filthy fenêtre

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

I always hated those windows. They were a reminder of a childhood I spent with my father, a childhood I despised. Perhaps the suffering taught me to be kind to my fellow human being, but I always felt outdated and cheap. In my early rejection of my Jewish identity I remembered these windows, these ugly, ugly windows, that gave me a hazy gaze into a community that fulfilled every stereotype I sought to retract myself from as a child. I hated my father. Some part of me still does. I hated not being normal, I hated not looking normal, I hated my experience. Those windows were disgusting. I didn't need the illusion of escape offered by a window to fool me into seeing just beyond it into the trap that was where I lived. It was cruel, perhaps it were not intentional, but those ugly windows, molded poorly and constructed without eloquence, they fit into a style of architecture that had the means to be decent but chose not to be. The French word "fenêtre" means window. Fen; a meaningless sound. Être; to be. To be meaningless noise. That's what these windows remind me of. Being meaningless noise. My heritage brought me little joy as a child. Like everything about my identity, I felt dated and without nuance. Religious conservatism was ugly, rigid, and failed to accurately express the beauty hidden in the texts that were their purpose. So while my father found a community he could stay in his bubble, I sought reality. You don't need to assimilate, but you should appreciate. 

– Emanuel Zbeda

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant