I thought about writing Jim instead. That is your name. It has been a while since I have thought of you as more than the person who spread his seed. That certainly doesn’t make you a father. You were never a father. Sure. You spent some of your precious money on me. You used my successes to brag. You were even a little proud when I blew up at your parents. But you were never a father. I know that now and I have stopped expecting to have a father in this lifetime. This may sadden you to know (or maybe not) that I rarely ever think about it anymore. It feels like many lifetimes ago when we shared the same space. I don’t really feel like anything is missing at this point. But that’s not true.
Something is missing. I am not concerned about the lack of positive memories as a father and daughter. I don’t really need those now. I am not concerned with the loss of your entire extended family who rejected me the minute I confronted you. I don’t miss those incredibly awkward family gatherings with a bunch of pedophiles and their victims. I am not concerned with the heritage or the name sake or other crap that society tells me I should care about. I can be Irish without your help. And I long since parted with your last name and have not considered it a loss.
But something is missing. Something is missing from my current life and it is mostly because of you. It is not that I don’t take responsibility for my healing, but you are the reason I have to heal. And on the really bad days, I hate you for it. I hate that I can’t have the life I want after living in hell with you for all those years. And while I don’t miss you one iota, I do miss what is missing. You took it from me. And while I work hard every single day to get it back, it is a slow process for which I don’t always have the patience. I want a new life and I want it now.
Don’t get me wrong, I know you weren’t trying to take them from me. You were trying to find a release for your pain at my expense. You were trying to feel okay by having power over me for a few minutes. And I understand where it came from. Your mother sexually abused you horribly. Your father disappeared. I know he was still at home, but he was gone emotionally and he was working all the time. You went through hell at the hands of that horrific woman while your father looked the other way. I get it. But you never made an effort to stop that cycle with you. You rained your pain down upon everyone else. You unleashed your hatred of your mother on to all the women in your life. And I was at the forefront.
What did you take from me?
You took love from me. I don’t mean that I loved you. I actually never really felt that for you. I know. I know. I was your daughter. I must have felt it. But you were so incredibly nasty that even my most loving inner child likened you to a dragon in my unconscious … and not the friendly kind. You were the devil to even my youngest inner parts. There was no love there. There was only fear. There was terror. But there was no love. Maybe that is why I never grieved your loss. I grieved mother (and she was no saint). I grieved others who I had to leave behind. But it has never been there for you. I mean something different when I say you took love from me. I mean you took away my ability to access my own love. I had to shut it all down. Love was too dangerous. Love wasn’t vigilant enough. Love was rest. And I could not risk that.
You took connection from me. My isolator exists because you are a human being who walks this earth (unfortunately still). I struggle to allow anyone close. I connect on some level and then my isolator starts to scream. Don’t get me wrong, this is getting better all the time. But the resistance to connecting with others is incredibly strong. And this is 100 times worse when that other is a potential intimate partner. How can I trust another man in that way? How can I see other men as reasonable after all the betrayal, the pain, the violence, the rape, the trafficking, the suffocation, the head injuries, the lies, the intimidation from the man who biologically created me? I’ll tell you what. It’s really freaking hard. I work at it. But you have made it hard.
You took away my peace. I remember that day you sat down at the restaurant table, looked me straight in the eye without one ounce of shame, and had the nerve to tell me I was too anxious. You actually told me I needed to calm down. I may have repressed all memory of our time together, but I still knew that was the most hypocritical thing you could say. I needed to calm down after years of questioning if I would survive the night. Seriously? Even now, I am not sure if you will hire someone to intimidate me like you did when I was a child … twice. Worse, I do not know if you will hire someone to kill me. Even worse, I am not sure you will stay away from my kids. But so far, you have. You have disappeared off the face of the earth because you know I speak the truth. But can I ever really know you will stay gone? No. I can’t know that. But I do check the obits every few months.
So as Father’s Day approaches, I have nothing to give you. I have no gifts, no love, no grief, no apologies, no nothing. You proved there are monsters in the world. You showed me this world was not safe. You taught me not to trust. You taught me I wasn’t worth anything to the person who was supposed to be the most important man in my childhood. And now I work hard to put those missing pieces back into my heart so I can live a real life without you. I will have the things you took. I am determined. But in the end, it will be no thanks to you.