I want to write about a (not so) funny story that has become part of my family’s narrative.
When my sister Lilac was about 9 years old, the family was getting ready for a party and she asked mom to trim her bangs. Her hair was in her eyes and it was bothering her.
Mom was irritated by this request (she had to focus on perfecting her own hair) so dad stepped in to help. He grabbed my 9 year old sister’s hair and cut her bangs efficiently with a carpenter’s knife that was handy.
Mom was not impressed with this solution. She started screaming at both of them. She was yelling at my sister for ‘letting’ him cut her hair and yelling at my dad for making the girl look so ridiculous. Dad grabbed a hairband and shoved it on her head to hold back the -now too short and very crooked- bangs.
My mother then continued to scream and rant to my sister about how ridiculous and stupid she looked. Nice.
The story is often told to illustrate the family myth of my sister as the trouble maker. As if none of the adults played a role in this farce. She was just a kid asking her parents for something.
This is actually not a funny story at all. It’s a story of child abuse.
The fact that my parents continue to retell this story proudly shows their complete ignorance of the injustice that was caused that day, and every other day.
However, I am grateful that they did tell stories like this. Through these stories, I learned many important lessons that would help me survive my childhood:
survival lesson #1: do not ask for things. ever.
survival lesson #2: including father in anything will incur mother’s wrath. (even though they are still married and share a bed.)
survival lesson #3: when getting ready for a family dinner party, stay the fuck away from mom and dad’s room.