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A little less than a happy high
Just a few demons
As a child, I was tormented by steak. I'm looking back at that sentence and wondering if I should qualify it somehow, or maybe even redirect it. I really have no way of demonstrating a direct influence of a cut of meat on my life, and at times even I wonder whether my memory of its importance is flawed. Still, it rings true enough, so it will stand.

Steak was the father's food. The end of dining, if you will. To him, there could be nothing finer than a steak grilled to perfection and served with the simplest of accompaniments. Anything more complex than a potato was considered an insult to the meat, which itself brooked no adornment. It made for a boring meal, but this realization never seemed to reach him. I like to think that he was so blinded by his mania that it never occurred to him that mom and I didn't enjoy it as much as he did. The fact of the matter is that it never struck him because we were never more than inconvenient accessories. That, however, is a different story.

There were times when we took trips to the Hilltop Steakhouse in Danvers, MA, just for the sake of their t-bone. Danvers is not much of a trip from where I live now. It's probably twenty minutes, tops, all highway driving. I'm also not completely averse to waiting close to an hour to be seated at a restaurant if I'm certain about the experience. Being packed into a car in Winthrop, ME, and enduring a 3 1/2 hour car ride to Danvers for steak drove me to the edge of my sanity. This was only made worse because he insisted that where we were going was a "surprise." I knew where we were going, and despite his insistence, I knew it was never for me. I think I would have dreaded knowing otherwise.

It begins before that.

It was rare that we ate together at home. I can't recall more than a handful of instances when we did, and more often than not, those were disastrous. What I do remember, I remember vividly. It's difficult to forget getting screamed at for doing nothing more than sitting and eating quietly because the father decided that I made too much noise when I opened my mouth for the next bite. Harder still is the beating I got when I refused to say grace the one and only time he decided that it should be said over his steak. That time, I got thrown up stairs, which even at the time I thought of as a novel twist. Mom pulled him off of me. She got the worst of it. A couple hours later, I got to come back to the table to eat my cold dinner while she sat across from me, stone still and crying.

I have no idea why I'm doing this.

I got to thinking about it all again because I attempted steak last night. It came out... not as good as I had hoped. The basil and olive oil seemed to work well with the Bailey Hazen Blue, but there was too much salt in the rub, and the steaks were on the grill for too long. I wasn't surprised.
39 comments or Leave a comment
guitarcries From: guitarcries Date: September 14th, 2005 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)
This is stuff you just never forget.
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I don't know... I did a pretty good job of it for a while there.
From: ex_cayetana730 Date: September 14th, 2005 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
These things are indeed awful, because you never know when they'll jump out at you, because you had conveniently put them away.

I had an incident with a fresh tomato the other day.
And I can't get near eggplant.

I understand.

komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I was mostly aware of them, but it's been... difficult at times. I was fine yesterday, but then I got to thinkin'.

clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: September 14th, 2005 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
There are times when something just resonates with us in such a way as to draw out those memories we'd rather leave in the dark recesses.

One morning when I was getting ready to drive up to my parents house, the combination of the weather, air, birdsong, the song on the radio and whatever else was going on struck SOMETHING in me, and I cried for most of the four hour drive. It was... bizarre, to say the least.
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm of a mind sometimes that if I didn't exercise due diligence, I'd be a crying wreck for half of my waking hours.

'Course, I'm very certain I suppress some very useful aspects of my self as well.
esmerel From: esmerel Date: September 14th, 2005 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't have anything constructive to say, really. I'll have to leave it at:

I'm sorry. I've been there. It sucked. Lots. Sometimes it gets better. Some days are better than others. At least now I know it wasn't my fault. Wasn't yours either.
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the problem is that for a very long time, I tried to make sense of it, even though there was clearly no sense to be made. My childhood home can be classed as capricious, at best.
haloedone From: haloedone Date: September 14th, 2005 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for sharing. I know how difficult that can be.

If I thought you would accept it and it would offer some measure of comfort, I would offer a hug, but I can only say that I fervently wish you hadn't had to have gone through that. That no child would. That there was something I could do to stop it.

