“I really hope my mother picks up a number she doesn’t recognize because I really don’t want to have to call the house number. I just don’t want to have to talk to my father only to ask for her because he’s kind of an asshole and we don’t have a relationship. At all.”
That was the last thing I said about my father when I thought he was still alive.
Everything inside of me feels tangled. You’ve left a complicated mess in your passing and I’m not sure I know how to be this strong anymore. I’m angry with you for never teaching mother how to support herself. It is difficult to be the mother to my mother because of all of the things you’ve left undone. Mostly, I’m disappointed that you allowed for 7 ½ years to be the term of my disownment. The last promise you ever made to me was that you would make my life a living hell until you died. I suppose now that promise has been relinquished with your death, but the details are most certainly not simple.
I know I was never the greatest at math and science; they were your strong suits. Moreover, I never shared the dreams you had for me in my adult life. I know I was never good enough or smart enough for your standards and I always fell short, far below your high expectations. And most days, I know I asked all the wrong questions, or too many questions, or skimped out on my chores, was never thin enough, cried too often, or wanted to go outside too much. I’m sorry for spilling one too many glasses of milk and sneaking open toed shoes to school. I’m sorry for back talking and, in your eyes, being disrespectful. But I had this insatiable yearning to understand the people around me and the world I live in. I wanted to be so much to you. I wanted to be more than just the biggest disappointment of your life. Why did those sub-par qualities deem me unlovable? What exactly was it that made it permissible to disown your only daughter?
To my knowledge, there is not a single photograph of you holding me.
Most of all, I am irritated that I accepted mother’s invitations to the house after you gave her permission; I’m sure you were tired of her endless begging over the years. It took me years upon years of therapy to even consider imagining myself underneath your roof again with you in the same house. Our relationship modified itself from no communication to a petty “hi”-“bye”-facade of a conversation. Why was it so hard for you to step up to the plate and admit your wrongs? Why was I so hard to love? To forgive? To look at?
There are some questions I will never have answers to. And in the end, I guess I held out hope that one day you’d come around and tell me you were sorry. Although, I had never heard you utter the word sorry. Ever. I suppose I hoped maybe one day you’d want to know me, to ask to be a part of my life. I guess I hoped that you could prove to me that people can change. That people can forgive. That it is okay if people aren’t perfect. That making mistakes is acceptable. And now, in the wake of your death, these hopes have been extinguished.
And now, as a woman, I question love. And marriage. And having children. How can I be loved if my own father couldn’t even look at me? There are certain aspects of my life that feel tarnished. If I ever happen to be the marrying type, who will walk me down the aisle? Or give permission for my hand in marriage? Who will be the man my brother needs to look up to? There are endless questions that I’m sure will rest with time…but that doesn’t mean I know how to untangle this mess.
I think what gets me the most though is that I wanted to know that I was worth fighting for. I wanted you to tell me that I was enough. I wanted you to be able to show me that you could love me. That I was worth keeping around. That I am lovable. What is more important in the love of a woman than that of her own father?
Sometimes it’s hard to be strong all the time. Lately, I’ve just wanted to sink to the barren floor, hug my knees, and sob. And for some reason, I just cannot seem to let myself do that. I want to be held. To know it is okay to be weak. To know that I can be gentle with myself. To have someone understand without speaking words.
I just wanted to know that I am someone worth fighting for.
© /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/