“He thought he was just having a fun, relaxing conversation with his long lost daughter. I didn’t speak up in the moment and I let my emotions fester. In order to move forward I was going to have to knuckle down and let this go. So, that’s what I tried to do. I assured him that I was fine and wanted to move forward with a relationship with him. I told him that, but God, I didn’t mean it. I was just putting on my game face for the sake of someone else’s comfort. I was still pushing my very valid and loud feelings aside for the explicit purpose of making someone else feel better.”
So. The above paragraph is from my journal-like-stream-of-consciousness memoir outlining a tiny bit of my interaction with my birth father. This happened about a month after I made contact with him, but before I met him in person. What I tried to let go was him making ugly, sexist comments about ‘fat chicks’ before he knew that I am in fact, a fat chick. Unfortunately, that shit runs deep for me, so my ability to let go when it comes to things of that nature isn’t strong and it ended up being part of the reason he and I have not spoken in almost 2 years. I’m still working towards opening up more about all that stuff here. Today is not that day.
The reason I wanted to reflect on this is because of the last 2 sentences. I used to do this kind of thing constantly. I would placate. I would please. I would submit. I would reject my reactions as ‘over the top’ or ‘irrational’ all because I didn’t want to upset someone male.
Thinking back on how I used to behave with the men in my life deeply unsettles me now. For years, I quite literally didn’t have a voice in my relationships. I was never heard, never actually acknowledged or recognized. It just didn’t happen. It became my normal course of action to behave exactly as I did with my birth father. I felt triggered and fearful but didn’t speak up because I didn’t want him to ‘react’. I didn’t want to upset the apple cart because of my huge emotions.
Well, I don’t think I’m going to do that shit anymore. Sure, my emotions are loud, they’re consuming, they’re fickle. But you know what? They’re also mine. They’re also valid. They also have worth. It’s taken me a long time to figure out how very ok it is for me to feel the way I feel. It’s taken me even longer to stop (well, to try to stop) feeling guilt for how I feel. I taught myself to reevaluate constantly so that I could please or take care of others. Well, I don’t think I’m going to do that shit anymore either.
I’m feeling a large sense of coming home lately. A sense of gratitude and a sense of actually feeling whole. The broken parts are still wounded, but they are healing. God, they are reknitting themselves in ways I didn’t think would ever happen. It’s fantastically beautiful.
I used to feel terrified when I would feel similar shifts in the past. I didn’t think I deserved to be healed, so I would run from the light because the dark was safe. Familiar. Comfortable. I also didn’t think I was worthy for the deeply good, healthy and fulfilling relationships that I see a lot of my friends invest in. I just….didn’t think it was possible for me.
I was wrong.
It’s very possible for me.
I have someone new in my life. Right now.
I was talking to my mom the other day about him and she asked, ‘He’s kind to you, isn’t he?’
Immediately, with warmth spreading through me I said, ‘Yes, mom. He is very kind to me.’ Later that day, I was struck – deeply struck with how foreign that sentiment actually is to me. The last man who was truly kind to me was my father and he’s been gone for 5 years now.
I’m so fucking blessed to see my worth now. I hope very much that other women are waking up to their worth too. We are so incredibly powerful, ladies. Own that shit.