Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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An ode to crap dads

I know, I know. I think I might actually be moving forward, nearly eight years after D-day. No posts for well over a month.

Jesus. Is that some kind of record? The eight year thing.

But anyhoo. I’m back. Just popped in to say hey, and spread my joy ;-).

Update: I have had a pretty intense month, I guess. Firstly, my blogging friend, and maybe yours, CrazyKat, came Down Under with her husband, BE. They’re still here actually, but cruising around our isles at the moment. I had the pleasure of their company for four whole days. How lucky am I? Just before they arrived, my sister-in-law (ex) was driving my nieces to school one morning, and tragically had a head-on with a truck, and sadly she did not survive, but was taken to the nearest large city and kept on life support for 36 hours, as she was an organ donor. My two little nieces are relatively unscathed, but their father, my brother (the one I don’t get on with) flew from the other side of the world, where he lives with his new wife, immediately. He has promised the girls’ grandparents that he will not take the girls out of the country. This means he has effectively ended his marriage, as his wife refuses to move here. (We’ll see. Her bottom line constantly shifts!) So, he is at my father’s house, on the job hunt at present.

The week after that sadness, another niece was getting married, in a neighbouring country. My eldest, S, and I flew over, and stayed at my lovely sister, E’s house. So did my Dad.

Now. About my Dad. He’s is a bit special. To say the least. He is depressing and depressed, revels in playing the pathetic old man lately (even though he is a perfectly healthy and capable 73 year old) and loves to speak without engaging his brain. Ugh. Mostly it was okay, but S and I escaped a few times without him, as sometimes I just wanna punch him!

I will illustrate with a couple of gems from the four days we had together – three of which we mostly escaped his special kind of … stupid.

We were at the wedding, and in Australia, gay marriage is still not legal. So, they went through the traditional vows, about the legal status of marriage as between a man and a woman, and then my niece and her new husband added that they couldn’t wait until marriage was a right for all. Love is love. So, at the reception, the table seating goes – sister, me, daughter, two friends of E’s, uncle (my mother’s brother), and his lovely wife, then Dad. My GAY Dad pipes up with, “I don’t agree with gay marriage anyway.” FML. I just stared at him, full in the eye, mine about rolling back in my damn head, and said, “well, don’t worry, no one anywhere in the world has made it compulsory, yet, Dad.” My aunt about pissed her pants, and said, “what about people who have been committed to each other for maybe 30 or 40 years, and their significant other is not allowed in a hospital room, to make health/funeral decisions/say goodbye, etc, and their parents, who may have not spoken to their son or daughter all those years can do that, and cut the most important person in that person’s life off? What about those cases, for a start?” Dad: “Oh, I hadn’t really thought about that.”

SHIIIIIIIIT!!! Special.

Then  another day, we are discussing whether the little girls who just lost their mother had gone back to school yet? It was two weeks since their Mum had died. Um, Dad: ” Oh, I has, but H, not yet, she has a large gash on her forehead which is quite deep and unsightly, and you know, she’s a girl.” SMH! S and I looked at each other, and I said, “um, what? WTF does that matter? The kid is 11 years old, and who cares if she’s girl, boy, trans, horned, or whatever-the-fuck-else?” He replied with, “oh you know, girls, they care what they look like.” I looked directly at him and said, “hmmm, so no one else does? And that is what being a girl means? Looks? Get in the real world, Dad. It only matters to the people who think that way, and those like you that perpetuate her value as being equated with her looks, FFS.” He looked mildly offended and I don’t think he got it. See, special!

Exhibit number three: Dad is discussing (inappropriately) the state of my brother’s marriage, when he casually mentions that my (newer) sister-in-law currently weighs over 100kgs. (She was a gorgeous, slightly curvaceous, but I would estimate no more than 60-65ish kg girl when I last saw her a couple of years ago.) I turned to him and said, “ah, what? How do you know that? And, more importantly, why are you mentioning it? That is not something that your son should be discussing with you, and it is certainly not something you should be sharing with me. Besides which, why are you sharing that? Why is it important to you both?” Fucking special. Especially since my sister’s younger daughter is anorexic, and has been dangerously ill for the past few years, was refused treatment from every centre in her state as she was “too thin” – it is a scary condition, really scary. (She is a slightly healthier weight, and I mean only slightly, at the moment, she has done a lot of work, knows she is very ill, but was still talking about how she needed to lose weight for the wedding, as she was a bridesmaid – you would lose her if she turned sideways. Seriously, and dangerously thin.) What. The. Actual. FUUUUUUUUUUCK?!

