May 26, 2004

guilty admissions

i'm going home on friday and i've been thinking about my parents.

how i love my mom more than my dad. she is always so accepting and supportive. more affectionate, physically and more emotionally available. it's kind of a mean thing to say, i guess, but it's true.

thing is, i want my father's approval so badly sometimes. growing up, i almost never got that sort of "good job," "i'm really proud of you," "you're such a perfect little daughter" approval from him. i was almost more of a burden than anything. we'd bicker a lot, and he'd grumble about driving me places, and to a lesser degree how much i was costing him. of course he's a loving father, he just never really showed it. at one point senior year i pissed him off (financially) to the point that he yelled, "you really disappoint me, carla." my response was silence and when he left, i laughed bitterly. i know he didn't mean that in general or anything, it was just because i was shirking what he felt was my duty to the family. the wry laughter was because i was essentially the perfect daughter. no drinking, drugs, smoking, stuck to curfew, didn't go around with boys, growing up i obeyed all their terribly overprotective little boundaries, got good grades, worked almost obsessively to earn ca$h for college, ate right, didn't dress sluttily, blah blah blah. a couple of times, in recent years/months, especially, he's told me that he's proud of me and all that and that he knows he never really said it much, and i know it's heartfelt, but it always seems a bit hollow, i guess. i don't doubt the sincerity, not at all. i don't know if it's a case of "too little, too late," or what. i think it just seems kinda of strained and cheesy whenever he says crap like that, because it doesn't come naturally to him. not like mum, who doesn't need to say it, because she shows it in little gestures every day. at the same time, i really want that sort of relationship with him where he gives me hugs and listens to my little stories and all of that.

when i sent the essay about kim to my mum, i felt bad that i wasn't showing it to him, too. and when he asked to see it, i got terribly worried about what he'd think. i had already confided much of its content to my mother, but he knew next to nothing. not my childhood insecurities, nothing, really. but that's the way it is. i confide things in my mom because i'm not worried about her reaction, not to the same degree, anyway, that i worry about my dad. haven't told him my porn solicitation story, for example, and i don't know if i ever will. he wouldn't respond badly, per-se, but it'd freak him out a little. besides, i doubt it would ever really come up. i remember, the only time growing up my dad and i would really talk was when we were having these really long, intense discussions and arguments. mostly political or philosophical. i would always snap into these very eloquent moods whenever that happened and structure rebuttals and such. thinking back on it, it's hilarious, a little 6th grader sharing philosophical points with her father. not that either of us were - are - very sophisticatedly read or anything, it's not as if we were quoting nietzsche, we just have always had very different world views.

what's weird and not entirely related to what i've been talking about here, is the freudian concept that the first person you sexualize growing up is the parent of the opposite gender. never really thought about that until some time in middle school. i realized i thought it was pretty sexy guys who wore necklaces. that was rather before the whole surfer boy leather cord hemp rope thing came into vogue. then i suddenly realized that when i was little, very little, my dad used to wear a gold chain. he stopped wearing it when it broke (did i break it?). the revelation creeped me out so much i almost clawed my skin off. needless to say, once i figured that out, it killed any appeal the former had had. i don't want to marry a man like my father. he's not a bad person, of course not, and i never meant to say i don't love him terribly, but he's not the kind of person i want to end up with. i'm hoping for someone more grounded and stable and comfortable with himself. daddy's just not really those things. he's someone who once had a sense of humor, but lost a lot of it on the way. his idealism, too. he's got a bit of a world-weary air about him. haha, it seems almost a betrayal to not want to marry someone like your dad, despite the intense creepiness in saying you want someone just like him.

i guess, what i want is an easy and natural relationship with my father. i just want him to accept me. i think, for many years i kind of shied away from any relationship with him because he was the growling angry man who didn't say enough nice things to me so much as bellow and moan. it was almost a punishment. if you're going to yell at me all the time, you don't get to know how my day went. i've never doubted that he loves me. when i was still quite young i'd feel guilty about growing up, that my parents were sad that i was getting bigger so fast. my dad, especially. i think he should have done a better job at making that okay. i still get a bit that way when i think about getting my own apartment and all of that. i know he worries. i just wish he could also talk to me normally. but everybody's got a bit of a fucked-up family, right? i think i'm still much better off than most.


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