I don’t talk to my dad, at all. We’ve been officially estranged for over 4 years now.
It wasn’t always like this. Granted, my dad and I never had an easy, comforting or reassuring relationship, but there was a time when I thought the world of him. He’s my dad after all.
Perhaps every little girl has those moments of seeing the whole world in their daddy’s eyes – at least, I have the memory of wanting too. I wanted the relationship he and my “naturally slender” sister had; to sit on his lap, cuddle up and eat treats at night with him… but, I was one of the chubby daughters which meant no food after dinner for me, and subsequently no bonding on the couch either.
Dad worked all the time as an entrepreneur, and that meant high stress, which he in turn took out on us at home. Of course, no parent is perfect, and even despite his anger issues and overinflated ego, I maintained a relationship with him well into my adult life.
The Point of No Return
I actually credit my ex husband with helping to first start distancing me from my father’s suffocating dogma and attempts to control. Still, it wasn’t until one of my sisters came forward with sexual abuse allegations that I started to see my difficulties with my father in totally different light.
Maybe this is why every therapist I’ve ever seen has wanted me to undergo memory regression therapy, telling me I have an abnormally high amount of my childhood “blocked out.” Maybe this is why I trained myself to wake up at the sound of my father’s footsteps even when I could otherwise sleep through a foghorn. Maybe this is why my guts tie themselves in knots at the mere mention if my father’s name and my skin feels like it’s trying to shrink back into my body at the thought of him being near me…
Did I want to believe it? Hell no. No one wants to think about their parent as that kind of monster.
At first, I simply stuck by my truth. I didn’t remember anything.
But of course, it’s not that simple… Here’s an excerpt from peice of writing about the night my sister confronted me about not fully believing her, 5-6 years ago:
The last time I went out with — she cussed me out for not protecting her from dad when we were little.
I would have stopped my heartbeat if I thought it would’ve helped me remember –
She asked me how I didn’t hear it – that I was in the room –
A month later and I still don’t know what to tell her.
The pain has become an illusion; emotion cooked from raw to rubber?
After that point, it didn’t matter anymore what I did or didn’t remember. I was too young and naive to protect her when we were kids, but as a grown woman I couldn’t just turn blindly from her pain… So I began to advocate for her.
This ultimately climaxed in a heated conversation with my father just over 4 years ago. On that fated day, I would tell him that a relationship with me is a privilege and not his right, and that if he wanted to be a part of my life he needed to prove to me that his children’s wellbeing is more important to him than his pride.
My sister had asked him to get a polygraph so I simply backed her request, posting our relationship as collateral. I haven’t had a conversation with my father since.
Only the Beginning of the End
I had hopes, at first. In denial that my father would actually sacrifice me for the sake of his self-image. Then I got angry. Really fucking angry. Finally, extremely sad.
I recall sobbing to close friends during the saddest, most frustrating periods: “I wish I could hate him! This would be so much easier if I hated him… But he’s my dad and I love him – that’s what hurts most.”
Still, it’s not only the emotional turmoil that amps up in a situation like this. There’s the family drama, people taking sides or something even worse: people not taking sides.
It’s enough to make you crazy: being accosted by a respectful member of my small hometown community and innocently asked, “how’s your dad?” I’m not a liar anymore, even for discretion or convenience, so I tell them I don’t speak to him – which they’re always surprised by.
My dad has a public persona, only people close enough to be family were ever unfortunate enough to see his private side. Still, I’m not going to air my sister’s business to the whole neighborhood either. So, I just end up looking like the rebellious and wayward daughter he paints me as, every time. He’s a Christian after all, and in his circles, that alone counts for everything.
Then there’s the inter-familial dynamics. My mom still talks to my dad, and so does my sister who shared the nightly cuddle ritual with him. The family not only feels divided, it is.
We all play it cool, but I for one can always feel the underlying tension. Trying to imagine my poor sister’s position is excruciating: “either they believe me to be such a self-deprecating and attention-seeking liar that I would fraudulently claim to experience such horrible atrocities, or they’re simply willing to have relationships with my abuser…” Who could stand to think such things about their family? Yet, this is the strangeness we are living through.
Wading Through the Muck of It
One amazing thing has come from all of this though, I’ve become somewhat of a lie-detector myself.
