1:37 PM   0 comments


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