Contemplations at the Crossroads

Sign pointing to the left reads: “To Hell.” Sign to the right reads: “No Idea. But Way Better Than Hell.”

I’m job-hunting.

I’m finding it extremely hard to get excited about applying for Lame Crap Jobs.

LCJ for short. Menial service-industry jobs that pay minimum wage. Jobs far, far beneath my abilities, work experience, life experience, intelligence and capabilities.

I was set, nee forced, upon a course of slavery — slave jobs, slave labor, slave mentality — by my father when I was tall enough to hold a broom. Around age 6. From that point, my father indoctrinated me (well, our entire family actually) into Slavehood.

For various reasons, I got the worst of it, his brutality and cruelty around work, labor and arduous tasks. The more arduous the better. The more disregarding of exhaustion and death-defying, the better. My father ran me into the ground psychologically, emotionally, physically.

I love him to death but he was a son of a bitch. The wounding and damage are very deep indeed. It’s been a lifelong struggle to survive, cope with and as of late just identify some of these complicated issues.

The complex of Slave Jobs vs. Work.

Work being my own purpose. Life purpose as a writer. A purpose that is of me and has nothing to do with what I was forced to be and forced into, quite literally, by my father. A slave. A means to his end. And if not his, then some other usually overbearing macho ass*ol* of a man.

If he demeans and degrades me, all the better. It means I’m doing my Job. Staying tough. Never giving up at the job no matter how badly I’m beaten. Ever producing supremely high quality work no matter how painful the welts on my back, metaphorically, or bent and crippled my hands from chains and ropes. I never let the slave master get me down so far that I produce anything but the highest quality work. For him.

My worth was based not on any so-called inherent value within our Creator’s breath but on what I produced for my father. Later in life, that became Anyone Else with Authority Over Me in the Workplace.

Truth is, my father did not teach me to be free. By force and control, he programmed me to be a slave. Who I was / am did not matter. My dreams, pfshaw! Useless silly stupid shitty things with no place in life. My purpose: DENIED! Like the giant word stamped by the parole board across a prisoner’s written request for parole.

Again, love my dad to death but he was a son of a bitch.

I write about this because I’m at a crossroads. And in a quandary.

Everything inside me is pushing against continuing this enslaved life, the Lame Crap Jobs that make me want to slit my wrists. If ONE more person tells me: “Take any job temporarily …” I’ll have to shoot that person. In the belly. One of the most painful places to be shot.

There are parts that truly want off this path of slavery and want in on the path to my true self and purpose. I can hardly tell you what it is! I can only say that I know it’s NOT what my dad forced upon me.

It’s all so complicated and complex. Rather than try to put words that can’t be put to this whole mess, I’ll return to the beginning.

I’m finding it extremely hard to get excited about applying for just more of the Lame Crap Jobs that have ruined or destroyed much of my life — and me.

I KNOW I should be excited. Okay, maybe not excited.

Willing.

I KNOW I should be WILLING to do anything — ANYTHING — in order to work and survive. And the more beneath me the job, the more humiliating and degrading, even sadistic, the better. That’s really what’s so much of this Slave complex comes down to. Sadism.

I should be willing to remain nothing except a slave, a peon, a nothing except a tool in someone else’s own gains because that’s all that gives me value. (according to my all-powerful all-dictating father.)

I should fall at the feet of the master — even if they be booted in leather and kicking me in the stomach and the teeth — and kiss them. Because A JOB IS A JOB. The most holy of words. The only words that truly matter in life.

But I’m NOT excited to continue what I was forced to do — BE — from age 6.

The anger and rage swelling within of late speak of an uprising brewing against all that my father shoved down my throat.

They speak of profound dissatisfaction with how things are — how they were made to be and forced to be — since I was a little girl.

They speak of the enormous pain and traumas brought to bear in my life because I was forced to bear them.

This anger and rage and disinclination, to put it mildly!, to continue wasting my life in just another fucking menial Lame Crap Job that pays nothing, jobs I loathe, detest, hate and are a TRUE waste my talents, abilities, intelligence and true self hints that the natives are getting restless.

I haven’t a vision of where the natives want to go. They don’t even seem to know. They want only one thing. To be free.

And to know the truth. For themselves. The truth of who THEY are, each as individuals. Not WHAT they are. Each a slave by the demands and controlling and totalitarian forces of their oppressor and master. He who has dictated: “You are my slave and I rule your world. No questions. No alternatives. No changes. End of story.”

+ + +

“Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.”

So wrote John Milton in “Paradise Lost.”

He’s correct. Absolutely correct.

I wish right now that I could sit down with Mr. Milton and engage in a deep conversation of philosophy. Clearly he’s a wise man to have recognized and written that.

