My dad left before I was old enough to develop enduring memories of a time when he was regularly present. There was no grand exit, no cutting of cords, only the pronounced absence of any fastening in the first place—like being born into an antigravity simulation. When a parent abandons you, when you are left behind, you are unbound by nature’s necessary tethers. Impossibilities crack open, codes break, traditions collapse. It is an undermining of everything that everything else stands on.
What does a child do in the absence of any ordinary framework? What happens to a child when interpersonal systems dissipate before ever being internalized? From the moment my feet first flailed for a foundation that wasn’t fixed, I was acutely aware of my position as an unanchored being. Held to no one by any cord that could not be clipped.
I learned to question everything, to question the unquestionable. I began my interrogations at paternal love and proceeded to all manners of love and relationship — friendly, familial, romantic, godly. I put no faith in any authority and grew skeptical of all forms of order. I doubted everything I was told and everything I told others in false confidence. Doubt became my friend, insecurity my closest companion. Certainty seemed less safe than the unknown.