Posts Tagged ‘perseverance’

h1

vulnerability.

July 19, 2009

Yesterday I wrote about façades and what people see on the surface, how we portray ourselves and what that says about who we are as a product for public consumption.  Today I want to explore underneath that surface, and let you in on what the façade of fashionable confidence that I try to display is hiding.  So I guess this entry is a little more personal, but I’ll still try to keep it light and brief (as much as I can, y’all know me by now!!!).

It’s my dad’s birthday on Monday, and I have bought him just a couple of small gifts that he asked for (swimming goggles and a blues CD he saw advertised on tv), along with a juvenile pop up card “For my Daddy” that I appreciate more than he probably will.  But anyways, normally on a Monday at the moment (i.e. when I’m not working) I go to the gym before going to my nan’s for lunch.  Tomorrow however will be different: my mother has the week off work, my father has the week off work, it’s his birthday.  Not only will I not get a lift to the gym, but I’m probably going to stay home just in case we end up doing something “as a family”.  These “family outings” invariably involve my father driving us to a pub, where we have a quick drink, make awkward conversation with his friends at the pub (while I go on twitter / msn / text on my phone) and wait to go back home all while promoting our “happy family” façade.  It’s not particularly enjoyable, and it’s a bit fake because we rarely spend time together as a family, apart from at the dinner table, and only 50% of that is in conversation if none of the three of us happen to be annoyed with anyone else.  So I am unsure whether to stay home tomorrow because of my father’s birthday (which I know is what I really should do) or just do what I would normally do, i.e. go to the gym and then visit my nan.  And here is the crux of the matter, and the first example of the titular vulnerability:

I’ve always known that my father never really loved me.  He paid for me to go to a private school and he’s supported me financially on the rare occasions that I’ve had to swallow my pride and ask for money (3 times that I can remember).  But the early part of my childhood, up until maybe 16 years old, I spent quietly hating him for his absence, for the way he would boss me around and try to make me cry in order to make himself feel more powerful in the face of the close bond between me and my mother, for the pain he put my mother through, for the rows he would instigate because he would come home drunk every night, for the nights I spent in tears in my bed or on the stairs or crouched behind the door listening to them arguing and throwing things and praying it would stop (another reason why I stopped believing in God).  This is perhaps more than you want to know.

Nowadays, he has improved a lot and I am glad my parents stuck it out, but if it were anyone else in that situation, I would have told them to split up because to stay together through what my parents did took incredible strength and also perhaps a lack of sanity.  It’s hard to ever move past that, because that was my life for the first 16 years, and as much as I have tried to forgive my father and appreciate the changes he has made, something like that never leaves.  Truthfully, I think about it most days.  A couple of people tried to psychoanalyse my “daddy issues” and explain my sexuality thus, but I don’t really know if that’s connected (IMO, possibly but probably not).  But these days he acts as if I don’t exist half the time, which gives me the freedom that I cherish but also makes me feel semi-left out because as much as my mother feels hard done by because my dad is now always picking fights with her (or occasionally vice versa! nobody is completely innocent… I have inherited a little bit of a temper from them both too, I must confess), I see it from the other side because at least that’s where his attention is focused.  If he is always trying to upset one person, if he always looks for one person when he comes home, then as much as he causes that person pain, at least that person exists to him.  Sometimes I wonder if I am a ghost in my own home, only visible when the telephone rings or my dad needs me to do him a favour or he needs to pride himself on my Oxford degree.

Honestly, I don’t hate my father.  I love him and I appreciate how much he has tried to change and improve.  But I can’t forget what he put us through, and I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that if he’s not trying to compliment me nor enrage me the way he does my mother, it’s got to be because I am just less important to him.  I don’t really see any other explanation.  And I guess it does hurt to know that you are second best, that you’re not who he perhaps hoped you would be (I’m not a usual drinking buddy, which is what my mother told me was his primary excitement about having a child at 30, because when he was 48 I’d be 18 and we could go drinking together – I can count on one hand the number of times that has happened) but I am lucky that me and mother are extremely close (when we argue, it’s blazing but usually short lived, and usually because we are so similar that we know exactly what ticks each other off), me and my nan are really close, and I have some really wonderful friends.  I don’t lack for love, and I feel that I give love in return.

Talking of love, I finally met Brett (guy I’ve been chatting to who is referenced in this post) last night at a club, and we spent hours together. It was really fun, his friends were open and welcoming to me, and I had a good time. We flirted a lot, got on really well (as far as I could tell) and were quite touchy-feely.  No kisses until the very end when we said goodbye (and that was only v brief), but then it was the first time we’d met in person and it would be too much too soon.  I want to have fun and to keep things light, because the last relationship I had was far too much too fast (despite my attempts to put on the brakes) and ended in disaster (and I must admit, relief for me).  But at the same time, I can’t help but hope that it will work, because I’m tired of dusting myself off and trying again.

Life being single is certainly fun, and as I said above, I don’t lack for love and I don’t lack for friends, but there’s a little part of me which hopes for something more, and needs to prove to myself that I’m not some kind of unlovable leper.  That the longest relationship I’ve had thus far has been 5 weeks is depressing to me, at 23 years old.  I don’t think I am unlovable, and it scares me that perhaps I am not aware of how repulsive I might be to potential dates and mates… in other words, I can’t fathom what is wrong with me to not have had a more successful love life.  My sex life has been average I guess, but it’s holding someone’s interest as more than a friend that I seem to have trouble with.  Maybe it’s not my fault, but if I’m the common factor in all these cases then I’ve got to shoulder some of the blame.  So right now, I am feeling vulnerable because I am scared Brett will lose interest just like all these other guys have, that he will suddenly stop texting me (the balance of power so far is pretty equal, I believe, and I’m not keen to tip it in his favour) and not want to take things further.  The last thing I want to do is jump into a relationship again, but I want one to slowly blossom in a fun, healthy way, and I can’t help thinking that this is a chance for that to happen, and I am scared that it might slip away.  I got home at 5:30 this morning, so I am waiting until tonight to text him and say hi (he will be awake, sober and hopefully by himself and in a space to talk) and quietly hoping he will beat me to it (it has happened!).  Because at the heart of it all, I’m feeling vulnerable because I guess that I like him and I don’t want to feel a fool one more time.  These are things that Prada and Armani don’t tell you.

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