Saturday
Jan122008

« Seven. Or, The Case For Gay Marriage And Adoption »

my folks and older sister edited together for reference. otherwise, mom and sister are sworn enemies against dad.My birthday is on the 12th of October, 1973—a fact which one might take to mean that I was conceived nine months before that, presumably on January 12th, by some utterly unmentionable act perpetrated by the man and older woman pictured here. I find it hard to believe that these two people ever had sex, but I guess there is one scrap of proof, and he is here to tell you this story today—on another January 12th, but 35 years later!

It doesn't make much sense what drew those two together in the early days, or what held them together for the couple years they were involved with one another. It is easier for me to understand what binds them together now. I've had to wonder about their days together because the idea is so dissonant in my mind, not just imagining the actual act of a male-female encounter, but their whole manner of dealing with each other. The evidence from this point of view is total hatred and loathing for one another that has maintained itself for a third of a century. In their own ways, they are able to express this even today as if it was only this morning that they had their last argument. Remarkable. The Y-unit (formerly known as father) is a silent, stiff upper lip sort that comes from a more British-like and rigid upbringing though he can tremble a bit when really stirred up, but then closes down and leaves. The X-unit (formerly known as mother) is far more demonstrative in her hatred (the Mexican-Greek passions get fired up here), with elevated voice and a harsh tone. She also takes more sips off her vodka cocktail and gets less and less coherent as she talks.

The story that was given to me by these people was roughly like so: the Y unit had to work in shipyards far enough away from the house he bought in San Diego that he needed accommodation up in the Long Beach area, and somehow, these people met casually and before long, he was able to stay conveniently at her place up there while keeping a house down here. Both were anchored to their respective cities; San Pedro in her case, and San Diego in his. But eventually, she was persuaded to move down to his place in San Diego with her twin boys and the girl above. I've heard them describe their time at that house as their brand of hell, even while the other side tells that he was lifting them out of poverty and a filthy, hateful home life they knew up there in SP.

The other woman above also sprang from my mother's womb about ten years before me, from what sounds to be an equally fucked up pairing. (And she had more kids from another man after the time with my Y-unit. My X-unit sure knew how to pick 'em!) Her name is Christina, after her mother. Interestingly, both have the female form of the name Christian and yet I know some very un-Christian things about them. Oh, well, it's just a name, right? I once felt a great kinship with this younger Christina—even more than I felt for the older one. Christina the Younger was a big sister to me and in the stories that are passed down to me, she was sometimes mother to me too when the actual X-unit had to be gone to work or something like that. Or maybe I was just the living doll she had around that age. But the stories I heard for years warmed my heart and made me feel close to her. She had an interesting perspective on me that I cherished—not that of an adult's so much as it was of a kid's. That she was in my life before I even was, was intriguing. And since our relationship was a very on-off affair, the mystery of all this persisted. By the time I was about two years old, she and all the others on that side of the family were out of my life until shortly before I turned 13.

One of the things that seemed to make it hell down here in San Diego was that my Y unit had a way of isolating Christina the Younger and doing some unsavory explorations on her. He denies it in his silence when confronted about it. All this molestation business was totally unknown to me until this morning seven years ago, on the 12th of January, 2001. It was in a therapist's office in San Pedro where both Christinas took me to tell this story in a safer place. For years, young Christina had been stewing on this decision to tell me about all that. She had seen me grow up in five- to seven-year spurts as our reunions brought us together at the ages (me) of 12-14, 20-21, 27-28. In late 2000, when my Y unit decided to meddle in my affairs surrounding who I might relate to and not, and at what price, Christina the Younger decided to finally come clean with her long-held secret.

