A Post For My Father

A few nights ago, I wondered what it would feel like to cut off my ears.

I remember thinking something similar when I was thirteen or fourteen. I was in the car with my mom, sitting in the passenger seat as she screamed at me. This I was used to – what scared me was how she had formed her hands into fists and was punching the leather of her seat as well as the surface of the dashboard. While I cannot claim to remember exactly what had caused her anger, I do recall that it was something insignificant. Perhaps I had closed the car door a little too loudly. Maybe I looked at another boy who walked by for a little too long.

But, as she spewed poison and purged her anger, I thought to myself: I wonder what would happen if we got into a car accident right now. I wonder how much of myself I would be willing to give away for her to disappear. I proceeded to bargain mentally – would losing an arm be worth not having to put up with the abuse anymore? How about an arm and a leg? All of me?

Looking back, I realize how melodramatic and shallow those thoughts were. However, just a few nights ago (I think it was Wednesday) the thought of eliminating my ears crossed my mind. To sum up the scenario, my mom’s new job has been stressful, so she took it out on me that night. I had to stay up until 1:30 AM to get an assignment done, and at one point I was working on assignment while crying – unfortunately, my tears soaked the sheets of paper so badly that I had to start over.

The next day, my mother picked me up from school and told me that she had talked to my father. She called me a liar and an unappreciative brat, but she also told me that my dad told her to leave me alone. She told me that he said this: I’ll work two jobs, I’ll work as many jobs as I need to… just leave him alone.

I can’t properly express how much those words meant to me. To stand up to my mom is to fight a manipulative snake with the strength of a bull – almost impossible without some serious injury. I don’t know anyone who’s combated her without being severely burned.

All my life, my mom has dealt physical and emotional blows to me, my brother, and my father. Believe it or not, females can also harm their families, not just males. My father, a quiet, intellectual man, has always stood as my pillar of support. Similar to my grandparents, he listens to me on the weekends when I talk about school and society and politics. I don’t see him on the weekdays, ever, because he’s always working to provide for my family financially. He’s been described as a genius by his coworkers, and had to overcome salient struggle to make it where he is today.

While I can't say the same for my mom, I am definitely coming out to my father one day... perhaps this would be the best way.

While I can’t say the same for my mom, I am definitely coming out to my father one day… perhaps this would be the best way.

I can’t even come close to fully describing how much I owe my father. Unlike my mother, he’s never yelled at me or hit me without reason. Unlike my mother, he listens to me and loves me unconditionally. He’s a little awkward, yes, but I love awkwardness – he’s where I get any of the brains that I have as well.

I’m not one to work for other people. I don’t try to fulfill the expectations placed upon me by my mother, or by society. I study and work hard because it’s my choice – because I know what I need to do to accomplish my goals, and to make a difference.

But if there’s one person who I will actively attempt to make proud, it’s my father. He’s made me realize how lucky I am – and he’s the one who made me believe that I have the power to make it better for those who aren’t as fortunate.

Doesn't my new bookshelf look splendid? I also love him because he buys me books. Just kidding. Except not really.

Doesn’t my new bookshelf look splendid? I also love him because he buys me books. Just kidding. Except not really.



Filed under Personal

15 responses to “A Post For My Father

  1. That’s wonderful to hear, and I’m glad you have someone in your life to brighten it up. I can’t say I have the same kind of relationship with my father. My father was, and still is to a degree, lazy and a slacker. Most of my life he was unemployed. He sort of hoards animals, and the cost of their upkeep meant he couldn’t pay my child support, even though it was possibly the LOWEST rate in this state. Course, as a kid, this bothered my mom more than me. But at some point I took it to mean that his animals, and his games, were more important to him than taking care of me, and I didn’t want to believe it so I just kind of pushed it to the back of my mind and tried to enjoy the fishing and the trips and the camping.

