Last night at dinner with my parents and gramma, I mentioned my gramma was cute, or gwee-yuh-wuh in Korean. I forgot what she had done or said but it made me laugh.
My dad immediately said, while looking at me disapprovingly, Who calls their gramma cute? That’s inappropriate.
For some reason, this moment stuck with me. Not in a bothering, niggling, angering way. But it made me realize how little my dad knows me. And perhaps how little I know my dad.
His first reaction is to think my intentions were demeaning and derogatory. I thought he would understand what I meant, or knew that my intentions were playful and appreciative.
It blows my mind that my dad’s mind goes immediately to the negative side of me.
And I realize that it has nothing to do with me. The perception of me exists in a compartment of his mind, in a place I have no control over.
What a sad and empty life that is. No wonder I feel misunderstood, no wonder I don’t want to talk with him, spend more time with him. Every moment is an opportunity to be taken the wrong way, in a lesser way.
But it does get easier. Because I know that’s his choice. And in the end, I owe him no explanation or appeasement, unless it comes from compassion and love.
He does him. I do me.
I’m not misunderstood. I’m me. I know me. I know my intentions. Therefore, I know I’m not intentionally insulting my gramma.
If my dad wants to think whatever he wants of me, that’s in his world, in his right. And that’s not wrong. Just causes unhappiness and chasm. And that’s okay.
It’s taken so long to get to this point.
So many days and years of feeling uncomfortable, unhappy, unjustified.
So many moments of squirming under his gaze, his scrutiny, yearning to remove myself from his presence.
So much healing and understanding to finally let go of my need for his approval, his OK, his agreement with me and how I live my life.
He owes me nothing. I owe him nothing, except gratitude for the life he’s given, the blood that flows in my veins.
And that, I’ve come to find, is perfection. To be able to know gratitude where once there was vengeance, friction, and need for vindication.
It’s cool, Dad. You’re alright.