My Experience with Father Figures

I remember being told I seem well adjusted. Shouldn’t I be, I thought? Most of the kids came from single parent homes yet I never felt like I fit in. My father lived in another state and it was terrifyingly exciting to go see him during school holidays. A plane journey, theme parks, Grandparents, Noosa. When I was young he was never frustrated, it changed as I got older of course, nobody’s perfect.

My mum remarried three times. She said she may of stayed with my Dad if she knew then what she knows now about relationships. I doubt it, I know me. I’m not saying all that’s bad about me comes from him but I know him and can analysing my behaviour. I can see where he might of been difficult, a refusal to see the truth sometimes, although not for a lack of trying.

The family home should be a place of support and encouragement, the safest of places. Personalities bloom and are not quashed, hopes are allowed to flourish. There is always compromise, even in this. What about coping skills? “Don’t laugh at me”, they yell. “You need to be able to laugh at yourself,” I reply. I remember insulting best friends when trying to make a joke and offending them with my bad taste. Maybe here I’m not qualified.

How much of life’s unfair situations am I supposed to show them and how much encouragement? It’s easy to encourage when it’s watercolours but what about when it’s more important? Something more permanent, like a tattoo, it doesn’t matter how thick your skin is, you see the result of those actions forever.

What about when it’s too late for reprimands, leaving you feeling like you’re worn down to the nub, not sharp enough to think of an exit strategy, only sharp enough to wound. My technique built up over decades of fending for myself and just wanting people to love me. Some people loving me very, very much and the rest having disparaging indifference. The imbalance creating a limbo for me. How do I judge the appropriate response to something that is done now, nothing can be learned, its out for everyone to see.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my experiences. My father not being perfect, my school friends who let me join their already formed tight knit groups. The girls who didn’t want to be just friends. The stepfather who never called. The families who didn’t welcome. How do I turn all of these memories and thoughts into “what a nice tattoo”


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