Sins of the Father

It’s an unfortunate truth that we all become our parents before we die.  I often think one is made up of both their parents not just physically, but psychologically and spiritually, and if you’re lucky and able to, you add on the little authentic pieces of yourself as you become yourself.

This is how I asses who I am.

When I was young I was my mother. Naive, caring, sweet, considerate, emotional. I was thoughtful and diplomatic.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve pushed my mother’s positive attributes aside and become my father.  Short tempered, occasionally belligerent, secretive, deceitful when need arises, and selfish.

Growing up I never understood why my father was as he was.  It wasn’t until I knew about his background that I began to somewhat understand his behaviour.  My grandfather was a polygamist who preferred his second wife over his first wife, my grandmother, and therefore neglected his children by her.  My father and his siblings would go for weeks on end without seeing him and when he was around, he’d cause a ruckus and then fuck off. My grandmother in turn became resentful and took it out on the children [not so much physically as psychologically].  My father would often run away from home or hide and wouldn’t speak to anyone for weeks on end.

He left home at 17 and went to start a life in Phikwe, close to Bobonong, then eventually joined the army and moved to Gaborone to prosper.

My mother came from a loving, close family in Moshupa. She went to school and lived a peaceful existence.

Now imagine that union.  The two of them together is a trip, to say the least.

Although both of them have gotten this far in Life, maybe what deterred me from becoming my mother was what I regard as weakness from her when it comes to dealing with hardship and things of that nature. There’s such a thing as “too nice”.  Watching how my mother was unable/unwilling to stand up for herself and was constantly crying over something someone else had done, I decided I didn’t want to be that way.

I, however, thought I was too intelligent to become my father.  I thought it wasn’t something I had to stop myself from becoming because deep down I knew it wasn’t okay. Kind of like being a murderer. You don’t constantly have to tell yourself not to kill because you don’t think about it, you just don’t kill.

I learned that the best way to deal with him was to become like him.  For lack of a better expression, it was kill or be killed.

Now my mother, who honestly tried her hardest to shield me from his flaws, has no choice but to admit that I embody them. And it’s unfortunate but I do believe it necessary to be so.

I see it in the way I interact with people, in my romantic relationships and my decision making, I can be a bully and rather irrational. And I swear it’s getting harder to change the older I get.

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