Remember that kid? The one who thought you hung the moon… Mom said when I was born and I finally opened my eyes, it was you who was holding me. I saw you first. The first time I questioned your involvement in the hanging of the moon was the night I heard you and Mom fighting. She was crying SO hard and you were telling her she was making a fool of herself and that she was crazy. I was very young but I laid in my bed and listened to you and I cried with her. I didn’t understand how you could be so cruel. She loved you so much. I thought: If I were her I would slap him. As an adult I understand that her emotional vulnerability threatened you. Just like mine does now that I am all grown up.
So last time we talked it didn’t go so well because I have desperately tried to put boundaries in place. You didn’t understand them. You didn’t take me seriously. You thought I was being ridiculous. So when I became angry that you violated my boundaries for the thousandth time, I lost it. And I admit, I was pretty intense in my verbal lashing and I think I slammed a door.. but I was desperate. Desperately trying to be my own person and be okay with being me. Because until recently it’s been quite lonely living this life. I’m different.
I’ve learned in my early 30’s what most people do in their 20’s.. who I am. I am sensitive but strong. I am forgiving to a fault. I have a tendency to give all of myself to people who would never give half of that to me (I’m working on that). There are times when I think I am wrong but I am right and when I think I am right, I am wrong. But I am borderline genius and I finally see that I am valuable. I believe it. I have been chasing your approval for most of my life. You were often critical but to you that meant care. You thought you knew what was best for me because your dad thought the same about you… but I am the only person who can know that and your constant disapproval of my choices had me second guessing myself until I was unable to make a decision. I had to stand up to you.
You have said if I ever see you again it would be by accident or at your funeral. I have called. I have text. I have considered sending a singing telegram. You are mad. I get it. So if in fact I don’t bump into you at the grocery store and I find myself sitting in a church as I listen to a preacher sum up your life and by that point we still have not spoken, there are some things I need you to know.
When you and mom were going through the divorce and you came by the house on Mockingbird to see me, I wouldn’t come to you and sit in your lap. You thought it was because of the divorce. That I was mad about that.. I had already disassociated by that point. The impact those years had on me lay dormant until the latter part of 2016. The reason I would not come to you was because Holly Methvin told me what sex was at school that day -the first grade version… where a guy and girl take off their shirts and lay on top of each other… she also told me if you found out I knew, I would be in trouble and I was terrified. I would not come sit with you because I didn’t want you to ask me about sex.
I have a lot of memories of mom stressed out and caring for us alone. You were gone. You were avoiding us. You were really just avoiding yourself.. you were taught that behavior. Not because you were not loved but because your parents were also taught it. It’s an epidemic actually. Most of the people avoiding their children would not admit they are doing that because they don’t see it.I would go as far as to say At least half (I really think more than half) of American parents are, in fact, avoiding their children. There is no healing in hiding because of shame so I’m telling it.
You would come visit me and you would see me avoiding Britain. You would gently criticize and I would get super defensive because I thought: “Who are you to tell me how to be a parent at least I’m here.” It was just my body there though.. my mind was in a million other places. You saw me about to repeat your mistakes and you tried to intervene. I rejected your wisdom.
This is possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to admit to myself and now I am admitting it to the world… that I was avoiding my child and setting him up for a lifetime of doubting his worth. BUT, I realized it. And I have corrected it. It was so hard at first.. I still have days I struggle. I will sit down to play and my brain starts with the “there are dishes in the sink, an email unsent, a blog post unpublished, laundry not folded” but I resist it because I get it now. None of that shit really matters. Not more than him knowing I am there for him and I care.
When you had that wreck we had not spoken in a really long time. I accept half the responsibility for that. I thought I was going to lose you… the horror. Oh God the horror. I cried so hard that night my body began to convulse. Mom had to give me a xanax so I could get some sleep. Damn those xanax, huh? But I did not listen to the doctor who told me I would be on them for the rest of my life. That dick head. These days I use breathing to overcome those attacks and lately, I don’t have them at all.
Daddy, I love you. I have always loved you. I have also hated you but I’m so over that now. I have just never really understood your inability to understand me. Therein lies the dilemma.