Today would have been my father's 73rd birthday.
What has been culminating and shifting in perspective towards my parents as of late, something much different than what I used to do—lament and complain about everything that they didn't do, everything they should've done, everything that was totally fucked about them—spent too many years in therapy circling around this and reenacting and recreating copycat scenarios of it all, because that's what we do when we can't get past something.
Now, when I think of my dad and my mom who are no longer here in physical form, I think of my deep love and appreciation of their non-conformity. I think about how if they'd be here now, that maybe the pressure of forging their own paths may be less daunting, that they'd somehow navigate the complexities and the fear with ease, but I also recognize that maybe not. Maybe they were here and did exactly what they intended, but I also know this isn't true.
Both of them were fiercely creative. My mom a writer, dad a musician. It didn't continue for them. It all was pushed to the side for so many reasons, and not that being a musician or writer is the end all, be all of life, but I witnessed the internal struggle they both experienced in being who everyone else wanted them to be, that their attempts to follow their own paths were littered with a ton of resistance, creating a more difficult unfolding than necessary. They tried to drown it out with alcohol, and I can see that it worked up until a point, just as any outside of yourself regimen does, but their fear, their version of that got the best of them.
For that, I am compassionate.
For that, I love them even more.
And, I finally accept them for who they are without the resentment and judgment.
I finally understand why my dad couldn't talk to me—I was a wounded, judgmental prick who believed that what I thought was right was best for him. And, yes, he was far from a perfect father, but he was still a person yearning for happiness and love just as we all are. He had a super difficult time allowing for it, just as so many of us do, even when we know better.
So, today I love them even more for their attempts to live as they wished, as best as they could, for paving the way for me to know on every level that you don't have to have a white picket fence and work a traditional job to be happy, that you can choose whatever you want. Their fear has helped me be deep in my own fears and insecurities repeatedly and to find my way out of them, sometimes gracefully, sometimes a pretty gnarly banging around, and to sort of pick up where they left off. I love them more now than I ever have, and I know that love is still expanding and will continue to deepen.
Thank you, beautiful and creative parents for allowing me to be here in this space. I love you.
Happy birthday, dad! Xoxo