Posted on September 27, 2012
הדבר היחיד שהתביישתי בו ויצאתי מהארון זה היה שגדלתי בבית אלים. זאת הייתה השפה וחשבתי שזו השפה שנמצאת גם בהרבה מקומות אחרים. אני זוכרת את היום שהחלטתי שאני לא מדברת את השפה הזאת.
translation : Adi Avigail Cohen
The only thing I can think of that I was ashamed of and that I “came out” with, is that I grew up in a violent home.
My father was violent and there was a lot of violence around me and inflicted upon me.
This is truly my closet, except for the sexual closet.
But this was the language and I thought that this language was prevalent in other places as well. But also something in me understood that this is not something you are proud of. But, you know, I used my hands and I remember the day when I decided I am not using this language anymore. I understood that this is not my language and it’s not the language I want to adopt- the strong that beats the weaker and the weak beats the weakest. I had a younger brother and sister that were weaker than me and I used to beat them. I think I was 10 or 12 when I decided that I wasn’t going to hit them any more. “What happened in your mind?” It was a decision I understood that this isn’t what I want. I remember the day that my sister, who is 2 years younger than me, we fought. it was noontime in summer, we were in the back garden near the kitchen and she was going wild, jumping and pulling my hair. and I stood, I was bigger than her physically, 2 years difference in that age is significant, and I took her hands with force because she really held on to me with strength, and told her “Juju, I don’t want to hit you”, it was like a mantra I was saying to myself or to her. and I was standing and my tears were pouring down- “juju, I don’t want to hit you”. at some point I had to push her away from me and she fell and started weeping. that was the last time I ever touched my siblings or anyone violently. my father one time, I told him go away from me, go away from me, go away from me, and he is a big man, I touched him here at the sternum and he almost stopped breathing, that was the last time he came near me. with my siblings I always knew how to defend myself, I had technique, you learn techniques. so you see, I talk about it now, but if we spoke about it ten years ago I wouldn’t talk like this. but still even though I speak freely now there is a feeling that is unpleasant, uncomfortable, so I make jokes. it’s something that is painful. pain is not something we think of as a pleasant experience, some of us do, a certain part of us, but not when you’re small. but it’s still a place that isn’t clean, still there is a “closet”, there is shame. I felt this in relation to the violent home, which is also an amazing home and there are also splendid things, and I love my brothers and sisters. and that’s it.
My father was born before ’48 and his mother died when he was about 12, and his father got remarried. and it was one of those stories that the step mother is cruel to the children. he ran away from home, and then it was ’48 and his whole family became fugitives in Jenin and he grew up alone, a youth in the mountains and hilltops alone, doesn’t know what it means to have a father, a family. and he married my mother, which I love very much, but she is cold, she doesn’t show emotion. and he was also looking for a mother, so it all became very difficult. and his frustration and pain that he doesn’t know and the place he came from has brought him to where he is, that violence is the way to express your feelings. so I told him I understand this, I understand it. and this is what enabled me, at his last year of life, to find compassion within me, and to see him as an old man who is in need. and I won’t come, at this time when he is weak, and give him “pay back” for beating me. so I can understand it, how my father got to this place that this is the way he lived his life with his family. but it doesn’t take 1 minute of the pain that I suffered. the fact that I know that he was acting from despair it doesn’t take away from my pain. to feel my pain but to understand, not to be angry. for a long time I was angry at my father and my mother, I said she should have done more, she could’ve helped, she could’ve done many other things. but I know now considering what she had and what she thought was right, she did the best she could and knew. who am I to judge her, I wasn’t in her place, I didn’t live her life. but I know that she acted from despair, and not from lack of love for us or for me.
As I said to grow in pain is something that you know how to deal with, you know how it feels, you know what to do in order for it to feel differently. “it’s a system you’re familiar with”, yes, a language I know. and love, it’s something that’s hard to contain, because you don’t know how to come near it, how to relate to it. so it happens often to people… I’ll talk about myself not other people. The first relationships I had I was taken advantage of, and it of course caused me pain, but I knew how to deal with it. during the emotional process I went through since then I became more and more conscious from one relationship to the next, and got rid of the painful element in them. when I succeeded to be kind to myself I also became attracted to relationships that were good for me, I could deal with love, you have to learn to deal with love. I didn’t believe I could love or could feel love. it is easier for me to love than when someone loves me. there is more control in loving than in being loved. sadly, and fortunately I succeeded to learn to love and to allow myself to be loved, to accept love. “Mazal Tov!” thank you
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