An open letter to the “father” who was anything but,
When I was young, naive, hopeful, I thought you were amazing. I knew you had flaws but I forgave you. I was your pride and joy. Your favorite. Or so I thought. But as I grew, i realized that there was something more important to you. Something that you would choose time and time again. That familiar stool. That familiar cool aluminum in your hand. Night after night you returned to the safety of that chilled glass. Night after night you pushed me further away.
I find it especially difficult to recall positive memories of my childhood, ones that aren’t shortly after followed with unimaginable pain. You were supposed to be my father. Supposed to be the man who shows me how I am supposed to be treated by men, what I should/shouldn’t allow. You did that alright. You showed me your distorted image. You showed me how much a man can hurt you. You showed me how to be cautious of handing out trust. You showed me.
You showed me how to cover the bruises. You showed me how to hurt someone over and over and pretend that nothing had changed the next day. You showed me how to lay next to somebody and know that all it takes is a few of those familiar aluminums for them to want to hurt you. You showed me that not all little girls are daddies princess. You showed me that fairy tales are bullshit and happy ever after is more of a lie then the stories I told to cover up for you. You showed me that blood means nothing in terms of “family”.
I find myself most attracted to aggression. As much as I say I can’t stand it and I hate it, it reminds me of you. You taught me to love men who don’t mind if I cry, who care even less if they are the reason behind the tears. You taught me to accept half ass apologies and open promises. You taught me that true love is an unrealistic expectation and to settle for what you can get.
I cling to the expectation that a child loving her father through everything was enough. That forgiveness would fix it. Told myself the scars would heal. The bruises will fade. I didn’t know of the emotional pain. I didn’t know that I was so torn apart deep inside that seeing a father step up would break me. I didn’t know 23 years later I would still be unable to watch fathers care for their children in movies without crying. I didn’t know that 23 years later those thoughts would still cross my mind. I didn’t know that they weren’t temporary. I didn’t know that they wouldn’t disappear with the tears that followed them. I didn’t know that even after the tears she’d down my cheeks, I would crave a real father. I didn’t know that I needed a father. But that was ridiculous, I had one, didn’t I?
I’ll never forget the night my image finally shattered of you. I’d always known what you were doing was wrong, but I never thought I could stand up, never thought that anything could change. I was right about one thing. You could never change, but me, I could. I did. And I will never return to the way things were. I’ll never let myself become a victim to your dance with the bottle.