Look, I didn't exactly grow up in the worst house around or anything. A lot of people would kill for the setup I grew up in.
But it had its moments.
And though I never took the yelling and beatings personally, it still hurt.
My dad has a ton of health issues, worked his ass off his whole life, and has basically been dying since I was a kid, not happily married. I could go on. So, like I said, I didn't take it personally.
With all that I've seen and hated, the parts I didn't want to be, whatever, I am still my father's son, and I do have tendencies of what I grew up in. But I want better, and am capable of it.
So anyways, what I'm building up to is this:
So, I went down to my parents' for Thanksgiving. I had no desire to be there, not after how perfect the last Thanksgiving was.
I turn out to be the first one that shows up. 4 1/2 hour drive and I'm still the usually the first out of the 3 of us to show up.
Eventually my dad comes down and sits on the couch. My mom puts a vegetable tray out on the table. And my dad just snaps "Are you gonna eat that or somethin'?" the excuse to snap this time was it being out in the middle of the coffee table and he was taking out his newspaper to read.
It wasn't huge. It certainly wasn't the worst. But I have had it with this crap. And I'm in the pissed off stage of things, realizing I basically just grew older in that house, wasn't raised. (Look, I know we all make choices and counseling, blah, blah, blah. So far, I bring up more insight in any of my sessions than any of the psychologists I've been to. I'll save the $200 thank you.) So I went OFF on him. I mean, I didn't let up or hold back one bit. It wasn't flying off the handle off. It was the persistence of having to say exactly what I intended to say to him in that moment and frame of mind, which mostly consisted of choice language and belittling him, all the while making my way out the door with the food I had brought and some mail that was there. Even passing by as I grabbed the mail, I took some more cutting verbal shots at him, and left.
The theme in my head was basically "Who the **** are you to treat someone this way? I'm sick and tired of it. And I'm sick and tired of being it myself."
So, eventually I come back to the house, the rest of Thanksgiving plays out. I felt extremely uncomfortable being at the house, let alone around my dad.
My family celebrates my birthday when we get together, because it's either right next to it or on the same day, depending on the year. My parents gave me an INCREDIBLE digital camera without even knowing how bad I wanted that exact camera. I mean, I wanted it BAD, the exact color (red) and everything. They also gave me a card "from the cats". The cats seem to give me a lot of cards and money. I like cats. The camera with the card, still in envelope, stayed on my coffee table until the day before leaving again for Christmas. I only touched the card then because I needed whatever money was in there to help with the tolls.
Just before Christmas, I was finally able to go out and buy the majority of the gifts for everyone. One trip was to Best Buy where I came across a movie I had forgotten about and REALLY wanted to see, Resurrecting The Champ. What an incredible movie. And what an interesting time to bump into it and actually purchase it and watch it. I had to give it to my dad.
I wanted to write my dad a letter and give it to him; makes it even crazier that I bumped into that movie when I did.
So, I wrote to him what I wanted to say, the things that my family always said with money instead of just using their voice. And I added a bit more, realized from the movie. I typed it up on the computer, and then handwrote it with pen and paper, because handwriting is more significant than typing.
I placed it in the front of the book I got him for Christmas. Just writing it and knowing that I was giving it to him made me feel a bit better.
I think one of my biggest mind-plagues is thinking that my dad will never know how much I care about him.
So, it felt good at least writing what I wrote to him.
I got a bit nervous when I handed him his Christmas present. It felt awkward. I wasn't sure if he'd see the letter right away, if he'd read it right away, how he would react to it.
So, I gave him his present and I went and sat down. Right away he saw the letter and was reading it. It even looked like he withdrew from all that was going on around him to read it, concentrating on it. I checked out his face a couple times while he was reading it. I'm glad I wrote the letter.
Of course, in family tradition, nothing more was said about it.
I didn't expect anything more to be said though. And honestly I'm quite content that it was just left at that.
Just another piece of the puzzle in trying to find some inner peace.