11/02/2005

What girls learn

She's screaming again, my mother that is. My dad has been caught red-handed with his hussy, that's what my mom calls his girlfriends. He's begging her to forgive him, he's sorry, he won't do it again - even though this is the fourth time he's been caught. I'm hiding in my closet, I like it there because it's dark and quiet and no one knows that I cleared a space where only a 11 year old can fit. I wonder if she'll let him stay this time. She asked me where we go after he picks me up from school, it was almost like she already knew - but I lied and told her we just drive around. Yesterday he made me wait in his truck for a whole hour while he called on a 'client', he sells life insurance on the side because being a teacher doesn't pay much - that's what daddy says. Sometimes I get so tired of waiting in that truck, but I don't want to make daddy mad - so I stay. I know I'm not supposed to lie, but if I tell the truth, daddy will have to leave again. Mommy seems so angry, she cries a lot too. When I grow up I never want to fall in love, it hurts too much.

I used to think my mom was the strongest person I knew. After all she endured a lot of pain from my dad and she stayed with him longer than she should have. I know now that staying is the easy thing to do, leaving is the part that makes you strong. I remember hating my mom for making my dad leave, and I told her every chance I got. I hated that she put me on the spot and asked me about his girlfriends, because she knew that my dad flaunted them in front of me. He called them 'friends' but even at 11 I somehow knew that his friends were much different than the friends I had; I doubt they skipped rope or chased butterflies. I loved my dad, so I defended him by lying to my mother. It still amazes me to this day that at such a tender age I learned to lie not only to my mom, but to myself. In our minds, people can become what we want/need them to be - not what they really are. My dad was my hero, but in reality he was the reason I have a hard time trusting people. I still remember the day he left, for good. My mom had just finished drilling me about who we see when we take these drives after school, I was weak that day, I told her daddy sees clients. I guess that's all she needed for confirmation because she marched right into the front room, turned off the tv and told him to pack his bags. He shouted at her to leave him alone, she shouted back that she knew where he went after he picked me up from school each day. Silence. I think it was the first time I'd ever seen my dad speechless. And then it happened. Daddy looked at me with the coldest eyes, the love had gone out of them. "This is your fault," he said. "When you are missing me, you remember that you did this," he shouted. I can still feel my heart breaking inside my chest. I can still feel the tears streaming down my face, they left tracks that I was never able to erase. He left ater that, and he didn't come back. Maybe that's when I started to hate myself instead of my mom.

I'm older now and more grown up. A few thousand tears and some very deep scars later, I'm learning not to hate myself and to love my dad again. It takes such a long time to forget things, and sometimes it never happens. That kid back then, that little girl who loved her dad - she believed that forgiving someone could change who that person was. I know now that forgiving someone is for you, not for them. So many lessons this girl has learned, so many more still waiting.

13 Comments:

  1. Sky said...
    Wow! An incredible but extremely sad story. It's a shame that some memories are just burned into our brains that can never be erased. I hope that writing about it helps you heal.
    Networkchic said...
    Yes it does help to write about it, I guess that's why I blog. Sometimes when you put things in type, it makes you have to deal with them and it's easier to let them go. I guess knowing where you came from and how you got to this place - is therapy in itself.
    sirreene said...
    One of the instances in life that stays with us and forms what types of adults we become.
    check said...
    how could he let you feel that this was all your fault?? forgiving is often easy...but its the forgetting that just as tough.. never happens.. best of luck dealing with these memories..
    Joe said...
    What an amazing, yet sad, story. It takes a lot of courage to relive something like that, and even more to share it with the rest of us. I went through a lot of similar pain with my father - some of which I'm only now coming to grips with - but I haven't yet been able to share it with anyone. Thanks for inspiring me to do so - and for reminding me of the importance of forgiveness.
    laurenbove said...
    That was a horrible thing for your father to tell you...it's your fault. Kids will think that anyway without the dreaded false confirmation.

    Obviously: It was HIS fault. His behavior. He never should have put you in that position.

    You keep on hugging yourself from me and forgive yourself every single day.
    Caterpillar said...
    I'm so sorry that your dad even thought to blame you for what was clearly his fault. Sometimes even those who should be grown-up and responsible refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and what happens as a result. I'm glad that you are able to forgive now, and hopefully let go of some of the anger and pain. You'll be that much stronger and wonderful for your own daughter!
    WDKY said...
    I'm sorry, nwc... that was cruel. But do you think these failures on the part of our parents can also be what make us better parents? Better than if we didn't have these experiences to draw upon as an example of how not to behave? I'm sure it's been like that for me.
    Networkchic said...
    WDKY - one can hope.
    it's all about me said...
    A heartfelt post, insightful and honest. And God, that struck a chord. I'm angry for you, and sad for you, and hopeful for you. It's so hard to shake off the bad stuff that happens to you as a kid.

    And yes, staying really is the easy road. So, so true.
    NML said...
    Gosh your posts are so touching. We do most of our emotional learning by the time we are 13 or so, which means we learn the bulk of it from our parents. When we get older we have to make such conscious efforts not to fall into their same traps. I love my parents, but I don't want to parent like them and I am already working hard to address residual issues. {hug} You've been through a lot.
    Shannon said...
    Hey Gurl.. I am sorry and mad at your dad for saying that to you.. I know it was a long time ago... I am sorry you had to go through so much so young...

    I love your honest sharing, and I think this blogging thing does help in the healing process... its a form of sharing... thanks. :)

    How are you today?
    Networkchic said...
    Thanks NML. You know I have a lot to write about, I guess that's a good and bad thing - either way, it's therapy.

    Hey Shan - I'm doing good today, thanks for asking.

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