I’d share with Mr. Milton of my past and current crossroads situation and ask him what I should do next. Because it seems clear that even with my enormous plethora of work/job aptitudes, skills, abilities, talents and impeccable work ethics, I’m nowhere near as good at breaking the chains of slavery. Not even close.

I could forge the metal and shape and couple the iron links that create the chain. THAT I could do. It’s my innate craftsmanship and work ethics.

Creating the cutters: I don’t have that blueprint. Or, if I do, I don’t know where it is. Or remember how it looked when I saw it a zillion years ago!

Today’s post is pure therapy. I don’t actually expect anyone to read it or last this far. That’s okay. I just need to put this down on paper. Sift through my thoughts. Organize them best I’m able to in an enormously, even ridiculously, complex and complicated subject. The roots of my slavery run very deep and very wide like those Great Giant Old Trees of the South. Those trees that outlive us all.

+ + +

So I got a call about a potential dishwashing job today.

My enthusiasm for just another Lame Crap Job … just another continuation to ruining my life and destroying my self … is zero.

Why do I apply? Why did I?

Certainly not interest or passion! It’s because:

I need a job.
A Job Is A Job.
My applying is not my choice. It’s because my dad’s thumb still oppresses, dictates and controls. Telling me What I Should Do. Not seeing me for who I am .

I’ve got a fucking lot of inner work ahead still. I’ve no clue or sense of what freedom looks like, tastes like, feels like. I know the tight grip of cold metal around my ankles and wrists and the rattlings and clankings of chains binding me from one man to the next.

“Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.”

Indeed, Mr. Milton, indeed.

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the Pharaoh and his tempestuous disobedient slave

Was all geared up for the day’s writing prompt from “The Writer’s Book of Days.”

Open to the page and March 8 prompt. Night.

Feel like I’ve done that one to death! No word play intended. Death – darkness – night.

So I’m gonna pass, which I rarely do on prompts, and write on a subject that’s near but not dear to my heart.

Slavery. More precisely, breaking the bonds of slavery.

I am a slave and was enslaved, from a very young tender age, by a father who was tyrannical, authoritative, cruel, brutal, oppressive, suppressive and domineering. It was his way or no way; the only in-betweens were World War IIIs.

He had his very good side, definitely. He was very intelligent, observant, witty, original in thought, perceptive, non-conforming and especially creative.

Whether it was a paint brush, wood carving tool or landscaping implement in his hand, he was a genius. He crafted everything to stunning perfection or very nearly so. He was an artist and artisan with incredible and rare attention to detail. (People generally don’t care about quality any longer.) He was a precisionist. In those aspects particularly, my father and I are two peas in a pod.

I love my father to death.

And am the first to acknowledge that he was not an easy man or an easy person. He intimidated everyone. Most adult neighbors didn’t like him and/or feared him. Friends of mine and my sister’s mostly refused to come to our house to play because they too feared him.

Growing up under his thumb was hell. Is hell. The branding marks remain on the inside, where no one sees them.

Slavery. These are deep and complicated issues that I’m not gonna write about, for many reasons. Instead, I wish to focus on breaking the shackles of slavery.

* * *

How is it done? I do not know.

Humankind has had slaves since before Christ. I’m not a Biblical or religious person — AT ALL! At all.

I’m the first to admit that my Bible knowledge is about zilch. Years ago, however, prompted by my own Valley of Darkness (speaking of the “night” prompt) in Washington state, I did plod my way through the Old Testament.

It was slow going and not really enjoyable. But by plodding onward (interspersed admittedly with plenty of skimming), I came to learn of the Egyptians’ oppression and enslavement of the Jews and their eventual release by Moses.

It is a historical tale of tremendous importance in meaning, symbolism, metaphor and actuality for mankind. For me as well (though, as I wrote, not in any Christian, religious or faith-based perspective.) I leave it to scholars and others with far more knowledge and understanding of history than I to dissect the most widely-read book in the world.

I do like how this particular person captured it here:

“Finally, in order to truly identify with the exodus from Egypt, we must understand how we have been (and continue to be) freed. The Jewish redemption from slavery meant the ability to serve God instead of Pharaoh. Our freedom from slavery does not mean freedom from acting on behalf others, but rather it means the ability to choose how we will serve others.”

* * *

The only God I’ve known is my father. He was God in the House (in both my childhood and adulthood). His force was the force of God. His anger and rage. His dictates were never to be questioned or challenged. Not without penalty and severe consequences. His thumb upon everyone in the home (not just me by any means!) was real. Forceful. Mighty. Unyielding. Controlling. He was more than a tyrant. He was the Pharaoh of Egypt. He was God.

