Doubtful, we will ever actuate cognitive development once the scales have been tipped in nurture’s favor. Our ability to properly self-actualize ends when adults decide it is their job to mold.
Mold being the operative word: clay allows for immediate analysis and repeated calibration. But molding seems a cruel way to describe the system constructed to instill knowledge in a child; it does not permit gradation or correction, every point on that child’s timeline is unique, permanent and affective. Parents devastate, even when sincerity exists in their intent. It’s substantially worse when the parent is too disinterested to at least pretend. It is worse when a parent thrusts nature to the ground, grabs the reigns of your development, and then changes his mind. The situation grows catastrophic when that parent is too bombed to realize that he had already determined your scant worth, only to return, run a subsequent inventory and arrive at his original conclusion. My truant father would sporadically return, having forgotten that he’d ditched me, only to allow me to restore that sentiment.
One such disappointment occurred during high school. He’d thrown the door open as if he’d known I were plucking the area between my eyebrows. Instantly I began to formulate a response to the pending insult. I should have gone with the truth, which was that I felt insignificant when Amy Allen called me the unibrow. Amy was cool, which meant that if she disapproved of stray forehead hairs, then every other girl would share suit. But I learned at a young age that truth didn’t satiate my father; I would have to construct a deft lie that’d avoid the landmines of his psyche.
Before the second ‘g’ in faggot fell from his palate I succumbed to the splinter defense; I told him that I had a splinter, wait for it, in my forehead. The retrospect highlights my stupidity; but he was drunk and I was unpolished at improvisational alibis. My father grabbed my head, pressed my face against the mirror and tried humiliating the alleged homosexuality out of me. I heard the mirror waver from my intimate vantage, but all I could focus on through tears and verbal missiles was how many hairs I had actually missed.
Sotto voce he added, “no son of mine’s a faggot,” which was particularly upsetting. I didn’t know whether he’d disowned me for being gay, which meant that he knew I was gay, which meant that I was apparently gay and I had to come to terms with it rather quickly. Or whether he was just telling me that not one of his sons was gay, as if I were a stranger. I stayed glaring at myself in the mirror while he pissed beside me. I couldn’t leave because that would have meant he was right and I couldn’t stop the tears – so I decayed.
Many of you will read this and grow irate with my father. I didn’t. I grew angry with Amy Allen. I remember cussing her out in my head and wishing for her death. I didn’t want to blame my dad because I didn’t want to face that reality. I hadn’t completely grasped that he was a scumbag, but I knew that Amy Allen had made fun of my unibrow, which was the impetus for the pluck sesh that incensed him. The girl I drew cartoons about in my notebook had become the symbol of my humiliation, my sorrow. As years passed I was never able to look at Amy the same, even when I realized how misplaced my anger was.
Doubtful, we will ever actuate cognitive development once the scales have been tipped in nurture’s favor. Our ability to properly self-actualize ends when adults decide it is their job to mold. I found out that my on-again, off-again, mostly off-again girlfriend was pregnant. We are going to have the child and every day I wake up with the fear that I am going to ruin its life. My father took away my childhood crush, by mistake. He made Amy Allen my enemy. Amy Allen, responsible for my first erection, was stolen from me. And now I am starting down a similar path, having a child with a woman I would barely reference as an acquaintance.
I wake up every day with a fear, not over money or the pastiche mass unprepared parents ordinarily agonize over. I wake up worried about things far more important, that I could somehow ruin my child’s Amy Allen.
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