I have my mother's spirit, but still to this day I conclude that I am not built to sit still.
Which might've been what lead me to write this post.
I remember the day I stopped talking to my father, stopped interacting with him as I had when I was a child. It was November 11, 2002--just over 12 years ago. I was sick with the chickenpox, stuck at home to do all my 4th grader homework. It was allergy season, of course, and my parents are notorious for suffering through the winter months as they sniffle and cough.
I've always had an aversion to sounds--especially ones that come in repeated, continual waves like tapping, coughing, sniffling, or another pattern that I can begin to predict and expect. And I've always had an aversion to math--which my father spent most of that week I was sick working with me on. It was then, upon having to listen to the sniffling, that I really began to pick up on other attributes about my father that I just...had never realized I didn't like before.
His stubbornness, his condescending attitude whenever anyone challenges his beliefs or actions. His insistence to be right--all the damn time. The way he talks to my mother, which I promptly realized I had also picked up (something I've been running from and fighting against ever since). He is wise, patient, intelligent, and a God-fearing man--I can't deny he has his good qualities, and likely would've ended up being nowhere near the type of man if my mother hadn't introduced him to Christianity.
Nonetheless, I slowly started involving him less and less, speaking to him less and less. As time passed, we rarely got along anyway--every time I try to have some sort of conversation with him, he either leaves me infuriated or frustrated. We don't talk--we argue and struggle for our stubborn dominance.
It was years until the real problems started; my grandfather (my father's father) has lived with my family since my grandmother (ever sweet, loving, generous, and patient) passed away several years ago. My grandfather is the complete opposite of my grandmother; he is selfish, he is self-centered, crass, rude, stubborn, narrow-minded, and careless to anything that doesn't revolve directly around him or his wishes. My father is nothing like my grandfather, somehow having escaped the "seed falling far from the tree" concept of children becoming their parents.
My grandfather doesn't know my mother's name (after my parents have been married for almost 40 years), he doesn't know the birthday of anyone in the family, doesn't know my niece's name, and doesn't offer to help out or support himself as he mooches off of, complains about, smothers, and ruins the already-fragile structure of my family.
And my father has flat out told me that I remind him of my grandfather. And the first time that it came dripping, hot and bloody, of my father's tongue, was the first time I truly felt cut to the very core. The man I used to play outside with (something my mother and older sisters would never do with me), the person I laughed with and looked up to had hit me in the emotional gut with an insult far worse than the cruelest insult anyone else could possibly ever come up with.
It was a sign of distrust, a statement of shame and declaration of dishonor. A comment of proof that I have no real value or purpose, and would thus be better to disappear entirely. Which is interesting, because since then I've had an inexplicable, sometimes overpowering drive to starve myself into nothingness, a fine powder that can just as easily blow away into the wind without leaving a trace of my toxicity behind.
We were okay until my grandfather came into the picture--and sometimes, I find it tempting to blame him for my estranged relationship with my own father.
Sometimes I question with whom the problem truly lies:
My grandfather and his self-absorbed parasitism
My father and his unrecognized, product-of-love verbal abuse
Or myself, a weak, naive, reckless kid who's just as stubborn and passionate about things she
doesn't know how to handle yet.