The morning was cold and wet. Being on a bohemian night owl schedule (usually going to bed at 5-6 am), getting up at 8 am was absurd and inconvenient but this was important to show some solidarity with Chris ll. We drove there and the wait at the lobby seemed to take forever. I really didn't know what I'd hear. I knew the Y unit used to soak the X unit's cigarettes in water and put them back. Or I knew that I had been quasi-legally stolen from my X unit's arms as an infant, and rewarded to my Y unit's family for permanent custody. I thought this meeting would elaborate on things of that sort. In the session, as I was told this, I was minimally demonstrative for most of it, though tense. No tears. I don't know what to make of that, but that didn't hold for very long. I had heard things from my step mother that caused me to believe this fellow womb-spawn of mine. I did believe it was not out of the realm of possibility that this was what my Y unit could do. He's done some creepy things that I know of in my own experience. Chris' tears and pain were obviously real at some level, and I didn't discount it as coming from a real place, and I don't mean to now. I do believe this is real.

I went out of there pretty numb, and since it was already a cruel winter's day filled with cold and rain, I was all the more numb. I felt closer to her than ever; for part of the day we went back to her apartment and she pulled out photo albums that I had never seen before. There were the other siblings that I was raised apart from. My mind was desperately trying to fit images of my own past into the pictures that I was now seeing. I had been interested in Photoshop, and as I was doing this, I was already thinking of images that I could digitally paste together to create the "proper" pictures of an undivided family. My X unit drove me home to her house and I remember telling her about Shelby, the imaginary girlfriend I had for twelve years, and how only about two weeks or so before, she and I had our last words after I dared to be straight with her about my true feelings, and how I had masked them for all that time. I held together moderately well for the course of the day, but at about midnight I decided to go home to San Diego.

It is a miracle I got home from that drive because it was one of the most foolish things I ever did in a motor vehicle. I had barely gotten on the freeway onramp less than a mile from X unit's house and was already enraptured with agony. I really should have turned back then, but I didn't. The 105 mile drive from Long Beach to San Diego was made into something like an 80-90 minute project, and I was barely able to see through my tears and squinted eyes. I was barely in control of the truck because most of the time was slamming the wheel or pulling my hair or something equally angst-ridden, but ultimately amounting to nothing. What did manifest was that when I got home shortly before 3 am, I promptly smashed a funky old dining room set that got in my way (something that now would sell nicely on the 50s-60s kitsch market). I obliterated the chairs on the kitchen floor; the table legs I tore off. The table top was thrown out the front door, then recovered when I set it up beside a tree on the street parkway with the message "BILL LUCAS IS A CHILD MOLESTER" spray painted in white on the top and aimed toward traffic. I don't know what else I broke that night, but I was in a mood to destroy. I had to stop myself before I resorted to actual crime on his property. But I wanted to. Oh, I wanted to! I don't know if I ever knew such rage before.

The following morning, the sign drew attention next door where my grandmother was in a hospice situation with the folks who had been taking care of her for a few years, and who had set themselves up to do long term care and hospice at home. There was some flap about my sign. The man, Wayne, was a minister in a conservative evangelical church and he didn't quite appreciate the attention. My grandmother had that look of a person who knew that the secret went on a little too long, and that she seemed to have some part to play in it, and didn't manage to die early enough to escape it, nor be at the right age or situation in life to do anything about it. The look on her face was one of, 'my God, it's all falling apart, and you haven't even taken me yet!' Wayne and his wife Lucy talked to me. I spent some time in the studio trying to nearly destroy my drums by hitting them so hard I thought they'd break. I blew out my voice as I screamed at the top of my lungs in that space, while pummeling the drums. My X unit called and after hearing about my few hours away from her house, said I should come back up for a few days, at least so as not to be alone. So pretty fast, I drove up to Long Beach again and stayed for half a week. Her house was colder than the Arctic in winter, and at least I had a heater at home, but I had the entire house to myself at home and it was a dangerous place to be.

