My Father’s Daughter

I don’t know how to be my father’s daughter anymore…

I’m not really sure how to put it in other words. It’s like after he died I got tired of people looking at me and only seeing the person they’re never going to see again. So I spent a few years deliberately doing the opposite of what my dad would have done even stopped doing things he taught me to do or at least pretended to do them incorrectly so people wouldn’t be able to associate him with me. It worked!

After four years most people have started seeing me again, unfortunately it’s a fake me. An incompetent version of me who now has to start getting back to the person I was before I decided to trick the people in my life into thinking I was never me. Ok, even I had trouble following that sentence but if you read it slowly… it makes sense…sort off. The problem is that it’s hard!

Doing the actual stuff is going to take me a while to re-learn but the toughest part is the emotional stuff. I still get tears in my eyes when I smell grease or see someone wearing a cap or simply just put on my safety belt. So for me to now actively run head first into all these emotions and go to all my friends whom I’ve convinced that I’m perfectly fine and say: sorry, I was actually laying and just pretending to be fine so that you wouldn’t worry and stop being sad around me is scary. If I could deceive them about something this big for this long, then how can I expect them to trust me or even trust myself because I know that I believed my own lies for a while too…

It still surprises people when I talk about carburettors and Allen-keys and prop shafts like they’re cartoon characters I grew up with but to me that’s what they were. Admittedly I don’t remember half of what I use to know because quite frankly it was way too painful but if I am willing to start doing it again then maybe there’s hope.

I’ve slowly been working on my own road to recovery for the last few months. Mainly it had to do with a conversation I had with my 15 year old cousin and she reminded me that I use to be happy when I was with my dad and there’s no need for me to cut him out of my life completely just so that the other people in my life can either catch up or grow up! So I made a vow to have one conversation about my dad every day. That might not sound like much but when you consider that for the last 4 years I’ve diverted every sentence about my dad to a whole new conversation; it’s easier said than done. No conversation about my dad lasted more than two sentences when I was in the room except one I wish had never happened between me and an older cousin.

So I tried it but if no one brings up my dad in conversation then I’m happy allowing the day to pass without fulfilling my promise. Out of all the people I started doing this with; it was only my aunt that actually got confused by it. No one else seemed to notice how incredibly difficult it was for me to talk about him but she did and she was more than happy to give me an out whenever the conversation became too much for me… However, now I’m in a place where only the most important people in my life actually knew my dad and everyone else is oblivious. So I have to talk about my dad without breaking out in tears or getting unnecessarily moody. Unfortunately I am one of those people who hide my pain behind sarcasm and a smile or if the right person comes along, I’m not above a fist fight.

It may take a while before I’m ready to drain the oil of a CAT or can shoot a rifle at empty beer cans but in the meantime I’m setting a new challenge to talk about my dad at least once a day out of my own free will and I will initiate the conversation because he was my father for almost 19 years and he deserves to be remembered!

Please be patient with me as I learn to be my father’s daughter again…

Please,

AM

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