Monday, June 20, 2011

Filling in the blanks of life

When writing the story of your life, or even trying to put pieces of it together for your own sanity, being able to get the information that is missing is important. What do you do when those people aren't around and nobody else knows the answers?

I do not have a relationship with my father. This is something I chose a few years ago. For the first seven years of my life, he was an abusive drunk. I spent the next eleven years being afraid of him. I would force my sister to ask him things because if he was going to get angry, I didn't want it to be at me. To say that I was deathly afraid of him would be an understatement. I knew first hand what he was capable of doing, and I didn't want to be on the receiving end of it.

I don't know for certain that our dad liked one of us better than the other, but he definitely treated us different. I was the older one, and the one he was certain was going to be a boy. I don't know if the disappointment was what fueled his anger toward me or not, but it was obvious to everyone. He did nothing to hide it. Neither of us were favored over the other, just treated differently. Very differently.

I got married and had a baby in the same year. Dad was only able to make one trip out to Texas that year, so he asked me which one I'd prefer him to attend. After a few sleepless nights of worrying about his reaction to either decision, I told him to come when the baby was born. I had some other selfish reasons for that decision, but it was mostly because I didn't want him at my wedding. The marriage didn't last anyway, so no harm done.

The only communication I have with family members from my childhood is my mom and her side of the family. There are so many questions I have about myself as a child that I need to know in order to better understand who I am today, but when I only get 1/2 the story, filling in the important blanks can be difficult and frustrating.

If only I could sit down with myself at the age of 3 and have a chat over a bowl of strawberries. Or even the age of 5. Or 7 when my parents divorced. Or maybe 13 when I started high school.

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