I woke up at 6am with the same panicked pain in my chest that I felt yesterday. I am terrified of the ramifications of my last blog post.
Here is how my stepfather would physically abuse me: he would burst into my room, angry about this thing or the other. He would grab my face or my throat or my hair and throw me across the room, as if my face or my throat or my hair were the handle of a kettle weight. Except I remember feeling weightless because I was a scrawny boy. He would press his nails into my face and squeeze. He would not relent until he made me cry, but then he would call me a pansy or a weakling for crying. His rationale was partially punishment for one thing or another and partially blind, black-out rage. He had catch phrases for these episodes.
“Want me to give you something to cry about?” was one of them.
It’s difficult being open with my girlfriend, on an emotional level, because she and I had very different childhoods: her parents raised her well and instilled a strong sense of morality and compassion in her. She had a stable, loving home. After she read my blog post, I told her about this difficulty I have opening up with her over the phone last night. She has the sort of patient, considerate heart that won’t say anything out of place or inconsiderate, so there was a lot of silence on her end, which made me nervous and scared.
I already feel myself closing off to this blog post, to the subject at all. The panic is floating away from my chest. It’s a fight-or-flight response, and I’m choosing to flee.
But I don’t want to become my step father. I spent a lot of my time after I left home working, saving up money, and wandering. I went to the West coast. I went to Haiti. I went to Puerto Rico and China and Taiwan and Thailand and Peru and Colombia. I went to the East coast, the South. I went to Montreal.
It just sucks. I have to remember to be a good person every day. And I am so afraid that this all sounds whiny and poo-poo-ey and childish.
It’s funny how all of these disparate, confusing feelings I harbor have deeply affected my portrayal of my subjects in Minding the Gap. As the film chugs along, you can actually see how the tone and my relationship with the people in it changes in the middle and the last act of the story. I’m growing up with the boys and young men in the story is the exciting thing.
I’m making this story about myself too.