Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Dad!



"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
~Clarence Budington Kelland

There are a lot of things I could thank my dad for. Braces, college, my first car, my own phone line when I was sixteen, etc. There are a lot of things I could thank my dad for. Today, on Father’s Day, I don’t want to thank him for things. I want to thank him for the things he has taught me:

How to drive a stick shift and handle icy conditions. He made his intentions clear from the beginning that all three of his girls would be good drivers… we still argue to this day about who has more road skills.

How to build a fire, read a map, and the importance of tying things with the appropriate knot. A retired boy scout, he hid his own disappointment in our clear disinterest for all things, well, boy scout.

Not to be scared of aliens. “Come with me,” he said over his shoulder as he headed out into the black night. I hadn’t slept in two nights, gripped with a confident panic that I had been, or would soon be, abducted by aliens. “Lay down and look up,” he directed pointing down at the lawn. Already formed dew sparkled in the glow that stretched onto the lawn from our house, nestled in about thirty acres of thick woods. I could hear nothing. Above me the sky was alive with stars and satellites. “See up there? That is the big picture. Your human brain can’t even start to imagine how much space is out there. It would be delusional for any human to believe that Earth is the only sliver of intelligence in existence. Of course there are aliens.” With that, he walked back in the house.

Not to slam doors. His method when we did? Taking the door off the hinges. Problem solved.

Camping. I dare anyone to trump my dad on this one. I didn’t even realize that camping happened in any other fashion other than how we camped growing up: three families, six tents, two ski boats, hammocks and lawn chairs scattered our own private point along the sandy banks of Lake Roosevelt. Dozens of rubber maids held everything we needed, ropes weaved in and out of the ponderosa pines making a home for wet beach towels, Coleman lanterns and tarps (for the occasional thunder storm).

To question a man who didn’t own a Swiss Army knife and know how to build/fix things.

How to check a car’s oil. Yes, the stereotypical sixteen year old has know idea what that is or why it needs to happen.

That road trips should start early (first ferry early). His tenacity on the road also taught us all how to hold it as he continually promised there would be another rest area “right around the next corner”.

That Bruce Springsteen is indeed “the boss”.

To embrace my inner techie-nerd.

My dad has given me a lot of things, but the things that he has given me that mean the most? All the things that are not things at all, they are just the things that make me Gary’s daughter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

If you won't listen, I will tell someone who will.

"The heart was made to be broken." -Oscar Wilde

I am filtering. I type and all the words run through my fingers like course sand when I am sitting on the beach thinking about nothing at all and everything important all at the same time. They fall to the ground, tiny and insignificant, becoming impossible to find again. I used to write words without regard to who read them or who they were directed to. Now I feel your eyes. Now I know you are reading this and I am not sure how to feel about it.

It seems everything I have said or written falls wrong, hits you in a way it was never intended to and then it's my fault and you tell me I am not strong. Somebody explain to me the weakness in baring my soul and, in turn, asking you to bear witness to your actions. I think it is one of my stronger moments telling you the truth about the damage done to my insides. At least I am honest. But all of the sudden I am supposed to act as though you are in a bubble and what you have done has not affected me. I am so sick of that. I am so sick of men who move through this world allowing their insecurities to lead them... they can't fathom that they could possibly be important enough to me to be capable of hurting my feelings. They just keep moving, not looking back until it's too late to see me. I become a grain of sand to; tiny and insignificant.

I thought we were private. I thought because you were safe with me that, naturally, I would be safe with you, even if we were not each other's other anymore. Protected. I must have been wrong to believe that I meant enough to you to keep what we said to each other buried; a propane tank on a piece of abandoned property. Instead you tell others what I tell you and others tell me and then I am alone wishing I never knew to begin with. I cannot speak so I just rock in dark silence. I cannot write. I only have words for one, only have ears for one. It does not matter what I want though, you are bothered by me so you won't bother with me. You tell me you don't have the time. The time? Do you remember how many seconds, minutes, weeks and months that I dropped every single time you needed me? Now you don't have the time? Reciprocity never did have a place to call home with us.

One day soon my words will flow again, with or without your eyes on me. Until I rediscover my audacity, the audacity that I am used to wearing over my heart like a boutonnière, I will just hold onto the words you seem to think make me needy and weak. I will hold onto them, rocking in silence until they can wait no longer. You were always positive our differences would be our end, and you were right. I saw you in all your authenticity and you never saw me for anything more than what you already decided I was. You never saw that in being vulnerable with you then, and being honest with everyone now, it is the bravest that this little body has ever been.