Tuesday, January 25, 2011

would it have changed anything?

I just finished watching 'Frankie and Alice' with Halle Berry. While I don't think its getting nominated for any awards anytime soon, it was pretty good and got me to thinking- how would my life be different if mental health was a priority, even an after thought, to members of my family- how would my life be different? Or would it have even mattered?

Being that this is me we're talking about, that thought lead to a multitude of other conversations from the last few days and of times past. Oprahs long lost sister & the dirty little secrets of her family. The family secrets of a person I follow on twitter. Conversations with my mother directly following my fathers departure from my life. And most notably, a conversation with my father a few years before said departure.

I have no idea how old I was exactly, but my guess is around 10. He was in college and I was reading/ summerizing his assignment out loud to him- ALice Walkers 'The Color Purple'. At the time, I took his insistance I read to him as a praise (damn, I'm THAT good of a storyteller!) and a curse (damn- AGAIN? I've got nintendo to play!). But he was still my world, regardless of fault, and I hadn't yet picked up on his refusal to admit to what I gather to be a learning disorder or just basic literacy. Moving on, we were at the part where Mister was tearing apart the kitchen and he stopped me. 'Do you think he's crazy? Or is he just smarter than everyone around him?'. A curious question, as I said (to myself): 'He's not crazy, he's just an asshole." Of course, the child in me, just shrugged and said 'I don't know." He gave me the same blank stare that I have also become known for, waiting for me to speak up and form an optinion, then stopped, exhaled and told me 'Truth is whatever you want it to be. You can convince anyone in this world or anything you want if you just stick to the story." I felt my very first eyebrow raise right at that moment- 'That's lying." He continued, 'No, its being smarter than the person you are talking to. No one can tell you that you're crazy, no one can tell you that you need medication to be less like you. No one can make you feel stupid or wrong. No one can lock you up. You have to be smart enough to stick to your story until everyone else believes it.'
"That's still lying."
"Not if it becomes the truth to them."

The silence couldn't have been more than a few seconds, but to me it felt like forever. That's when I first realized he was the worst kind of crazy- the kind you trust. I'm sure it didn't click all into place then, but I knew he was off. That's when I learned what the look for when a manic episode was coming. That's when I first started to seperate 'Warren' from my daddy. That's when I stopped believing in the truth of people and started to watch for what they wanted me to think was the truth.

A few years later, the time would come when I would have to seperate the idea of 'daddy' from this man entirely, but that's a different story for a different day. Today, that moment made me wonder about everything that came after that. What if he hadn't been so busy trying to outsmart court orders and find ways around medications? Would I have ever learned the depth of evil that lies in some people? Would I be as wary of people in general? Would I have spent so long playing detective with men, trying to get to the real truth- just to say I did get past what they wanted me to think? Or would I be the same? Leary just because its my personality, researching topics at random just because I like finding out more? Who knows....

For now, the only answer I have is that I'm glad that I took from that a need to dig deeper with all people, places and things, rather than a need to swirl stories to prove my superiority.

But I do still wonder, what if more people embraced that they needed mental help?

1 comment:

  1. Downloaded Frankie and Alice, gonna watch it this weekend. Mental issues are commonplace these days and being from a weird family background. Seems like I should enjoy it. Since it got your mind running...

    You opening up on the "daddy" issues was deep.