brooklyn boy reborn
Sunday April 20, 2008
Dear Alice Miller, I have been wanting to write for a while, ever since I picked up
The Truth Shall Set You Free, I’m a 58 year old male, born and raised in Brooklyn with all the attending Macho bullshit. I just returned from Florida, where I spent 2 years fufilling my guilt and sense of obligation to my mother. I left on August 22nd 2007 and have not talked to my mother since and have no intention too. You have been the catalyst for this remarkable sense of freedom, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
As a kid in catholic school the rule was blind obedience, where the smacking, punching and physical assaults were an everyday fact. I realize that I survived only by having the gift of reading. I read and read and still read. I was talking to my 85 year old mother and she remarked about her great grandson, jack jr. his age is about 10 or 11 and she says ,you know, jack jr, is kind of delicate and he doesn’t play rough and tumble like the other kids, what he needs is a good beating, that’s exactly what she said, and she meant it. Having read your books and thinking about what she said, It hit me like a ton of bricks, all these years, listening to this sick shit.
She starting talking about my fathers mother, and how she lived upstairs and when she was dying that her two older daughters, who were my aunts, didn’t come to see her, and my father would not go up there as much either, and as we talked I always wondered where did my father get his violence from, if you were never beat, you would not know how to beat someone. my father was beaten by his mother, my grandmother, my grandfather worked as an engineer on the trains and was never home. And when I was in florida I would think, my fathers dead and he went down to 100 lbs from 220 lbs from cancer, but you know what, I still feared my father to this day, a good friend describes his father and I can relate, There was Daddy A and then Daddy B Daddy A was the good guy and when Daddy B came on the scene, look out
I started getting the shit kicked out of me when I was about 12 years old, you know, the normal upbringing of the times, garrison belts, dog leases, telephone wire, and my father was in the Navy Reserves at the time and he made a cat”o”nine tails, a leather belt sliced into nine strips to hit you with. you can’t make up this stuff.
One more war story, We were all sitting at the dinner table, my older brother 16, next to my father, I was across the table, age 11, my other brother was at the end, age 8, and my other brother age 3 or 4 next to my mother, my father was very serious at the table and did not like kidding around , something set him off,
He took the plate of boiling hot veal cutlet parmagiana and spagetti that was bubbling, picked it up and smashed it into my older brothers face, pieces flying all over, a piece hit my brothers finger and broke it ,that’s how hard it was thrown.
I remember it to this day, my 8 year old brother at the time, is now a professional,he does not remember it at all. PTSD
my mother cracked my brother with a metal mop and bent it out of shape on his head, I can go on and on, In my life all the things came to pass, after being raised in a very sick house, with a warped sense of what was normal, I drank, I drugged,
Got married, got divorced, got married, got divorced, got locked up , many jobs,
a whole litany of negative life experiences, the one constant in my life that I could’nt see was, I would always put the bucket in the well and pull it up expecting it to be filled with caring, and loving, and supporting things from my parents, and you know what, it was always empty, and it will always be empty.
One bright spot is that my older brother after being beaten, never and I know for a fact ever hit his 4 childen, they are all professionals today.
This letter brings me to the point that lets me sleep at night, and feels that everything is right in the world, what I have learned from you and I practice it everyday.
I don’t forgive any of the things that happened to me, I have to be out of my mind to forgive someone, who threw me beatings and had to take it, without hitting back, for years and years. or someone who talks to me like I’m a piece of shit and can’t talk back to them. The teachers, your own mother, your own father.
If any of them tried to do this stuff today, jail for them.
I accept, I make acceptance a part of my day, I accept the sick teachers that I
had in school, I accept the sick mother and father that I had no choice in.
One other thing, I had 2 enlightened witnesses in my life, 2 men who were always kind and loving when I was younger and treated me with respect., I never forgot them and never will, you wrote about them and I knew who you were talking about.
So if anyone is having a hard time with their past, learn to accept and enjoy your life, its all about acceptance, Forgiving? like they say in Brooklyn, FUGGEDABOUITIT
With all the caring and LOVE that I have. Thank You W. D.
AM: Thank you so much for your letter. It took much time and much much suffering, I suppose, until you arrived where you are now. But eventually you have succeeded to understand yourself and don’t need to go to Florida where you spent 2 years fulfilling your guilt (which guilt?) and sense of obligation (what for) to your mother. Not to meet again our torturers seems a necessary condition of our health.