the violence we inherit

i wonder as i replant all of the basil babies
my son’s cat
dug up in the night
i wonder
was there a voice in my dad’s head that day
a voice that urged him to stop
or to at least take a beat
& think
about what he was doing
as he loaded his gun
or was he too loaded himself
sound voices unable to reach a brain fevered
with the excitement of an excuse
to do violence
what did he think about 
as he blew out my cat’s brains
& destroyed the last of my childhood dreams of love
dreams of feeling loved
of feeling safe
as much as i want to do violence
to my son’s cat
i will not
i know the feeling will pass
i know it is important not to hurt my son
know if is wrong to hurt an animal
who is just doing what animals do
i hope my son
feels loved
i hope he feels safe
i hope his cat appreciates that even though i am 
sometimes void
of the empathy that normally haunts me
i am able to recognize right
from wrong
however
even though i assure myself that i am not
my father
i am grateful to the cat
for having the sense to hide
before i found my damaged seedlings
so that belief
did not have to be
challenged.

i don’t remember how old i was when it happened. i’m pretty sure a lot of the details were told to me. but i don’t remember by whom. all i know…or all i was told…was that my sister had put nester the bunny, my baby brother’s pet, on the deck in a cardboard box. my sister did this so she could clean the living room. she cleaned in an obsessive-compulsive way. she cleaned because it was something she could control. she cleaned to survive. so nester was put in a cardboard box on our deck so my sister could do what she had to do.

my cat was a farm cat as my parent’s didn’t believe in house cats. my cat was a big tomcat covered in scars. i loved my cat like nothing else. 

my cat found the bunny and with his own set of survival skills, he broke nester’s neck. this is what i was told.

i remember that midnight then ran under the deck to hide. i am not sure how he knew to hide. but that is where my dad found him. telling the story for years after, my dad would say my cat was laughing at him while my dad pulled the trigger.

what about me?

where was i? was i screaming? was i crying? i remember knowing. i knew my cat was going to be shot. what did i do? was there anything i could have done?

i was already damaged by this point in my life. recent readings have me wondering if i suffer from attachment disorder due to emotional & then physical barriers that kept my mother from bonding with me as an infant & into my childhood.and the violence my father was capable of kept me in a pretty constant state of fear. i am pretty sure i was just hanging on by a thread at this point. my dad had already been responsible for at least one other instance of killing someone i loved when he put my pet mouse out in the rain. 

i think this was it.

the straw that broke the camel’s back and left me unable to love. to trust. to bond with another living creature.

…until i had children of my own and found a fierce love somehow…somehow…still burning inside me.

“foxy” 16X20 inking on canvas…$200

update: mild to severe alarm

i’m not sure what i have said about my living situation.
in a nutshell, spring of 2016, i was living in manitowoc, wi, renting from a friend. i was looking around the area for property to buy to start homesteading. this is when my younger sister said to me, “i know some available land in illinois.”
she was referring to my childhood home, a large 3 bedroom house on 5 acres. my parents who have m.s. & parkinson’s disease as well as being mentally unstable, were deemed–by my younger brother–unfit to live alone in rural illinois. he drove them down to texas & dropped them off on my oldest sister’s doorstep. so the property was sitting empty & neglected.
around this time, my friend let me know she was kicking me out.
i had no money.
no child support.
no place to go.
so here i am, a glorified caretaker living rent-free at my childhood home. which is a beautiful place if you ignore the constant intensive corporate farming that happens on every side of the property.

all was well.  without my parents here, all the boogeymen seemed to have re-located.
oh, that’s another thing. i moved out of this place the week i graduated high school & over the years had less & less contact with my parents who are so fucking toxic. so toxic.
then
last christmas/new years my parents decided to visit. i did not feel i had a choice. they stayed for two unbearable weeks. go check out my archives from that time if you want to see exactly what happened to my mental health while they were here.
silver lining–while they were here, my mom declared that they would never return.

as it turns out, she planned never to return…my dad, however, is chomping at the bit to come back up here.
i got an email last night from my sister & her husband informing me that he would be coming up here in the fall to visit.

holy fuck.
seriously, i can barely take care of myself & my four minions. i am struggling on many levels.
how the ever-loving  fuck am i supposed to take care of an abusive alcoholic motherfucker with parkinson’s disease?
maybe i sound heartless & ungrateful. but fuck that bullshit. i get it–nothing is free. if i am here, i am expected to let that son of a bitch visit me.

thing is…i’m not known for doing things i don’t want to do. i just don’t. i quit bad jobs. i quit bad marriages. i quit my parents years ago.
and i am not going to subject my children to that toxic fucking monster again.

so i’m looking for another place to live.
which means i will have to find new homes for some to all of my animals…
and uproot & disappoint my children…
but maybe it is for the best. i never could bring myself to think of this as a forever situation. maybe it’s time for the next step of my adventure.

oh! and i need y’all to buy art so i can afford to move…maybe i should set up a fund-raiser page to get money…the great minion migration.

fuck…i hope i can take my goats wherever i am going…if you know an available midwestern property where i can have goats–let me know!

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