My Father, The Boogeyman
I follow this one excellent YouTube channel about parenthood called HelMother. The creator, Helen Ramos, is a feminist solo mom who talks about child rearing in a lighthearted tone but still one that prods a finger on society’s face. I take that her public is mostly women dwelling on the journey of already being a mother or deciding if that’s a path they will choose for themselves. Yes, despite what you’ve heard, motherhood is a choice.
However, what attracts me as a viewer is not just the potentiality of one day being a mother. No, I also watch these videos with the heart of a daughter.
June first she posted a video talking to a published dad called Marcos Piangers. They talked about fathers who were present in their child’s life, through the bad and good moments, sharing the load with their partners equally and not just financially. Piangers even mentions this tale of a buff dad he met once who taught his daughter about masturbation when she hit her teen years and got a boyfriend. No wonder HelMother calls these dads ‘unicorns’. To me, these people were a mere myth.
My father wasn’t textbook absent. He never got up to buy a cigarette and never came back, no way. He lived in the same house as I did. His screams did too. Also his threats of beating the shit out of my sister and me.
Yes, he never laid a finger on me, but he did chase me through the house with his booming yells and almost two-meter height.
I don’t have any scars, but I do have the title of ‘slut’ given to me when I accidentally slammed the car door.
I am reaching 23 years old and just now I realize the abuse I went through. My mom swears to her god that he is a good man and a good father, but I’m not the one she’s trying to convince. What I am finally convinced is that this was in no way my mother’s fault. After all, she is a victim in her own way.
I wish I could warn future parents about the consequences of their choices. Mistreating your children during their infancy and regretting afterward may not grant you a pardon. Not that this matters to many abusers anyhow. In the long run, I used to live like a caged animal who would freeze by sensing his presence, and most definitely won’t come wagging my tail when called.
The silver lining is that times are a changing. Household dynamics are becoming more and more equal. Raising a child through fear and pain is being frowned upon. There are no words to describe how elated I feel knowing some fathers are breaking free from this systemical behaviour. Just imagining a whole new generation of kids who won’t go through this hell makes me want to tear up. It’s up to me to decide if I’ll be a part of that in the years to come or just a happy spectator.