Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Bitter, Early

I see the bitter, early. It is a brutal inheritance I am unhappy to bestow. In the face of an angel, eyes sharp as razors, cheerio mouth howling long and full of anguish. Feet clad in princess sneakers, the kind with the blinking lights, kicking harder and stronger than I ever thought they could. This is nothing, I say. This is only an adult sized anger, teeming like a million fishes in a tiny bowl, over a question about apple juice. If she could access the words in her little brain - No I don't want fucking apple juice, you annoying bitch.

Then the other day. "I hate you." Calm and eerie, unsheathing a new sword.

"Why would you say such a thing, Liv?"

"I hate you."

"Silly girl."

It is hard not to react...hard. But there is nothing about hate that she can possibly understand. Is there? Do any of us really understand it, or are we conditioned by the reaction? All my "hates" are really only sadness, regret. It's easier to say I hate something, because it makes it other than myself. It separates me from the source of that particular pain. It's a detour, but it gets me where I'm going so much easier.

I have to say that I love the truth in my daughter. Everything is raw in her world. Every emotion is okay. When she says, "You made me mad", I get a chill of delight. For me its not about the "Why", but the expression of the feeling, so plain and entitled. So I say, "Let's draw your mad."

Picture after picture of the same face, each eye a sharp line, the mouth an "O", drawn by the unsteady hand of an angry toddler. Eventually the faces become happy ones, and she bounds away saying "My mad feels better, mom." I love this new ritual. I hope she can always "draw her mad" in healthy expression of unhealthy rage.

Otherwise, what will she do with it? The years of false injustices, unexplainable annoyances, petty disgusts, will amount to a bitter existence. And eventually all those pointy daggers will have no where to go, turning inwards, stabbing her own soul. No Outlet. It is an end I couldn't bear for my Olivia, my olive branch, my peace offering, my sculpted, tender avenging angel. Draw your mad, baby. Fill your notebooks. Kill a million trees with every harsh thought and despair. Damn, I hate trees. Always falling down on my dad's house and shit. The other day, another tree fell on his swingset. Now trees are trying to murder children. When I see those tree shredder trucks, it makes my toes tingle. Even in Lord of the Rings, I wanted all those tree people to get killed by the Orcs. Or whatever the fuck those creepy, hybrid beasts were called. Christmas is the best...tree after murdered tree. And then we decorate them with little balls and top them with angels and stars. Arbor Day is the worst. The trees have everybody fooled. But I know better.

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