Being misunderstood by my family is nothing new, considering they've never understood a god damned thing I've ever done.
"Why do you always want to talk about this? Why can't you just forget about it?" my sister would shout. "Can't we just pretend none of this SHIT happened and be sisters? Why do you want to bring up all of the past?"
I wanted to talk about our feelings, our childhoods of abuse and abandonment, and find some sort of kinship between us. Carrie didn't want to discuss it. She wanted to run from all of it, until the times it welled up inside her and she exploded in anger. Carrie goes off like an atom bomb, destroying everything for miles. The pain she holds inside becomes too much to cope with and finally the steam has to release. Innocent victims lie in tatters around her, broken, bleeding, crawling for safety.
"We don't want to talk about your feelings TINA," my mother would repeat time and again. "That's just you, because you're not normal. I don't know why you want to talk all the time. All you do is babble. No one wants to hear it."
After all of the years of physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse at my mother's hands, I was still afraid of Suzi when I was an adult. I found myself still wanting her approval, still longing to find a place in my family structure, even though I was most clearly the black sheep.
My brothers are in and out of prison on a regular basis. In fact, each has spent approximately 2/3 of their adult lives in prison. Most of the initial crimes were for drugs, but over time their crimes became violent. Regardless of what initially sends a young man to prison it has a way of making any man a very violent, dangerous human being.
This is my family of origin. A dead father, an abusive mother, and a group of angry, violent siblings.
So what makes Kathy different?
Kathy understands why I need to ride. This is probably because Kathy rode her own Sporster for many, many years during a time when few women rode and with men who rarely let women ride. Rolling with 1%ers most of her younger years, my Dad being one of them, Kathy learned all she knows about life with people who understood a thing or two about freedom and could smell drama and bullshit a mile away.
Cagers don't get it. They can't feel any of this. Insulated, safe from the realities of the road, hiding in plain sight, pretending that they are going somewhere, only to find they are playing it safe, they choose to feel nothing. And they can't understand why anyone would want to feel this way. Perhaps this is the one distinct difference between Cagers and Riders: The desire to feel.
"I think it's good that they excluded you," Highway explained to me awhile ago. "They did you a favor. You were never going to be happy being 'one of them'. Now you can be honest and be yourself."
Those words released me from my own prison. For the first time I didn't need to belong, to anyone or anything. I gave myself permission to be different, to act on my own desires, to listen to that voice within me.
I finally found my place in the world. I can feel, really get down and feel what's inside of me. And if that's "not normal" then I don't care. And anyone who thinks there's something wrong with that can fuck off and stay the hell away from me, BECAUSE I INTEND TO FEEL MY WAY THROUGH LIFE! I'm not going to "pretend" this shit didn't happen. I'm not going to "pretend" just to make you fuckers feel better about things. This is how I deal with MY LIFE! This is MY FUCKING LIFE and I'm so exhausted with trying to be something and someone who makes all of you feel good about yourselves.
Do I make you uncomfortable? I don't fucking care. You can suck my dick if you don't like it. Deal with it or get the fuck out of my way.
For me, riding is feeling. Writing is telling. I have a life where I can freely feel my emotions and freely express them. I have finally found a place to be true to myself, my nirvana.
All this time I was a rider in a family of cagers. No wonder I never fit in.