Talk about your father or a father figure in your life.
My father has been a frequent subject here for most of the time I have been blogging. Our relationship has never been what I wanted and needed but I do believe he does the very best he can do. I know he was under a ton of stress for most of my childhood and didn’t always have enough to give to meet my intense needs.
I was a curious child. I feel like I started asking why before I was even two years old. I needed to know how things worked and why everything was the way it was. After teaching kids all day, I’m sure that answering my barrage of questions was too much for him. I always had an earlier bedtime than most of my peers and I suspect that it had a lot to do with how much I needed from my parents. I wasn’t a bad kid, just a…busy one. I was in and out the back door, dragging the hose around the yard drenching various parts of the yard that made lots of mud, riding bikes where I wasn’t supposed to be, and throwing things on the neighbor’s garage roof.
I didn’t listen to anything they told me. I always thought I knew better, even when I was fairly young. I challenged everything they tried to enforce with me. I was well-behaved a lot of the time, but at home I was mouthy and very defiant. I didn’t pick up my room when I was told to, I complained about everything, and I was brutal to my brother.
Looking back, I can see all these moments when I was trying to relate to my father as the little boy that I was. When he and my brother wrestled, I wanted to wrestle with them but my father always pushed me away. He would say, “We don’t want you to get hurt.” But I was always tougher than my brother. I wanted to be in the middle of all that action too. I hated watching my brother interact with my parents. He was sweet with my mom and he had all of my dad’s attention and fun. All I got was ignored by my mom and told I was sour. My dad was overprotective, stuck in some world where he thought that all I needed was excessive protection. I can see now that so much resentment built up because I was treated in a way that made no sense to me. I felt so much anger and hatred for my parents even as a young child.
There were times when my parents threatened to send me to therapy for a huge range of things. If only they had sent me, maybe we could’ve figured all of this out years ago. But then again, nothing would’ve been done back then except maybe some kind of conversion therapy that may have driven me to suicide.
My dad still doesn’t know about all this. I know they knew I was gender non-conforming as a child. Sometimes it was ok with them and other times they felt like they needed to put me back in my box. I don’t think it was ever ok with the rest of my family, as they were often the ones buying me gifts that I hated because they didn’t seem to know me. But maybe it was all intentional. Maybe they felt that it was important to put me back in my box too. Although things are so much better with my father now and I feel like I am closer to him than I have ever been in my adult life, there is this wedge between us because I can’t tell him anything like this. It won’t go over well. I know this for sure. This is not an easy thing for parents to deal with and I’m not sure how well he would handle this. My mom might be fine but this is the sort of thing that wouldn’t go over well with him.