Tuesday, January 31, 2006

CONFRONTING A PIECE OF MYSELF: the other twist in confronting my brother

As I write this, I know that I'm short on time. At any point stinkapee could wake up and usually she wants to hang put b4 I go to work. Write, .. Write.

So, at my last session with my men's group, I was feeling really and particularly wound up. I mean, it has just been a few weeks since I found out that darkdaughta was carrying a boy - although I have known for quite some time that she was pregnant. Well, I've known from the start really.

But when the facilitators of the group asked me to check in to see how I was feeling (as we do every week), I started to recount the horrible time my brother had created for me when stinkapee was in darkdaughta's belly and [oh stinkapee's up ... back in when i can...]

I always, or at least some of the time- trying and stay grounded in how much my partner has juggled to make our life together run. Stinkapee being in her arms while she typed, had meetings, cooked, went to appointments, etc... I need to remember this, b4 I think of myself as super dad.

Anyway, back to my confrontation - they asked me if I was interested in confronting my brother, and wanted to know what I'd say. At first I thought I wasn't too interested. What am I going to do, talk to them... are they suppose to stand in for him? Isn't that giving my brother too much time and space.

Well, by the end of it, I had achieved so much, that I can't wait to share my feelings about the process. I'm off to work now, so I'll have to continue this later.

[Well, I've returned from the "plantation"]...
It's about 9 o'clock...

It wasn't giving my brother too much space at all. At first I thought it was though. I was really scared. They say it's called psycho-dramatic theatre. All I know is that I felt really small play "him" in role. Not in the act of doing it, but because in my head he was there, I was tiggered back to an earlier me, and felt indimidated.

I talked to him and I said (oh, if you're reading this and wanting some context - feel free to go to my posting called "Off to my men's group" on my first site: Hipdaddy which will give you some back story about my brother and I. [One of them at least. Another entry about my other brother is to come.] In fact, me and brothers, and how that has shaped my relationship with men in general is to come. So much is to come.

Back to how I felt: scared. What in the hell was I doing in this room/ at this centre with 40 something and fifty something men, telling them about my feelings. Who are they, and why do I trust them? I came in / and continue to come in - wanting to be able to feel on the regular basis. When I was around my brother(s), I had to be stone because I was always attacked. And when I wasn't attacked I was humiliated. And then I just stopped talking to them altogether.

I also felt like I had no voice in my family home growing up. I was/ am the youngest, grew up being told I was inferior, but made up stories/and characters to fortify myself. The stories helped me actually gain an understanding myself as superior to my older brothers. Even when they were beating me up, I had my lies I could tell myself to either 1) pretend it wasn't happening or 2)tell them verbally that I knew that they were weak and that was the only reason they were attempting to terrorizing me. [This wasn't a lie] But I still I felt ripped apart. And I've been walking around with those feelings all along. I walk around with those feelings now. In fact, as I write this, the side of my head hurts, my eyes are starting to burn and I feel like I need to yell, and scream. I feel like I need to have a tantrum. It's better I recognize this now, and release it - rather than do my usual bottle it up and get into an argument with my 4 YEAR OLD, or doing something passive aggressive to my partner.

up next... how I gave darkdaughta "The Tode" the next day AND what my tantrum looks like...

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Walking through Kensington Market today stinkapee, darkdaughta and I were walking along, and it was a good day. It was an exciting day...hell it was 12C and January (or for you Americans reading this (50F). Music was on, people were shopping and the sun was shining. Anyway, we were relaxed and taking in the air and I thought of an earlier time, last summer when it was just stinkapee and I walking through the busy, electic market.
That time we stopped in front of a cafe, where a band was playing and stinkapee wanted to dance. Without hesistating, I took her up on it. We swirled and laughed and sang and played, and generally had a great time. People around us liked our dosplay of emotion/closeness.
When I got home, I relayed the great time to darkdaughta and she was happy stinkapee and I had a good time out. She then invited me to think about what was going on for me when I was dancing with stinkapee. I was like: What do you mean, "what's going on for me?"

I always tell darkdaughta that one of the reasons I love her so much is that she challenges me to think and to grow, and that's woven into her love. In fact, much if not all of our relationship is built around continual growth and challenging / discovering / each other. Some might say this is basically: "living against the grain". Curious about darkdaughta? visit her blog by clicking here. Anyway, she said to me: well, we are gonna have more kids, and so, what would happen if you had a boy child. Would you be so quick to up and dance with your son?

I gave her one of those.. "wow.. that is something to think about" answers. I certainly saw what she was talking about, and of course knew that not dancing with my son would be off. But, I'm here to talk, not theorize, about how I feel.

