My father is an actual person. This is a new concept to me, and it hurts more than anything ever has.

Last night I had an intense dream, partly because I took a benadryl, and partly because I now know what his face looks like. I guess my subconscious needed that one last detail to begin the descent into a ditch 31 years long. 

When I was a kid I was dragged in and out of therapy a lot. It was mandatory for a kid in foster care. Plus my mom was nuts so it was assumed I would be. And, then there was that one time when a guy exposed himself to me at the age of 7 and everyone freaked out. I had to sit in front of a bunch of strange doctors and point out every single body part on a teddy bear as if it were a human being. Apparently, because I could do this correctly, I was psychologically unharmed. Right. 

So the flasher in truth was no big deal, but I am beginning to accept how harmed I was by my first abandonment. It’s a dense fog I am scared to walk into, because what if I end up feeling worse once inside? What if I have to say love starved out loud? What if I have to rethink every relationship I have? What if I can’t find my way out?

This dream of my father — where in one moment he is holding my hand so tightly that every part of my body that comes from his is lit up like a Christmas tree, euphoric, beyond in love, and in the next I am left empty handed and untethered — will forever haunt me. I should be used to waking up with an empty hand. This is what I have been telling myself. 

I should be telling all this to my aunt or my father’s wife that friended me on facebook and started all this unraveling, but neither deserves my vulnerability. I know I am too strategic for my own good, but I cannot help it. I don’t like people that stick to my peripheral, that dangle unapologetic from my edges, that reach for my hand when I’m under the covers, that disappear when I float to the surface. 

The lust of recognition… I wish I had thought of that.

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