Bigger than the Sea: Ending and Beginning

It has been a long time coming.  44 years, in fact.  This end.  I’ve been hemming and hawing for a lifetime.  Afraid of doing what I have sensed so long was the only answer.

What should one do about relationships that harm you?  What should one do when everything is a charade, a game of survival, a false front and just trying to get through the occasional shared meal?

What I wanted was a father who loves me.  Who doesn’t want that, really?  No matter our age, we want our parents to be proud of us, to believe in us, to enjoy our company.  We want family that feels like family.  Blood, thicker than water.  The tie that won’t ever unravel.  The soft blanket of care that warms us.  The smiles and laughter that sustain, build, say “you are important to me,”  “you matter,” “you have worth,” “I am better off because I know you.”

We want easy conversation with people that are a part of our own DNA, reflections of ourselves that help center and guide us.  Familiarity.  Familia.

But sometimes family is just famine.

I gave up, for the most part, dreaming of connection.  I mean, sometimes there’s still a fantasy here and there, like when out of the blue he says, “I’d like to help pay for your wedding.”  Wow!  That sounds so generous, so fatherly!  So….traditional!

But the fantasy fades quickly. I know I can’t take his money, I know that it’s just another charade. A show of power.  A statement about the haves and the have nots.  A bragging right, a means of making himself feel and look better.

When the illusion of love evaporated, like drops of dew on a blade of grass in late morning sun, I found something else to cling to.  At the very least, I thought, one day I will be remunerated for all for all of this sadness.  While money cannot buy happiness, it might, in the end, buy a sense of repayment, a feeling that, though not the prize I’d had in mind, it would at least take me traveling all around the world, buying a beautiful home or two, providing a future without any concerns of the monetary sort.  It would be an unexpected and unnecessary largesse for my partner, “Here, here, take this trust fund and be merry! Get whatever you want.  Do whatever you feel like doing.  Quit your job!  Lounge on remote beaches!  Pursue your art.  Do anything you wish.  Go for it!”

Ah, the consolation prize.  If not love, then money.  At least, there’d be money. A huge amount of it.

But all of this leaves me feeling empty.  It isn’t enough, the promise of payoff.  It includes all the same sad feelings I’ve always had about him and his wife. There is in fact such a thing as dirty money. Can anyone actually ever enjoy dirty money?  Can they?  Could I?

I don’t think so.

And I don’t think I can do this any longer.  Play this game.  Pretend like everything’s okay.  Sign all my letters “Love you lots!” and “Miss you!”  I just don’t think I can carry on like this another fucking day.  I think it’s time to cut the cord.  I think it’s time to seek freedom through separation.  I think it’s time to end so that I may begin.

I hope there is still a chance that I can find a way to love myself, in spite of what he has told me about myself all my life.  I hope that, without this ruse, I can move forward finally, rather than staying stuck in the feelings of inadequacy.  When virtually everything he has ever done has proved to me that he does not know how to love, and even if he did, that it wouldn’t be wasted on the likes of me…. How could I ever feel okay about myself while keeping him in my life?

It’s been toxic for as long as I can remember. I just don’t think I can tolerate it anymore.  I think it’s time to say goodbye to the father I always wanted but could never have.  I think it’s time to say no more to the self-deceiving about (almost) being loved and respected.  It is hard to think of the finality of what I’m talking about, but every single day of my life has carried with it a terrible feeling of falseness.

I have never felt such loneliness as I feel in his presence.  Isn’t it time to let go? Can love begin when the lies end?  Can my life begin at last, when I release this sad imaginary hope for the Something More that never comes?

I’ve got to let this go.  It’s time to say Goodbye. If I am ever to love myself, I have got to rid of the ones who will never really care.  Even if it’s my own father. I’ve got to be clear that there is no amount of money that can make up for a lifetime of sadness.

Did I want more?  Of course.  Is it a lie?  Of course it is. It’s never going to happen.  And he can keep his dirty money to himself, and keep trying to buy his own happiness with it.  I’m worth more than this. My friends are my family.  My friends love and respect me.  My friends believe in me and think I have value.

That is enough.  That is more than enough.

When I was five and stood on the ocean shore with him before he left us for a new and better life, I told him joyfully, “I love you bigger than this whole sea!”  I always did. But one-sided love hurts. It destroys.

 

It’s time to say Goodbye.

 

 

It’s time, finally, to love myself–bigger than the whole sea.

 

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