Why am I telling you all this? Why do these family secrets need to be revealed? Isn't there enough hurt? I've heard questions of that sort over the years. Who ever had the right to keep this stuff a secret, or to do things so shameful in the first place? All of a sudden in late 2000 and 2001, everything I knew about family was thrown up in the air for reevaluation, and here I am, seven years later, still coming to grips with the fact that they all have failed me. They've lied to me. They've cheated me out of an honest, whole life that was mine to have if they could get out of the way. How did Chris ever "deserve" to be touched the way she was, or violated in that way as a ten year old? What did I do to warrant my parent's divorce and hateful separation, and then to be haunted by it now at the age of 34 after years of thwarted attempts on both sides to make good? These people hate each other so much they didn't bother to notice the damage they have done to me as they persisted in using me as a pawn to destroy the other in ways that really made the destroyer look pathetic. At this point, I am washing my hands of them both. Both have failed me in a profound way, and they have failed me all my life. Maybe they hooked up for an unlucky fuck. Maybe that is why I am here. But neither showed me what I needed to live and love. Both are pathetic and entrenched in their roles. They will never get out. The irony is that they hate each other so much that they are ideal for one another. The joke is on them. They are so alike. They can have each other, for all I care.

As for Chris, that is the real heartbreaker for me. She and I seemed on good terms for the rest of 2001 when even things between X unit and me fell apart. And for a while in 2003-2004 she was at least able to stay in touch by phone and email. But then just before my wedding she dropped out after I tried to get her to be the only blood relative of mine to come to that great event. This past year has been a year when she has tried her damnedest to ignore me and my story about all that has happened since the big day at the therapist's. It seems like she has contented herself with offloading her cross to me and calling it my "baggage" when I wish to discuss things with her. So that too is dead. My Y unit probably delights in discovering this. He did warn me that I'd have great suffering from dabbling with these people, and he assured me that he would contribute to that in his own way for my closet-opening choice to relate to the X unit family in 2000.

And now the part about gay marriage and adoption. You thought I had forgot about it, eh?

At my new church, there is a couple of gay men who adopted five kids and had them baptized at once in a great heartwarming baptism a couple months ago. The kids are all siblings who were had by the same mother but by a few different fathers. These fellows had adopted one kid and then as it became known to them that there were more, they adopted them too. The kids are part black, and don't look anything like the white and latino looking couple that decided to love them more than anyone else did—including their own parents. The baptism ceremony delighted me at a deep level. I saw a vision of love that works right, even when almost nothing on the outer veneer of it looks like the "handbook" says it should. Who am I to hate a gay couple now, and who am I to say they shouldn't have a chance to share love with kids who may not have that chance from their own biological families? Have my heterosexual parents done a better job of parenting together—or apart? People make a big fuss about gays undermining traditional family institutions. Which ones are those? The institutions that quietly molest young girls while mother and brothers are out of the house? Or the ones that drink during pregnancy, and drink in middle age till one hits the ground three times in an hour? Or maybe the heterosexual marriage is the institution that uses children to bolster a broken self image? (My X unit had six kids starting at 19, Chris had three starting at 17, and younger womb-spawn Nikki has one from when she bedded an "asshole" (her word) at the age of 18 and broke up with him not long later.) What does this crap-talk about gays threatening family values really mean, anyway? I don't feel too good about getting standard-issue hetero people for parents who have loved me only to the extent that I am willing to hate the other so that he or she doesn't feel threatened. (There is a great song by Diedra McCalla called "Mama Loves Me" which just melts me—it's about how the alternative families are as good as anything as long as they have love.)

Look at the picture again and see the face of family values as I know them—or knew them, considering I am throwing them both out now (and everyone attached to them). Maybe they can raise a toast and congratulate each other on how they both fucked things up for me and let me sort it out on my own. I hope they both read this. Maybe they will hate me. Maybe they will hate each other. Maybe they will hate themselves, but that is less likely because both are so full of themselves and so sure that what they did is right and good. They are experts in placing blame at the other's feet. Having been kicked around for some years now, I have seen what each has laid at the other's feet. All very unsavory. Even if my Y unit didn't particularly do as Chris said, he has done things that I know to be a violation and hurtful to me and some people I know. He is not off the hook. He can gloat that he was right about ruining things for me because I chose to relate to my X unit—he certainly lived up to that, and he was right enough about everyone else—but his reasoning and story is bankrupt too. I hope he doesn't kid himself about that.

