Nov. 3: If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?
This one might go along with Day 2’s prompt about bravery a little bit, though the surgery still wins out in the end.
My father was an alcoholic. Not just any type of alcoholic though; he was a mean drunk. I recall one time when I was 7, he got drunk and lectured me for 4 hours about how my life was going nowhere and I was my mother’s daughter, etc. Who says shit like that to a 7 year old? Other times he would swear up and down to anybody who would listen (including me, a captive audience) that I wasn’t his real daughter. My mother had “tricked him and the state” or some such b.s. This is so you have a frame of reference for my blog on today’s prompt.
If I could, I would tell him face to face exactly how I feel about how he treated me and my mom when I was growing up. I have tried to tell him in the past, but he likes to pull this “Life isn’t a Leave it to Beaver episode where everything is wrapped up all nice and neat in 23 minutes plus commercials.”
Well, for starters, I never said it was. All I wanted was for him to accept some of the responsibility for his own actions and how they affected me. Another favorite thing of his to say was that what happened between him and my mom had nothing to do with me. Maybe not, but I still had to witness it, didn’t I?
If I could be completely honest in a safe environment where I was allowed to speak my piece without him interrupting and deflecting, I would tell him that I understand that he and mom weren’t ready for a baby when they had me. They didn’t even get a long, so they probably shouldn’t have had me in the first place. I understand they did the best they knew how with the very limited knowledge and support network that they had. My mother grew up in a very strict Witness family and my father was subjected to all sorts of abuse growing up from both of his parents.
“My memory is better than you think. I remember things you don’t even realize I saw. I remember when you threw the knife at mom while she was holding me. I remember the hospital visit that was the result of that.
I remember the fighting, the hitting, the screaming and yelling. Standing on the sidewalk with mom, waiting for someone to pick us up because you had kicked us out again.
“My memory is vast, and whether I want to remember or not, I remember when I wet my pants at age 4 and you made me sleep at the foot of the basement steps. I remember you sitting there, beer in hand, telling me what a slut my mother was, apropos of nothing.
“I remember standing in the yard as punishment, though I don’t recall my crime.
“Whether you knew better or not at the time, these things still affected me, and contributed to the person I am today.
“You wonder why I am not friendlier. Why I never take your advice, even when I know it to be right. Why I haven’t seen you as an authority figure since I was 15…
“Even if you don’t apologize (you never did anyway, why start now?), even if you never verbally acknowledge me aloud, accept that your actions had an effect on me for better or for worse.”
“I may not like you, but I’ll always love you,” he was fond of saying from time to time.