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May. 27th, 2011

A few inky impressions pressed into paper and complete dissolution.

There was a time, probably fifteen years ago, when I told my mother she needed to divorce my father. At that point I still held a lot of animosity and blame toward him for everything that had been happening to my family. Leaving home and dealing with my own relationships, however...I started to understand him. I still see him as the primary responsibility-holder for many things, but I don't blame him anymore.

No one's perfect. No one should claim to be, either.

Not that anyone is.

He's made a lot of mistakes. He's taken the lower road or the worst possible path on more than a handful of occasions. If anything, he's a chronic bad decision maker in addition to an addict. But at some point I saw that his intentions were whta some might interpret as "noble", at least. But how could he keep making the same detrimental mistakes over and over, expecting different outcomes? Easily, in fact. It's the mentality of an addict: "just one more...THIS time will be different...the odds are in my favor...it'll make up for everything...we can all start over...we deserve this...we've suffered enough..."

But he never meant for any of this to happen. He always had "us" as his motivation. Cheap excuses for bad behavor? Nah...I believe it. There was no malice or disregard. Quite the opposite. He just wasn't equipped with the filters and sense most of us have. He's easily duped by grandiose dreams of an easy life...despite being one of the hardest working men I know. Labor isn't anything he's ever shied away from. He worked hard, hoping that one day he wouldn't have to any more. He's exhausted. He's searching for a way out. He's not very creative.

Somewhere in between then and now, though...I changed my mind. I understand my mother's anger. I understand her feelings of betrayal. I understand the sadness. I understand the defense mechanisms. I understand because it was familiar to be as I was entering adulthood. I tried pleading with her back then, telling her not to be fooled by the attempts he was making at doing what she wanted (going to church every week, doing minor fix-it projects around the house, etc)...but she was hopeful. I think I might have broken her heart at some point around there, trying to tell her I didn't believe him. That he was following a script. That he was playing a role.

And he was.

He's good at that. He has no idea how to do what genuinely makes him happy. He distracts himself instead. He always has. Crossword puzzles, whiskey, the casino, lottery tickets, pot, pills. All distractionary. He's not sure about himself enough to be able to formulate a life for himself. He's too busy trying to be someone people like...too busy trying to make people happy. In the background was all this stuff that was designed to give himself a mental break. Some of it was out in the open...the rest was behind closed doors, in cars or just away from home in general.

He is responsible for a lot. He's hurt us countless times. He's not perfect, by any means. But I don't believe he was ever malicious in any of it.

I love my dad. More now, probably, than ever before. I know he loves me. And he accepts me (which was difficult for him).

I know what to expect from him. I know what to trust him with. I also know what not to expect and what not to trust. I know him better than he knows himself becuase I have no needs from him. He was never able to fulfill the role I had as a child and his reaction to me coming out destroyed my need for that particular archetype. I stopped being disappointed. I stopped being scared. I stopped being unfulfilled.

When she asked what I thought she should do, I couldn't tell her. I had already rescinded my pleas for her to leave. I had come full circle and realized that as long as she could stop having those expectations as well, and instead trust him for what we DO know and understand...that they could do this. And that they probably needed to. But it's not my relationship anymore. It's between them. It's for them to learn from and grow from. I can only observer. As I try not to do when friends break up...I won't pick sides or say who's right or what should happen. I'm just here if they need me.

But at what point do I get to be part of a broken home...just to get it out of my system?

The fact that the papers had been officially drawn up hurt me deeply, despite not being a family unit for quite some time. The discovery that the papers had been signed hurt even deeper because now something is different in the eyes of the child I truly am inside.

Even if in name only, the family I had was something that was holding us together. My brother stayed in Toledo when we left...that stretched the family in one direction. His family went into two different directions, which stretched it even further. My sister left home...that's another. I left...and then moved clear across the country a few years later...that pulled those bonds even thinner. And now this. It was hard enough, but understandable, with the two of them in different houses (only a few miles apart and still intertwined).

But that ink on that paper...I feel like the rubber bands have snapped. I'm braced for the sting of recoil as those bands make their way across Arizona and the Mojave.

At 33 years old, I feel a sudden need for my family, but there's nothing I can do about it. I fear for all the relationships I have and fight the desire to hide from them all.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
sandor_baci
May. 28th, 2011 05:49 am (UTC)
Learning to live alone
What could be better preparation for dying alone?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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