When I was 21, I tripped harder than I ever have in my life by snorting two hits of 2C-B. It began with Nicholas and I highkey losing our shit (figuratively and literally), then clutching each other on the floor like scared, naked children. After the initial intensity of it was smoothed out (our dealer came back and was very sweet to us and found my pants that were literally on top of the laundry basket that I had tried to find for what felt like the entirety of my life), we had a good time going to space and switching bodies and eating bananas. Well, I ate bananas. Nicholas didn’t.
The one moment that I will never forget til the day I die however is my future husband and I discussing something – the exact subject is lost to me now – but it led to me saying the sentence, “That reminds me of my father.”
In the intensity of tripping, we were both deadly silent following these words, feeling the leaden weight of my statement. I had a clear visual of me closing a door inside of my mind as I said, “But let’s not talk about that right now.”
For the following six months, I had panic attacks every single day, sometimes more than once a day. I likened this moment to Pandora opening her box and trying desperately to close it as quickly as she could yet it was too late. She had already released so much pain and suffering onto the world. I spent the first half of 2012 rewiring my brain, trying to learn how to function again without breaking down. At the time, I was treating the symptoms – my anxiety, my uncontrollable panic, my depression – but I never touched the source of them. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had and honestly, I’m pretty fucking proud of 21 year-old Carly for the work she did. She got a therapist and a proper diagnosis (this whole incident is what led to me learning I had Borderline Personality Disorder in addition to Panic Disorder), started antidepressants and worked her way through at least half of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook. Which, sidenote, if you have anxiety, panic or phobias, that shit is basically like The Bible for those disorders.
When I was 24, I went for one of my very first pointless, long drives on my own. I had just recently gotten my license and I was jamming TF out to Rush (RIP Neil Peart), zooming down country roads to Baldwin. I decided to text my father. And so we began to talk for the first time since I graduated high school. I still can’t tell you why I decided to text him, what I expected of it, but I suppose I thought maybe we could have some kind of relationship.
Since then, we’ve gone through cycles of talking and not talking. Most recently, his wife randomly texted me – a strange moment that I’ve talked about already in my post Daddy Issues. Eventually, it reached the point where I decided I didn’t have the energy in my life for his chaos and I followed my sister’s example, blocking his number and promptly forgetting about his existence. If only that was the end of the story… I foolishly forgot about Facebook.
I haven’t figured out what to say. The possible irony of this whole situation is that I have no idea whether or not he’s discovered my website yet. I’ve always mentally prepared myself for this possibility though truly I doubt it would affect how I write at all. Something about being a negligent and sometimes abusive parent and literally damaging the mental development of your young child makes me feel like you forfeit any right to be able to say what aforementioned child writes on the internet about you later. All things considered, I think I’m more kind than many people would be – I recognize that he had mental health disorders just like me and were I in his position, suddenly a parent at 19, I probably would have become an alcoholic, too. Fuck, I don’t even have the stress of children and I still had to make the choice to become sober this past year for fear of descending into alcoholism.
Anyway. Now I’m here. As I laid in bed last night, I tried to untangle the yarn ball of feelings in my mind that represents my complicated ambivalence towards my father. I was utterly unsuccessful. So the obvious solution is to write about it; if I learned anything from a handwritten letter I sent not too long ago, it’s that writing tends to reveal thoughts I didn’t even consciously realize I had. Here’s to hoping it can do it for me again.
Some of it I do understand. I acknowledge the complicated state of our relationship, both past and present. I have sympathy for his seeming inability to cope with his mental health issues. He obviously wants some kind of relationship yet… I don’t think I do. Not really. I keep finding myself back at the same question, “What’s the point?” I will never get any kind of fatherly advice or wisdom from him. This sounds presumptuous but the interaction we’ve had in my adult life only confirms it over and over again. He talks to me like a peer, only regarding me as an afterthought. Our conversations are 80% him going on tangents about his wife – no exaggeration. I’d honestly probably insert a screencap here so you could see the length of these rants but I’ve long since deleted our conversations. Which, by the way, I consider some major growth on my part considering I still have MSN Messenger conversations from the early 2000’s hoarded somewhere on an external hard drive.
Maybe what confuses me the most about this whole situation is the fact that I’ve seemingly reached a point where I don’t feel much of anything. As a woman more than acquainted with perpetually feeling Too Much Carly Rae Jepsen style, it seems very foreign to hold this historically volatile subject in the palm of my hand and realize this artifact has had its energy depleted. The hard, sharp memento that represents my thoughts about my father now only hums quietly with a dull, fizzling sound. The light is almost gone and the weight of this stone seems so much lighter than it was before.
So do I respond?
It would be the considerate thing to do but truth be told, I’m fucking tired of being the eternal peacemaker. My entire life has been me swallowing my pride, saying I’m sorry, never expecting a meaningful apology in return, and moving forward as if there weren’t still open wounds quietly bleeding inside of me. Even in this case where the cuts have long since become shiny, white scar tissue, the vague discomfort is enough to discourage me from wanting to engage. My father and sister both benefited from my seemingly limitless forgiveness. But the hurt that should have been theirs to bear instead was swallowed by me and frankly, I’m done doing that. Even with my most recently falling out with my sister, I tried to message her three separate times to mend the pointless rift that opened between us. She never responded. And honestly, I’ve reached a point where I think perhaps it’s for the best. Let this be the decade where I only expend energy on people who truly see my worth. I am intelligent and funny and kind and creative and I deserve to be recognized as such.
Thank God for found family, huh? And my mother. For all her flaws, she has never made me feel unappreciated. Her love is unconditional and patient and considerate. Having at least one family member in my life that makes me feel important and seen is more than plenty of people have so I’m very grateful for her.
All things considered, I turned out alright. Even though so many adults in my life repeatedly failed me. I might talk more about that next week if you’re interested because this whole “reflecting on the past decade” thing made me end up combing through the recesses of my mind way farther back than I was supposed to go. Plus, I did say once that I was going to tell you guys the story of when I was called “the next Columbine”. I don’t think we’ve discussed that yet but I could be wrong. Let me know if I have. And in the meantime, thanks for letting me air out my emotional issues on y’all. Send a text to your loved ones to let them know you appreciate them. If all you have is found family, that’s okay. It’s still infinitely better than being alone in this world, left to sort through childhood trauma all alone.
Or on a blog for the entire world to read c;