A Daughter’s Lament
In an effort to be more open and honest with my father during his second chance, I informed him as to why our communication was not the best. “You’re kind of stiff and stuffy! I feel so formal and like I’m in a job interview. I can’t relax.” Reasonably, he was surprised by my blunt observation, but he vowed to make an effort to seem not so stuffy.
Actions speak louder than words. I made an effort to be more myself and open so he could get to know me. I didn’t feel the effort was there on his part. At times, I would feel chastised for my choices, big and small. I was once made to feel that because I am a photographer and choose to pursue a more artistic career, I am less motivated than my older brother. I sobbed all the way home after that one. To be made to feel so small by someone who claimed to want to forge a relationship after years of no contact was such a punch in the gut, slap in the face, insert heart wrenching cliche here. And then, I got angry.
Who was he to judge me? I am a woman who has achieved a lot with my ma always by my side. I fuck up, I bounce back — ma has always been there! I decided that to allow him to dip into my life when it was convenient for him was a huge disrespect to my ma, of all she has done and continues to do for me. I am who I am thanks to her. It doesn’t do me any good to stay in contact with someone who can barely accept a fraction of me.
His attempt to become un-stuffy lasted only one lunch. After that was the nightmare brunch. So that’s how I associate stuffy — to the complicated history of my father, or lack there of, in my life.