The face in my mirror keeps getting older –
Into the face of the man who beat me
The face of the man
That would come home drunk
At 3 a.m. and smash lamps and scream in the living room
I would wake up and run to the living thinking something horrible happened
It was you
The horrible happening
“Do you want something to cry about?”
Michael getting beat in the yard because he wasn’t raking leaves
“How are you?” No one ever asked
When you would leave, narcissistic mother would shit talk you
How you ruined her life
Because you had no ambition
Being a meatcutter
I did not believe her – felt like she ruined her own life
Being a fork lift driver – and never wanting to be happy
She had no ambition either
I always held the opinion you were perfect for each other
You both were perfectly fine with the ditch life
I never told her that you beat us when she wasn’t around
I never told any of my teachers
You notified me after a solid beating that no one would help me
If someone tells you, “I’m calling the police on you.” And you respond
“No one will help you.”
You have lost all claims on dignity
There aren’t a lot of movie scenes where little boys get beat, but a lot more of
Women in their 20s getting raped. Is that because of the male gaze?
Male gaze to me is a man needlessly putting in shots of women’s asses, historic automobiles,
A little boy frightened in bed.
Little boys in bed crying after getting beat
Are not sexy
When there is no one to tell –
When you are convinced that the whole world is a bunch of monsters
When your older brothers received the same treatment
And have also committed themselves to silence
And feel fine with beating you as well -
When there is nowhere to take shelter
Except into your mind
MTV and action movies
One time when he was beating me
I called him stupid.
Which led to greater horrors of violence
I grew to hate
Just a little nasty kid
Who didn’t want to do his homework
Or take notes in class
Which only led to more people
Being against me
There wasn’t any possibility of escape
I decided to hit the other boys
The hate led to a person that didn’t care who he hurt
I knew what made other people feel bad
And did those behaviors intentionally
I never felt safe in my childhood home –
A screaming lunatic man –
A mother who never stopped detailing her cynicism,
How her father failed her, how her husband failed her,
How her three sons failed her, and of course
The endless racism and her theories on why certain races have money
And some don’t.
My father didn’t have any theories, he was adamant
That men needed to clean their cars
My one brother committed suicide 18 years ago –
No one even cares
It was like his life, wasn’t much at all
Just a vague noise that came and went
He wasn’t nice to me –
I never felt safe in his presence
He never made me feel wanted
I never went to sleep feeling loved -
My other brother drifted into right wing anger
He, like so many men, have a million political opinions
And not one of them is based in reality, or has
Even the tiniest sliver of compassion
“I had to live through it, they should too?”
“I don’t recall you ever having to escape death by trekking from El Salvador to the United States
border? And then being stuck in a cage during a pandemic.”
“I don’t recall you ever being a trans child, and old wealthy men using your life as a propaganda
during a midterm election cycle.”
“I don’t recall you being shot at in class or in a gay club.”
“I don’t recall you having an unwanted pregnancy and being forced to carry the child to term.”
Did that happen?
No, you were beat when you were a child, and you’ve never voiced that once in your life. You
have always taken the side of the victimizer. Even though you never told anyone what you went
through, you have always blamed women for getting raped. You didn’t rescue me.
I never told anyone what was happening to me. I never told a single person “I feel terrible, and
this is why ___.”
I even went to a counselor, and still did not tell the truth
I instead blamed everything on my mother – that’s what I was taught!!!!
“Women are crazy.” “Men’s problems are women’s faults.”
Dude, that is so not true. My worst memories all contain abusive men –
Men who did not care, men with no desire for compassion – men who had no virtue –
Men who were radically insecure, the GOATs of insecurity
I don’t really feel like blaming women for my problems –
I was really suffering, now it is over –
I don’t really feel like blaming anyone anymore
I mean, I’m awesome, I live a great life, I’ve graduated college twice,
I’ve traveled all over the world, lived abroad, made love to wonderful people,
And made the greatest friends along the way –
There isn’t any reason to be sore –
I’m not going to kill myself because of lousy people, I’m not going to become a right-wing nut
because of lousy people. I’m not going to collapse and recoil, and dissociate my life into a
I saw my old friend at a high school football game, I told her the truth, she replied, “Why didn’t
you tell me all this when we were kids?”
“I don’t know.”
It took years to get over my childhood. The distrust inside me was a hand around my neck choking me. I could not trust in myself and in other people. I did not feel like I was worth anything. The days passed in anger. I don’t think I was ever okay until I was in my late thirties. I stumbled from one job to the next. I didn’t care about the women I dated. I never for one second believed any of them would love me. That having a family was something worth happening. I did not believe, nor have faith in goodness, in wholesomeness. I was truly damaged. No one had a good opinion of me. I was truly proud of my failures, and wanted to fail more, there was no hope for me.
