A day for the good fathers out there…

Let me start by saying that my father is still alive. I can’t say if he is physically well because I have not seen or spoken to him in 3 years but I can definitely say that he isn’t mentally or morally well in the slightest.

It’s very hard for me to say that and to clarify, for those who will attempt to jump my train and use judgement to derail it, I do so with great pain but also with glaring honesty. If we aren’t honest with ourselves in this life then what hope do we have of being better incarnations in the next right?

From the first moment I can remember it was clear to me that my father did not like me. Again, this is just my perception but what other conclusion can one draw when in lieu of your name, “stupid” or “dummy” is used and the words “I love you” are never said until the gravity of mortality hits while sitting in front of your youngest son’s casket? And let’s not forget the hugs that were replaced with a fist to the back of the head or arm or shoulder or between the shoulder blades. That was his favorite kind of “hug.” I literally felt an all over body shock hearing those words for the first time at 23 but also suspect that they were said because of some sense of shock he felt himself and also because other people, non-family people were listening.

Did he mean it? Maybe, but even after the lightning bolt moment of having a son, someone he bullied and belittled relentlessly just like he had done to me, die such a tragic death as drowning…nothing really changed. The derogatory remarks still came even if he was getting too slow to punch and I was too old for him to intimidate anymore. The snide comments about my intelligence, my looks, my life aspirations…nothing changed at all except he had one less child to abuse. So, what would it hurt if he lost one more? After all, he didn’t seem to care and enjoyed lashing out at everyone around him.

I write this not out of anger or any sort of clumsy revenge. I write this because it is true and even though the well-meaning folks out there will say, “you only have one father and you’ll regret staying estranged from him,” I say no, I feel relieved to have had the courage to release myself from his ever negative orbit and today I honestly can thank him for bringing me into the world even though he didn’t raise me with love. I learned to love and be kind and be thoughtful in spite of him. That is a success!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/heathermorgan/2019/06/14/best-dads-raise-badass-daughters/#7f0b96505a69

I see all the posts on social media about wonderful dads, dads who contributed so much love and joy to their children’s lives and I am so happy that so many out there received what I did not. That is the truth! I am overjoyed for them because it lets me know that I am correct to have faith in this human race, to have hope that things will improve.

To all the great dads out there; we need you! I am so very thankful for you because without you I would never have had the opportunity to meet others who were raised in love and kindness who in turn could teach it to me. It’s the simple acts of kindness, the giving without only taking, the joy of being kind, being thoughtful without worrying what other men will think.

I salute you today and every day. Keep up the good work!

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Long Year of Silence: And Other Tales of Dysfunction…

February came and went. Silent to begin and silent still to end. To say that I’m entirely surprised would be a lie since I know how these family dustups go. I know that they linger like the annoying stench that clings to the bottom side of a trash can lid; hidden from sight but still funking up the air with the cloying scent of unresolved anger and delusion.

Last year, at this same time, I had a tremendous online, voicemail and text row with my younger sister over what? I’m still not sure what her intentions were when she publicly insulted me, my dear partner and my even dearer daughter online. “They aren’t welcome in our home,” became the flash point proclamation over a post about the senseless loss of children due to gun violence which she assumed was AIMED at her and her husband. It was not yet, here we are.

If you can’t find the energy to defend your actions then don’t expect to make it to the winner’s circle anytime soon…

Ah, assumption, the ultimate guess that certainly makes one look like an ass when one is incorrect. And incorrect they were but, the damage is done and a half-hearted apology will not cover this wound. I am still angry about the words my sister, brother-in-law and other unknowing siblings chose to assign to me, my daughter and my partner. Snowflake! College Educated Liberal! They Think They’re Better Than Us! I have a sinking suspicion that these words had been on their minds for a long time. Words that they didn’t and still don’t have the guts to say to our faces. Was it worth it?

The Psychology Behind Sibling Estrangement

The more I think about it now the more I see just how one-sided our relationship was to begin with. For years I tried to re-engage with both my sister and her family by visiting, emailing, sending cards or texting as much as possible. I sat and listened to her complain about our parents, our other sister, nieces, nephews and so on. In looking back I have no doubt that this scenario played out similarly on the flip side and I was the one that was being complained about but, that’s okay.

We were raised with an “every man for himself” attitude and the MAN that always bested us was our father. Or, rather, he contributed to our emotional destruction and continued destruction of one another. Why be loving and kind when you could be sneaky and manipulative? Did you hear what SHE did? No! Did you know that HE did/said this or that? It’s amazing that we were able to hold it together as long as we did given the monumental amount of shit we talked about one another.

How I would love to tell each party the things that were said about them while absent but, I won’t. What’s the point anyway? I most likely will never see them again so it would be a hollow victory and I don’t need that bile in my life anymore. Tired of the drama, tired of the hatred and tired of feeling guilty for wanting and finally achieving a happy life when so much wrong has gone on in their lives over the many years.

And, despite this, I still jumped in to defend those who were being abused by our parents still as adults only to be lumped in with the very people who created the damaged familial menagerie to begin with. Thank you but, no thanks! I jumped too far for too long and now I’m done. I have to be. What other choice do I have?

But, what will you do when your parents die or if something happens to the other family members you aren’t speaking to????????

What would YOU do? Would be bristle at being asked such a guilt laden question by someone who did not walk in your shoes like, EVER? Would you pretend to feel sorrow for the loss of those who literally wished out loud that you were never born? Would you mourn the loss of someone who punched you with full force between the shoulder blades on more than one occasion? The one who used a handful of your hair to pull you across the room to view a “mess” you didn’t make but were still being accused of? The one who used the bible to justify this physical abuse along with molestation?

No love lost. No sorrow to feel on the parental front for many other reasons but, I do feel sorrow now about the loss of contact with my younger sister, her family and my oldest niece. That loss was sudden and without warning so I am still experiencing the grief process over losing those relationships.

I was angry. I’m still angry and I WILL write about it despite how much this pisses off those who created the rift. Actions have consequences and all, you know? And so, I keep moving into this new year of continued silence. Will anything change? Not unless I make the move to do so because that’s how it’s “always been.” Courage is in short supply in this family while false bravado doth runneth over!

So, now do I continue moving forward in peace without them or take two steps back into a landmine? Sometimes choosing peace is the smartest move and hopefully that move will trigger growth, self-reflection and forgiveness on the other side. I hope…and that’s all I can do.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.