I’m estranged from my father. We haven’t spoken in over 6 years. It seems like a no-brainer decision now, but I didn’t always feel that way. Years leading up to that, I had boyfriends, therapists, even scientologist acting teachers tell me I should cut him off. But that terrified me. I can’t! How can I??? He’s my dad!
Even though I was paying off a $7,000 student loan that my dad took out in my name. He would have pocketed more, but it was all he could score pretending to be me. My dad swindled close to $100,000 in student loans in my brother’s name since he was able to impersonate him. There was no need for any student loans, by the way. My aunt and uncle paid for my brother and I’s full college tuition. Yep. Full. They didn’t want us to have any debt. But I guess, my dad didn’t care about that.
Every time I came into money, I would hand it over to my dad because that’s what you do, right? My father would threaten me and tell me he was going to be homeless. He needed something for this or something for that. He asked me to lie to women he was dating so he could be with other women and con them too. It was exhausting, but I did it. I was a good daughter.
I then turned 30, and the clock started to tick. I had parental eyes for the very first time and realized the horror and trauma that occurred in my childhood. There was a lot of sexual abuse and even more neglect. Why was I giving money to this man? Yes, he’s my dad, but so what? Why wasn’t he looking out for me? Isn’t that how it’s suppose to go? I needed to be my own adult. I had bills to pay and money to save and a life of my own to live.
My dad wasn’t 100% bad. He was goofy and funny. He took me to plays and musicals at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans. He’d see whatever movie I wanted to see and sometimes watched Dawson’s Creek with me in my bedroom. He always carried my heavy book bag and opened up the car door for me. He sang songs and told hacky jokes. He answered the home phone saying “Is this someone with good news or money?” or “Dixie’s house of Oooh la la.” My friends liked him. Everyone liked him. Hell, even I liked him.
Right now, I want to forgive my dad. I really do. He’s my only parent, and he’s getting older. But it’s hard to forgive someone when they haven’t apologized or admitted the things that they have done. I guess I could forget the past. But who am I kidding? I can’t genuinely do that. No one can.
When you’re estranged from your parent (s), life seems out of whack. It feels wrong, yet profoundly right at the same time. Life and time do not appear linear. Sometimes you have to go back in time and work out an issue (s) in your childhood and then continue to do the next current step for your life like picking up dry cleaning or paying a bill. Existing becomes heavy and muddled, but in actuality, you’re just sitting in traffic on your way to an audition in Santa Monica. But…MOOOOOOVVVVE, Motherfucker! You’re driving too slow! Fuck you! You fucking, fuck!
This father’s day, I’ve accepted that life and time are not linear and neither is my relationship with my dad. I can feel more than one emotion at any give time. I can have conflicting opinions too. I can love my dad and hate him all in one breath. That’s fine. It’s not easy, but it’s fine.
And until then, I’m waiting for an admission from him. An apology. A father’s love.