The Christmas House of Horrors
This post is me cathartically venting. It is my way of dumping an unpleasant time over Christmas and moving on (until next time).
This post contains examples of the stream of consciousness I was subjected to over two days of Christmas. Be warned that it contains examples of :-
- Transphobia / Homophobia
- Body shaming
- Population Extermination
I do not wish to offend anyone, so must reiterate that these are most definitely not my views or utterances.
Christmas is a tough time for many people as they cope with elderly parents / relatives.
I have a great deal of respect for those who provide care, it can be exceptionally harrowing when the parent/relative degenerates through memory loss and dementia. Their efforts make what follows here pale in comparison.
I was not looking forward to this Christmas. I go down to my father’s place and “do Christmas”. For several years his short term memory has become increasingly poor and throughout the day you’ll hear the same story or statement of opinion many times. Mostly the same stories and opinions that you’ve put up with for many years, but it no longer registers that he might have told you before.
It reaches the point where you hear the first words of a sentence and you know exactly what will be said for the next five or so minutes.
Somewhat new this year was that it was an incessant barrage.
Listening to repetitive anecdotes isn’t of itself too bad a thing. The problem is the content. Even for his generation it’s highly racist, homo/trans phobic, misogynistic and abusive to virtually any group you can think of.
I made some notes across the two days, not quite verbatim, but accurate enough.
A day or so before going down there, melody threatened a wobble and to take tearful charge. This was not a good time for her to do so, as we will see shortly. Fortunately, she saw sense and deferred her devouring of emotions, she could not have coped with the diatribes he spouts.
People have wondered why I have never tried over all these years to have a sensible discussion about who and what I am with family.
Here’s a prime example of why. His life view is that there are two types of people, normal and deviant. There’s no concept of gay or trans or any myriad others in the ‘deviant’ category, they’re all a threat. So we get this level of offensiveness –
“… of course there’s a cure. In my day, when there was someone odd, you just called them a pooftah and beat them up until they were cured”
At this point I’m thinking, ask Quentin Crisp and thousands of others if that worked ?
I did descend in to some internal gallows humour with the next bit – apparently boys should be whipped to get rid of any deviancy. I’m giggling inside thinking “you don’t know the half of it”, as recent memories of the dungeon helped keep me calm.
One of the most offensive philosophies out there is one inspired by Thomas Malthus’ ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’. It’s one of those horrible tracts that just “feels” right to many people, yet has had none of it’s predictions of catastrophe come true – quite the reverse. (For those that know Discworld, it’s the “common sense” logic of Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs.)
My father is a natural Malthusian. I don’t know if he ever read it, but I’m sure he read Paul Ehrlich’s ‘The Population Bomb’ of the late 1960’s. An updated version of Malthus predicting the world to be back in the stone age by 1980’s because population increases consumed the available resources.
I’ve heard him many times over the last 30 to 40 years claim that the world is 30% over-populated and they need to be got rid of. I’ve longed to point out that his 30% in 1980 amounted to 1.3 billion people, but since then the world population has increased by 3.3 billion people. I’m sure he’d just change to saying that the world is 50% or 60% over-populated.
He can provide long lists of those to exterminate, and since the list de facto includes all deviants he’s proposing to exterminate me.
I heard this maybe 15 times across the two days of Christmas.
The one ray of sunshine is that his list also includes everyone over 70. There’s a contradiction in that he’s in his eighties but apparently he’d be happy to shuffle off for the greater good. It couldn’t help bringing to mind the film Soylent Green and the euthanasia sequence with Edward G Robinson. I think that image saw me through.
To challenge these opinions is not an option for me. It’s a dangerous path where the comeback question is “why are you defending deviants and parasites ?” He would not accept that there could be a simple moral argument for views counter to his own, anyone doing so must be mentally deficient. The argument can only logically go to the point where I end up exposing melody (trans), asexuality and submission in a D/s context – triple deviancy in his world.
Call me a coward if you will. The silent thoughts at the time being to look around the house and know that it will, in the not too distant future, enable melody to be totally free if she wants to.