    But when I was a teenager, I went to this anime convention with his wife and my stepsisters. At some point I ran into an older friend of mine, who happened to be a boy, who was trying to get us to go to a part of the hotel I wasn’t so sure about. I refused and my stepsister and I went back. Apparently, someone told my stepmother that I was going to a boy’s hotel room, she called my dad, and my dad believed her, even though my mom knew I would never do something like that. At that point I realized “I’m 14 and my dad doesn’t have a clue who I am” and became so enraged that I didn’t speak to him for 4 or 5 years. I didn’t want anything to do with him, or his wife. It hadn’t been the first time she had suggested that I was a lewd sexual deviant, she’d even joked about my having crabs when I was like 8 or 10. My mom didn’t like her, and her comments effected me for the rest of my life. I became really anti-touchy, didn’t like hugging most of my friends, didn’t like to joke about my friends sex lives, and when my bf and I first got together I was uncomfortable kissing in public because I didn’t want people to think I was a slut. The first year of our relationship I was constantly worried about that, and only recently I’ve let my college friends hug me. But I digress.

    I do remember a time my dad stood up for me. I was a kid, loving a little too roughly on a kitty, and all of a sudden someone grabs my arms really roughly and turns me over. The ceiling light was behind their head and for a moment I thought it was my stepsister. Because of this, I knew that she didn’t have a right to grab me like that, as it was really starting to hurt, so I swung at her face. Turns out, it was my stepmother. My stepmother had recently had jaw surgery and I popped her stitches. She wanted to come after me, but my dad wouldn’t let her. He stood between her and me until she calmed down. I remember it as if it were yesterday because it was one fo the moments that I really loved my dad.

    My dad and I have a much better relationship now. The government went after him for back child support, and essentially my mom and I get his tax returns until he dies because he owes something like… 40k or more in back child support and fees. Even so, he got a job, and is keeping that job, for the first time since I was maybe 6. He and I started talking when we met at a mutual friend’s funeral and just seeing him there after 6 years, thinking that at any moment I could lose him too, made it very emotional, and we’ve been working to fix that relationship. I’ve even come to accept my stepmother, because she’s changed a lot in the past 5 years, and she’s wanted to fix things too. I don’t really talk to her as much, because there are somethings I’m just not ready to forgive, but I try to talk to my dad every once in a while. We follow each other on FB so I see all his funny political stuff and he sees mine. When I called him for his birthday last month, he told me how proud he was of me, not just because of my GPA and my school and how well I’m doing, but also because of my beliefs. See, he was noticing all of the same-sex marriage stuff I was posting, and how much I supported it, and he knew that I was supporting it not because it effected me but because it was the right thing to do. He said I had the right reasons, and a good head on my shoulders… and in a way he sounded almost a little sad because he probably knew that it wasn’t entirely due to him that it was there, that my mom did a good job on her own. But even though we didn’t talk for about 1/4 of my life so far, and even though he was sort of a slacker dad, it meant the world to me to know my Father was proud of me for something.

    So yeah, I guess I kinda-sorta-know-that-feel-bro.

    Also, not to be a killjoy, but cutting off your ears probably wouldn’t stop you from hearing; busting your eardrums would, I think. But I dunno, I was terrible in Biology. XD

    • First off – I have the hug issue too! I used to be really anti-hug because of how I hated physical contact thanks to my mom (I still hesitate and tense up, but it’s getting better.) So you’re not alone or weird or freaky because of that.

      It sucks how your dad influenced your perception of yourself when you were younger – I can’t explain or attempt to justify his behavior because I don’t know him well enough, but how he failed to take proper care of you was not okay. It’s nice that he stood up for you that one time and showed that he possessed some level of fatherly instinct, but he could’ve done much more, as from what I’ve read he seemed capable of doing so.

      Random note, kudos to you for not going to that part of the hotel with that boy. Just proves that you were born with street smarts, even if your father failed to see it.

