As I look at my dad, I tell him that I want both him and my mom to walk me down the aisle. He gets tense and tells me he doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
“I don’t know if you know this, but I really don’t want to share that moment with your mom. She doesn’t deserve to walk you down the aisle with me. This is my moment and I’ve been waiting for it for 30 years and I don’t want to share it. Honestly, this upsets me so much that I don’t want to do anything for your wedding. Honestly I want to show up and do nothing. I know this is your wedding, and I don’t want to seem selfish, but I don’t get to do a lot of things for you and this is something I have waited for for 30 years.”
Okay then. I told him I was sorry because I honestly didn’t feel like it was going to hurt him this much. Okay, I assumed that he would be fine.
“If you had asked me, ‘Well, I was thinking about having mom walk down with us, what do you think?’ I would have been more open to the idea. But honestly, fuck it! You do whatever you want! You’re forcing me to say things that I don’t want to say.”
“Okay,” I said, “Thank you for sharing these thoughts with me, it’s important to know. I’m sorry that I assumed you would be fine with it. Let me think about this. Did you want to do a speech?”
“I was going to do a speech whether you wanted me to or not. That wasn’t an option for you.”
So my fiance chimed in, “So Jen assumed that you would be okay with the both of you walking down the aisle, and now you’re assuming that you would do a speech no matter what?”
“You dragged me into this and. And. I want to go out for a smoke, what you said has nothing to do with how I feel.” My dad went outside and my fiance followed him. Which might have been a mistake.
So anyways, my dad went on to tell us how my brother is stupid for not following the rules while growing up and how my dad took out his frustrations out on him. How my brother moving out and how me and my mom helped him move out was unforgivable. He started talking about how he needs to be the “bad guy” and how it’s necessary to make your kids do well in life and if they don’t do well that they are just stupid. He told us that you can’t tell your family that their actions hurt. That you should be able to tell a stranger that what they did hurt you but you can’t tell your family that because they aren’t dumb.
This is what I used to live with. This is what bubbles up every now and again about the choices I make in my life. My dad (and my mom does this too) insists that it’s my life but they also insist that I do things the way they want it.
I don’t hate my dad. I just resent him. He had the fucking balls to tell me that he always talked to me first before hitting me or before verbally telling me that I was an idiot or fat or that I would never amount to anything in my life. That’s not the truth. He tells me that he can’t trust anyone in the family because we all lie. He is the biggest liar I know and he always tries to make himself look good.
I mean, I understand he’s done things for me. But I do recognize that I’m not a fan of his. I’ve been telling him for years that he needs to get a physical and stop smoking and get blood work done. But he’s always said that, “Skinny people don’t get sick. It’s only fat people that have problems.” He’s been telling me that for the past 20 years. So when he does get sick I doubt I’d be in tears about it because he never thought to take care of himself to begin with!
If reincarnation is real, I hope I don’t have him as my dad or my mom. I hope he’s just like an aunt or an uncle or a dog that throws tantrums. He makes life so much harder than it is. Especially if you don’t agree with him.
Circling back to the “I’ll never forgive” part. Well, there’s something that I haven’t quite forgiven him with. At my very first swim meet I asked my parents if they wanted to attend. I was nervous and excited because I’d never done this before!
After my meet was over, and I lost all my heats, my dad told me that I should have done this, I should have done that, I needed to look at how the other swimmers were swimming and see what they were doing to go faster, turn faster. I didn’t do a good job at all. Then, after his lecture he said, “But good job.” And I remember sitting there, clear as day, thinking, ‘This was my first time doing this. I had so much fun. I love doing this sport. Why can’t my dad recognize how much fun I had?’
See, when I needed my dad to be a dad, he never showed up. When I needed encouragement, he never showed up. When I needed a push he thought degrading us was the push we needed to go higher. I remember in 8th grade I got all “C’s” on my report card and he told me I was dumbest person on Earth. He told me that I couldn’t get all “A’s” by the end of the year and that I was stupid. Plus I was fat and out of shape. By the end of the year I got all “A’s” and all he said was, “I knew you could do it all along.”
After that I stopped caring about what he thought because he was playing mind games with me even when I was in 8th grade!
I may love my dad, but I don’t respect him. I don’t respect his thoughts or his methods or how he treats the rest of the family. I still try though. When I try to tell him a story he still interrupts me and talks about something completely different from what I’m talking about. When I do finish the story he gets confused because he wasn’t paying attention so I have to repeat things and explain things twice, three times.
My dad needs help, he needs to see a specialist. But he says that we are the ones who need to see a psychiatrist because there’s something wrong with us.
I honestly can’t wait until this wedding is over.
Sorry, this is more like a rant than anything else. But it needed to come out.