Don’t Speak Ill of the Dead

There are some things that you are not supposed to say, at least not out loud in public. People are very sensitive, and anything too frank, honest, blunt, outspoken… well… anything really in some cases… can make their ears ring with alarm bells and cause their mouths to open and tell you to shut up. Oh, they’ll probably say it really politely while looking at you with a pained expression, their eyes filled with reproach, and that makes what they are saying good, and what you have said bad.

My father died recently. I only found out today. We had been estranged for many years, having finally admitted that we had nothing in common other than DNA, which was something he often questioned even though I look exactly like him. I said my goodbyes to him when we decided to call it quits on ever having a relationship. It was as amicable a parting as it was ever going to be. No love lost, as they say.

But I’m not supposed to say that sort of thing, it’ll make people uncomfortable. A child is supposed to love their parents no matter what the parents do or feel towards the child. Because of course my parents loved me, they just had a hard time expressing their love… I’ve forgotten how the mantra goes as I haven’t heard it in a while. I made the mistake on several occasions when I was in rash truth speaking mode to voice the fact that neither of my parents loved me. The reaction of those hearing my words was to vehemently deny my truth in favour of the illusion that all parents love their children and that’s that, end of discussion.

I rarely discuss my parents with people. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Fair enough. But how are you supposed to deal with living a lie. You create a safe place, like a blog, where you can express the truth, your truth, via rambling written posts, and hope to god no one who knows you in the outernet ever finds out about it. Not because you’re ashamed of who you really are, what you feel, think, etc, but because others need you to maintain an illusion for them. Your bluntness might be sharp enough to pop their delusional bubbles which would result in their fantasy world crumbling to pieces, and that would be a very selfish and hurtful thing to do. Or something like that.

So, on the subject of my father. The relationship was complicated. There were good bits, but they were eclipsed by all the bad bits. I could write a Daddy Dearest book about it. But I never would. That’s something I swore to myself I would not do, because ultimately he was the way he was with me because of his own traumatic childhood. And his childhood was fraught with drama, and he passed most of his issues onto me as his heir. One of his main issues was that he did not want to have children. This proved to be something he never got over.

I was reading Howard Sasportas’ book The Twelve Houses early this morning after waking up from a strange dream about my childhood. I couldn’t get back to sleep, and, so, for whatever reason, I picked up the book and it fell open upon an interesting piece about those born with Pluto and Uranus in the first house.

“The first house energies describe our arrival on the scene and the effect it has on others. Pluto may coincide with a major crisis of reorientation for those around us. Uranus may signify that our arrival brings disruption or change into the lives of others.”

That sums up fairly accurately how I felt about my birth, and how my parents felt about it, especially my father. He never recovered from it. Never adapted or adjusted. He just didn’t know what to do with a child. Occasionally he relaxed and enjoyed my existence, but most of the time he resented the intrusion. My mother did everything in her power to drive a wedge between us in those moments when she thought we might be getting close and actually liking each other. She had had an awful relationship with her father, and so that was a lovely little heirloom she wanted me to have too.

The dream I had inspired me with an idea connected to my new creative outlet, and so I Googled my father’s name. That’s when I found a news article announcing his death. I was surprised. He had been ill for years, but he was so convinced that he was immortal that I almost believed it. I also quite liked the idea of being half-immortal. It’s a relief really to know that that is not a possibility. And a relief to know that my father can finally rest in peace. He was a very tortured soul.

**This was written a couple of months ago for tumblr. The problematic situation engulfing my life at the moment is directly connected to this, so I thought I would post it. I would like to write a current piece about the situation, but every time I try, I delete everything and give up. For now, anyway. Some of my reluctance to share the situation and my personal problems, on a blog, and even with my friends, has to do with how those on the outside of your life perceive things versus how things are viewed from the inside out. This has been a theme in my life, one which has caused much conflict, pain, and other such things. I have tried to understand its workings, but I am still at the struggling to solve a conundrum phase.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Speak Ill of the Dead

