I write this post with hesitation. I know some people will not understand my reasoning for feeling the way I do and that’s okay. We don’t always have to feel the same way about things. I also know that I am painting the entire thing with one paintbrush, which isn’t a fair thing to do. But, for the moment, it’s all I can do because it’s not something I have been able to move past yet. But I’m working on it.
Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. Together, as a country, we observe a moment of silence to mark the sacrifice of the many who have fallen in the service of our country, and to acknowledge the courage of those who still serve.
I never feel very patriotic on Remembrance Day. I don’t wear a poppy, I don’t go to parades and I don’t go to school assemblies. In the past I have changed my Facebook cover picture and profile picture just so my family didn’t think I was a total asshole, but this year I’m not doing it. This year I just won’t and I will never do it again, until I can look at it differently.
One of my abusers, an older cousin of mine, just retired from the military. He went to Afghanistan twice and each time I didn’t care if he came back. My father’s family likes to talk about him as though he is a hero. They talk about how he has suffered for what he saw and the things he went through. But I can’t see him that way. I don’t see him as courageous and I don’t see him as brave.
His military training taught him to be cruel and punishing. It taught him to detach from all emotion, so he felt no regrets while he was forcing himself on me. It taught him how to use weapons and force in order to instill fear in his enemies. I became his enemy. I was his prisoner of war for four long years. I cannot appreciate anything he has done. He has had to give up nothing but has taken everything.
Today I am admitting I have turned my back on those who do deserve recognition for what they have done. One day, I hope I can look at it differently and observe that moment of silence with different feelings. But today is not that day.