My dad started gaslighting me as a child, telling me that some of my memories weren’t real. He was also accused of infidelity and asked to take a polygraph by my grandparents when I was in middle school. Essentially, the “truth” surrounding him was always somehow in question.
I didn’t realise how this had effected me until I was an adult though, and only after seeing some of the unfortunate patterns it had created in my behavior. As a young adult, I actually sought out liars to be friends with. I was comfortable with my ex husband’s con-man delusions and an ex girlfriend’s self-confessed pathological lying because I was used to being fucked with.
Things not making sense was what made sense to me. Because of my father’s self-constructed truths, I was completely comfortable with others who would try to bend and shape reality with their wills as well.
It wasn’t until I noticed this pattern in my relationships that I started to understand the gravity of my grooming. I made it my mission to detect truth from the lies.
Developing a Truth-Line
It all started with observations, and this was the biggest take away: when people lie, they often get dramatic and seem desperate. They will very often use their emotions, voice and body language to try and convince you of their lie. In fact, this is the most important determinant: lies require belief in order to exist.
The truth is the truth, is the truth. It cannot, by virtue of being the truth, be anything else. In this way, it is self-assured, self-justifiable and rightfully, can remain peacefully at ease – even when under attack.
You can research, read, ask, study, scour, hunt, discover and pry all you want and you will only ever uncover more truth. Truth is an advocate for curiosity because it has nothing to hide. Lies however, will always ask for your trust because it’s essential that you take them on faith – they will crumble beneath an investigation.
Liesonly exist in our consciousness. Without a mind to think them to be true, and with no basis in reality to actually back them up, lies simply cease to be. In this way, they must be spread in order to ensure they survive.
This is where the drama and desperation come in. Liars often make theirs an emotional plea because they really, truly, need you to believe them. Without your belief, their reality starts to crumble.
Now, having done this work of developing a compass for detecting truth, I actually find myself laughing at my father’s feeble attempts at manipulation. He’ll spend weeks, probably even months at a time, tirelessly writing letters to family members about how true his truth is – as if somehow that makes it more true…
Meanwhile, I’m still taking ever further steps away from his delirium.
“Your Aunt asked if you’re pregnant,” my grandma says, cheerfully.
Now, no woman wants to hear this, even when they are pregnant, let alone when they emphatically are not pregnant. It’s basically a roundabout way of saying she looks heavy.
Furthermore, I am definitely in the latter category. Emphatically so because I am barren. That’s right, 100% infertile. I have no eggs because I don’t even have any ovaries to house them in. No babies in this belly, at all.
“What’d you tell her?” I ask after the initial sting wares a bit.
“Oh, that you’re not, of course.” She says quickly. Still not looking up from the game on her iPad.
“Why would she think that?” I asked, “doesn’t she know I can’t have kids?”
“Yea, she knows… but she’s heard of women before…” My grandma starts.
“Well it’s impossible, it doesn’t matter what she’s heard about other women.” I snap, feeling stung again for completely different reasons now.
It’s hard to have autonomy as a barren woman.
It’s hard to have autonomy as a barren woman. My own mother just weeks ago told me she “refuses to believe” that I can never have my own child. This was not the first time I’ve had to explain my condition to her, and she was there when I was a guinea pig for the Drs as they tried to figure it all out. She just refuses to accept who I am, at least this part.
Now, I don’t think that my mother is malevolent in her hopes of my future motherhood. I don’t even think my busy-body aunt was trying to hurt me with her gossip. I honestly believe these women, my grandmother, and the countless other people who tell me they are “sorry” for me are genuinely trying to wish me well – they just can’t see that they’re wishing me their version of well.
Breaking things Down
Let’s take a look at the expectations my family has in just this area of my life:
That whether I look a certain way or not implies their right to make comments about my appearance, even if they might be ignorant and hurtful
That I would desire to be “better,” e.i. get pregnant and have a child
That I want to live a life similar to the ones they have chosen for themselves
There are also possibilities of alternative goals in my aunt’s case:
That hurtful comments will cause me to feel as insecure about my body as perhaps she does about hers
That hurtful comments will radically influence my behavior and I will act more appropriately, e.i. stop seeing my lover
The reality is, in any case, I can’t really know their intentions. However, this does point out that none of the possible motivations are actually my problem. It’s all about their expectations and all completely out of my control.
Certainly, I can make their opinions my problems. I can be dissuaded and manipulated through subtle insecurities and programming – but in reality, I don’t have to believe a thing they say.