  1. I write from an emotional place most of the time…so I know the feeling. I really want to get to that point of pure self expression in writing…but words are very powerful, and I take that responsibility very seriously, maybe too seriously. So I totally understand where you are coming from. There is a time when you must free yourself from the conventions of “acceptable thought”, and just write to express from a much more honest place. Keep doing what you do, it is very powerful. ❤

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  2. This is a deeply personal and honest post, and I admire your courage in writing it.
    I recently posted something along those lines, but found myself editing and re-editing the post so as to “protect” anyone’s feelings from possibly being hurt, or them recognizing themselves in my electronic transmission of honesty. And therefore, I find it to be lacking in the message I truly wanted to relay.
    And so I see your point about concerns having “to do with how those on the outside of your life perceive things versus how things are viewed from the inside out.” Sometimes, I think that why we blog, really, is to have a conversation with ourselves…that may incidentally be read by others. I agree that it is important to get our feelings out when we write, that is its most important purpose (beyond relaying ideas and information)…but sometimes I find I regret what I write (and say), and in the same moment, regret that I regret. Because honesty is really the “best policy”, it is cathartic, and healthy, even at the risk of “offending” others. So thank you for reminding me of this. 🙂

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    1. Thank you. I was thinking about regret the other day concerning words expressed in writing and it struck me that the things I write which I later regret, but refuse to erase because they captured a moment, are more important to me than the things I write about which I feel easy. Regret is like a thorn in the side, and it can help to draw attention to something which might get pushed to the back of the mind and ignored. And that could be something which, once focused upon, becomes a path to freedom. Of the self from self imposed restrictions, especially those which limit self expression and which inhibit.

      When I think ‘Oh, I wish I hadn’t said that…’ either because I think, in retrospect, that it is stupid, or rude, or might be misconstrued, or reveals something about me I want to keep secret, there is a part of me that questions my own self questioning. Why not express it, and if it is stupid, or rude, or misconstrued, or is a secret revealed, why is that such a bad thing, why must that expression of the self be deleted and hidden. Who am I editing myself for, and why am I editing myself. To make myself more palatable, but by making myself more palatable to others I am also making myself less palatable to myself. The more I censor my self expression the more I am sending myself a message to myself which negates who I am. By telling myself ‘You can’t say that out loud’ I am making myself feel ashamed of myself. And self censorship can lead to the inability to communicate at all. I’ve done that, and am emerging from it. So I still cringe a lot at the things I express and wish I hadn’t. And I do edit myself, but not as much as I used to. Which is progress, and it is liberating. I regret quite a lot of things I write, but I would regret it even more if I edited those bits out.

      I’m still experimenting with self expression, I imagine it will always feel like an experiment. Sometimes I go overboard and sometimes I rein myself in too much. Occasionally I hit a sweet spot. I usually only write when in the grip of a strong emotion, and it is both a release and a way to gain perspective, and I often think my words are shouting the emotion loudly. I do sometimes write when my mind is in charge, very different style and pace… frankly my mind is a bit of an ass, especially when it thinks it is being clever. I prefer my emotional self 😉

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  3. Well, not having met you, or your family or those around you, I would have to ask if it isn’t time to be honest? For yourself? No more pain? Simplify? Doesn’t it wear you out? I’m not judging, just asking.

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    1. Don’t worry, I don’t think you’re judging me 🙂 You’re spot on. It is exhausting. Being honest with myself is very important, and definitely a solution. Simplicity is the key. I have endeavored to simplify my life, to speak honestly with myself, and to find a way to cut through the bullshit and see what is what. It has worked to a degree. But figuring out what is true and what just seems to be true can be tricky. And there can be several truths which conflict with each other. All valid.

      Part of the reason I blog is to get things out into the open, so I can get some perspective on them. Writing for me is a way to get at the truth. If I lie in one of my posts, I hope I can spot it, and if I don’t spot it, someone else might, and that is always helpful. And I find those who have the courage to comment on my posts and speak their truth have helped me a lot, sometimes the words of others are invaluable.

      So, thank you, your words are much appreciated. ❤

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