Not surprisingly, Father’s Day is not my favorite of the Hallmark holidays. I have never had a problem with Valentine’s Day, because being single is my choice. I have never had a problem with Mother’s Day, because I am a mother. I have always been able to make that day a celebration of me. And well, who doesn’t like that? I suppose that Father’s Day would be easier for me if the twins’ father was still alive, but I am not sure about that.
Of course, there is my obvious difficulty with Father’s Day. I had a horrible father. He was physically, sexually and emotionally abusive, and he sold me to others for sex as a child. That is awful. I will not celebrate him. This day also represents the three-year anniversary of confronting my family about the abuse, not because I am vindictive, but because the circumstances demanded it. Obviously, it did not go well. There was defensiveness. And I was immediately ostracized (as I expected).
Most might think that I have a general dislike for all men. Some women who are sexually abused by their fathers choose to blame the entire male population, and I don’t judge them for that. I am not one of those women. I have not had a successful intimate relationship at this point in my life, but I do have male friends, and they are pretty nice guys. I see them as fathers, and they are doing a great job. However, my ability to view men as good people comes from another relationship. I have a son.
I can say without a doubt that men are not inherently evil because I know my son. I see all men differently, because I can see him.
I see him struggle to express his fear about finding his place in this scary world. I see him trying to work it all out in his head. I see him trying to control something –anything – because it makes him feel safe … not because of some kind of power he wants to have. Someday, someone is going to tell him that having power will make everything better, but it won’t be me.
I see him struggle with society’s norms. He is not allowed to like pink or purple because he is a boy. He is not allowed to cry because he is a boy. He is not allowed to have his feelings hurt by his friends because he is a boy. Right now, he still cries. Someday, someone is going to tell him not to cry because he is a boy, but it won’t be me.
I see him give love so unconditionally that it scares me. He has never met a stranger. He gives me hugs and tells me he loves me all day long. He loves connecting with other people on a deep level. He wants to be loved, and he wants to love. Someday, someone will tell him that boys don’t show love so openly, but it won’t be me.
I can only imagine the difficulty that men have trying to conform to society’s expectations when it goes against their human nature. I see my son trying to reconcile it and it is almost tragic. I guess that some men are not able to conform to the external demands and stay healthy on the inside. I am not making excuses for men who choose to victimize others, but I am saying that I see how some could have veered off track.
I don’t know where my recovery journey will take me. Even though it is something I want, I don’t know if I will be able to trust enough to have a healthy intimate relationship. However, the relationship with my son has taught me that there is innocence in men. I know it because I see it.