I ended up doing work for a woman I sometimes forget I’m related to. She hails from the German-American family my grandmother married into after things didn’t work out for her with what would have been my maternal grandfather who was an English immigrant that up and died when Ma was young.
For reference, in the backwaters of Maine is a saying: she’ll always be a bigger man than you. For context, it’s applied to tomboys. For Zoomers: a tomboy is not a pixie, as there seems to be some moderate confusion about this. A tomboy is a woman who is not traditionally feminine and has masculine hobbies but is not necessarily backwards in the sack.
Now, my distant relative here was always the biggest man on campus, we’re told. She shoots the deer, skins the deer, and has threatened everyone on the road with death or violence more than once. She also tells a mean coon joke, interpret that freely and you’ll still be right. The manliest on the road. Except nothing in Clown World is really ever true. Underneath every salty Mainer’s gruff and occasionally disturbing exterior is something that you find is still gruff because it cares. I hate the trope because it is true. Everybody I know that belongs here does it, but what are you gonna do?
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be listening to my eclectic mix of Goth, Steampunk and whatever music.
Laugh when it confuses the foreigners, I reckon.
Anyway. I got to thinking. My gruff relative here melts, easily. Age does that. But it ain’t all that. She’s full of stories and memories, has a soft spot for popular domestic animals. Is beyond grateful for the little favours you often do on the job. Move a little extra furniture: the kind of thing you take for granted when you’ve got the strength. Sold me a something something for next to nothing that rhymes with fun and mullets. So you deal with the gruff. It’s always worth it in the end.
I dug up a shovel belonging to her grandson, who led a troubled life. After coming back from some gay sandhole or other full of A-Rabs he had a gruff exterior. Salty. He had been a sniper. We know that meant he had done things. His gruff exterior didn’t save him from the natural consequences of his coping mechanism, which had been seeking excessive risk to get dopamine he had lost in a sandbox. He left behind a 3y/o girl. And a shovel which betrayed the fact that the gruff among us were children with dreams. Ergo the trope I hate, the inner child doesn’t die and is often proportional to salt applied to cover spiritual wounds.
As I stand here counting the seconds and minutes between skwaat sets, I think of my son. My wife. Our road from nowhere to somewhere. I’ve gotten as far as I have on my principles. One of these is, do what you can to discard what doesn’t work. Don’t apologise. Just do what needs to be done. Easier said, but worth living for. I’ve seen too much emotional self-sabotage to want to hold on to emotional baggage out of false loyalty to a premise nobody understands. Or to hold myself back to assuage feelings of those in your care, I’ve done all these things, there are no beneficiaries.
We dealt with infertility for years. It sucked. That’s a blunt statement, it bothers the women because I don’t go into excruciating detail when I have to say it. It sucked, 0/10 do not recommend. Boom: details. We had a son. Have. I shouldn’t use the past tense. The pregnancy was hard. Why? People, mostly. We listened to all the retard doom-scrying. (By we, I mean she, we have a trifecta of “we.” Me-we, you-we, and us-we. Wōden bless the euphemistic!) When something finally did go wrong, we had already been numbed by seven months of reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeëēé.
Will the wonders ever cease?
My son was born in the NICU. That also sucked. I hated it. For a year I was afraid he would die. Why? That’s for me to know, and friends if I think knowing will help them. What I will say, unasked, is that if any fresh young nurse reads this: warn the husband before he goes into the room that what he first sees will be existentially terrifying. If his 2 pound infant will be on a ventilator, attached to tiny fucking jumper cables, and covered in viscous fucking goo, you’d do well to spell this out for him. Men don’t like surprises they don’t control. Men do count, for certain things, they are half that infant’s genetic material- so don’t be a cunt and act like they’re not involved or owed anything, especially if his presence makes obvious that he’s not an absentee dad. So stuff your cynicism and show a little respect, since we all know what happens when you feel you’re at a respect-women deficit. Hakuna muh-fukkin-tahtah. (This isn’t to say all nurses are like that, but the prevailing attitude I encountered was less than stellar. There were of course, gems, beautiful slices of humanity who really seemed to care.)