      But, on the bright side, I love how your relationship with him is progressing positively after distance and time apart. Maybe that’s a little-known benefit of Facebook – you can keep up with estranged family members without having to interact with them. It’s great that because of that funeral you realized how much he meant to you (or how sad it would be if you lost him, I suppose) and how he’s recognizing you for the stellar person that you are. And that your once-evil stepmother is getting better. It’s like a movie, minus the unrealistically attractive actors and poorly developed side plot-lines (not saying that you aren’t attractive, because I don’t really know how you look like… yeah, bad analogy).

      Anyway, all jokes aside, what inspired me the most about your comment was how you stuck it through with your dad. You allowed the distance to occur, and you let him back in. Even though you guys aren’t best buddies from what I’ve read, it looks like you’re heading in the right direction. Maybe, maybe, maybe I’ll end up that way with my mom. Maybe.

      • I had the same thought, that you and your mother might be able to reconcile in the future and have a better relationship. It may not be perfect, but it could improve a lot from where it is. But, at the same time, I don’t think you HAVE to be willing to forgive her, or listen to her, because hey, it’s your life and your choice. Given what you’ve been through, any decision you make for yourself is acceptable. I just knew that my father wasn’t necessarily a bad guy, he never was, he was just a little lazy and careless. He’s never said a cross word to me in my life, and to be clear he didn’t influence my perception, his wife did. He was a very nice man, just not a very dedicated dad. He’s been improving, and now that the government has called in his debt to me he’s been holding a steady job, so my mom and I are quite proud of him. In fact, as a child my mom didn’t like my dad much, and didn’t talk to him. It was tough, but lately she’s been talking to him, and my grandma, and they’ve actually sorta become friends again. If there’s hope for them, I think there’s hope for you and your mom too.

        • Ah, it does sound like a happy ending – not a perfect one, but a generally positive one. From what you’ve written it does take effort on both sides though. Your father had to buckle down and get more serious while I’m assuming your mother had to swallow her distaste of him and make an effort to communicate. Hopefully my family will have that effort in the future – but you’re right in that whatever happens, happens. Just gotta get through it.

  2. So the moment I read this line “I’ll work two jobs, I’ll work as many jobs as I need to… just leave him alone”, I burst into tears. I just…thank goodness for your dad, he’s the best.

  3. After previously reading the things about your mom, I just wanted to say that I’m very happy that you have this man as your father. There is no doubt in my mind that he’s proud of you.

  4. I’m really glad you have him, he sounds like a raft in a ravine with sturdy oars.

    • Yes, he is, and fantastic simile! Also, thank you, it’s not nearly as big or as full as I would like to be – but, there’s always the future. I’m sure you will accumulate a substantial collection soon enough!

  5. P.S: Your book case is coming alone quite nicely! Though I have to say I’m a little jealous 😉

  6. Andreas

    This is a wonderful post, Thomas! I was so touched. It’s truly great that your father stood up for you. That’s what my father did too, every time my mom scolded for something. It’s like everything that you described about your father is exactly what I felt toward him.

    What I don’t like about my mom sometimes is that she reprimanded me and asked my father to do the same, albeit my father was indeed uncomfortable because he never reproved me and always let me to be independent. Lately, I knew that everything my mom did to me – scolding and everything – is for me to be a better person, but I knew about it and have always obeyed and tried to live up to her expectations, but sometimes, it’s just not that good enough. She always complained about everything and it made me feel frustrated. But, i’ve learned to accept my mother’s flaws and just go with it.

    And I truly loved this: I’ll work two jobs, I’ll work as many jobs as I need to… just leave him alone.

    Stays strong, Thomas! 🙂

    • Yes, it’s frustrating how our mothers try to force our fathers to feel the same way about us that they do, even when they don’t. I think it’s mostly true that our mothers try to scold and be harsh with us for our benefit, but sometimes (or, more than sometimes) they end up hurting us instead. If only I could properly communicate with her what she needs to do – or, if only she would listen…

      I will stay strong, thanks for reading and commenting Andreas!

  7. I told you didn’t i: For every helping of hate that assaults you,there are two helpings of love that care for you!Your Dad is amazing. And i’m sure he’s already amazingly proud of you, and in the years to come you’ll keep giving him more reasons to keep him that way.

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