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I saw something awhile back. I can't recall if it was a meme, a post or one of those click bait articles that the internet is flooded with. Either way, I saw it and it was about how holding onto certain relationships can actually be more harmful then letting go, like holding onto a razor wire. We hold onto them so tightly, and by not letting go, we are allowing that relationship to keep cutting into us. A steady stream of pain and hurt as that wire cuts into us the more we hold on, instead of a blast of pain and hurt that can be over come... eventually. I agreed with the analogy, as it has merit, and thought nothing of it until recently, when I was faced with the reality of having to make a choice: do I hold onto that wire or do I let it go?
The first time I griped onto this wire, I was unaware of the damage it would cause throughout my life. It was a wire I never, as a child, should have had to grab onto. Like many, I was a child raised in a one-parent household and, sadly, like many, I was also bounced back and forth between parents. I must admit, I had a favorite parent, and when I was with the other I would pry that the other would come in and rescue me. This is probably in part because I rarely got to see him and have a father-daughter relationship like I wanted, like I needed. He was my favorite, I was a daddy's girl. I even remember sitting with my little head resting on window sills, awaiting his arrival for a short visit. Often times, my mother would have to carry me off to bed from the window once I had fallen asleep wondering where he was. I would feel so confused, mad and broken when time would pass and there was no word. No phone calls, no cards, just broken promises of visits, leaving a little girl sitting at a window waiting.
As I got older I started seeing him more, even living with him for periods of time. I had my daddy, he had finally rescued me... he finally wanted me. Him showing up was always a random surprise, and often followed some family drama where there was no choice for him but to get me. I was in a group home and he had been told that we were homeless. He had a place to live, my mother was arrested and he was called to come care for me. There was always some event around it, but it mattered little. I had my daddy. He was not the daddy I had envisioned, though, and our relationship was far from what a young girl dreams of. I will admit, I was to blame in part, I was a difficult child. I would get into trouble for some of the dumbest things. It was nothing more than a typical cry for attention though. I would get the attention, but not in a positive way. I would get the strict disciplinarian, the ex military man who expected perfection—perfection I so craved to give him. Getting less than an 'A' in my classes, I would torture myself in my head, telling myself I had tot do better. I had to make him proud of me. I needed him to love me, and I needed to see and hear it. I just needed to be better, that was what it was going to take. Our relationship was strained, it felt forced but I still wanted to be like all the other daddy's girls. It was an ongoing torment, probably for us both, that has continued my entire life. We keep going back to each other, we keep trying and we always end up going our separate ways. Harsh and hurtful words are spit at each other and old wounds that never heal are ripped open. Yet, even as I sit here and write this, I want nothing more than to be a daddy's girl. Holding onto the razor wire, unable to just let it go, in hopes that some day I will hear the words I want so much. That we will have a relationship that is natural and not full of pain and resent. After almost two years of the two of us not talking, he reached out and I grabbed that damn wire once again.
I want to get something out before I get into where I am going with this. I in no way say that his is a bad person. I have and always will love him, and for that reason I will more than likely continue to keep grabbing that wire every time he calls. I just want to be a daddy's girl. I want to know what it is like to have a relationship with him where he actually knows who I am; where he won't start singing 'Brown Eyed Girl' to me, only to turn and exclaim in shock that I actually have blue eyes. Now that time has passed, I actually giggle at that, just for the fact that he was singing to me. He was, for a moment, that person I had craved as a child. He was the one who broke my bed when I was ten and he was being silly. A new sister had been born, and I guess he wanted to make me feel special and decided to tuck me in. Well, his running, flying leap onto my bed broke the frame. We sat there laughing as I let him try to fix it. He was the one who laughed off a three day school suspension when my mother made me call to tell him. I told him what had happened and he sided with me, as I was just standing up for myself. It was against a teacher, but still... I was in the right. He was the first person I smoked a bowl of marijuana with. When I was in an abusive relationship and was trying to hide and make an escape, he was where I ran to. I do not in anyway think he is a bad person, a monster or a villain. I just think that he does not know how to love me, I don't think he knows how to have that father-daughter relationship with me. This is something I have learned, it is just something I struggle with accepting.
To keep from further digressing and keep this moving forward. The newest grasp of the wire occurred a few weeks ago. I was on Facebook and got a message from my sister.
After getting this, I got one from my step-mother. Hers was not a link like this one, but the actual text in its entirety. I read through it, wire grabbed. I was in no way bothered by the fact that it had been posted on Facebook for all to see or that it was asking people to get the message to me. It is what he felt he needed to do to get my attention, and it worked. I responded to him and tightened that grip on the wire. The circle dance began. There was a huge change in it this time, though. I refused to let it turn into a blow out and promised myself I would walk away if it started down that road. I would be an adult, I would take blame for my wrong doings. Maybe that would be the change and it would be like me and my mother. Maybe things would click, if we were just two adults. That approach lasted a whole day, maybe a day and a half, of Facebook messages. Then it happened, his magical ability to make me feel less than an inch tall and as significant as the dust we collect under our couches. On top of it all, by this time that razor wire was wrapped fully around my hand. A razor wire fist full of hope that it would work while swallowing the pain and old memories. Trying to shove it all away I walked away from the conversation for a little while. Probably no more than a day. At this point the whole thing went downhill into a no-win zone. His flat out disrespect for me and my relationship with my life partner was a giant white and hot pink polka dotted elephant in the conversation window. Placing me pretty much dead center in the middle of a choice I will never make between him and my partner. He feels as if I have made this choice and that I choose my partner, but truth is I will never and can never make that choice. Harder yet is the fact that it is a situation created by my father. He has even made it clear that he does not give us his blessing for our handfasting ceremony. This is heartbreaking to hear and to know, but I need to do in my life what will make me happy. My partner is my world, even if that means doing so without my daddy at my side where he belongs. I could never ask him to take part in something he does not condone. Do I wish I had his blessing, yes I do. It would mean the world to me, but I can't walk away from my heaven on earth just because he does not understand it. His other request of me coming to visit without my partner is not completely out of line. Who doesn't want to spend time with a family member one-on-one? It would not be one on one though. His 'new' family would be there and I would be without my 'new' family, because he is, as it was put, a "persona non-grata." Do I have an issue with spending time with my step-family? No, not at all. I would love it. Matter of fact, this is one of the only times I have referred to them as 'step' anything. They have always been my sisters and my other mother. Does my partner not deserve that same respect? I mean, I no more had a say in them becoming a part of my always growing family than they do over my partner. My father sees my argument as me choosing my partner over him. I haven't, I wont, I can't. I am standing up for his equal rights in our family. I am standing up for his ability to be present at family events and be welcomed as a member. Can I come sometimes by myself? You bet your rear I can, but will I always come without my partner...no. That is an unfair request and one I will not grant. My partner has more than earned his place in the family, even if he refuses to see it because he wants to hold onto the past. Because of this and being stubborn and feeling a need to stand up for what I think is right and fair I can not budge on this. My father has made it clear he wont budge either, leaving us at an impasse... a no-win situation. One with us both holding tight to that razor wire, letting it bite into us as we fight for the relationship we want. All I want, though, is acceptance, and to maybe some day make my father proud. No... to hear him actually say it. I would love to have that relationship where I could just climb in his lap and curl up, cuddled up to him. At 33, I think I may have to pass on that, I am just a little too big for it. So, what to do? Do I keep holding this wire, or do I let it go and learn to come to terms with it? This is a question I may never get an answer to.