Thirty five years ago today I was conceived. Seven years ago was a day that nearly put me in the grave. But somehow by the grace of God or something, I didn't let it all destroy me, having things unravel as they did that winter day, or many times since. Seven is a rather mystical number, across all traditions there is some significance of that number. I'm not into numerological bullshit, but it is a time to reflect. During the summer of 2007 I watched a British TV/documentary series called the UP! Series where every seven years a group of British people from a range of class situations would be interviewed and would tell their stories about life. Some changed drastically from who they seemed they might become—upwardly and downwardly—and some stayed the same more or less. If nothing else, it is a way of seeing lives lived in stop motion, time lapsed ways and seeing how people rise above or fall below a given situation—or not. It is hard not to see oneself in the people being interviewed, and comparing stories. By my age, as people were interviewed for the fifth time (out of seven shows now), people were facing parental deaths, having kids, marriages—and even divorces. Some were rising in the ranks at work, or falling out of society altogether. Some were more hardened, and some were more philosophic and introspective as they met life. Some delighted in certain upticks in their standard of living.

Seven years ago, who was I? In some ways I don't recognize that person. Nietzsche is known for saying something like, "he who has a why can bear with any how." I had to find my why because I was neither provided with one, and what I did have was dismantled mercilessly while I watched. At that time seven years ago, I was a musician who loved getting gear. I was very materialistic. I was prone to easy depression while not understanding that soul-blackout as having meaning or context. Things have evolved a lot, but I don't kid myself. There is plenty to learn and grow from. It is only in this twisted way that I can offer any degree of thanks to these people who have taken all your time reading about today. Unfortunately, my classroom has been in a home life that is typically shattered in one way or another, and even when it has had the outward appearance of normality (the part my Y unit loves to pride himself on), there was underlying discontent. There has been a conspiracy of silence and darkness for so long, and this is just blowing that out of the water. So I hope that these people read this and implode on themselves. I just don't want to be party to their machinations and manipulations and they don't deserve my tacit support any longer, hence the exposes here and elsewhere. Their tactics have already proven faulty and dangerous and have no use for a guy like me who plans to be happily married for life, built on more trust and cooperation than has been demonstrated to me. I guess I have learned from each in terms of the negative corollaries to what I hope to achieve.

It is only a matter of time before I actually hold a memorial I am already planning in order to put these dead people behind me and to move on. Some friends of mine and a number of clergy have congratulated the idea. Some people have genocide or plane crashes to explain how they lost their entire family. What do I have to credit for the dissolution of my family? Materialism? Molestation? Alcoholism? Greed? TV/Pop culture? Property values? Maybe it is ego-run-amok. Pride. Yeah, that's a good one. Who are these people to beat their chests and make noise about how the other did all the damage, when they both have done the damage and just choose to walk off when confronted with the evidence? One robbed me of a house, the other—who used to cry because I was torn out of her arms as a babe—now is so unable to cope that she can't even make an attempt to relate to me when I come to her door with heart on my sleeve. They have shed me, and after some time trying to make sense of that while hoping for their cooperation, I feel free to shed them.

Back to the gay thing for a minute. This business of watching my family members fall away in terms of support of who I am in actuality (and not in their minds) is not all that unlike the sorts of things that gay folks endure when they decide to come out and live comfortably in their own skins as their own person, and not as the prefab person that was issued during childhood and youth. I never thought I would identify with such a story as this but I guess that if life is a classroom to teach lessons for use in life, then I've been schooled accordingly. What used to inflame me to anger—and some destructive anger at that—is something that has motivated me to be a lot more compassionate when I am able to see how I have already learned the lesson that has prepared me for whatever is before me. Again, I feel now that I couldn't hate a person who is out of the closet, having experienced the ordeal that is a years-long process of awakening to a true identity and living out of that conviction. And if they want to have kids to love, more power to them! There are many ways to do worse, and I know a couple of them.

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