There really were none in my family. They had no shame so why keep secrets? They wore dysfunction like a badge of honor and everything was out in the open, for all to see.
And hear. We were that loud family on the block and worse, my parents had a popular local band so music poured from every window and door of our house at all hours. Horrible twangy, honky-tonkin’, beer-drinkin’, woman-chasin’, man-hatin’ music.
My parents thought they were George Jones and Tammy Wynette and did their best to live up to the reputation those two had in their personal lives, too. I remember watching my mom chase my dad around to burn him with her cigarettes, leaving wounds on his arms that were obvious. I’m not sure why he put up with it, but they always kissed and made up and got on with things as though nothing happened.
I, however, was left to wrestle with all the negative thoughts about what I’d witnessed. So I’d crank up my death metal and get high and try to block it all out. I’m sure the neighbors loved hearing Venom and Slayer and King Diamond at 2 in the morning but back then I didn’t care about what anyone thought, especially neighbors.
Thinking back, I feel so bad for anyone who lived nearby. I’m sure the neighbors loved hearing her scream and yell and break things on the regular. Or to hear my brother blowing shit up in the backyard or his pit bulls fighting or killing another cat (he loved to catch the neighborhood cats to feed to his dogs). Or revving his muscle car and then peeling off down the street to go sell meth to some other tweaker “friend” of his.
From the outside we looked exactly as we were on the inside. There were no secrets about who and what we were. My family had a well deserved reputation and they liked it that way.