Frustration Setting In

Fall is typically my favorite season of the year, it’s filled with change, gloomy days, and my favorite of all – rain. I get to dress up and play pretend without a care in the world, living within childlike wonder and amazement that the universe around me adjusts so fluidly as the seasons bloom. My heart fills with joy towards my family and my friends but I recognize that it rarely fills with joy towards myself. Something always appears to be missing and I can’t pinpoint exactly what I feel that is. While I do know it’s not anything external that can “fix” this feeling, internal adjustments are necessary, I’m just not sure how to get that fullness I’ve been looking for.

Letting go isn’t easy for me, it’s not something that comes naturally. Over the last 4 years, including an entire pandemonium, I’ve determined that “naturally” isn’t where I want to be for long periods of time. Coming from a place where it’s “natural” to be ignored, forgotten, and dismissed on a regular basis; I learned to beg for love, to work for love, and to fight for love. I’m done living that lie. Lately, I’ve been giving myself more of the care I dole out regularly and I recognize that’s exactly what I needed. There is no one else living in my skin, no one else is waking up with me each morning, no one else is making choices for me or navigating the repercussions of those decisions aside from myself. I need grace, I need understanding, and I need to remember that I’m human. I forget that I can only do my best and hold that against myself sometimes. After a lifetime of carrying others burdens as my own and holding the trauma dumped on me by friends and family so they could walk lighter in their shoes, I recognize letting go is mandatory.

At the beginning of this year I took a break from all four of my sisters, which was the most difficult choice I ever made at that time, because I realized that they rarely had anything good to say about me throughout my life. They looked at me as a lazy failure and I’d accepted their curses as my fate. I believed I didn’t deserve good things, that I was unlovable unless useful, and no matter how much I did within my life it would never be enough because I wasn’t a good person. Writing it now sounds heavy but the experience was simple because it was all I ever knew. Standing out negatively was where I felt comfortable and no one provided positive affirmations. They took the “goodness” I expressed towards them, the help I provided, the care I shared freely, and left me empty while projecting their hard feelings towards me; which I readily accepted. That was “natural.” Walking away gave me a sense of personal fulfilment I never thought I would feel. I began making positive choices without the need for their approval of my decisions. I feel worthwhile, and though I love my siblings and family will always be of utmost importance to me, I chose to love myself more and find that it’s the most beautiful choice I could’ve made.

Sunshine fills my life, play surrounds me, and joy is everywhere I look because when I’m full that’s the way I look at the world. It’s a naïve and relatively innocent view of things but I’m in control of the way that I react and I no longer passively accept what is given to me. Stepping away helped me settle more clearly into my own vision of success.

Now comes the frustration. Through the year I’ve been to quite a number of weddings; one of my favorite cousins, my sister, and a distant friend from years ago all found lasting love and I’m incredibly happy for them. However, my sisters wedding led me to reconnecting with my father. I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and when my pops wasn’t around (which was most of the time), I had my grandpa to fill that void until he passed when I was 17. Seeing my father walk my sister down the aisle had me thinking about things that rarely, if ever, cross my mind: whether or not I’ll ever fall in love, what I want my wedding to look like, who will be in my children’s lives if I have them, etc…, and I convinced myself to try again.

In 2017 I made the initial decision to repair the bond with my dad because I felt like an incomplete story without his perspective. My mother is a private and secretive woman (I came by it naturally) and while I had my maternal grandparents to look at for clarity into myself, I always wanted my dad. He wasn’t very receptive to the idea, especially considering my lifetime of hurt was expressed in a lengthy text breaking it down, and he doesn’t enjoy feeling like he’s done anything “wrong.” This led to one lunch where he told me my mother was and will remain the love of his life and spoke entirely ill of her in the same breath over the course of the 3 hours we were together. We never spoke of anything other than himself, his hurt, or my mother and I didn’t get a word in edgewise. I let that idea of mine go.

Fast-forward to October. He fell at his door at home, got back up and went inside where he fell again, decided to lay on the ground for 5-8 hours before one of his caretakers came and called for assistance. He has a phone, it wasn’t far away, and he made a choice not to ask for help and ultimately found out that his hip was broken. Under normal circumstances outside of family, that would’ve been a red flag, but red is my favorite color. Initially, I had no intention of reaching out because he’s a grown man and he made his own choices but two weeks after the fall, my sister mentioned that he wasn’t doing well in the convalescent home he was sent to, so I decided to visit. My pa is a charmer, that much is for certain and I’m relatively gullible, so the combination of the two led me to believing he was dying because that’s what he told me was happening. His doctor didn’t contradict his statement and after looking in his eyes I could see that the joie de vivre and mischief I’d normally see weren’t there. Between him and my eldest sister’s comments, my sister in Houston (who just got married) and my younger sister up in Northern California both flew out to see him. Once everyone arrived, he saw the tears and worry, his entire demeanor changed and I realized he was faking the funk. That was the beginning of my frustration.

He expected us to be there for him in a way that he never displayed and that’s been a disgusting realization. He not only lied about the status of his health, he then demanded that I assist him in creating a legacy for himself that he never felt compelled to attempt on his own; leaving the difficult work in my hands under the guise of “bringing the family together.” Turns out he tore us all apart because of a 43 year grudge he held against my mother for a lie she told when my eldest sister was a baby… then proceeded to have 4 more children with her.

This honestly wouldn’t have been a big ask if it weren’t for the fact that he promotes black trauma porn, believes lighter is righter and doesn’t see the beauty in blackness that I believe so wholeheartedly in. He sees a monster in the mirror and while I previously made it my job to help him see the power he holds, the only power he wants is monetary and I don’t relate to that. While I would love to build a legacy in the Fuller name, I don’t understand them as a whole and I don’t consider myself one of them. I was raised in a Davis household and my grandparents did an incredible job.

I love my father, truly and wholeheartedly – he’s half of me, but I’ve let go of the toxicity of this relationship. If I continue holding onto what I wish it would be, I’ll only further hurt myself. While it sucks knowing that I’ve dropped a parental relationship, it’s not one that has had a strong positive impact on my life and it’s my mission to focus on the positivity I can see. I’ll miss him for the innocence of my youth and the wishes I once had but that’s not worth living the rest of my life in misery for his fulfilment. That may have been who I was raised to be but it’s no longer who I accept myself as. Our last visit was beautiful and I was able to record him talking about some wonderful things but moments of wonder aren’t a trade I’m willing to make for the entirety of my joy.

I can do hard things just as so many of us do on a regular basis and I know that I’ll be fine, it’s a mandatory adjustment.

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