I have dinner with my father this evening. He requested another seat at the table. If he brings a woman I don’t know if i will walk out.
I wake up now, everyday, with a breathless anxiety of fear. And the only thing that will abate it is this. Writing my thoughts to no one. The loneliness is deep. Bottomless. I’m sober and more than anything last night I wanted a strong nip of whiskey and for the world to stop. So, I sat in my mother’s bed and read books until I fell asleep and wondered if that is another version of avoidance. Some pop psych advice over heartbreak told me that it was ok to take a break from the emotion by seeking healthy distraction. Reading instead of being drunk and taking benzos is healthy.
This morning, as I smoked my ritual cigarette with black tea, a cigarette that I don’t actually enjoy anymore. I thought today we write about choice. I know that life is about choices. Daddy must have chosen the wrong things if he is back seeking me out. I don’t know what purpose it serves for him beyond self satisfaction. I’m reading Marcus Aurelius ‘Meditations’, he advises me not to fill my head with conjecture on other men’s thoughts and to focus inwards. So what do I want from this experience? I question whether my motivation is beyond greed or if I am softer than I thought I would be in this scenario. I wonder if I am motivated by greed. It’s not altruism. I don’t want to give a dying man his last wish. I am not the ‘make a wish’ foundation. While I sit and decide whether to let my father into my life. I need to evaluate what I want from the situation. ‘Know thyself’. Jesus, I hope the answer isn’t Daddy. And I am not still nine years old. I don’t feel vindicated or validated by his presence. For the first time in my life, the little heroine does not want to say ‘I told you so’. And that would pass as emotion growth if it felt like it. I am always rushing towards decisions because a choice leads to a future that is different from the present and I haven’t learned the art of patience for letting things unfold. I was told the other day that I was too focused on the end goal and not the process of getting there. I don’t know. If you know what you want don’t you just make the choices that get you there? I hate writing pieces with too many questions. It’s lazy.
I read books by emperors and generals like Daddy is a battlefield and I don’t know if this is the correct approach. Whether I need to lay down arms and if my family curse is actually the inability to forgive. Worn with a badge of honour by my uncle and my grandmother. While my mother is chided for her soft heart.
My father always made filial love between my parents a choice. It was loyalty to him or loyalty to my mother. They call him ‘master’. His family, as a nickname, refer to him as ‘master; because he is master of the house. His own father left his family, Daddy at the tender age of ten became the patriarch. I mean, his stepfather wasn’t shit but an abusive drunk that beat him. The stories make my stomach churn. Example he made him stand on an ant hill of biting ants as punishment and if he moved. Beating. And we wonder at the man who standeth before us today.
If Daddy has learned humility to come back to me, can I learn forgiveness? Hold up. He hasn’t asked you for forgiveness, petite heroine. He has just asked you what gifts he can buy you. What’s the play?
‘Do not commit violence to your soul’, my new friend Marcus Aurelius meditates on. It means, we must know what is innately wrong or right. Some pre Descartes shit. I’m so fucking homesick. Homesick for the Philippines. For my grandma and my uncle. I miss my mother (abroad in Italy). But this is different. I don’t feel like a stranger in a strange land in Melbourne. I feel far from safety, from people who only want to protect and love me. I am surrounded by friends. It’s just different. It’s blood, it’s history, it is the unglossed truth at home. It’s people who would die for me. It is unwavering loyalty and me as the first choice beyond all. Maybe it’s natural to look after one’s own. Again, Darwinism babe. So if the telling of the truth on my mother’s side is true, and my parent’s marriage began to unravel because she blocked a decision directly related to my father’s family by refusing to sponsor his brother to Australia when he found out Uncle Jerry got a girl pregnant, then how do I not understand that he chose his family over our family. Guess I’ll find out when I have a kid.
Is my father the version I remember him as? Does he have my stalk duality of turning on you? I don’t know him well enough to make a sound choice yet. But whatever you decide is the choice. And we can’t un-choose things, we can only make it right and that is a lot harder than making the right choice in the first place.
There are so many gaps to fill with other people’s truths when you are a child. My memories are shaped by bias. I do have concrete memories of how badly my father treated my mother and just because I was his little princess didn’t make the behaviour correct. It only showed me that love is both deep and toxic. Choose your fighter.