a story about watching rocky ii that’s more interesting than rocky ii

(cw: anxiety, unhealthy parent/child relationship)

when i was very young (like, probably a preteen) i was watching this movie with my cousin at my father’s apartment when the tornado sirens suddenly went off. we were caught completely by surprise. actually, at first we thought it was part of the movie even though that really made absolutely no sense in relation to what was happening on the screen. we had to go downstairs, but our apartment building didn’t have a basement, so the best we could do was the laundry room. i was scared out of my mind. you see, i know i’ve mentioned that tornadoes attract/interest me, but they’re also one of my biggest anxiety triggers. it’s complicated. i have big feelings about them. growing up in the midwest can do that to you.

my dad, my uncle, and one of the neighbors stood outside very vocally watching for the tornado to come, knowing that if it did, there wouldn’t be much we could do about it. after we got the all clear, we went upstairs and the neighbors insisted we come over. the rain hitting the windows and the sound of distant thunder was oddly comforting. the calm after the storm that’s still technically a storm.

the neighbors gave me one of those orange push-up ice cream things. i had never had one before and i would frequently badger my dad to get them for me whenever we were at the grocery store after this. he never did. he did a lot to subliminally teach me that wanting things is bad. i also frequently asked if i could go over to that neighbor’s apartment (he had kids around my age that i got along with). he always said no, on the grounds that it was impolite to “invite yourself over.” which is an interesting way of framing… asking to come over.

it’s actually kind of typical of my father’s mindset about pretty much everything, and the way he drilled a lot of really bad lessons into my head that i’m still constantly working on discovering, unpacking, and trying to push back against. the vast majority of what he taught me boils down to feeling guilty and unwanted for no reason, minimizing and isolating myself, becoming invisible, trying very hard not to want things or enjoy things, and above all not to share myself with people who have given me every indication that they want me around. it’s hard, knowing that basically everything you were taught by one of your parents was completely wrong.

anyway, that’s drastically more interesting than anything that happened in this movie other than the boxing scene at the end.


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