The dawn has broken and is slowly inching it's way into the sky as I write this. All is calm, peaceful and still. Except for my puppy who has settled himself in between the laptop and I, and gives the occasional grunt that my attention is diverted.
Sleep alluded me last night, the wicked thing that she is. So I've been up since 2am working on #ChangeYourMind stuff and other bits and bobs. Finally got the chance to put up some pics from the day on our Twitter and Facebook account!
Myself, Danny and Shane having the bants
What I find most amazing is that I feel completely refreshed and I haven't even had any coffee. So I've decided to make the most of this energy while it lasts to deliver a special announcement. The regular stories of my mischief and wonderfully strange life will resume post-haste.
I received a text from my father yesterday, the first time I've heard from him in months. I've spoken enough about our relationship previously so I feel no need to explain the ins and outs. The last time I attempted to mend our fences resulted in a terrible row. It was just before Christmas. It was also the first time my father and sister had seen each other in years. He gave us presents (which we were quite surprised by) and it was a lovely evening. Until it wasn't. No doubt he blames the subsequent screaming match on me. Even though my sister, in the aftermath, scolded him for his behavior towards me. One must never forget that things are never the fault of my father.
So, to the text. It went along the lines of : hi, saw your blog, obviously didn't like your father references, I asked you before to never post stuff about me and you agreed, stop writing about me. P.S you can talk to me whenever you want, just don't blog about me.
Couple of things to address here: yes, I did previously agree to not mention him in articles. This request came about following an article I wrote about mine and my Mum's journey back from her depression. The article was not about him, he was briefly mentioned in one or two statements, which I still stand by. I remember being in work one day and him giving out to me down the phone about it. He wanted me to say sorry for what I had said, but I couldn't. I wouldn't lie. I thought long and hard before I described his relationship with my mum as "emotionally abusive". I didn't say it to hurt him. In an article written from my perspective and experience, it was just a fact. But, in the heel of the hunt and in an attempt to not break the fragile bridge of reconciliation we were trying to make, I told him that I would not write about or mention him in any of my articles again.
By and large, I've kept this promise. I've written guest columns and given numerous interviews, I've been on TV3 and some regional radio stations. All without mentioning him.
I couldn't help but shake my head and think "typical" when I got his texts. No "How are you/hope your well/how's your life been?". No "Oh, I heard/saw you were on TV/in the newspapers, well done." Nope, just giving out to me because I wrote one blog post about him. Oh and in case you missed the piece in question, it's here.
It's amusing how the parts where I write about how hurt I was by certain things over the years, and the effect our difficult relationship still has on me, are irrelevant. No no, my father is concerned with his portrayal. With what people will think. He feels like he's been given a raw deal here, me, his youngest, "lashing out" at him as he put it.
I read over his messages a few times. I find it ridiculous that he suggested I call or meet up with him to talk. I've tried that... I don't know how many times. I tried it last Christmas. But you can't talk to him. Oh you can try really hard and prepare all the questions you have for him, things you want to know the answers to. But it makes no matter. You're defeated before you've even begun because his word is golden and if you try to explain how hurtful something he did was or how difficult it made your life, and I quote "Well boo for you" is the response you'll get.
I'm not sure if he can even admit to himself the wrongdoings he has committed over the years. Not just to me, but to my sister too. Maybe he really believes that he is really hard done by and he's being picked on unfairly. But this is one of the reasons I stopped trying with him; because he never wants our relationship to delve more than the superficial. You're the best when you're popping in to say hi or hanging out and having the chats. But don't even think about moving in the boat never mind rocking it.
I am aware that I broke my word to him. But that word was given before this blog existed, before I realised that I wasn't as okay with some of the things that had happened as I thought it was. And I am a writer, I process by writing. Out of the 30 odd posts I've written here over the last few months, one talked about my father substantially. His problem is not that I wrote about him; his problem is that what I wrote about him wasn't good. He wants some kind of resolution from this; that I would tell him I'm sorry or that emotions clouded my judgement or I didn't mean what I wrote. But I'm not going to lie.
Nor will I stop mentioning him, if it fits the occasion. This blog is part-memoir, it has been from the very beginning. I hope that in forty years from now I will have led such an extraordinary life that I can write my mémoires propre and I have no intention of omitting anyone who played a key role in my life, warts an' all. None of us are perfect, we all screw up. I certainly have and I've spoken with the same candor and honesty about them as I do with everything else I write. I don't tell my readers what to think - I lay out my history and they are capable of drawing their own conclusions. If you're worried about what conclusions may be drawn, maybe pay more attention to questioning your character than my writing.
I am standing up for myself. I've had too much taken from me, I will not allow this to become one of them.
You don't have to like what I write. You don't have to agree with what I write. I've had bad comments with the good. Some people love my blog, others actively pursue me to tell me how much they hate it. That's how these things go. If you want to discuss it with me in a calm and respectful fashion, I'm always up for a good debate. I have never been a person to be so fixed in their point of view that it becomes impossible to see the other side. But after trial and error, I have learned that there is no point in engaging with those who are inflexible, and unwilling to look at themselves and their past deeds.
I used to hope that one day, my father and I would be able to find a way to sit down and in a calm and mature manner, without blame or crucifixion, answer the heavy questions and finally, pave a way forward for the future. I used to hope that. But as much as I love fairytales, not every story has a happy ending. Some are just unresolved.