So, thinking about my childhood, what men do, what I believe men/father's do...
Here are my thougths... "what will this teach the boy child?" dancing in the street - with his father... I surely didn't get this when I was small and with my dad. What does quality time mean for a Black man/ a Black man with a child/ a Black boy child. What does it really mean? Does it mean making sure he knows about sport? Does it mean making sure he knows his Black history or all the "great men" who invented this and created that... Does it mean .. I'll stop asking these questions now.

Just the fact that I'm writing a piece about "dancing with my son" means how fucc'd up my head is with masculinity and patriarchal ideals that have been railroaded into my head over the course of my life... god, I'm almost 30. There is a climate right now that has Black men performing such a heightened masculine existence, that when i wear anything outside of the current hiphop uniform, I can feel eyes on me like: "ok, what's he doing?"

Watching hiphop videos from the early/mid eighties, I can see the men wearing colours, tights, flares, whatever.. and make no mistake, I'm not saying that those artists where progressive, or questioning their own masculinity, but it certainly wasn't like today's climate/ society which basically means wearing Black or some non-coloured clothing as a requirement of being manly in Black culture. "Wouldn't wanted to be precieved as ... wait for it... GAY!

I'm being coy here but you know what, that is what goes through my mind. I've had lots of time to (all of my childhood/ teen years/ early adulthood) to ...
I know like like well .. in what i grew up with. The above observation was brought to my attention after I was commenting on music videos today and their aesthetic.

Maybe what I need to do is ask what it means for me. I have questions in my head like, who am I do be raising a boy child?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sure, I have lots of fears around what in the hell I'm going to do raising/ co-parenting a boy child. So much of my childhood was swirled with abuse and humiliation at the hands of my troubled, sadistic brothers - that my foundation for close relationships with boys is .. well.. really screwed up. Up until I was about 23, I actually thought it was kind of normal. Or at least, I thought, me pretending everything was cool (when it was so apparent that it wasn't ) was normal.

My partner darkdaughta says to me, even now: some of the battles you get into with stinkapee seem really sibling like. She's right. I have a lot of unpacking to do around my brothers, unpacking that I think I may have given myself permission to put, on hold - because - of course, there are all of these "things" that need to get done. I'm not sure what... but by George (or Frankie, or Eddie), they need to get done.

In my mens group last week, we reenacted (via psycho-drama, a new process for me, by the way) an argument between a group member and his wife. Afterwards he had a tantrum, and it was quite amazing. (More on my emotional reaction to this later) The week b4, the group supported me to have a tantrum too, so I kind of new what to expect.

I think I would like to do some kind of psycho-drama tonight. I'm not sure what part of my abuse I'm good re-creating. But, I don't think of it as re-creating abuse. I think it as speaking to it, massaging the memories, and working through them. I've done denial for a long time. You know, when darkdaughta and I first met, or rather in the first couple of months of seeing each other, she asked me: how was your childhood? And I said: Great! I travelled, went to over-night camps, played with friends, why do you ask? She seemed surprised by my answer because it was devoid of any memories of actual engagements with my brothers. She noted though,
her engagments with me, while loving and playful, were charged with something that was 'off'. A venom which was meant for my abusers, but instead put on to her. In some ways, it still is. See the earlier postings on hipdaddy.

At any rate, how do I plan on loving/caring for/ safe-guarding/teaching/ a boy child without doing some major work on myself now. It's not possible (without him being endanger). I think about my relationship with stinkapee, and how I didn't grow up with sisters, and so she probably doesn't trigger me as much as having a boy child. But she does trigger me, and more on that coming later too.

But my patriarchial beliefs mean that I have been programmed in society to protect "daddy's little girl", in ways which I would never protect the baby. Gezz, I wasn't even to big on this being his name because I thought it wasn't manly enough. Talk about flying in the face of the work I say I want to do to re-parent myself, and the work my partner lives and breaths. As I continue to re-parent...

BOY oh BOY...
I'm going to off to my mens group tomorrow. I find it really amazing that i even have a mens group to go to. At this point, the group is small, but it is such a revolutionary place for me. This coming late Spring or early Summer, my partner will be having another child. I am very excited, and at the same time, scared and triggered because this child, yes this child is going to be a boy.

I'm really interested in creating the kind of world I was denied when growing up. This does not mean, reserving the right to be really pissed off and just sit in my anger around all the people I grew up around. It means literally DOING something different, with the tools I have, right now. And so... here comes, seminal son.