Julia Manuel on Poem #4 ingridfalconi on Poem #4 Julia Manuel on Poem #4
From The Start
I am the child of an Iron Butterfly and a Flawed Leader. When you are the child of this particular couple, male or female, you learn early and quickly where your place is within the dysfunction. My place at first was as an accessory, for the Iron Butterfly loves attention. The ohhs and ahhs are symphonies to her love starved ears. Her greed for every inch of focus is relentless.
All was well with the world until Life kicked down the door with addiction, infidelity and divorce. On top of that, I was finding my personality and my voice. Saying what I thought or what I felt didn’t earn me encouragement from her. Indifference, anger at my audacity to think and feel without her permission. This was the response from the one person who was supposed to understand my childish words and questions.
Without ever realizing it, I became something else, a target. A scapegoat. My world changed in ways that I could not explain (because Iron Butterfly’s rule was never to discuss house business) nor could I understand her violent contempt towards me but I knew even then, that I would spend my life thirsty for the answer. I felt the loss of something beautiful. I became the reason for her change in mood or bad day, the reason why she was late for work or whatever she could devise. I was someone unworthy of attention or care, even the most basic kinds of care was burdensome. I had learned that my needs were not important, but I had to tend to the needs of others or lose their love.