Chapter 1: What is Relevance?
‘Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.’
As humans, I believe we consciously and unconsciously seek it. We want to be remembered and we want to matter in one form or another. I think, we want some semblance of relevance even if it’s just to ourselves, to a person or persons, to an animal, to an action or creation, a legacy, a memory.
A soft sigh filled the room prompting me to stir myself from my deep thoughts.
You think too much.
It’s all I have time for it seems.
I opened my eyes to the low but sufficient height of a wood ceiling in my bedroom. One floor lamp illuminating the whole room standing upright on the right corner of the room just next to my bed. Yet another day has come and gone. As always, I ponder the relevance of my day, my existence and my relationships. A night routine of self-reflection that helps me to be easily embraced by the arms of sleep. Ever so much I stray to analyzing my father and the trickledown effect he has on my life.
It’s your favorite topic, it seems.
I could not help but agree with my inner voice, I do think about my father a lot and his relevance, why he matters. My father is a very emphatic and physically expressive man, meaning he uses blows, kicks, objects as weapons, and actual weapons. He has dedicated his entire life just like his fore-family, to hunting and breaking things. These things might be living or non-living, innocent or guilty, powerful or weak, friendly or threats, he does not care as long as he is the master of these things and the determiner of what can and cannot be, no in-between. From the minimal knowledge I have of the world, mostly from my parents and the many books in our home library, an emphatic, physically expressive and power-hungry man with an extremely inborn and ingrained sense of utmost duty for familial relevance, is a very, very dangerous person to the existence of ‘things’, all things, and this included myself and my mother. A power he never hesitates to reemphasize when questioned even slightly. All else might fail but he is and will continuously seek to be the determiner all things, in life and death, no in-between. A definite lesson I have learned about my father and one I believe all that come and came across him have learned as well.
I think about my father and who he is or who he shows himself to be. I think about him a lot, a very deep familiarity and difference plagues me all seconds of the day in the many moments I think of my father. I do not know many perspectives, outlooks or lived experiences in this world but I unconsciously do know, deeply, who my father is. He has laid a definite claim over my mind, soul and body and no amount of years lived or perspectives heard or experienced could change the deep scar of familiarity and difference that is my father. I understand and abhor him. Fashioning me as my mother from the very day I left her womb, quiet and docile I became. I became not willfully, never willfully, but as a means of adaptation and as a personality consequence, I am quiet and docile. For no other character or action is needed until conferred upon by father.
The continuous indoctrination into the hating and violently destroying of things that he deems beneath him an ever-continuous lesson that he never fails to teach, and I never fail to listen, or I shall be friends with his fists that day. We are of value, and I guess some relevance, simply due to our blood and marriage usefulness to him. However, there are things that he hates more than anything else and with diligent violence he hunts down and destroys anything non-human, this is his familial lineage and personal manifesto. He says these things are not normal, not human, and they do not deserve to be in existence. Based on the triumphant smirk plastered on his lips every time he comes home after a ’hunt’ it’s safe to say that is what makes my father feel relevant, feel important and a current and ever continuous asset to society or even asset to existence. It is as if he is doing justice and a great service to the humankind by riding it that which is inhuman.
I understand him, I understand the sense of relevance ingrained and continuously cultivated within him, but I most definitely do not agree with his self-proclaimed and family-proclaimed mission for humanity or existence. Are you a god if you call yourself a god?
My mother, on the other hand, I personally think she feels relevant when she does what my father says or could be, her quiet obedience and subservience is a defense mechanism to protect herself from my father, her husband. For by making him happy she has made the world a better place, even if it’s just for herself more so, so as to at least stop or delay the past behaviors of being beaten by the very plate she served him dinner with, the boot of a shoe she spent hours polishing, and even smiling through the verbal abuse like it bounces off her skin. She had perfected the art of silence and indifference to life itself. I get it though, sometimes you find a way to adapt to the devil and live with them as peacefully as you can manage. My mother is very secretive, she is never out of line or out of character when it is the three of us or even when it is just the two of us in the house when my father has gone for his days, weeks or months long hunts. I honestly cannot say I know much about my mother only from what I have observed and inferred for she is never chatty with me except when delegating chores that my father had not done so himself.
Hence, as from my research with only 2 samples I can confidently conclude that people like being relevant and feeling important. Am I important? Will I also be relevant like my father? I have pondered many times on these questions and even experimented on how my relevance or importance is experienced in my home. I have not thought of myself as relevant or important, of course this is courtesy of my parents with one always using beatings and whippings to emphasize my worthlessness and the other parents’ indifference to my existence since I came to this world, to this house has shown me of the little to no relevance I have to the grander scheme of things. I agree this may or may not be due to my father’s constant emotional and physical abuse ranging from the constant put downs and criticisms to slaps, kicks, and being permanently confined to our home my father managed, just like my mother, to break me. He broke me for 21 years enabling me to develop a thick skin and high emotional maturity to be able to let all his abuse be normal to me. Some people say when your born you can feel this sense of drive to do something great, something worthwhile, and something important with one’s life, I have never felt that way. I just am. I want to not be important and to not be relevant. Like air and trees, I want to be taken for granted, maybe when I am no longer in existence then will my relevance possibly be seen, and this is a very big maybe.
