I struggle with certain “holidays”. Father’s Day is one of those days. It’s not that I don’t feel love and compassion for my dad in his lifetime as Vincent Archuleta. In fact, I find that my own level of compassion for the struggles of real life is usually so high that I tolerate ridiculous behavior from others, usually for entirely too long. I can’t help it, I’m an empath and a healer. Meaning, rather than running from “red flag’s” like so many others, I tend to want to run up the stairs of a burning building. It’s also the lifetime’s of a soldier in me.
I have a friend who is heavily into “positive living”. She’s often spread the word of not frowning at life, but smiling instead. This message has a valid place in the world, sure. It’s the shaming I’ve felt aimed at me in particular at times, that makes me see red. This person has no idea what kind of life I have lived. And she has no place to judge a pain she can not relate to. Every Father’s Day, right on cue, she almost makes sure to rub it in my face that she is a “daddy’s girl”, and how blessed she is to be his daughter. This year I decided I don’t have to tolerate that.
And so here is this blog post about my relationship with my father. A man who wasn’t perfect, but one I still love.
My dad was raised by an abusive man himself, knowing that has made forgiving him even a basic possibility. He didn’t choose to break the chain of abuse, because he had no idea how to even begin. He literally drank himself to death. He bore so much pain for the entirety of his 47 years, that he was a hellish person to be around. And he passed that hell onto his own children and spouse. After he died, I was ashamed that my response to his death was a sigh of relief. It was over. I could live a real life. That was my thinking at the time, coming out of a nightmare.
“I can be free.”
“Maybe there is a real possibility for happiness now.”
That being said, his passing was also incredibly sad for me. I am told by my mother, that I cried more than any of his children did. Not that that means much in the face of the reality that we all grieve differently. I also think maybe I just had more to cry about? It was a mess of a time for us all, as we lost our home soon after. And my mom remarried within the year.
Since my uncles’ passing there has once again been more glorifying of my dad. I think it made us all miss him a little again. 18 years has nearly slipped by, but in some ways it’ll never really fade the scars left by childhood bereavement. I lost my daddy. I lost the only father I will ever have. I lost any hope of having a relationship with him. That is a real loss, felt nearly every day. And yet I still can’t stomach turning this man into an Angel worthy of our undying worship. And it hurts to feel that that need for some, might come before anyone’s anger or sorrow for what I have been through. Or their compassion.
See how complicated relationships can be?
Even as I sit writing this I wonder who would be mad if they read this? Would they tell me this is wrong? That I’m a bad person for choosing public writing to alleviate some of my suffering? And who might even call me a liar?
After everything I have been through am I not entitled to my true feelings about this man? Am I the bad person for having a complicated relationship with a dead man? I have equally complicated ones with live people, if that eases their suffering about my affairs.
Jennifer Love Hewitt has spoken a lot about her pain over her relationship with her own absentee father, and she gave me personal relief from the guilt complex by saying something along the lines of how difficult it is for her to maintain friendships with women who had loving father/daughter bonds. I can relate. I find that my closest friends are usually at any given time, lost daughter’s. Little girls who never felt embraced by their own flesh and blood.
These women struggle to have healthy self esteem, self worth, and you guessed it, relationships with men. They struggle in many ways that they are not allowed to talk openly about because it would mean they are bad, and negative, and wrong for allowing suffering to take place.
I personally can’t see myself with a man who has a daughter. I used to think that I wanted a daughter myself, but am currently relieved I am a mother of boys. I can’t even imagine being faced with that loving bond being “rubbed in my face” every day of my life. I am still sore, this is true, despite my best efforts to live in forgiveness. Each new day is in fact, a new chance to be emboldened by my beliefs or to allow myself to be torn back down. I used to fall apart a lot easier, and a lot more frequently over this issue.
I have come a long way.
In an effort to heal, today of all days, I have to ask myself not to dwell on what I didn’t have with my father, but to find that match in other relationships. If I still can’t see the silver lining, than stop comparing my life to others and telling myself that experience was in any way, shape, or form, wrong. I came to paint and create art, and I do that shit better than anyone I know!
We only think we are suffering because suffering has been demonized. If we were to pluck that card right out of the deck, what would be left?
Just life, man.
Beautiful fucked up life.
Namaste’ And happy whatever day you want to celebrate today, Day. Happy, the day I forgave my life for not being perfect day is my choice.
And myself too.