It is not my responsibility to make my grandma more comfortable, especially if that means lying about my sexuality. I don’t have to disassociate from my physical truth in order to believe what my mother believes. I won’t change my behavior or wish things were different because of my aunt’s immaturity.
My responsibility is to be authentic, and in this manifestation, that includes being barren.
My responsibility is to be authentic, and in this manifestation, that includes being barren. In fact, it even includes the disproportionate body shape my aunt finds so noteworthy. My condition has caused hormone imbalances from the time my body tried to go into puberty and shifted gear into menopause instead. The first time some nosey person asked if I was pregnant, I was only 13 – I wouldn’t even know the cause of all of my physical abnormalities for 4 more years at that time.
Who knows what that elderly man at church was trying to imply or what his expectations were, but at that time, I didn’t know how to think it through like this. Consequently, his comments became a weapon I used against myself for years.
Shedding the Unnecessary
I am trying and have been trying to improve my physical condition for over a dozen years now. I’ve successfully reversed osteoporosis, built healthy relationships with my body, nutrition and exercise, and am feeling sexier with each passing year as I learn to care for myself more and more. I am not perfect, I’m more than perfect – I am aware of my own self-worth, self-responsibility and my immense personal power.
I am happy to be barren. I harbor no resentments against myself or the infinite for my condition and I have no desire to become “better.”
I am happy to be barren. I harbor no resentments against myself or the infinite for my condition and I have no desire to become “better.” I don’t want children and feel no loss. I channel my creative energy and I have plans for a grand legacy, feeling only expansiveness within my being regardless.
I am confident in my sexual autonomy. I have boundaries for my encounters and practice mutual respect with my lover. I am worthy of pleasure and I feel no shame for being a fully sensual being and expressing myself in those ways.
And so, I let the rest go. What isn’t fuel for my passions or encouraging my development must go. I will not stagnate my progress for the sake of other’s ignorance, regardless of their perhaps well-intended expectations.
At this time in my life, I am astonishingly aware of how blessed I am. Much of this sense comes from my connectedness to valuable and supportive communities. However, this hasn’t always been the case.
A Scared Little Girl
When I was young, I not only felt isolated, I intentionally isolated myself. I remember lying to my friends over the phone when they asked me to come over to play, “I’m grounded, sorry…” I often preferred the comfortable container of my bedroom and a book to the rambunctious laughter other children.
Even in reading though, I would shy away from fiction stories and narratives, feeling much more comfortable with the facts I could find in encyclopedias and other study materials. People confused and scared me. I felt awkward and unable to relate to the dialogues and interactions that seemed to come so naturally to everyone else.
I could argue that it was because of my limited exposure to society via my homeschool education and rural upbringing, but even among my siblings I was notably reserved. I had very little interest in doing things with my brother and sisters, often even setting out on my own if we were all forced to go play outside together. I never felt like I knew how to “people” right.
When I did try to communicate it was dry and stale. I would ramble off facts and logic akin to the types of books I read. There was no real substance, no vulnerability, no personal truth.
Growing Up Impressionable
Over the years my shyness and inhibitions morphed and changed, a tribute to the fact that I somehow always managed to befriend outgoing extroverts who couldn’t be more different from myself. I marveled at their ease of communication, their confidence and humor, and I became content to find myself in their shadows. My uncomfortability with attention peaked at my birthdays and I would often try to avoid having a party all together, having emotional breakdowns if I had somehow allowed myself to attempt participating in these social celebrations of myself.
I wanted to be invisible, unseen and forgotten. At least that’s how I thought I felt at the time. Attention was the enemy of my comfort, because I thought so very little of myself.
I would be an adult already by the time I learned how to assert my presence socially. It wouldn’t be at the internship after high school, or my first attempt at college classes, or even in the variety of odd jobs I took. Though I did become more comfortable expressing myself to smaller groups of my friends and family during these times, it was in simple and shallow ways. Finally finding my voice would first take completely losing control.
The Masks of My Delusions
I met my exhusband at one of the most vulnerable times in my life. As a young adult it was expected of me to have goals for myself, but I was completely uninspired and lost. I had come to doubt the beliefs I had been raised with and subsequently lost sight of all personal direction – I felt that nothing mattered anymore, and that absolutely terrified me.
