Isolation, By Brian37 (AKA Brian James Rational Poet on FB/META and @Brianrrs37 on Twitter)

In suburbia
I grew up in
A shoebox
Teachers were
Both parents
The basement
Stereo and Tv
My only friends
Bullies lurked
Outside waiting
For their punching bag
A childhood
I am glad
Long gone.

My childhood sucked. I did not have my first real friend until high school Both my parents were authoritarians. My father was an abusive alcoholic. My mother long since shed her authoritarian bent in her old age, and we became as close as a parent child could. I only wish she had been that parent growing up. I do know that she protected me a few times against my asshole father.

My adoptive father died when I was 11 I think, I was glad he died looking back at it now. My neighborhood was full of nothing but bullies, and as I said before, I did not have my first real friend until high school.

I would not want to live my childhood again. But I am not angry or bitter about it. It is long since over. I would say however to parents, what you may see as merely being “tough” on a child to “prepare” them for life, they can internalize and end up having self esteem issues, insecurity, anxiety and trust issues that they can carry for the rest of their lives.

Children are not “one size fits all” and they are not clones of you. I think it is better to explain things than to bark orders and shout “Obey me or else!” Also be willing to listen to a child. Nobody is saying let your child have no rules or boundaries, just that there are children who respond better with mutual communication and are merely asking for clarification, and are not being defiant.

And to boys. It is ok if you are not the biggest kid on the block, you don’t have to be buffed up and muscle bound. If someone is beating you up for fun, they are the assholes. It does not give you the right to get revenge or do worse to them. I would recommend simply, especially now, if you are having problems with bullies, talk to a teacher or trusted adult figure, if it seems your parents are not attune to your plight.

Most importantly, it is ok to be you. You may have to live under the rules of your parents while you are under age, that part you cannot escape for most. But know that it will not always be like that, and you will be old enough to do things on your own eventually.

If you are being abused, physically beaten by a parent that is NOT OK. Seek help from a trusted adult who is not causing the abuse. There are help websites and support groups on line. If you feel your life is in danger it most certainly is ok to call 911.


2 responses to “Isolation”

  1. I’m sorry you had such an appalling time as a child, Brian. We’ve spoken about our childhoods before, and we both went to hell and back in different ways. It was unforgivable that your father abused you like he did. It’s awful going through school with no friends and being bullied by others. I had that, too.

    You make some constructive and valid points in this post and your poem, Brian, and you never know who might be reading this and needing to hear what you have said. The child is never, ever responsible for being abused, beaten, mistreated etc.

    Sometimes parents mellow as they get older. It sounds like that’s what your mother did. It’s a shame the same thing didn’t happen with your father. My Mum and I became closer as she aged, but my dad never changed from the unkind, bitter man he always was. I don’t think I’m angry with him anymore; I’m more disappointed and still hurt.

    I hope your writing and poetry help you to process some of this stuff. I know my writing helps me to do that. Take good care of yourself today. You are worth it.


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