Friday, June 28, 2013
Just got off the phone with my dad and my insides hurt. It is more than my heart. My stomach is unsettled. My chest is heavy and everything surrounding it feels hollow. I had to work my part-time job on Father's Day. I wait tables. I typically don't wish my dad a Happy Father's Day. I save that sentiment for my mom or brother. This year I felt compelled. These are the exact words from my text:
"Hey dad. I am at work all day so I can't call but I wanted you to know that I love you! Thank you for being there for me when things were really hard. I couldn't have gotten through losing Alicia without you."
That was at 1:47 CST on Jun 16th. As of today, 12 days later, I had not gotten a response. My little brother is only 17 and still lives at home. He is an usher in my wedding and I was needing his new cell number so the two of us could go shopping for his wedding shoes. I called my dad.
You know that tone in a person's voice when they answer the phone and realize that the person who is calling is a bill collector? That is the same tone my dad took when I told him it was me. Immediately my heart shrivelled. I made the call quick, asked for my brother's number. Then I asked if he had received my text. He said, "Yeah but I was on the road to Okoboji." This is his annual fishing trip that he takes with his guy friends. To save him some face and keep me from acknowledging the hurt that he has caused me since birth, I just deflected. Said, "Oh yeah, I forgot it was that time of the year. Will Marquis be home or does he have to work?" He told me what time to call my brother and we hung up.
My dad has never laid a hand on me. There was no crazy abuse, molestation, insults or yelling. The abuse that I felt came in the form of emotional absenteeism, disregard, inaction, and his keen way of showing that I was different from my other brother and sisters.
I was my dad's lie come to life. He and my mother had dated since high school. At a young age they had my older brother. They were so happy. My mom has duffel bags full of pictures of my brother. There are some with my dad looking joyous as he plays with my brother. There are even pictures of my brother and my dad's mom. Everything was grand. Fast forward a few years and my parent's relationship is falling apart. My paternal grandma and mother don't get along. She hooks my dad up with a young lady from her bowling league. My dad goes back and forth between the woman who would become my step-mom and my mom. Ultimately, he moves out and begins living with the other woman. "Supposedly" he and my mom are over. Then she becomes pregnant. A year AFTER he moves in with the other woman. My mom was hoping the pregnancy would bring him back for good, especially since he never REALLY left. My dad was hoping the pregnancy didn't pan out because that would prove to my future mother-in-law that he was, in fact, unfaithful. Well my mother had me, my dad stayed with the other woman, and there begins my life of being the "unwanted."
I tend towards dramatics in most aspects of life. My feeling of being unwanted was more than a feeling. I have been told that. I could go on and on, but I won't. But I have spent my whole life trying to prove to both my parents that I was a good mistake. I tired to be the cutest, most darling, smartest, bestest that I could be, even at a very young age. No acknowledgement. I found myself sneaking food very young, eating and reading my books in my bedroom to feel better. My mom would yell at me for gaining weight, my dad would just avoid eye contact. Or pick up my brother and leave me with my mom. Or take my brothers and sisters shopping without me. We did have scheduled visits. The only thing that made those the tiniest bit enjoyable was my step-mom, the other woman. She never ever treated me like anything other than her child. She knew I was a creative spirit so we would have Craft Nights. She taught me to crochet, to knit (neither of which I can remember now). She would encourage my dad to interact with me. This Mother's Day I cried on the phone with her as I told her how much I appreciated her loving me even after my dad and I divorced when I was in college.
Every therapist I have ever talked to has encouraged me to talk to both my mom and my dad. I avoid it because just as I was reminded with this phone call this morning, it will fall on deaf ears.