I picked a fight with Bryan last night, and quite honestly I can’t even remember what my point was. I don’t think I had one. I think I was just being dumb.
As I was processing through said stupidity, though, I had an epiphany.
There are a variety of things Bryan tells me that I don’t believe. I don’t trust what he says, or I question that he really knows what he’s talking about.
When he says to me that the rules have changed and one is no longer required to put two spaces after a period, I ask him to site his sources.
When he assures me he doesn’t think I’m stupid, I repeat back to him my twisted version of what he said to make me feel stupid.
When he says I’m a good writer, I make him list the specific good things he liked, just to be sure he’s not floating me platitudes.
I honestly wish I could trust him more when he tells me things – not that he’s not trustworthy, but I am not trusting.
Today I realized that THIS is my baggage. THIS is the legacy handed to me by events of my childhood.
As a child of divorce I may not have the side effect of wondering when Bryan’s going to leave me for another woman – I have always trusted him in this way and have no fear or jealousy of his relationships with women – but I DO have the side effect of wondering whether he’s telling me the truth or blowing smoke up my ass.
Is he telling me what I want to hear? Is he speaking one thing with his words and displaying the opposite thing with his actions? Is he smoothing things over? Does he speak in platitudes?
I spent my whole life deciphering my father’s words, trying to distinguish their meaning and his intent. I felt guarded around him. Even as a young child I sensed the difference between words and actions, even if I didn’t have the maturity to understand it.
How does one trust a father who says he’s always there for you, when he says this to you over the phone from another state?
My head hurts just thinking about all that this means to me, how it sheds light on so much of my dysfunction, how it clouds so much of my communication with Bryan.
I love my father. Eight years ago he moved closer to me, and a couple years ago he retired. We see each other more than just on holidays, now. We have lunch, he plays with his grandkids.
Despite the past, despite his limitations, despite his failure to live up to what I expected of a father, I love him dearly. This has not always been the case. I have been bitter, I have been angry, I have wished he never existed. But I can honestly say that by the grace of God I am over that, and I truly love him for the father he is.
I feel relieved to have this piece of the puzzle, this piece that was missing, that fell under the table. I found it – or rather, God showed it to me – and I worked it into all the other pieces I’ve been putting together in my mind, the pieces that show me who I am.
I know, now, why I doubt everything, and because I know this, I can start to believe again.