An Old Memory
Treun and I stopped in to visit Arcadia and Elrick today. It was just a nice afternoon to stop in to visit friends. We took the back way back to his place and as we were talking, he mentioned how differently my divorce would’ve gone had my parents supported me. I told him that even had they supported me, they still wouldn’t be able to handle Shane when the ODD kicks in. I told him that the summer I was at my parents’ house last – the summer I escaped – Shane had a melt-down. We were in the back yard and Shane was angry and tipping chairs over because he tends to get destructive when he is angry. Butch looked at me dead in the eye and said, “There is something wrong with that boy.” No shit. Really? I hadn’t noticed.
I haven’t thought of that day in so long. Yes, there was clearly something wrong with Shane, there always has been. I’ve been fighting to get him help for more years than I care to count. I’d been telling my parents for years what I was up against with Shane. To have Butch say that to me in the heat of the moment was just devastating to me. I got Shane calmed down then I went into the bedroom and cried for a few minutes. I remember the sobs wracking my body. I remember convulsing with the strength of the emotions. Not only was I crying for what had happened with Shane but I was crying for the fact that my father said those words in such a damning tone.
There is something wrong with my boy. There is something not right about him. He is wrong; he is defective. Seven words held the condemnation of the ages in them. They didn’t want him around as he was a reminder that all was not right and perfect in their world. They were helpless to fix it, I was helpless to fix it. He didn’t fit their image of what children acted like and just were. Neither did I. Ever.
Now that I think back on it, I can see that I took it one step further. There was always something wrong with me too. I was never the perfect child that I should’ve been. I was the one who didn’t fit their mold and now here was Shane, not fitting any mold ever made. I felt my parents’ attitude toward me and my “wrongness.” I pray that Shane never feels like he is wrong. I pray that I never convey that to him. I pray that I do better raising him than my parents did with me. They simply didn’t know what to do with me so they used shame, guilt, and fear to somehow “fix” me. It didn’t work, it just left me scarred.
“There is something wrong with that boy.” No, there is nothing wrong with Shane. He is not wrong or bad. He is a hurt, little boy whose brain does not work as other people’s brains work. That doesn’t make him wrong. That makes him different.
How I wish I could tell Butch that. He is different but I love him dearly. I will continue to fight for his mental health. I will help him turn his difference into a strength rather than the out-of-control rage that manifests now. He is different but he is loved.
Now, how do I purge Butch’s voice from my brain? It is in an endless loop right now. Usually writing helps but it isn’t silencing his voice this time. “There is something wrong with that boy. There is something wrong with that boy. There is something wrong with that boy.” Over and over it plays in my brain. Go away, Butch, and leave me and my son alone. You have no place in our lives anymore. You chose Bubba. You have no right to be in my head space ever again.
I guess I just keep telling myself that until Butch’s voice fades. Into yesterday. Into the mist. Into oblivion.