I don't remember ever loving my father. They told me I used to love him when I was a little baby, but I don't remember ever having positive emotions about him. I remember hating him, wishing he would go away, wishing he were gone. I fucking hate Father's Day. I fucking hate Father's day because I have a father who did whatever he could to crush my self esteem and punish me for things I didn't do and brutalize me for the things I did do. I didn't believe any kind word he ever said to me. He has never seen fit to apologize to me about one single beating, about any time he bashed my head into the wall, about any of the times he threw me down the stairs, pulled my hair, slapped my face, shook me repeatedly, bruised my body, blackened my skin with his anger and hatred and misery.
He used to take us down to Baskin Robbins when I was little. It was walking distance from our house. One time, when I was about five, I let him get far ahead of me and I crushed his head between my fingers. When he would go on business trips, I prayed he would just not come home.
I can't help but wonder these things. If he hadn't been there, would I have this much fight in me? Because he was not going to defeat me. He could beat me black and blue, he was never, ever allowed to own me, to have my spirit, to defeat my goodness and to take away my light.
I just wanted him away from me.
The only way I can deal with him for any length of time is to be away from him most of the time.
I will never love him, I have come to terms with that a long time ago. It is not necessary to love your father in order live a happy and healthy life and be spiritually healthy. I did however realize I was a walking wounded girl, so I did seek therapy. I went to see several therapists to work through this issues. In the first session, I would say "I hate my father."
The therapist would say some platitude like "No, you don't. You have abandonment issues. You'll see that you love him, really."
I walked out the door. Choosing a therapist is a very serious commitment, I tried on a few to see who I liked. I thought I would need a woman. I was wrong. I chose a man.
When a therapist finally said "That's okay. At least you're honest. Do you want to love him?"
"No. I want to get over what he did to me and choose better men in my life."
And that is what we did.
My therapist said "If you met him on the street, would you be expected to like him? Would you think less of yourself if you didn't? Sometimes we don't like our parents, and the pressure to love someone who you just don't is a source of guilt we just don't need."
I have given up the dream that the past can be any different than it is. And I don't like my father. I can see that he is an intelligent man, I can agree with him on many issues, political and social and I can see that other people love him. I can see that he has great good in him. He has done great good in this world, and in an odd way, I am proud of that. I am proud of his accomplishments and his drive, ambition and good work ethic. But he gave all the good away at his job and brought none of it home to me. I can even be proud of his accomplishments and happy for him when good things happen to him. But I just don't love him. I can muster some feelings, but they will never be love. Most of the time, these days, because I don't live with him, I can downgrade it from hate to apathy. But he is not the only reason I hate father's day.
I fucking hate father's day because my first three kids got even worse dads than I had. I was not done punishing myself with men, apparently. But I refused to let my kids grow up with that cruelty. I left when my mother would not. I hate father's day because it makes me sad that Cory, Cassie and Derek didn't get the father they deserved, that father's day is an empty ache for them- a place that was never filled, and that it's mostly my fault.
They did, eventually, get the world's most amazing stepfather.
I'm jealous of Marissa and Isabella sometimes. Their father is amazing, and exceptional. Loving and accessible. I keep my hatred of father's day locked down deep so they can enjoy it, because there is more goodness and kindness in that man that I could ever express in words. I force myself to go shopping with them every year to pick out something wonderful for the best dad in the world- but somewhere in me my heart breaks again and again. It breaks for the little girl that never bought a father's day gift for someone she loved. I have never and will never get a father's day card or gift for my own dad. There were a few men, my best friend's father, in particular, who had a lot of patience and love for me when I was a kid- who told me when I was out of line in a way that let me know I had disappointed him and when I felt the shame of that- he knew that was enough. And I used to feel very safe in his house.
I don't know if I will ever get over my hatred of this day, my hatred of the event. I choke it all back but I hate every last bit of it. I'm happy for all of you that had wonderful dads. I really am. The world needs more of them.
About five years ago, I came home one day and saw Marissa and her dad in the dining room. When I went to see what they were doing, my heart just swelled. He was making paper dolls with her. They were drawing them, cutting them out and coloring them. He had made the backgrounds for them, too. I want very much to have that in my heart on father's day. But I got a long way to go. And if I never get there- I can forgive myself that.
So for today, I will allow myself to hate father's day, cause that is honestly the way I feel. It is what it is. I am happy for my husband and for my daughters- but for all of you out there that got a raw deal- go ahead and hate for a while, I got your back, girl.