Wednesday, February 15, 2012

load-bearing lies

(click above)

A beautiful day to have off from work.  The sky is a rich blue, clear and cool with a breeze.  I think I'm going to drink a bottle of wine and play my guitar until my fingers run a bloody mutiny.  

The picture above was taken a few days ago, click on it for additional pleasure.  I stopped on my drive towards work to take it.  There was a flock of birds dancing above a flock of sheep.  

The simple and the wonderful still startle me.  I am a romantic also, don't let my critical ways fool you.  

"O gentle lady, do not put me to't.  For I am nothing, if not critical." - Iago 

This morning when I was walking Barkley the pup I was reminiscing about when my father was here and, on that same walk, he was trying to convey to me that he has respect for me and the choices that I've made, that he might have misjudged me when I was younger.  He didn't use those words.  I intuited them from what he was saying, you see.  He might not have meant that at all.  But he was definitely trying to further bridge a gap that had grown between us for reasons that neither of us fully understand.   I took the time to explain a portion of my side of the relationship, telling him that I was angry in youth because he never offered to help me with college.  I put myself through to completion and I felt a growing resentment at having to have done so.  

His response was simple, "You never asked."

I was shocked with the candor of his answer.  It wasn't true, for one, but that didn't really matter, any more.  I've realized that there must be quite a few lies that he must also tell himself to make possible the bridge that exists between us now.   I think of the many load-bearing lies that I've self-endured and I would be remiss to deny him a few of his own.  

I reminded him of a moment that he tried to tell me, after my mother had died, that he was proud of me for pursuing my own path in life, and for sticking with college.  I told him that his pride had no place in me, that I had done it on my own and he has no reason to share in it, that he's not invited towards it.  He, of course, remembered this conversation.  

I apologized for the bluntness but told him that of all the things that I have come to terms with over the years, or simply let go of, the lack of both psychological support and financial help was the most crippling and damaging to our relationship. I reminded him that I did quite well in college and received a degree for my efforts, the first in our family.  A point that I have never openly used in this way before, to my memory.  It was not so much an attack as an assertion of independence, a way of still resisting our new cozy mutuality.  

It didn't feel right, of course, and I wasn't very proud of it.  It's just what I chose to do because I had prepared myself for so long to feel a certain way about it.  The feelings linger, I suppose.  But having your father tell you that he's proud of you after decades of uncertainty is also something simple and wonderful, and I was both pleased and startled at the sudden offering.  I wished I could have pulled the car over and taken a picture of it.

Don't let my critical ways fool you.  But also, gentle lady, don't put me to't.