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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

Black Sheep Deadly Alone

December 27, 2017 Journal Entry

I was very young, probably 5 or 6. My grandparents were having a house built on the farm and it wasn’t quite ready yet. They had lived in town for many years but grandpa didn’t want to commute any longer. They sold their house in town, but their new house on the farm wasn’t ready yet. So we stayed in the old house on the farm, the one where my mother and aunt spent their childhood.

It was a very old house. It sat empty for years at a time so it was a challenge bringing it up to sanitary living conditions. There were rodents and bugs. But my grandparents got it fixed up and we spent a season there.

On Christmas, we were all gathered round the tree opening presents. I noticed a disruption, a feeling of knowing in the air that something was not right. No one else noticed it yet, but there was something amiss. I studied my father out of the corner of my eye. What was he doing?

He kept looking at my Auntie Ann, then turning his head to the side and shaking it in disgust. I watched this go on for several minutes. I also watched Ann, out of the corner of my eye. She was becoming more and more agitated, more and more angry. I knew something was going to happen, the air was electric with her anger.

Then Ann asked my father, “What is your problem?”

He responded, “You don’t have any underwear on. I can see you.”

Ann said, “I do so have underwear on! I do so!”

“No you don’t. I can see you!”

My aunt stood up and pulled up her robe, revealing her underwear. “See! I do have underwear on!”

“Ann!” my grandma exclaimed, “Pull your robe down now!”

All else in the room were silent, watching the scene unfold in silence. This was not the first time. This had happened before. The anxiety was palpable. No one moved, no one spoke.

Ann pulled down her robe and sat back down. She remained present. She did not leave the room. She would not be shamed. She stared my father down the rest of the morning, the rest of the day. He was afraid of her, of her intense gaze of hatred.

But my father had been vindicated. Grandma, the matriarch, had chastised Ann. Ann was in the wrong. She was judged and condemned. The verdict was, Ann had been inappropriate. Ann had not acted like a lady.

My father’s behavior was overlooked and never addressed. Once again, he got away with something that he didn’t deserve to get away with. And once again, the women in the family, the “black sheep” in the family, were put in their rightful place, made to feel less because they were women and because they dared challenge the men.

Auntie Ann was the black sheep then. Now, it’s back to me. Coco, mentally ill, can’t keep a job, promiscuous and seemingly proud of it, living in a hell of her own making, with no one to blame but herself for her poor choices.

Coco, holding the pain of her sexual abuse inside, where it grows in power and becomes the weapon she uses to destroy men. To destroy men that are unworthy, but also to destroy men that love her. Because there are men that love her. But she can’t see the difference. Only afterward, when those men are gone, the ones that would have partnered with her, that would have loved her and cherished her, only then can she see her misguided aggression.

And then there is the pain of alone. More alone. Alone that might kill her. That’s how bad alone feels. Deadly alone.

And all coupled with the fear she has ruined her chances, that she will never have another, that she missed him. She missed her soulmate. And it was her own fault. And the realization that somehow, perhaps, that’s what she had wanted all along. That is the most painful realization of all.



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