I had decided that my lack of purpose and fulfillment must actually be a result of my lack of a romantic relationship, despite my having zero interest in pursuing a significant other at all up until that point. Sure, I had little crushes since I was in middle school, but was always outspoken about my belief that “love doesn’t exist, it’s merely lust, infatuation and obsession.” Interestingly, that’s exactly what I manifested in my marriage.
Sure, I loved him, but it was a love tainted by insecurities. I was caught up in the lust, infatuation and obsession that I had so diligently saught to avoid my entire young life.
Having come from my hyper-conservative background, I had swung to the other extreme, choosing the baddest bad boy I had ever met or could have possibly conceived. I was so naive to his world and his ways, I simply let him take the lead – and he lead me down a dark path. I became someone I didn’t even know I had the potential of being. I was his ride-or-die bitch and played the part well.
That relationship, in all its volatility, helped me to once and for all shed the constraints of my father’s oppressive and controlling influence, but only in the sense that I had shackled myself instead to my ex’s delusions. I had gotten good at pretending. I had become an expert at being who I thought others wanted me to be, blending more and more easily into social situations or different kinds – but, I still had no real autonomy or self respect.
As horrible and demoralizing as things got, my ex was still the one who had to end things between us. I didn’t have the strength to stand up for myself. I didn’t have the nerve to try and be myself in the world apart from the labels and expectations of others.
I continued to mold myself according to what I was exposed to, turning to an extremely unhealthy friendship to create my identity as a divorcee. We dabbled in financial domination and played parts as sugar babies to manipulate men. Eventually our involvement turned into an even more unhealthy polyamorous relationship, but because of my lack of personal awareness, I was blind to the disparity of it all.
Reaching Rock Bottom
It wasn’t until that relationship ended and I finally saw my patterns of codependence, that I made a personal commitment to authenticity and began my journey back to myself. It hurt. I had to face the truth of all of my lies and manipulations, all the ways I had allowed myself to become a part of things that inherently diminished my spirit and tarnished my soul. It hurt, so deeply, and yet healed me completely.
That decision was made just 3 years ago. There I crumbled, with none of my delusions and distractions to comfort me any longer. I was stripped bare and made to take a long, hard look into my life and the whos I had allowed myself to become.
It was in that same moment that I began to recognize and reveal my truth. It started with the shame, the self-loathing and the pain. It started with the acceptance of exactly where I was in that moment, and all of my ugliness – but it began a cascading reaction throughout my entire life and eventually lead to where I am now, enraptured by my inherent beingness.
Learning the Meaning of Love
In these incredibly short but astonishingly full 3 years, I have learned how to forgive and love myself. This has in turn allowed me to truly love and forgive others. Ultimately opening the doors for a wellspring of true community and a sense of belonging I had never dreamed possible.
In rediscovering myself I remembered my magick, reunited with my twin flame and stepped organically into a small and humble, yet remarkably powerful coven of women who embrace their primal truths fully and gratefully. I found my local tribe of healers and gurus at my local yoga studio/healing center, where I began diving into the pursuit of my own healing and began discovering my love and skill for these practices. Then finally, just last year, I connected with my global tribe of world changers and master manifesters through my first Apotheosis retreat and set off the beginning of incredible friendships, mentorships and collaborations with people throughout the High Existence community.
Here, alone on my grandma’s couch; now, writing about my loneliness and struggles with identity; I feel incredibly loved, valued and connected by so many souls far and wide – and by my own precious soul as well. There is no where I could go that would cause me to feel separation and isolation ever again. Yes, because I have the love and respect of so many remarkable and inspiring people, but also because I have the love and respect of myself.
Opening to True Community
Community starts with ourselves. The way we treat ourselves, think about ourselves and limit ourselves inevitably effects our entire world and all the people in it. Creating healthy, thriving communities starts with focusing on our own health and wellbeing. Who we believe ourselves to be directly correlates to the communities we allow ourselves to be a part of.
I am so grateful I was able to make that commitment to authenticity just 3 years ago, and I am so incredibly inspired by the enormous changes that have taken place in my life since. I have better relationships with my family now and even my oldest friends; I no longer feel the need to guard myself from others or guard them from myself. By embracing my truth and becoming vulnerable with my own soul, I have in turn welcomed this high-level of authenticity and love into all relationships and every community I am blessed to be a part of.
That my beloveds, is real magick. We all have it – may you embrace yours as well. Blessed be.
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