sometimes i wish that my father were all bad. that he was just an irredeemably bad person, the stereotypical man that hurt everyone around him, maybe even abused drugs or spent all of our money, just so that i could say, with absolute finality, that my father was a bad person and he deserves no part in my life.
but the most perplexing thing about him is that he isn't. sometimes my father is very lovable and childish, especially when he is playing with rhys and kissing his tummy and swinging him around. he plans everything spontaneously, which drives my mother crazy but i really like it, when one day he says we are going out to a different place to eat on a random sunday afternoon, or when he suggests that we go to new jersey at some random point during our break. now that he is busy he doesn't do that anymore. i am always happy when he brags about me to his friends, even if i hate my major and i hate the future that i am writing for myself. he has a strange sense of humor and seeing him laugh at weird things, like a commercial of someone having an awkward social interaction, or someone tripping and falling, is what makes me laugh more than the thing that he's laughing at.
i tell edvin about my father sometimes and something that edvin said to me was that he thinks that my father suffers from an idealistic tunnel vision. always idealizing everything he doesn't have. it's why he sends so much money to his siblings that don't care for him in vietnam, it's why he is suddenly running around and searching for god in all the weirdest places, from his redneck christian friends to the jehovah's witnesses that come to our door. for the past five or six years he has been searching for all of these things that define his existence and give meaning to everything in the world and obviously he has been misled into a lot of strange weird beliefs, but it's that childishness again, i think. i try to tell him my version of it, that there's no meaning except the one we make for ourselves and religion is too narrow a vision to explain everything and anything but he never really listens. now he's trying to learn about hinduism (which is significantly better than the southern baptist branch of christianity).
other times he is very horrible. i feel like he is most horrible to me, then my mother and derek. but i can't say this to my mother or derek because they always talk about how he loves me most. he does, but does he have to be so horrible about it sometimes? he's screamed and beaten me into the girl that he wanted me to be and told me that he did it out of love. that has since warped my perception of love. now i don't think i can love someone without being hurt as a result. and i notice that i lapse into methods of revictimization. i have almost no sense of self. it's like i am self-aware but i don't know who i am most of the time. people ask me how i am doing and i never really know how to respond. it takes me a long time to recall my likes and dislikes and i can't even imagine how other people perceive me, what is lovable or dislikable about me. i feel like a glass bottle.
something that i hate hearing my mother say is that if i am hurt, then she is hurt so much worse...that my father treats her worse than he treats me. it isn't like he isn't cruel to my mother and brother, because he is, he can be. it's why derek won't play piano anymore, it's why my mother accuses him of loving her so little. maybe they are just stronger than i am. derek's used to his anger and it seems to just run off of him like water on a duck's back. my mother can at least complain about his antics to her friends. me? who do i have to tell about what he has done to me? i've only told lhiftya. i can't even bear to bring myself to tell edvin or jasmine. if i knew lhiftya in real life, if we saw each other face to face regularly, i don't even think i'd be able to tell her either.
suddenly i remember one day where he screamed at me in seventh grade, and i don't remember for what, and he drove me to school and i was so angry at him. when he dropped me off he tried to kiss me but i ran out of the car and he grabbed my arm and jerked me into the car and wouldn't let me go until i let him kiss my cheek.
i make him sound so horrible here. maybe he is? i can't tell. he loves me so much, so much more than anyone i've ever seen him love. but why, then, do i feel like this? when i fall in love with someone, am i fated to only fall in love with people who make my chest tighten like this?
thinking of the lyrics from Two by The Antlers--"he built the gears in your head, now he greases them up."