Of course, there’s also diatribes of racism running through the two days. One example of the least offensive
“How on earth is it that we’ve ended up with a w*g as mayor of our capital city ?”
Personally I can find a lot wrong with the views and politics of Sadiq Khan, but certainly not his right to be mayor by dint of garnering more votes than the other candidates. But that’s not going far enough for the father – it shouldn’t have been allowed in the first place.
To finish off, one of my notes spectacularly combines misogyny and body-shaming with racism –
“Women these days are highly unattractive, they show off too much skin that are rolls of fat – and they have fat n****r arses”
Unlike previous years he had to fill every gap, other repetitive topics included authoritative instructions on my career that he knows nothing about, similarly with my financial planning – why would you want to retire early, what would you do with yourself ? Obviously, a reply that it would be the opportunity for melody to take over completely is not going to go down well for all the above reasons.
And in among all this he ignores the feminine or androgynous image I’m presenting. He noticed and made some comment about my nails, just like he has for each of the last several years – they’re a surprise every time. I’m not sure what he made of the heeled boots, though. Did he notice ? I’m sure that if he had noticed and considered them ‘deviant’ he would not have remained silent.
Having got this duty out of the way, if melody now needs to throw a wobble, she’s free to do so.
December 29, 2018 @ 9:56 am
Oh Gah! How tough was that? I know melody was probably railing at the nonsense inside your head and your own calm and measured opinions must have been dying to spill out but I agree with your plan, and the feedback you’ve had so far – what is to be gained? A massive argument at huge emotional cost to you … which you quite likely would have to have many times over for the truth to sink in with your father.
My father is older than yours, and a lot more live and let live in his opinions, but I can totally relate to the loop of stories and knowing them word for word (even knowing the things which will ‘set them up’ to be told! It is just how their mind works at this stage of their lives, I too feel a strong sense of duty to my parents, my family and the sentimentality of christmas and I’d have felt rquired to do the same thing in your shoes, but I’m VERY admiring of your ability to hold your tongue and be like a swan – serene on the top with legs paddling madly underneath!
Job well done – onward and upward now – Here’s to 2019! xx
December 29, 2018 @ 10:09 am
You know, this was the one thing that I wasn’t prepared for with all the growth of melody. I’ve listened to this for years and suddenly it’s hitting home and deep as a threat to melody’s existence and she hasn’t been this sentient for long.
You might say it’s callous and mercenary, but I don’t need anything to trigger a re-writing of wills.
I hope your family Christmas was much more enjoyable and satisfying.
Many thanks for reading this piece and the lovely comment. xx
December 27, 2018 @ 5:12 pm
He sounds like he should star in that show – em – was it til death us so part? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but if i was to say now “but you do not have to agree or listen” – then that is difficult – you go back to see family at Christmas – something that i stopped doing – now my man and me have spag bol and do own thing – no family – my daughters may pop over if they are near – but xmas has become just another day.
I feel for you knowing what you do, and wanting to be loyal in some way to a parent. It can be hard to keep quiet but i actually think you are doing the right thing – nothing will be gained at his age by saying how you feel and revealing Melody. If you did, you would be doing that because it was something “you” had to do – it would not help him. Old dogs and all that. x
December 27, 2018 @ 5:18 pm
Thank you, May. To ever bring up melody with him means I’ve lost because it would only be done to throw it in his face.
There’s a lot of complex stuff around duty here and I do enjoy the cooking part. He’s always well stocked with alcohol which does help to numb things 😜 xx
December 27, 2018 @ 12:47 pm
A brave and harrowing post of old ways that’s starting to resurface in the young. A return to Nazi indoctrination /Hitler Youth is shuddering.
Self protection first and foremost. Parents are cruel on a day to day basis. The comments are not uncommon from that age group.
Hope you get some quiet time to yourself 🌻
December 27, 2018 @ 1:29 pm
I was fairly inured to it for years. What made this year particularly bad was that there was barely a pause for breath in the flow and I’m filtering through melody’s awareness which has grown exponentially this year.