I felt small. Like the world was too big. The world was full of these monsters who had no concern for someone like me, the monsters were these competent people, who wore nice clothes, showed up to work, who performed well at their jobs. Who lived solid lives inside houses, with their families, and they did not care. But there were monsters everywhere, there were poor people monsters, monsters could be any gender and from any race. I saw monsters everywhere, crushing people like me. I felt small. No one could see me, I was an invisible person, thrusted into society, a society I couldn’t leave, a society that had discarded me.
Even today, how does someone live in a world of billionaire tech bros, excessively attractive movie stars, orthopedic surgeons, casino owners, international hedge fund companies, international property companies, engineers, lawyer billboards, the Chinese Communist Party, million-dollar athletes, politicians with networths in the millions that have held office for decades, Supreme Courts, and Twitter. It is so easy to fall into these worlds of smallness, to drown in these masses, to get beaten by one’s parents, raped, emotionally gaslighted, and for no one to notice. A powerless feeling overwhelms a person at times, a crippling emotion invades one’s Being, corrupting our behaviors, losing the value of anything, leading to cynicism, then we lash out, we scream on the Internet, giving political / religious / nutritional opinions we do not understand, because we feel it will make us bigger, stronger, it will grow our bodies into enormous sizes, making us monsters as well. We want to feel right, we want to feel in control, even if it is a lie. We watch superhero movies, we indulge in celebrity worship, we indulge in anything that relieves the feeling of being small, overwhelmed, cheap. I truly felt cheap, valueless in my 20s. I didn’t make more than $10 an hour until I was in my 30s. How could I assume I was not cheap. The truth is, I had no skills, and did not try to learn any. Now I have skills, and things are a little better. The work is harder, but I am also harder now.
I wanted to be happy, that was always my problem. Even when I was a child, I wanted to smile, I wanted to give hugs, I wanted to participate, I wanted to feel the warmth and beauty of this world. No one respected this need inside me. It took a long time before I realized that was my problem, wanting happiness was my psychological issue. In my early twenties I thought happiness was pleasure, I hung out in strip joints and drank all night with friends. It taught me a lot about people, but it did not bring happiness.
I hung out with children, I knew some fatherless children in my twenties, and taught them to fish and throw balls, etc. We ate chicken nuggets together at McDonalds. Then I attended college, thinking education held an answer. I learned about Plato and Nietzsche and there was no happiness there either. I was still angry and touchy as ever. I left America and went abroad, thinking happiness could be found in another land. I ended up drunk wandering snow covered streets, playing darts with women that could not speak English in lonely backstreet bars. I could hide well in another country, but I couldn’t hide from myself. Regardless, I was always a little beaten boy, scared in his bed at night, worried, full of anxiety, not wanting the day to end, but also not wanting the next day to start, with all of its horrors.
I realized I wanted peace, a confident subtle peace. A peace that couldn’t be disturbed. That was not an easy task. Time took me to Las Vegas, an island in an empty desert. I wanted to be happy, I wanted the anger to subside. The world is still full of monsters, there will never be a shortage of monsters. I kept going, hiking and doing what the Buddhist books told me, eventually things felt better. It felt better to just exist. I started to feel okay with wholesomeness, then COVID happened, and there I was alone, everyone was made small those days, except for tech bros and politicians stood proudly atop their shit mountains. Everyone else had to go home and retreat into their madness. My time was spent well, I read F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, and Franz Kafka in my room. I lost my job of course, and gained a couple more that died out quickly. Eventually, things came around and I found a place in a nice cubicle, I read Thomas Merton and Abraham Joshua Heschel and felt a little better. I hiked and stood in the desert next to rocks.
It is not easy to get over being beaten as a child. It is not easy to get over being molested as a child. It is not easy to get over being emotionally abused and neglected as a child. It is not easy. The hardest thing is realizing what the “over” is. Respecting the “over.” The mountains big, the oceans wide, the highways long, the feelings deep. The overwhelming sense of being small. That someone treated you like you had no value. It takes a long time to pull it together.
As soon as you realize your bigness! That you are a giant, royalty, a person of the highest regard, then you see the bigness, in everything, that your ripple extends to the ends of the earth, that the uncertainty is okay, the mess is okay, the foolishness is okay, that it all makes sense, that your bigness is great, and something worth being grateful for. Then you have it everywhere, the bigness of every pigeon, the bigness of every person, the bigness of plants and stones in the desert, I’ve never met a person that wasn’t as big as a supernova, knock knock dumbass, your bigness is great, you have the power to create realities, new realities full of love and concern, full of hugs and kisses, full of assistance, of peace, of better worlds.
I’ve decided to judge everyone, I’m judging them as big.