Relative Secrets

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

And here's the thing. I was talking to pips about this, because she, more than anyone else, knows about all my issues with him, and has lost her father after having some similar issues, but here's the thing: I feel really stupid sitting here, at age 41 thinking that all I ever wanted from him was for him to be my daddy. But that's the very basic bottom line. I do really believe that he loved us, and that's what's fucked up about it. If he didn't, I'd have different issues, I'm sure, but I think it'd be less hard. The fact that he loved us and still allowed all that to happen and stayed in denial about it for so long and so intensely gives me the WTFs.

He's one of the best storytellers I've ever known, and he loves to talk about when we were little girls and he was with us, and the things we did and how he felt, and I love to sit with him and bask in that, but another part of me is screaming, "What about the REST of my life?" He left when I was six and my sisters were two and three. The stories end there, as far as his turn is concerned, and ours start, filled with secrets, pain, abuse and emotional neglect. And from that point on, there is a cliff of differences in our points of view. His vision, I guess, is seen from the spot of just going to work and coming home and seeing that we were clean and supper was on the table. He completely missed the million times I tried to catch his eye to somehow signal to him that things were not okay and that we needed his help. He also missed all the times, after we were finally home with our mother again, that we tried to contact him just to say hello, because the stepmother was always wondering aloud, "What do they want? What do they want?" and it was somehow translated into "Y'all never call unless you want something," which, yes, we did. We wanted our daddy to be our daddy.

Sitting here now thinking about this, I can remember three times when I've asked him for help financially, and neither of those times was it anything big. I'm trying to figure out how that got skewed in such a way that I ended up feeling guilty for calling him at all. As if I had a hidden agenda. I guess I did have a secret motive. Why was it so impossible for me to simply ask him to spend time with me without her being around? Why could I never tell him that I simply enjoyed his company and his stories. His laughter, and the way it always felt like we never skipped a beat, even when we hadn't seen each other in a few years? How could she have sabotauged us so completely, emotionally, with guilt about things we shouldn't have felt guilty about? How could he let her do it? How could he not have seen it happening? Why couldn't I see all of this until right now, at this moment?

I guess a lot of this is about secrets we keep from ourselves, more than secrets we've kept from each other. Those are much more powerful and do the most damage.

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