We were a family with no religion or secular faith. I’ve no problem with that. I’m not conventional or a sheep or a follower. I question and I challenge and I think and I arrive at my own conclusions. I’m rebellious and defiant and abhor authority.

My father, last I heard, was an atheist. My mother may’ve had belief in God. If she did, she certainly didn’t draw from it or display it in any way in terms of protecting me. (She was not a good mother or well woman; I shall leave it at that.)

She briefly gave “religion” a go by taking me and my sister to the Unitarian church (dad stayed home). Which, as you should know if you don’t already, is about as non-churchy and non-religious as it gets!

That so-called church-going didn’t stick. No loss.

Outside my father, I’ve no concept of God. Not really. I’ve had innumerable moments, experiences (including life-threatening) and encounters that can be understood and explained only as revelations of a greater force and power. A Divine Intelligence. An Intelligent Universe. (Note that I said an intelligent universe, NOT an intelligent people!)

Life itself suggests a creative power and source that some would call God. My father, despite his authority as God, did not create this world. That may seem obvious but in fact is not to a child under an oppressive dictates and thumb of an other.

Circling back to slavery and breaking the bonds.

Moses has not stepped into my life to open the gates and lead me away from the torments and imprisonments under the Egyptians. I’d be a fool to wait around for him to appear!

What I lack is obvious to me. A trust in life being good. Because it hasn’t been, rather, more precisely, was not from newborn infancy. A trust in people being good. Because they have not been. A trust in a greater power that is not only benign (a huge leap itself) but one that sees each of us individually and cares. I’ve no sense of that; my childhood imparted none of that.

I have no faith. I did not just arrive at that in a day. Life experience taught me.

In short, the “f-word” to me is not the bad word. My f-word is “faith.”

* * *

I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

I do not mean every moment for the next 20-30 years or whatever I’ve got left. My father is gone, to the Other Side, that is, and not that long ago. I struggle and grapple with it as any true human being would. I am forever changed by the loss of my significant parent.

Yet his markings — his brandings by the Iron Fist — remain. They’re not scars yet. They’re wounds. Hurts and pains raw and bloody still, nowhere close to being scabbed over.

Too often I continue to think like that slave that he made me be and the slavery forced upon me.

Too often I continue to be confined and defined by his brutalities and limitations imposed upon me, nee forced down my soulful throat.

Too often I think of the punishments and hardships that await me rather than the dreams that might release me from Darkness.

Too often I think of Death as my relief and release rather than of the Light in my own soul. I think of his intelligence rather than my own. His enormous creativity rather than my own. His pains rather than my own. His nightmarish childhood rather than my own. His dictates rather than my own inner compass of deep morality, integrity and honesty.

It’s that that I surrounded into an invisible acquiescent nobody. If my father is the Pharaoh, then I am/was his tempestuous and rebellious slave.

I fought him and his dictates tooth and nail. I fought him to preserve my life. I fought him with all the force my little stature and big intelligent mind could muster.

But I always lost. Always. He was bigger than I. A fucking lot stronger than I. Had greater force than I. He held the controls. The authority. The power. The whip. He WAS God. I stood up and pushed back more than anyone else in the family (including a shitty mother who supposedly protects and loves her child) and I paid dearly.

* * *

I’m not sure why this is being written today. Perhaps it’s partly because I’ve got a birthday in a week (ditto my sister). We’re getting up there in the years. Aging’s got a way of challenging and altering one’s perceptions and viewpoints in life.

There’s more to it than just the impending birthdays. What to do with my life without my dad’s imposing unyielding God dictates is up for discussion. How to break the enslavement is a massive question.

And since I am unconvinced that God exists, or cares, to whom do I turn for guidance?

To whom do I pray for higher knowledge, wisdom and guidance at this challenging time?

My dad “bashed me” in the head and shoved his will down my throat time. Who hears my voice? Who can hear my heart? Who will listen? Does anyone listen? Is anyone there?

* * *

“Night” was today’s writing prompt.

Turns out this post, without intent, is aligned after all.

As a nocturnal creature, I favor and know more about night than day. Too, I know more about Darkness than Light. Slavery than Freedom. I know more about an other’s will imposed upon me than my own, free to be, free to live.

In closing, I circle back to the above excerpt: “The Jewish redemption from slavery meant the ability to serve God instead of Pharaoh.”

Remove “Jewish” from that statement — ethnocentricity is unnecessary and limiting; slavery is a human matter — and I’d concur.

At this time of my life and on the cusp of a birthday closer to death than birth, I’ve much to contemplate. I’ve much to learn about how it is that one — that I — break the chains and bondages of slavery … when there may or may not be a God.