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  • Kim Idol

The Color Yellow

Every morning I wake up and before I get out of bed (sometimes before I open my eyes) I recite the following words (faster than the speed of light).

“I am lazy, unkind, selfish and self-centered, dishonest, dumber than I think, uncreative, angry and self-pitying. I blame others for my failings and flaws, and I expect too much attention and too much help from other people without giving back.”

It’s not my list. It’s a gift from a long time ago. I maintain it out of loyalty to the past and because it is an integral part of my identity in the unaware place where I still hide the stuff that I once had to believe in order to survive; when I had to agree or be destroyed.

This is the Bizarro-world list of someone who is afraid of me. The list makers presumed that if I were to believe that I was comprised of better qualities I would have become something unconfined and dangerous. Prideful. \The people who instilled these beliefs in me were omnipotent beings, who could have killed me as easily as squashing a bug. I don’t know why they were scared of me. I was powerless and I needed them.

On his deathbed my father, one of the authors of this asshole inventory, with his last breaths, took the time to remind me of another of my failings. In words so garbled that I had to lean in to understand he reminded me that my love for his father was unwarranted because my grandfather was an ass. I’d heard it all before, so I just quietly listened.

My grandfather died a long time ago, but my love for him was always obvious. There was no one else whose company I enjoyed more. It hurt when my father insulted the only adult I trusted, but I wasn’t going to give my grandfather up, so I buried the pain and I internalized the accusation that my love for Grandfather was necessarily driven by my wish to offend my father. And I maintained that weird mind shit in order to protect my dad’s feelings.

It has not occurred to me until lately that my parents should have celebrated that loving connection particularly when it was clear how much my grandfather and I loved one another. Instead my father would sit me down, from time to time and list the reasons why I shouldn’t even like my grandfather let alone love him. And my mother? Well, she kept her opinion to herself but if I wanted to get to my grandparent’s house I was on my own. I think that’s where my love of endurance sports started. I walked.

Disloyalty is on my shit list too. Time to get rid of the list. Knowing its details won’t make it instantly disappear. Mulling over its existence won’t instantly erase it. Finding out where it got started won’t instantly remove it, but writing it down…it’s a start.

1. Yellow carnations were my grandfather’s favorite flowers.

2. “I love the color yellow because it reminds me of Grandfather.

3. And a big old New York raspberry to my dead dad. “Bite me, old man. Here’s where you can stick your/my evil daughter wish list.”

Once I learn to get rid of it.

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