Imperfect perfection

I was raised in a house full of introverts with the exception of Luke. At one time that probably made Matt’s bizarre behavior all the more shocking. Anything could set Matt off so we had to make sure that anything didn’t happen. We had to tiptoe around the house in a whisper, no loud music and absolutely no anger was allowed. Anger was wrong. But that didn’t seem to stop my parents from arguing when they thought we were asleep at night or before we woke up in the morning. Matt was the burner on high underneath my pot of water. Just when the water was rolling and coming to a full raging boil, the lid was forced on. Sometimes a little steam would escape, as from a tea kettle, but never before a full roaring scream could be issued. The hot water stayed trapped inside making my blood boil. It was a long time before I learned that feeling angry was ok. When I finally opened that spout, I boiled over with anger for a long time. 

I also had to be perfect. Completely, inhumanly perfect. When Matt hit me I was not supposed to strike back or feel anger. I was lucky to be normal. Lucky! I got in big trouble when I struck back, but Matt was never once told that what he was doing was wrong whether he could control it or not. When my grades dropped in grade school, my dolls were taken away for a semester until I was perfect again. I couldn’t play piccolo in middle school because it was so high pitched that people could hear if I made a mistake. The same thing with singing. But this perfection was not just imposed on me. Mark had to be perfect and so did my mom herself. We all knew that my dad, Matt, and Luke were flawed. 

For example, Mark put his hand on his girlfriend’s knee and got in trouble for that. Luke stayed out all night with his girlfriend and never even bothered to call. He did not get in trouble. I asked my mom about this unfairness and she said she expected more from Mark. I became judge over Mark and Luke. Most of the time I sided with Mark which caused fighting with Luke. Luke and I got in a big fight which wasn’t allowed. My mom tried to stop us. I retorted with, “Why should I stop fighting with Luke when you and dad fight all the time?” But most of the time our house was filled with silent rage and imperfect strivings toward perfection. 

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