Thanks. Carry on.
In some ways I’m like the fat girl who loses weight and doesn’t want to see photos from the before times. Or let anyone else see. (But I’m not, nor have ever been a girl- that’s biologically impossible.) I could tell her that she shouldn’t be hard on herself, or that she had been beautiful before. That her perspective is wrong, and that I who does not live in her body am of course better equipped to tell her her complex feelings. But what good does it do me? It’s not my place to tell her how she’s going to cope with her experiences. That’s for her to suss out on her own. I don’t like looking at pictures from year one. I don’t like remembering the uncertainty or unhappiness. I hate remembering the infertility years. So I avoid dwelling, I don’t like to remember. Why would I? I gain nothing. The women in my life wonder at this. They complain we seem heartless. No. It is the job of the man to exude strength, to do this he has to move on to be strong. Because I hate to say it; none of the women in our lives are warrior princesses. They are soft, squishy, seemingly infinitely vulnerable things. In all ways, the fairer sex. So, what do I gain by competing for the useless title of ‘most vulnerable’? Many men go wrong and do the emotionally vulnerable shit, they end up with absolute trash and die unhappy, early and often. This nu-man? Just a proto-faggot. There is something to be said about a soldiering spirit, every woman I know wants to be taken care of, pampered even. Not catered to, there’s a difference. She might lie and say she doesn’t, but lies become more easily detected as people grow older and eat the fruits of their Labours. I know no happy, single women. And all women I’ve known with emotionally weak men are cynical, bitter creatures. Women want their cake, and they want to eat it too. But how can that be, if she’s fretting over you? In every stereotype is more than a grain of truth.
That isn’t to say you don’t own your feelings, but they ought not own you. Being able to control your memories’ effects on you is part of ownership. At least everyday I can feel old emotional scars. There are days I don’t want to get out of bed. There are days where the suggestion of the possibility of my finding in ZOG an enemy who can take everything from me is daunting, and so I don’t think about it in that light. I count triumphs, victories and ascensions- not the numerable stream of defeats, burdens and slights. I try. Some days, weeks even, are harder than others.
What I know is we won, ZOG lost. That battle anyway. Fuck you, ZOG, right in your skull. Right in your leaky, beady eyesockets. There are no crass enough metaphors for to encapsulate my loathing, hatred for you. But I’ve won. Blood and Will, I have won something. My boy is healthy, and happy. You did not succeed in stopping me from seeking out and seizing my goal, I have a wife and son. I will do all I can to have more. But even if ZOG has a comeback and we cannot conquer secondary infertility, I have a wonderful son who will carry the Family Name forward, and pray Wōden he does not have to struggle in the way I did. Year two has exceeded my every hope. Curious, spunky. Strong for his size. Smarter than his peers. There are a lot of dumbshit 2 y/o. No, I have no shame for pointing this out because there are a lot of dumbfuck parents.
Will the wonders ever cease?
I guess the point is, there’s no glory in being broken. I hate that about my generation. Infinite counselors. Infinite drugs. Infinite excuses. Infinite pain in the ass. A cavalcade of songs and posts glorifying being wounded. So fucking what? What about triumph? What about turning your head toward the Sun and feeling exactly why generations of us knew the Sun was the manifestation of cosmic victory? The Sun stands for Eros, which conquered Erebus. The light of life from the primitive Womb. As Ginungagap lives and breathes, so do we. But this predilection to “sad” is damned unnatural. Sadness is not beautiful. It is weakness, and this is ugliness.
It should by right be simple, but the goddamn wonders, they aren’t ceasing. Whatevah.
Keep your eyes peeled for weaknesses. ZOG’s plot armour has cracks. I, meanwhile, will take breakfast, and then gather up Seaxling to go reseed the lawn where he plays in the evenings.
One thought on “Don’t Let it Linger”
They’re starting to play songs I grew up with on the oldies. Huzzah.
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