Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Dad - part of the untold story

I don't really talk about my dad. In all honesty, I'll admit that I avoid thinking about him as much as possible. However, my tumulous relationship with him marginally defines my view of men, my fears and my own relationships.
My dad was never really there. For circumstances I can't quite explain, my parents were split for 9 years, which began when I was 1 & 1/2. They did, however manage to get back together when I was somewhere between 9 and 10, and thus my little brother, whom I'll nickname Chino, came to be.
After almost 7 years together again, my parents decided to move to the US from Dominican Republic. Much debate ensued from the idea, and finally, my mom moved to the US and my dad was left behind to finish up the process. Except it never quite finished.
Again, for circumstances I can't quite explain, my dad never made it to the US.
Instead, he found a mistress, whom happened to be a family friend whom we knew from church. Yes, there is ugly in this world, and I'll admit that my dad having such a richeous and do-gooder attitude and character bit him in the ass. This would also be the part where I mention that my grandfather, whom I love and adore, also had a mistress whom was my grandmother's niece. The real reason I mention this is because my dad, richeous do-gooder as aforementioned, was ruthlessly judgemental of my grandfather's affair; and then ended up having to choke on his own words.
Anyhow, my relationship with my father has always been tumultous, conflicting.
I was a free-spirited child. I was, by no means an angel. I was curious as hell, and sneaky too. I will however give myself some credit and say that I was on the good side of things. I was pretty much your average kid.

I don't mean to critize my dad in a negative light,  I understand that as parents, no-one hands you a guide book on how to discipline your kid and how to raise them to be honorable, well-rounded, disciplined individuals. I know in my heart of hearts that he had the very best intentions in mind and that he loves me.
But, as we say Amor no quita conocimiento (love does not take away knowledge). My dad was not the easiest person to get along with. He has such a rough personality, a rough character. He fails to understand the power of his words and his critique, both for positive and negative. In many ways, his harsh ways are part of the mold for my own character and also the demon behind my own insecurities.
In his effort to build a strong character in me, he has also left vestiges of fear and self-doubt that I constantly struggle with. I'll admit that, to this day, I constantly seek for my parent's approval in everything I do, out of fear and respect. This has also caused me alot of pain, and sacrifice, but I just don't feel right when my parents dissaprove of something I've decided to do. I feel hindered, like there are chains over my shoulder. I feel like there is a black cloud over my head wherever I go.
My main gripe about him has always been that he fails to realize that you catch more flies with a teaspoon of honey than a barrel of vinegar.... and quite the barrel he had.

He was a cadet, it was his dream to be an army man, but for medical reasons, he had to drop out. He was always very strict, organized and methodical from a young age, according to what my grandmother has told me. These strict views collided with my need for independence and liberty and space. During my high-school years, I was usually only allowed to go 3 places: Church, school, and my grandmother's house. Other than that, I had to be with either parent everywhere I went.... all the way through Senior year in highschool.
Yeah.... about that. This triggered me to learn how to climb out the balcony, over the roof, walk the wall between my house and my neighbor's and jump over the 15ft fence in my house. Yes, I did. This was my only way to see the world, even if it was only to catch a cab to my bestie's house to sit on her porch and talk bs with a group of people. To this day, I wonder if I really got away with it, or if he turned a blind eye on me and let me THINK I got away with it. I haven't made up my mind yet.

Nowadays, my dad is in Spain. From what I know, he has officially broken away from the mistress. Then again, we hardly ever talk, so what do I know, really?
During the years we lived together, my dad hardly acknowledged birthdays. He would usually wake me up earlier and express, in a very formal tone, that he wished that I had a good day, and I had the opportunity to have many more birthdays. I don't know bout y'all, but to my 11 year old self, this was rather puzzling and quite dissapointing.

This year, however, he managed to remember my birthday, early even. It's this Thursday, and he already called my mom and spoke to her because I was alseep yesterday.
He sent a present this year, all the way from Spain. He also sent a card.
Although many people see this as customary and unimpressive.... it means the world to me.
I'm literally in tears over it.
He sent the meaning of both my first and second name, in little framed boxes.
These have a personal meaning. In my grandmother's house, where I lived for part of my childhood, there were two sets, one for my grandmother, and one for my grandfather; and I would always look at these in awe, because of how simple and charming they were. I remember mentioning to my dad that I wanted a set of my own at some point. Now, I have my own.

The real reason I'm writing this post is for anyone out there with a kid. Anyone out there with a daughter, any dads that might happen to be reading this.
Know that, as a man, and as a father figure, you mold your child's personality and your actions impact very profoundly on their lives. Know that your lack of expression of affection will not go unnoticed in them, and will leave them craving for something only you have: true, uninterested love and aprooval.
Know that you are the stick to which they measure the men they will have their lives, and in your absence, the only other way they end up judging men is through facts, hearsay and trial & error.
So, if you happen to have a daughter, tell her she is the most beautiful child on this earth and make sure she knows you love her.

As for me, I've added my little frames to my wall. I promise to post a picture later on.

Night night y'all.


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