Just like the kind of crap that is normalised, like the lyrics to so many songs, I refuse to post the song itself, but how internalised are lyrics like these?  John Mayer’s Daughters:

I know a girl
She puts the colour inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A woman’s good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too [3x]

There were also discussions about racism, my brothers had recently pulled Dad up about some language he was using. So, the whole visit with my Aussie family (who were not involved in these exchanges) – with my bigoted gay Dad, lol –  was full of these clangers, I mostly bit my tongue, for the sake of calm, but I was bloody glad to be heading home. My take home message was this. I had a fucking fantastic Mum. I never saw how fucked up and gendered my upbringing was. I mostly felt I was treated on an equal basis to my two younger brothers, and I didn’t even know that Dad was quite such a fucktard really!

Good job, Mum xxx

It still leaves me completely gobsmacked that these attitudes are so prevalent, but yeah, what do we see, hear, experience? Lily said it well a few years back with these observations:

The Fear

I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don’t care about clever I don’t care about funny
I want loads of clothes and fuckloads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find themAnd I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
‘Cause everyone knows that’s how you get famous.

[Pre-chorus:]
I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track, yeah I’m on to a winner.

[Chorus:]
I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
And I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
And when do you think it will all become clear?
‘Cause I’m being taken over by the fear

Life’s about film stars and less about mothers
It’s all about fast cars and cussing each other
But it doesn’t matter cause I’m packing plastic
And that’s what makes my life so fucking fantastic

And I am a weapon of massive consumption
And it’s not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function

[Pre-chorus]

[Chorus]

Forget about guns and forget ammunition
‘Cause I’m killing them all on my own little mission
Now I’m not a saint but I’m not a sinner
Now everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner

[Chorus]


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The Crucible Approach

….Or Passionate Marriage. 

 

Nic was interesting.  Neither one of us particularly liked him.  We didn’t dislike him either. He was a proponent of the David Schnarch method.  At this point in our relationship, there was no problem sexually, and we were very close and connected  We always were. Sex was always mind-blowing for me, the whole time we had been together, it was a connected and totally fulfilling experience. Rog says he was the same, it was always pretty great with me, he had never connected and enjoyed sex with anyone as much as he did with me.  It was erotic, and we made love often, most days throughout the then twenty-three years we had been together.  We were the fully engaged, eye gazing, passionate-kissing, erotic, intimately connected couple.  We were – especially me – adventurous, always happy to try and suggest new things.  

Nic got us to do a few exercises, after he had delved into the FOO stuff and we had worked out where we both stood with regards to the way we were set up by our families.  I already had a good grip on all of this stuff, it wasn’t hard for me to talk about it, or to process any of it.  Roger, on the other hand, realised he had taken a lot of stuff as given, and never given it any real thought.  He is a youngest child, and only son, of parents who were not passionate, just really partnered in life.  His dad is a lot older, a really nice man, I think he loves his mum, but is in his mid-80s, so has all that era’s baggage in rural New Zealand to deal with.  Of Scottish Presbyterian stock. Be staunch, don’t complain, work hard, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.  His mother is ten years younger, is intelligent, a trained school teacher who never really worked in the field, married at 20. She could have been anything in a different era, with the right support, ended up with three kids at 24, and spent a lot of Roger’s childhood “floppy” – that was what Roger was told, by his sisters and his dad when she took to her bed.  She obviously suffered from depression.  She got over it as the kids grew up, but Rog says he never really pinpointed that “floppy” meant she was unwell.  It was pretty much ignored, they all got quietly on with their lives!  Roger’s sisters are both drama queens, the eldest was a real handful, drugs, car crashes, sex, drinking, etc, etc, etc, and the middle one had illusions of grandeur!  Rog coped by keeping his head down, mostly coming home from school, getting his dog and his gun, and shooting rabbits, or ducks (if it was the right season) and only arriving home with the spoils when it was dark for dinner, maybe homework, if necessary (he was no scholar!)  So, a pretty loveless, isolated existence in many ways, but he didn’t mind at the time, it was his normal. He had great friends at school, he is still very close with high school mates.  He left school early to work on a dairy farm, saved enough money, and headed to the UK at just 17.  He lived there, doing temp work, having a heap of fun, living in squats for about eighteen months.  He wasn’t quite 19 when he returned home.  He bought his first farm, with 100% finance, at 20.  It all meant he had never had time really to find out who he was, on an emotional level, it was work, play and loads more work.  His parents loved him, I am sure, but it was never demonstrated.  

Nic got him to examine a lot of this stuff, on a far more expert, guided level than I have described.  We did a lot of connection exercises, as Nic identified that I was not safe, and had some really big issues around safety.  It seemed to go pretty well.  We continued with him for about five or six months, and felt we had done well with him.  Nic did ask me to contact Jason, the local psychologist who had referred me, in the future if I needed him, and to keep him updated.  Roger was amazing throughout this period in the way he engaged in some of the “airy-fairy psycho-babble” stuff we were dealing with, right out of his (especially, me too) comfort zone.  I felt we had turned the corner.