I can only wish you well, and hope the negative impact of this memory fades and disappears.
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
The stories come sporadically. Sometimes, I don't find the words or the energy or whatever to write about them. Sometimes I do.

What I really need to do now is figure out why I keep carrying the stories with me. That's a choice I've made, and it's not clear that there's a purpose to it.
(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
The physics still baffle me. ^_^

Thanks. No worries, though... I'm ok.
From: corvus_coronis Date: September 14th, 2005 09:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Its funny how it goes with food that gets associated with/brings back bad memories like that. One of my earliest memories is vomiting after being force-fed stew, and even now - though I'm willing to try practically anything food-wise, I still dont make myself stew (unless its a curry or gumbo-style thing)

Ps - Your father's behaviour sounds very, very familiar to me - Just check up any good sites/info on narcissism (I know I harp on about it a bit in my own journal sometimes), & look deeper if you see too much that rings a bell.
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
It took a long time for me to start learning about meat that fell out of the fish/fowl/game categories. Pork was relatively accessible, but beef is still elusive. Beef steak makes my heart hurt. I'm sorry you're saddled with similar.

I do love gumbo, though.

Incidentally, my biggest fear is that I picked up some of his traits. I'm sure it's where my perfectionist streak comes from...
transcribe From: transcribe Date: September 14th, 2005 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
nothing much to say except that i was selfishly glad to read this because i think it's better to disseminate this kind of thing than let it go unsaid or aired. it's a kind thing to do for your body, and it helps others. xo.
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you ever feel like there are too many stories and not enough words?
why_style From: why_style Date: September 14th, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
it's amazing how something as simple as a smell or a taste or a sound can wake dragons. i've gotten good at suppression too but no damn is impenetrable. odd thing is i sometimes hold onto totems on purpose. all through college i refused to get rid of this folding chair that was all bent and didn't sit flat on the floor. the reason? it was the chair my dad had thrown across the room at me when i was a kid (that's how it got bent). there was something oddly comforting in having it around even if it did remind me of his brutishness.
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was a kind of fetish, imbued with power because of the emotion that surrounded it.

I know the impulse well.
cosmicserpent From: cosmicserpent Date: September 14th, 2005 02:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
For a long time I felt probably pretty similar to your father; that steak and potatos were the perfect meal.

Steak isn't so frightening, you just have to be willing to do it bloody as fuck and seasoning is key.
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm a big fan of 'rare' myself

It's not the steak, but the associations that go with it that are troublesome. Case in point, the steak tips I made a few weeks back were very tasty.
iterum From: iterum Date: September 14th, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very well written, and in that sense alone a pleasure to read.

Otherwise, I am sorry that you have such things to write about. I hope that doing so helps exorcize those demons.
komos From: komos Date: September 14th, 2005 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, there's that at least. ^_^

Really all I can say is that it's been a process. I'm mostly ok, but there are imps here and there that refuse to get lost. Danke.
wisdom_seeker From: wisdom_seeker Date: September 15th, 2005 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Somebody else already said this, but it bears repeating: Talking about this stuff and putting it into the light of day can take away its power. Why do you hold onto it? Because you are human and we are all the sum of our experiences and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. From some of your other comment responses, I get the feeling that you are starting to re-write parts of these stories, specifically, really starting to understand that you had no control and there was no logical why?, beyond your father's capriciousness. Those are really important things to understand, because they change the meaning of the experiences. I've known you a long time, and I do not think, from what you have told me about him and what I have seen in you, that you are like your father.
komos From: komos Date: September 15th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, but you never knew him...

You're probably right, though I can see definite influences. Most of those are along the lines of "things not to do," but it's in reaction to his insanity rather than conscious choice.
wildflowersoul From: wildflowersoul Date: September 15th, 2005 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Other people said what I wouild say better, and I'm a little late here anyway, but *hugs*
komos From: komos Date: September 15th, 2005 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Is it still uncool to like Everclear?

I will never be safe
I will never be sane
I will always be weird inside
I will always be lame
39 comments or Leave a comment