my dad called on wednesday
i missed it
i texted him, saying i’d call him after work
i did not
i texted saying i’ll call him the next day
i did not
i thought to put it in my calendar
i did not
i called today evening
he answered after a couple rings
my greeting: sorry
i could feel a slight anxiety creeping in
quietly, familiarly, gently
he said what he called me for was ‘over’
i asked him what it was
he said, it’s over, no need to know now
we hung up shortly
i felt the sadness,
the silent defeat,
the worry worrying away.
i thought to myself, damn i fucked up
if my heart had eyebrows, they would have been furrowed up to mt everest
if my heart had shoulders, they’d have been hunched up in protection mode
if my heart had a throat, it’d have been tight, clogged with fear
i started going into my reasoning, that this was why i didn’t want to be close to him,
because he wants and expects me to be available for whatever and i don’t want that kind of responsibility.
i could feel my justifications for why i didn’t follow up sooner,
that it was because i felt anxious around my dad — not always, but definitely when he called out of the blue.
i could feel the back-and-forth starting,
the hamster wheel beginning to creak, get ready for a run to nowhere.
just hold on a damn minute.
something wasn’t making sense.
and for the first time, i stepped back from the worrying, the frustration, the stuckness
and i thought to myself — why the f am i defending myself?
i could see myself — this little girl, laden with concern, with fear of being and doing wrong,
of not being accepted
of not being loved
and here she was, trying to explain her actions that were born out of fear.
just listening to her trying to explain herself felt so sad.
and i felt such a disdain for my dad.
i thought — what a piece of shit.
making me, his daughter feel this way.
raising me to be afraid of so much,
to shrink from being seen,
to being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
how could a father want to make his daughter feel bad?
feel so bad that she crucifies herself first, before ever considering that his shit is not just her lesson and projection, but truly just that — shit.
that his anger and disapproval is not just his pain and turmoil, but not appropriate to be distributed to anyone, especially his child.
for the first time ever, i stood up for myself with myself.
it didn’t matter to me that he was fighting his own battle and probably losing
it didn’t matter to me that he was probably hurt that his daughter couldn’t even return a phone call, that she was not available to him when he needed her, that he gave her everything and she returned nothing
it didn’t matter to me that he needs grace, compassion, kindness
because all this while, i had been witholding just that from her, from me.
it made me actually quite angry, to think that i had forsaken myself, bought into the misbelief that i was anything other than All That I Am and All That Is
or rather, that he let me believe that
and then i realized, that’s not his responsibility
and today is the first day i chose to exercise it
i realized, his shit is his shit
and what i feel is what i feel
and that is okay.
he never did anything wrong
neither did i
we’re just walking our paths,
learning our lessons,
and being for each other exactly what we promised we’d be for each other.
my lesson is to remember who i am and to live accordingly
it’s to lean into compassion, sweetness, gentleness with myself
it’s to trust that i am cared for, in ways only i know within
it’s to expand into all of me, breathing deeply into and out of my core
it’s to be me, as i am, for always.
and his lesson?
he has the same capacity that i have to awaken to his responsibility to himself.
will he ever?
my responsibility is to love myself so deeply, so truly, so fully that i can see him for who and what he really is,
having released the ideas of need and want and expectation and fear…
they would be distant memories, dissolving into the nothingness from which they came,
moment by moment that i choose to remember Truth.
in this moment, i’m not quite there yet.
i’m still basking in a quiet triumph of being willing and wanting to separate the dynamic between my father and me,
and place all my attention and intention on the little girl,
holding her tenderly, presenced to her beautiful heart and distorted vision of herself,
trusting that my father is taken care of, by the same love that carries me.
for now, i will say he’s a piece of shit.
even though i know, he’s not.
because it speaks to the girl who bought into the deception
and it feels nice to finally not be the piece of shit herself.
whatever my dad called me for, i trust it was resolved easily, completely, fully,
for the highest good of all concerned.
and that includes me.