“hunger hurts, but starving works when it costs too much to love.” ~ Fiona Apple
Happy birthday to me! Yesterday I turned 21, finally legal, and I spent the first weekend of the LaSherinelle October Homecoming Birthday Smash with my friends in Greensboro, for NCA&T’s homecoming festivities. This makes the third birthday that’s passed without my dad saying shit.
I suppose he’s not totally to blame, I haven’t called him since the summer before my sophomore year either, but one would think that he would be the bigger man and at least call on my birthday. Or Christmas. Or anytime. But then again, we’re talking about the same person who’s never lived more than an hour away from me, but has still never come to visit more than four times in a given year. The same person who would travel to Charlotte to shop at the mall across the street from my home without even calling or coming by. The same person who told me he wasn’t coming to my high school graduation, but still came on the low just so he could tell his people that he went. (He never intended for me to know that he was there; my mom spotted him on the way to the bathroom. He admitted it several months later.)
I finally got fed up when he promised to drive me to Raleigh for summer school, but completely stood me up so that I had to get a last minute train ticket and get my best friend to drive me there and move me in. Thanks, Erin. When you can depend on a flighty eighteen year old girl before you can depend on your own father, it might be time to let that shit go. So when he called to ask me how I was doing on my move-in day, I entertained him politely and just never called back. I think he called me once later that summer, but I wasn’t going to give him the pleasure of knowing any of my business. To this day, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know that I no longer go to State, that I’ve changed my major, that I spent the last semester at home, or anything else that’s gone on in my life in the past three years. I ran into him last summer at a funeral, but otherwise neither of us has made any effort to contact the other.
I feel bad sometimes, horribly bad, because you hate to think that someone who should care about you more than anyone else just doesn’t. That is as tough a pill to swallow at 2 as it is at 21. Long ago, I saw a program on TLC that said that men basically aren’t loving creatures, and so while mothers almost always love their babies to pieces the minute they’re born, fathers generally have to fall in love with their kids. I used to think that I had done something wrong, that I wasn’t smart or pretty or charming enough to make him fall in love with me. But a few months of therapy and a breakdown later, I realized that he’s just a shiftless bastard. My therapist once asked me what I dream about when I daydream about him, and I replied that I always imagine myself a giant and he a little ant-sized person, and I would shake him and squeeze him until he hurt as much as he hurt me. Despite our efforts to guide my fantasies in a more constructive direction, I still have those dreams. He has no excuses. It was never my responsibility to teach him how to be a good parent, no matter how much he tried to make me believe it. I don’t deserve to be treated that way by anyone, and he doesn’t deserve any kindness from me. So if I have to cut someone out to get the treatment I deserve, so be it. I’d rather be ignored than mistreated.
I should admit something: I actually wrote this post a week ago and saved it until today because I thought I’d be too angry and dissapointed to actually write this after the fact. But you know what? I didn’t even think about him calling or not calling untilI went online and saw the post stub saved under my drafts. Everyone who matters has already let me know that I matter to them, and that is truly all that matters to me.