Forgiving Daddy’s Little Girl

There’s a memory.

And as the moon rises, he sits by the fire. Sitting the back seat of the red convertible, my brother to my left side, my mother in front of me, and my father behind the wheel.  And closing his eyes at the doggies retire. The top of the car is down, allowing the wind to whip through my hair ….Won’t you let me go down in my dreams… and the words of James Taylor to wrap themselves my memories.  And rockabye sweet baby James.

Cisco Shambles SP

There’s now.

Over the years, I have never quiet figured out how to rectify what happened between us.  I have tried to drown the emotions in false forgetfulness, wine and starlit nights of wishful thinking, and destructive addictions to my own being.  Frankly, I never knew if you were worthy of forgiveness.  Actually, I do not know how to forgive you.

I do not understand how you could deny the existence of your own daughter.  I cannot comprehend how nearly six years went by and you have not bothered to see the woman I have become nor the child I once was.  I am not saying I am anything special to be seen, nor that I am even above the normal existence of other women my age.  I just wanted you to know me.  I wanted you to want to be a part of my life.  And now, after having dinner for the third time in the very house I grew up in, you sitting across from me, silent, I question my wants.  You once forbade my body to trespass onto your land.  Now, you give a mere permission for my presence under your roof.

Burned Trees Sp

A few months ago, you were sick and hospitalized.  I saw you and could have sworn you were going to die this time around.  Your skin was the colour of a bruised peach – all over.  Your head laid in what must of have been an awkward and uncomfortable position.  Mouth open.  Breathing unsteady.  Machines beeping with no knowledge of a metronome.  It had been too long since I had seen you and even longer since our skin had contact.  You aged.  A lot.  Once everyone had left the room, I touched your hand.  Briefly.  I breathed.  “I forgive you.”

With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go

I had some idea that maybe you could die in some sort of peace if I had given you the feeling that I was okay and that I did not blame you anymore.  Yet, here you are, still alive.  Did I really forgive you?  I am angry.  I am hurt.  I am sad.  I do not know how to deal with those feelings in a healthy manner.  I feel like a child.  And that child in me… (as much as I hate to admit it) it just wants to be held.  Here I am, questioning forgiveness.  I could sit here and rehash all of the old, painful memories that have turned the colour of sepia, collecting dust in the box I have locked them away in.  But, what good would that do?  It feels cheap to refer to you as a mere sperm donor.  It feels even move cheap that it feels wrong to talk about you like that.

You cannot hear me.  You won’t hear me.  I do not even know if you need to hear me.

I forgive you for saying you never wanted a little girl.
I forgive you for the destructive thought patterns and emotional bruising.
I forgive you for breaking the promises you made to me that indicated you loved me.
I forgive you for flipping over the coffee table and making mother weep.
I forgive you for the holes in my walls and the broken slammed doors.
I forgive you for the way I lividly loathe oatmeal and bananas.
I forgive you for allowing me to learn to despise being female at times.
I forgive you for teaching me that crying was only allowed if I was in physical pain.
I forgive you for always requiring me to ask to go outside, and most of the time saying no.
I forgive you for promising to do everything in your power to make my life a living hell until you died.
I forgive you for never being satisfied with my academic endeavors and implementing consequences you saw fit.
I forgive you for that bracelet you gave me with 9 broken hearts, hoping they were the only ones I ever experienced.
I forgive you for not knowing how to love me.
I forgive you.  I forgive you.  I forgive you.

Tree Sap SP

And yet, forgiving still feels passionately furious.  So, have I really forgiven you?  How do I set free all this pain that has never been dealt with in a healthy manner?  Everything feels tangled inside.  I have this stoic idealistic way of composing myself: “I really just do not have many emotions.  I tend to be indifferent about most things.”  But that’s not true.  I am a deeply emotional being.  I cannot fight this feeling of not being broken anymore.  My heart hurts.  It is increasingly difficult to always be brave, to always appear strong.

Here I am. Unedited.  Vulnerable to the world’s eyes.

There’s a song that they sing when they take to the highway
A song that they sing when they take to the sea
A song that they sing of their home in the sky
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to see 
That singing works just fine for me

And when it is all written out, it is still agonizing.  So maybe, I just need to forgive myself for having absolutely no clue how to forgive you.

© /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/

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5 responses to “Forgiving Daddy’s Little Girl

  1. Hi Shay. I don’t know you but I know you have climbed and seen JC. I just wanted to say that I do follow your blog (mostly because I think your photography is amazing). This was a powerful read for me this morning, as I can also relate to un-forgiveness. Thank you for sharing such candid, intimate details so eloquently. You are quite talented. Hope to meet you in person someday. -Natalie

    • Ah! Natalie! You are the mother of that beautiful baby boy that you and JC have. I absolutely love your photos of your child.
      Thank you for your kind words. It was by no means easy to write, but the responses I have received (like yours) have been overwhelming. I am honoured to have your support and I hope to meet you one day as well. Come camping/climbing with the baby?
      -Shay

  2. Deeply touching, moving and honest. You may want to have control over the storm, yet it will calm down on its own since storms always do. Forgiveness may lay still ahead of you when you expect it least. Be gentle to yourself and you certainly shouldn’t “hate to admit” that you feel like a child sometimes… she can be your best friend. Thank you for sharing with us, it is very brave. – JC

  3. Shay, the way you exposed yourself, such raw emotion and pain..I felt every bit and could identify with that little girl. Thank you for expressing yourself so eloquently..I too need to forgive myself…my harshest critic! I love your photography..my nephew Sam Nies told me to check out your site, so grateful that I did!

  4. Heavy heart. Throughout the years I often wondered what I could have done to help, intervene, and encourage you in your school years. Interfere is what often came to mind. So I prayed for you, hard. It was the least, and most, I could do.
    Please know that I am SO encouraged to know you as a young lady. You. Are. Amazing. I get such a kick out of your photography, blog, adventures and the fun that you have found in life. These are YOUR choices. The positive twist you have put on YOUR life after leaving home. You have bloomed into a beautiful, talented woman and I will continue to pray that your father will one day see, realize, and acknowledge all that you are. And if he doesn’t? His loss.

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