My father hates me…

jen_norton_797_FathersDayIn my dream, my mother slaps me.

My father hates me.

I feel his volatility bubbling under the surface, ready to explode,
joining the mythology of the ages–Fathers taking the lives of children;
Sons killing mothers.

I must write to my father so that he understands.
How he has misunderstood his mother.

How she failed to differentiate her role from her love…

A mother doesn’t kick a child out, she puts the necessary wind beneath his wings.

She fought with him, cursed him, demeaned him; because she could not face the excruciating loss of him.

No doubt the anger she felt toward her own husband (in the absence of fidelity)
and toward her own father (in the absence of affection)
were played out with her first born–
the one whose love was most pure and absolute, but never meant to last,
in form.

My father hates me.

Every look of kindness from a stranger or friend melts my anguish, threatening a flood of tears.

My father hates me.

When I warn my teenager not to put product in his hair and then try to floss, like I did, with slippery hands,
He says, “You’re adorable.”

and with that simple douse of filial affection,
I am healed.

My father hates me.

All my life I’ve worked to maintain his attention…
Beauty. Thin-ness. Intelligence. Performance. Success.
Illness. Urgency. Neediness. Audacity. Disinterest.
Nothing. Works.

My father hates me.

He has never been a mother, never known what it is to love self so deeply for the life you are carrying.
Never known what it is to love self so deeply for the life you are birthing.
Never known what it is to love self so deeply for the life you are nurturing,
through your own body,
in unity,
with the One.

Never allowed himself to feel the tearing dissolution of that Union.

Because I have,
felt it all,
it is unfathomable to me
that he feel anything but

but devotion.

but protection
and provision
and pain
for the life he brought into this world.

My father hates me.

My life has been blessed by men.
Loved by them. Adored. Sought after.
Appreciated. Looked toward.

They in turn have abused me, mocked me,
objectified me, dismissed me, coddled me,
patronized me, sexualized me, abandoned me,
denied me.

The absence of my father’s love has kept me tender.

Tenderness is how I stay alive.

Tenderness is how I love

and Tenderness
is why
I write.