courage · fear · growth · loss · maturity

Tell the Truth, Tell the Truth, Tell the Truth.

This was the inscription in someone’s book I read once,
quoting someone else. I’ll have to look up who. But it occurs to me this
So, it is true that by vomiting out my thesis and the
actions therein that I have opened up lines to things that I didn’t have access
to before. This morning, I got to see one of them.
A while back, I’d written here about an “individuation meditation” I’d done regarding my mom. It was an exercise
out of that Calling in The One book, and
it was helpful and powerful and sad, but freeing, then.
This morning as I went in to meditation, I thought to go one
place, and instead was drawn to go elsewhere. So, I did. I ended up at Ocean
Beach, basically the end of the continent hemmed in and eroded and maleated by
the wide Pacific Ocean. There stood a large figure. It was my dad.
I’ve written some here about his ability to throw me off
course, with his demands that I live according to his ideas of what is right,
or with his pure denial of facts about his life and our mutual familial past.
Maybe I’ve even glanced at some of the violence that occurred when my brother
and I were young. But I don’t really talk about it. Hence, the title.
The truth is, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what I hear in others’ lives, and I
discount and play down the ability that man had to scare the … nearly scare the
life out of me. He is a large man, at 6’3”, with a larger voice, fiercer eyes,
and my brother and I would tense at the sound of his car pulling into
the driveway, as if getting ready for battle defenses.
There is a story that I’ve been told, that when I was about 7 or
so, in the middle of an altercation, I turned to my dad and said we were too old to be hit anymore. – No seven
year old should ever have to say or feel that. And my brother at 4, then, shouldn’t
These are, granted, my own interpretations. But, my father,
abandoning physical violence, started in simply using his voice to holler. And
his hollering shook the foundation of the house. — Although there are some
poignant moments in my past when he took up that old tool of intimidation again. …
He was not a pleasant man – though you may not know that in public. You
probably sense you don’t want to cross him, but he’s like that Scorpion in that
legend – it’s in his nature to bite.
And then, too, it’s not in his nature to bite. He’s scared.
He never had proper fathering, never knew how, had his own shame about being a
bastard child, and then hated his step-father. He grew up in the army. Learned
how to make beds and keep time and everything in a row and in order.
Children are not on time or in a row or ever in order. This
frightened him. I know that now.
But, in my meditation, the phrase that I repeated several
times, as I sobbed a bit in real life, was, You don’t have the power to kill me
any more.
See, because, last night, I wrote a mini G-d letter, and
asked for some guidance on earning income, what I should do. And the letter
back asked, What do you want to do? I
cannot produce vagueness.
What a novel question: what do I want to do?
And so when I went in this morning in meditation to find
some answers within myself to this question, I found myself face to face with
my dad. My dad who has wanted me to live life to his rules for a very long
time, even though it’s years since I’m out of his house. I still feel the
stamping thumb of a demand for “normalcy” or whatever his idea of the “right”
kind of life is for me.
So, that’s what this morning was about. Of course I haven’t
really been able to consider what it is I
want to do in my life, if I’m continuing to struggle against what
his ideas are for my life. My therapist has tried to
instill this in me over several years – Molly, this is
your life. It hasn’t made sense to me. I haven’t known
what that’s meant. When I’m trying to struggle against the idea that I might be
swatted or, as the fear puts it, killed, of course I don’t have the time or
wherewithall to consider what
want to do with my life. First things first, right? Survival.
To move from the stance of survival to the stance of growth
means to move out from under the fear of elimination. It’s a “fancied” fear at this point –
but it makes my heart flutter and tells me to stay hidden and to stay safe.
Which is what I’ve done for a while, and doesn’t fucking work for me.
I invited him to leave. I told him, as the exercise in the
book suggested, that I was sorry I couldn’t be what he wanted me to be, and
that I forgive him for not being what I want him to be. That without his anger,
he’s just a scared old man, and a scared little boy. I have compassion for the
little boy. And I need to learn some right-sizedness around the man. To begin
to step into my own britches is to believe that they belong to me. In the face
of anyone else – good or bad decision, right or wrong, lost or found — this is
my life.
I don’t know how to do that yet, but inviting him to stop
throttling me is a good start. 

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