Today is Father’s Day. A day to stop and celebrate the men in our lives who raised us, went fishing with us, hunting with us, who taught us life’s lessons and protected us from a world in which we weren’t yet ready to engage. Father’s Day. A day to celebrate the above, even as when we grow older, wiser, more experienced and learn that our dad wasn’t as perfect as we thought but can offer forgiveness, even if for a day, because we know he did his best to do those things.
My dad did not spend time with me. He did not hunt, fish, play catch or teach me life’s lessons. He did not protect me from the world. And today, I can not offer compassion for what he failed to do because of what he did. He sexually abused me as a 6 year old child, sodomized me, sat me on his lap and raped me. He did not only fail to protect me. He hurt me in ways that are very difficult to comprehend.
I’ve spent years and will continue to spend whatever time I need to process this, to try and comprehend this world. Not only for my own edification but so that I can find some measure of sanity to accept this world so that I can live in it. I live most days confused, depressed, but forcing myself forward one step at a time even though I don’t know that I believe in those steps. Kind of like a tired marathoner in their 15th mile. That is my day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment life.
But I am trying.
And days like today used to confuse me. Terribly so.
But not today. It’s quite clear that my dad was not a father at all. He wasn’t even a man in my life. He was a spineless coward, a whimp who did not deal with his own demons in a healthy way. He used me, my sister and my mom to do so. He didn’t teach me life lessons. He taught me his victim lessons… which is no way to sanely live life. It is wrought with distrust, loneliness and perfectionism. Terribly tiring and not sustainable.
I can’t sit here and type I am healed. I can’t sit here and type I am stronger. All I can submit is that I am a man who is aware of who his father really is, what his father really did and it hurts. I can submit that I believe I don’t need a father or an earthly protector in order to live in this world. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the same belief system in which I think many others do… I can’t. I have experienced too much and thereby know too much. But I believe I can find inner strength. And I aim every day to do so.
I do believe in God, His Son Jesus who came to earth, lived as a man and died for our sins. I do not believe sins are our actions but the nature of our being. I am not a sinner because I am imperfect as my dad would have me believe. I am a sinner because I escape the pain of my experience through food, perfectionism and sometimes porn instead of facing my pain head on. Instead of taking the pain and truth of my experience to God in prayer, sharing it in fellowship and trusting others to help me carry it.
Today, I celebrate Father’s Day by sending a donation, garnered from the proceeds of items I’ve recently sold. Items my dad gave me. I am sending this donation to the Child’s Advocacy Center of Galveston County. I celebrate Father’s Day by escaping the abusive grasp and mental prison in which I was born.
Today I celebrate me.