Sometimes he’s called dad or daddy, pops or father and perhaps even old man. I don’t know what to call mine, though. I wonder if sadistic f*@kbag would be accurate enough. Here we are again at Father’s Day. The day set aside each year where we are supposed to tell the world how thankful we are for one of the people who gave us half of our DNA.
I know not all parents are bad. It’s just that mine were. Both of them. So it’s not like I have one or the other to fall back on to make me feel okay about how things were. My mother is so far off in her own world that it’s like there isn’t even an option for her being open to suggestions that maybe it really wasn’t all rainbows and leprechauns. It’s honestly a hard pill to swallow sometimes, knowing how completely screwed up things were. It’s hard enough admitting this to yourself. But to admit it to someone else? Forget it.
I was so afraid of him growing up. I didn’t like to be alone with him. It was uncomfortable because he didn’t know how to be alone with himself. It was uncomfortable because there was nothing I could do about it. He was unpredictable. Anger does that. It steals any kind of order.
He was fierce and always at a tipping point emotionally. His default setting was anger and I don’t remember any other emotion coming from him. I cut a wide path around him. And no matter what happened my mother would, and still will, always stand beside him. Nothing ever felt quiet and still in my childhood home and the hurricane just never seemed to quite pass over.
I don’t have pictures of him displayed. I try not to talk about him with my children. Sometimes, if it’s a good day, I can completely forget his face for a little while. But, no matter how hard I try I cannot forget his voice. It’s permanently etched into my brain. And every single time I think I am brave enough to talk about him, all I can hear are those threatening words coming from his mouth–‘if you say anything, I will cut out your f*@king tongue‘. Those words have the power to immediately stop me in my tracks, take back every thought and emotion and transport me to years long gone by.
I’m supposed to be angry, so says T. I don’t always get the same clarity though. Sometimes I know what I’m “supposed to say” and “supposed to feel” and I can follow suit if I have to. But I have a very difficult time with anger. Mostly because I don’t completely understand it. Sometimes because I can’t even find it. Other times because I am afraid of it. And we can’t forget about the constant background chatter to contend with, telling me that if I were to get angry, I will show the world how ungrateful I am and I won’t ever get the love that I want and need. Gah, that sounds pitiful when I read it back to myself. I honestly don’t know if it would even be anymore possible for my mother to allude to the fact that they never wanted me. Besides, if they ever wanted to really love me, it would’ve happened at least once in the last 45 years, wouldn’t it?
I always thought that once he died things would be different. They aren’t. Actually, in a lot of ways they feel worse. He still haunts me even from beyond the grave but tather than torturing me in person, he tortures me in my nightmares.
Sometimes I still feel nothing but shame and that I am bad. Sometimes I see myself as responsible for what happened and therefore unworthy of feeling anything else because “I did this to myself“. Sometimes I worry I’m always in the way or a burden, or I will get a sense I’m just completely and utterly different from anyone or anything around me.
Days like this make me wonder what the point of surviving was all about. Was it worth it? Today, like so many before it, I wish they would have just made good on their threats. Because I really don’t see the reason for still existing at all.