The significance of this is overwhelming- yet I’m probably too tired to do it all justice. I closed down all windows, and rested my head on the back of the seat- I wonder if I should write at all. Will this intention end in the graveyards of the wanted, or will it all have meant something?
My dad came downstairs tonight and he sat down. The whole intention coming down was to tell me they were going away for the weekend to Chicago- my aunt was back in the hospital, and my mother needed the reprieve from imagining to see her in person. We started arguing- almost immediately as children and parents do. I turned away and told him to have a good night, and he pushed it farther.
He asked me, “Why do we fight.” And I replied, “It is because we don’t know another way.” We could agree on that- at least.
I told him, that I saw him in the men I dated. That everytime someone yelled, I felt like I was twelve again, one step away from having everything revoked, and scared to death. I told him, “how many times have you told me to leave these situations- when can I leave this one?”
I want to imagine that his silence made the life behind us flash before his eyes- that maybe he understood every moment I understood- they had power, and I had none. He cried- and he said, “You are right.” He said it softly as he looked down- no more than 10 minutes later saying something I won’t repeat- but for tonight, for that moment – for two hours of discussions- he understood.
Last weekend was father’s day. My family gathered at mom and dads and we ate a feast of food. For the first time in as long as I can remember, my mom said, “eat anywhere in the house.” She’s been burned out lately, so there we were- four outside, two on the couch, Ava and I in the kitchen, mom in the chair. It was time for dessert and we were out of plates. I cut the brownies, and brought my brownie to the living room to be by the rest of the family. My mother, who was currently eating her brownie in the living room told me to please keep it in the kitchen, that I would spill- and it would grind into the carpet. At this point I should mention that half of the family is children under the age of 10. There was much running with food, mashed potatoes, string beans and Ava threw a couple pieces of broccoli. My brother in law sat on the couch eating steak and my sister started laughing. I looked at my mother, in true form, indulge herself on the chair- on the carpet, and she wagged her finger for me to remain in the kitchen. I asked my dad, “C’mon– this is crazy.” My dad said it was because my plate was different. (This is no joke.) We celebrated father’s day gifts and brownies, with me in the kitchen, and everyone else eating in the living room. I said nothing. In fact- I dont think I actually ate my brownie at all- I realized- this is probably the lowest it’s been.
I didn’t say anything when I left for plans that night, or when I came home. But I said it tonight to my dad when he asked, “just how on earth do you think we’ve treated you badly.” I told him of the brownie, and the times when boyfriends would pull me aside at home and ask why everyone made fun- and I’d laugh and say, “It’s funny- i’m totally cool with it-it’s just how it is.” -With a straight face.
In all my days- I have never spoken the words to my father that I did tonight. I don’t know what brought it on, (although I have an idea,) it’s the type of situation where when you feel pulled in so many directions, you plant your feet firmly on the ground and stand taller. I excel at this.
He promised me change, sitting low in the rocking chair that he used to rock me as a baby on. He promised that he would stop screaming things at me, and that Ava would never take her 2.5 year old self and put it to bed so she didn’t have to hear Papa yell anymore. I saw empty promises, and a broken man- so I said goodnight.
I spoke clearly- and I was incredibly proud. He had always told me to leave men when I told him of the situations. I asked, if it was okay if I left him.
Some would find hope in this- I had become silent for so long- to the point where as the rest of my family ate in the living room, I hid myself away in the kitchen, really truly wondering what stains I had afflicted on the carpet- and how to not be embarassed. And I realize- it’s more than stains- but sometimes, the things we tell ourselves are our allies, instead of our enemies, (as it so often is.)
I would have never had the balls- to use the mind I’ve so often used with others to assert myself like this before.
If I had never left B. and saw that I was capable, intelligent and worthy of someone who wholeheartfully wanted me in pure equality- I would have never spoke to my father as I did tonight. He hugged me and walked upstairs- I should have felt sheer joy- or a revolution inside myself. Instead I saw someone in 60 years, who’s limp was taking over his walk, and who’s head was down- when the child tells the father that she wants from him- what she wants from the men she dates- it’s failure in his mind. You could see it in his walk- and the way he hugged me longer than I wanted him to. I told him, “it was never about love, it was about wanting to feel good enough.” -Every child’s battle.. the battle so long with myself, finally came to the very door in which it’s started from.
B. emailed me today, along with his mom. I thanked his mom for the email- and tried to keep it as impersonal as possible, (I utterly failed.) But to him- I never replied, and I won’t. Two weeks ago, with a simple reach out like an email? I could have cried for hours at the thought that he would turn around and see me. I feel as though I’ve been walking for years- even though it’s been significantly shorter- I feel as though I’d have nothing to say to him- I’ve said everything I could, and was condemned anyway. The thing with love is- you cannot chose why you love someone. You cannot chose to turn it off like a switch, and those that can, have never really experienced love’s glory. I see my father in myself, and I handed that part back to him, just like I handed it back to B. We cannot carry with us, what we so heartfully need to overcome. I am not my father- I am me- and I am not leftovers of what I tried to be for B- I am beautiful, and aware, and I’ve never felt wanted in the way I want myself. It’s disgusting, really- the self-absorb son it took to get me here. A honeymoon of sorts- in weeks I respect and acknowledge the very things I would have given up for others, now have become the very things I cannot live without.
I am meeting people- amazing people- who express the things to me now that I believe. It’s a strange feeling, like looking in the mirror for the first time after losing your face in a terrible accident- you barely recognize the creature before you. Suddenly- here is the person without all the shackles they’ve placed upon themselves- the past things they bury in fear of having it damage them more. I say truthfully- we are all damaged by factors we cannot control- father’s that scream and raise their hands, mothers that condemn and outlaw- men catapault you- the worse damage we do is to ourselves by thinking that real power is carrying those things with us so that we can tell people, “Look how far I’ve come.”
The moment we drop our bags behind us, filled with all our hard-earned grief, petulance, or doubt- we live. It’s simplistic and stupid- and until the moment you can face your greatest fears and tell them that they no longer have any power over you- that you’ve determined in 27 years that the only happiness you care about is the kind that doesn’t involve a revolving door- but open space- I’ve won.
So this reason- this very reason- of struggles, and powerlessness- of thinking that applying for pity from the masses has really evolved me? It has done nothing for me. They are blinders- to everything else that is going on. I was so concerned with everything that I had ‘accomplished,’ that I didn’t see the big picture.
When people ask me what moment sparked the biggest change in my life- I cannot tell them it was my daughter’s birth, or landing a position I so much wanted- it was abandonment. It was losing one of the things I loved most in the entire world- and finding something of much greater importance. In a perfect world, timing would have been subtracted by 27 years- I would have known what we are taught from birth- but roadblocks aside- I have so many good years left, and I’m just beginning – and it feels.. amazing.
we’d rise post-obstacle more defined more grateful we would heal be humbled
and be unstoppable we’d hold close and let go and know when to do which we’d
release and disarm and stand up and feel safe
this is utopia this is my utopia
this is my ideal my end in sight
utopia this is my utopia
this is my nirvana