Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Gathering Of The Clan (April 19, 2017)

Don't know
When life changed
For me.

As the holidays
Became 
A chore to endure
And not enjoy.

Of the fights
Both physical
And verbal.

I lost
With my dad
Via a spanking.

In visiting
Oma and opa
For the high holiday feasts
At their small rural bungalow
In Dunneville, Ontario.

Packed 
To the gills
With dad's family
Far and wide.

Solitude
Only a scream away
From shattering
As children run around
Bubbling with excitement.

Seeking refuge
Wherever possible
In my constant companion
A book.

Unable to explain
Why I felt
So uncomfortable
With my extended family.

Not yet
Did I have
The proper words
To do so.

Only now
Do I know
It was anxiety
I was experiencing.

In my family
You only missed 
These gatherings.

If you were 
Physically sick
Lived out of province
Or dead.

To my dad
I was
None of the above.

But 
A spoiled brat
Acting out.

Further hiding
My true emotions.

As I suffered
In silence
By avoiding
Any future punishment.

Therisa © 2017

Author's note: I think, but not sure, I was 12 years old, when I started acting out. Can remember, I hate my dad, during this time, wanting nothing to do, with the family gatherings. Especially, the religious overtones of these days, I have never felt comfortable with, given the conservative nature, of some of my family members. 

For the record, I do not consider myself, a Christian, although I was baptized, as an infant. To be a Christian, I have to accept, that Jesus is, the Son of God, and not a mere mortal, who was killed for political reasons, by the ruling elite, in Judea, for challenging their religious and social hold, over Jewish society, back then.

13 comments:

  1. The line that stands out for me...."solitude only a scream away from shattering." So hard to not feel accepted by family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sherry, I have 26 paternal first cousin, from my dad's 7 brothers and 2 sisters. At the time. which I am writing about, they ranged from adult to toddler. This doesn't include my cousins' children, either. Think, we could have formed a brigade with all of my kin, visiting my oma and opa.

      Delete
  2. What a nightmare! I felt it through your detail.
    "Only a scream away / From shattering"
    Thank God for books. I was lucky I think. Not being raised in any religion, I felt freer to explore than others of my friends. The holidays were family, both Jewish and Atheist, and that raised another kind of discomfort--watching Dad being interrogated about the extent of our poverty. Too many intrusive "do-gooders"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dad and I fought, because I didn't want to visit my oma and opa, during these holidays, he felt, I was being disrespectful to the family. Not realizing, I was suffering from anxiety attacks, because of the large number of people, in a small area. My dad's family is Dutch Reform Church (Protestant), and yes, they're a tad conservative. Feeling more at home, with George W. Bush, then Obama.

      Delete
  3. Therisa, you write with such feeling about these times. It must have been very difficult. Thank goodness for books though....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It had it moments, Mary. To put it mildly.

      Delete
  4. Most of my memories of these holidays as a child were pleasant, but they came to an end when we scattered to our jobs all over the place and now it is more likely a funeral rather than a religious holiday that brings us together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since my oma's death, in 1996, the only time that the family gets together is, a funeral, and the odd reunion, to mark a milestone, like 50 years, in Canada, in June 2002.

      Delete
  5. your words are Felt...books are our forever refuge even in these days ....

    ReplyDelete
  6. The sadness is that those fearful memories still drag along with you. Lets hope you will feel free and live the life of the person you want to be soon for our lives should not be burdened with those old fears.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin, the fact, I am writing about this period, in my life, is a positive step, in my healing. I need to do this, in order, to be able to move forward. Already knew, my dad wasn't Superman, but just a normal person, who had warts, like everyone else.

      Besides, I won't make you, any promises that this is my last poem, about my past. Except, I'm one less poem to write.

      Delete
  7. So hard for a child to even be able to explain to adults who can't comprehend.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Family gatherings can be so complicated!

    ReplyDelete

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