Seeds Sown in Childhood - Chapter 1
The "I" begins to emerge.
Once Upon A Time...
My earliest memories are from Malaysia where I was born. I remember the heat and by simply moving into a shade I could escape the burning heat of the sun. I remember the humidity and the sticky clothes and regular splashing with water. I remember the smells, Chinese balm, Indian curry and the taste of Malay coconut and soya milk. I remember the sounds of the crickets and the feel of my father’s rough face on my cheeks when he kissed me.
So many memories come flooding back when I try to think of what makes me me. They are in no particular order i.e. no order that my conscious mind can recognise but they are there and they are a part of what makes me who I am. I will just lay them out here for you all to see as they surface, without comment:
"Everything is ok son."
I am in a cot. I am distressed. I have just woken up. I see my father on top of my mother.They are both naked. I think my father is hurting my mother. I am crying. They are laughing. I am about one year old. He is smiling as he picks me up and I feel safe again.
I love you so much Dad I could burst.
It is morning and I am on the bed looking at my father. He is getting ready to go to work. He is wearing a very white cotton shirt and he is smiling at me. I love him so much my heart is bursting. I want to tell him how much I love him but I don’t know how. I ask inside myself that I become exactly like him. I want to be my father because I love him so much. He holds me and kisses me and goes to work. My mother is also in the room but I don’t notice her. I am about two years old.
You make me feel shame Mum.
I am running down the driveway of our home and I am running from my mother. I have nothing on and it feels great. My mother shouts as she runs after me and her words make me feel ashamed and dirty. I feel dirty about my nakedness and she catches me. She hits me and brings me back into the house. I am about two years old.
I am surprised by what I can remember of those early years of me as a baby and boy in a hot colourful environment. Everything seemed brighter and sounded louder. The tastes exploded in my mouth,and the smells and aromas permeated the air. The heat clung to my skin but I felt at home.
I longed for my father's presence. I felt loved and safe with him. His smile and the sound of his voice made me feel love. I felt physically separate from him but the love I felt for him united us so much I wanted to be one with him, to actually be him and give up being separate from him. I couldn't speak but tried to tell him with my thoughts. I now associate that feeling with what I imagine a spirit would feel who was trying to communicate with me. My father could not hear my thoughts and it didn't matter anyway because he loved me and I him.
I didn't want my father to go to work because I did not want ot be left alone. As soon as he left I was given to an old scary Chinese lady who minded me until he came home.My memories of my mother are few and those I do have involve seeing her angry face and hearing her harsh words. I never felt welcomed in her presence. I remember the smart of her hand hitting my flesh or felt the sting of the bamboo stick she swung at me.
Already I was in turmoil and conflict was digging in.
I later learned that my mother was a materialistic woman who craved all the trappings that she imagined should come from being the wife of a successful lawyer. My father was a contradiction in so many ways. He spent nearly all the money he earned on alcohol and though he maintained that money was not so important to him and even sometimes refused payment for winning a case he always had enough to buy his whisky.
My mother could not understand addiction as she herself was a tremendously disciplined woman. She wanted to believe him every time he promised he would stop but all this did was create an image in her mind of a man she saw as weak and who could never achieve for her the dream she had of being the wife of a very successful lawyer. She became very disillusioned and her frustration spilled over on to us, her children and me in particular as being the eldest I seemed to remind her of the failure she had married.
She could not have wished to hate me but it seems this is the norm with how the eldest child is viewed by the victim of an alcoholic.The Universe had found a way to make my wish come true. I was my father in my mother's eyes and that wish I made as a child to be my father was to haunt me for most of my life.