Planet Waves | Chris Grosso



The Right to Exist

By Chris Grosso

My birth spawned a deep fracture in my family, requiring the four already here to pick up and move their things into a slightly larger house. It was still a shack but with a basement, some attic space and a view. The view was of a nuclear waste dump, but what do you want, eggs in your beer?

My oldest brother became older with my arrival and the former baby became my middle brother. He lost his niche, the coveted baby-spot, where you receive all the benefits of the doubt, if there's going to be one. In one 14-hour heave-ho he lost his VIP status. He would have to grow up sooner than he expected. He was devastated.

His feelings about the matter were certainly crushed at every interval; that's how our parents were with all things emotional, which all things are after you simmer and reduce them for a while.

He not only was made to feel like a baby for his necessary mourning period, but like an attacked and brutalized baby at that. And so the mourning process was internalized, like a buried audio cassette tape continuously playing a sad, demented continuance of Muzak over and over.

I want to tell him that I'm aware that my birth represents a terribly traumatic event in his life, one that he probably has never gotten over. I'd like him to know that he does indeed have the right to feel, to feel loss, to feel it intensely and to feel it intensely without fear of assault from stupid sedated adults; that he has the right to scream and stomp his feet and spin on the floor like Curly Howard without incurring the sadistic psychopathic wrath of a terrorist mom and dad. I'd like him to know he has those rights.

And I'd like him to know that no matter how much pain he feels or how deeply it penetrates, I have the right to exist.

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