"THE TRUTH IS UNLESS YOU LET GO, UNLESS YOU FORGIVE YOURSELF UNLESS YOU FORGIVE THE SITUATION UNLESS YOU REALIZE THAT THE SITUATION IS OVER, YOU CANNOT MOVE FORWARD."
Moving sucks. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Hence, for my lack of social media posts and overall online activity as of late. I just packed up all my stuff and relocated to Union Square from the East Village, and even though the geographical change ain't too shabby, the process of any move can sometimes be overwhelming, let alone stressful. It can even trigger memories you've stashed so far in the back of your mind from many, many years ago. And because you guys have been so supportive of me opening up more on the blog lately, today's post won't be on how-to-move, or explaining the move, because who cares, really? Instead, I wanted to share with you more on my relationship with my father and my first-time experience moving... across the country.
I was originally born in the Los Angeles area but my time there was brief. As mentioned in previous posts, my parents fought like it was their full-time job. What made matters worse was the way they fought over me. Where to start? It all began with my father's tan Toyota truck. It wasn't anything special. It wasn't even brand new. But he and I rode in that thing everywhere. Anywhere he'd go, I'd follow. You know the arm rests that are located in between the two seats? I would sit right on top of the one nearest to my dad, just so I could literally be as close to him as possible.
During one summer afternoon when I was around 4 or 5 years old, my parents were fighting again when my father asked if I'd like to go for a ride in the truck. Little did I know it would be the longest road trip of my life. He had tricked me into thinking it was a quick trip to the grocery store. For three days straight, he drove from California to Michigan. All I really remember was the miles upon miles of the empty desert and spilling a glass of orange juice from McDonald's on one of the seats of the truck. I remember that accident quite vividly as I had never seen him get that upset before. I believe that was the first time I really started to see his true colors. It took me until my teenage years to finally realize how abusive my father really had been.
No, I was never physically abused. I once got hit a few times with a leather belt (let's just say I REALLY screwed up) but the kind of abuse I had endured was verbal; emotionally and mentally. It has taken me all my life to recover from this. I'm still working on it. I hate him for the damage he's caused. Not just on me, but on my mother, my brother, my estranged family... I almost want to say it's irreparable, but I also want to say I'm living proof that you can get through it. It can be pretty difficult, but with time, patience and the support from good friends, all wounds eventually heal. But just like a scab, you pick at it too long, it'll never have the time to repair itself back up.
Do I have issues with men & relationships now because of my father-daughter relationship growing up? Yes. I didn't have a father who was showing me right and wrong when it came to treating women. He not only verbally abused my mother but physically as well. And we're not talking some minor altercation where he's slapped her once or twice. (Which is STILL never f&%king okay!) We're talking throwing bows, even my mother chasing after him with knives and then some. All the while both of them screaming at me to call the police. I was just a kid and the idea of snitching on either of my parents, whom I both loved very much, was something I definitely didn't want to do. It was never about protecting them, but using me against each other. And therefore bringing guilt and shame into the situation. If I didn't call the cops, my mother would tell me I was a coward for not protecting her. If I did call the cops, which I did a few times, my father would tell me I betrayed him.
I felt like a rag doll being pulled from both ends through most of my childhood. And no matter what I did, I just couldn't manage (or so it seems) to ever be completely accepted by both of my parents. They were constantly competing for my love (i.e; "Do you know what your mother did? She couldn't love you like I love you if she could just leave you like that..." - "Did you know what your father did to me? Even my very own sisters told me not to marry such a monster...") Talk about toxic! I never knew what was completely true or somewhat fabricated.
But why stay together for over 25 years if it was all bad and nothing good? Well, I wouldn't say that either. My brother and I had the best birthday's, Christmas's, and every other holiday of every month because of my mother. She organized everything while my dad was the 'breadwinner' of the family. And even though we never had much, she made the best with what she had. And I truly miss those special occasions where she'd surround us with her warm, pure heart, making everything seem like it was going to be alright. And even though my father was far from perfect, he did manage to be present in my life, unlike some other father's I know.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, despite all the pain and heartache that can go on in any kind of relationship, know that it can't be all bad, and it can't be all good. And when it's like that, it's even harder to walk away from the toxicity, no matter how much you may love that person. I didn't become estranged from my father until my late 20s when I finally said enough was enough when he began to emotionally blackmail me with suicide threats for over three weeks straight. I stood my ground and told him I wasn't going to take any more of his abuse and that if he wanted me in his life, he'd have to get his life in order and be more present in his kid's lives. Unfortunately, we never got around to that.
The irony is the day he passed away was the day he finally was getting his life back on track. He has just left a job interview where he was hired on the spot, where while on his way out of the building, walking down the hallway, he suffered a massive coronary and died immediately after. I will always long to speak to him one last time, to reunite and tell him that even though he's caused so much hurt in my life, I still to this day will and always will love him. No matter what. Because love is about forgiving others and also, forgiving yourself. I still beat myself up for estranging myself from him because I know it hurt both of us too, but I had to do what was best for me at that given time. And I think he too, knew this deep down. So, don't burn every bridge you come across (even though some are meant to be burnt) because forgiving others is almost as powerful as empowering others or yourself. Without forgiveness, there is no compassion. No love. I don't mean to preach, but I've been thinking a lot about the best way to move forward, and to me, I think it all starts with the art of forgiveness.