But I have never let this stop me from pursuing my interests and the little joys I can create and find for myself. I am not important, never have been and never will be and I am very much okay with that. At the very least, I can be left alone.
My father, the self-appointed master of my life, clearly saw my existence as irrelevant, hence I was home schooled with me being both the student and the teacher. The upside of my father is that he loves knowledge, a bonafide gatherer and accumulator of knowledge, so in our two storey home in the middle of the forest somewhere in the world the entire first storey of the house is a well-furnished library with ceiling to floor shelves filed with books about anything and everything. He was impartial and very open to books never living things. My father is always a well-informed hunter first and foremost before any other kind of knowledge. Both my parents chose the non-existence but physically present type of parenting I ended up not only rearing myself once I was 5 years old but also teaching myself to read, write and talk, how I did it I honestly don’t know, maybe I just had so much time in hands.
Probably too much time on my hands is the answer why.
My father’s supernatural occupation has made us nomads. We move so much I stopped counting after a while, and wherever we settle we live in isolation always in the middle of the woods, father says it’s for better hunting grounds purposes. I never complained though, I was so used to the isolation that I never saw the need or the importance of human interaction. Sure, I had my mother in the house, but we didn’t have the best friends for life kind of relationship, actually we did not even talk unless it was dinner time and only when my father is there, and he moderates the dinner-table conversation. My mother and I’s relationship was more of the traditional yes/no mother, yes/no child kind of relationship. She has only ever called my name once and that was when she was naming me after my home birth as I have heard from my father, surprisingly. This is actually an interesting story, I had made a mistake, I do not really remember which, and my father as a parent was dutifully punishing me when he said, “You are too useless of an existence probably why your mother has only ever said you name the moment you were born and never again,” another heavy whip landed on my back tearing skin, “You were a disappointment then as you are now and probably will continue being one!”
But as I said I never minded the isolation, and this greatly influenced my fascination with nature, particularly plants. I loved plants and everything about them. They were my friends, always ready to receive my isolation whenever I was around them, indoors or outdoors they were always there. Thankfully, my father never minded my fascination with plants as long as they stayed in my room or outside. Plants have always been there since I was born, and that created a sort of deep attachment of constant reliance in my botanical friends.
Being outside, being amongst plants and dirt I tasted the freedom. The urge to run away always there and ever growing but I never have the courage to do it no matter how close to death I am after some of the beatings I have received from my father.
And even if I could run away? Would I get far? What would I do then, all I know is them
I always thought of this when the urge to run to freedom, to love and tenderness became unbearable but then I would think, either father won’t let me, I will be hunted down like the thing I am, or what’s the point of running away, or what would I do with my life?
I have loved in isolation all my life; it is all I know. They are all I know. The outside world was not meant for me and even though I explored the possibilities of the outside world the fear of my father kept me rooted next to him and his psychotic ways. But, the deep truth, I think, is that I didn’t run away because in some sick and twisted way I loved my parents and I wanted them to love me one day, so I stayed hoping that each morning or evening, the sun would rise or set with a hug from my parents, a kind word or even just a genuine look at me, that would be the day my parents would love me. The day my mother would say my name and the day my father would see me as a human being.
Today, in late August we are moving again. I stopped asking where we were moving to when I was 7, trust that on this seventh year of my life I learnt the hard and painful way never to ask, ‘Where are we going father?’. I am 21 years now and all I care about is that wherever we were going must have trees and plants of any kind. I had developed a valuable and enriching escape in researching and studying botany and in a crazy way my parents understood this and let me have my botany escape.
With heavily tinted car windows, no music or even phones, and a cloth covering my eyes, with my mother in the back seat with me also with a cloth covering her eyes, we drove as always in utter and complete silence for hours or days. The only one graced with sight during our travels was my father, the driver, the decider and our only ultimate master. With no other distraction, I joyously slipped into my fantasy world as I was blindly and quietly escorted to our new and always isolated home once again.
Ua Belle’s Space For Gratefulness:
Hello, Thank you for reading my book and continuously following up on the chapters. I truly appreciate. Please feel free to like/rate/reward and comment about the story chapters, no pressure. You reading or just looking is reward enough. Thank you once again. See you on the next chapter!