My friends who grew up without a meaningful relationship with their fathers have become exemplary…
John A. Paz
11

No doubt, John. I appreciate it, and have been working towards healing that aspect all my life. I’ve come a long way. It’s why I’m able to speak so freely about it now in fact. It had been such a source of pain in my earlier years that I had a hard time being around other friends and their fathers. I even had an ex who tried to get me to say hello to her father over the phone on Father’s Day once, and I just couldn’t — I refused the phone. I’m not sure she totally understood why at the time. I was a bit ashamed, and subsequently angry, that I wasn’t having a conversation with my own father on Father’s Day. Of course I meant no disrespect, but now something like that wouldn’t cause me angst which is a very sure sign of some healed wounds.

I’m also mindful, and have grown more into this understanding over time, that our parents often times have issues they are working through themselves later in life. I even understand now that my father probably does desire to connect with me but maybe is too fearful at this point, and perhaps he is facing his own internal struggle that has nothing to do with me, just as I suspect my mother is facing her own, too. Our parents often are facing their own life struggles, they just do a really good job sometimes of hiding it from their children. Since you have children as well, I’m curious your perspective on that. I actually can empathize with both of my parents now much more than I could before, and not fault them as much. Although I will admit I’m not 100% healed — notice I said “as much,” and do occasionally express irrational anger over it all. But that’s also healthy to acknowledge, so long as you find a way to move past the anger eventually. It is a process; gotta exercise patience.

A piece of advice I will share that I think is also helpful is to write a letter to your parents, regardless of your relationship with them. I wrote a letter to my father expressing all the things I felt. He’s not seen it, maybe doesn’t need to. And I may never show it to anyone. It was, however, quite therapeutic.

In fact, the letter I wrote and the healing I received writing it, is why I encourage and promote journaling one’s authentic self. It’s the basis for everything I’m doing now. Of course not everyone heals in the same way, but if this technique helps someone who wasn’t exposed to it previously, mission accomplished.

I also really want us to have more dialogue that unveil more depth to these topics such as the discussion we’re having now. I think the comment section will prove much more interesting than the pieces themselves. I also feel we’re quick to make assumptions about one another based on pieces of information — which is lazy and dismissive, rather than taking time to stroll the entire gallery, appreciating all of the artists’ renderings and their interpretations. I want to speak to that.

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