Well, let’s talk about my past week. As you know I have been getting ready to speak at a Royal Commission (R/C) into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of People with Disability. This was quite an honor to be asked to speak. Then I was asked if I would be willing to be interviewed by the media afterward [Link]. I was so nervous that my sleep schedule got screwed up two weeks before. A day before I was approached by my Aunt about talking to my father.
“When u can and want to reach out. If he is anything other than polite…i want to know. “
I was not ready to talk to my father after an absence of six years in my life. I even told her that I was not sure if I wanted to make that call but since my attention needed to focus on the R/C. My Aunt has been nothing but an amazing, kind, and loving person. So when her request came I started thinking about respecting her for that request. But I needed to focus more on the R/C. Though not to say that this did not play on my mind during my interview. I returned to the hotel that night and enjoyed spending time with my support squad. Then quickly drifted off to sleep with a full night this felt so nice.
A few days later and after talking to a good friend about how I was feeling I took a deep breath and made the call. No one was home, all that worry for nothing. The next day I gave it another try. Much to my surprise, he answered that we spent a few minutes with small talk. I explained to him what I did with the R/C and had to explain why that was so important. Now I need to explain that my dad is 84 years old. Sometimes he can be a bit lost in his own thoughts. So I don’t think it sunk in that I was speaking as a transwoman about women-based issues. Now I know that there might be a few out there who will not like that but if you look at what I wrote in my statement [Link] you might have a different view. But that is another story for another time.
As we continued he asked a lot about my children at home and how they were doing. Then asked what else I had been doing. If you did not know I have been working on another book about my dad’s life. Which sadly is one that he is never going to be ready to read with an open mind. So I made a choice to the table most of it until later. But I started to desire to know more about my grandmother on his side of the family.
Okay back to my conversation with him. I brought up that I had found some new information about his mother and her claim to being part of the first nations. He immediately shut me down by saying “your mother already did the research and found that there was nothing there”. He did it in a way to block any further communications on the subject. It also felt like it did growing up that my mother was perfect in everything she did and could never do anything wrong. There is never a use talking to him about the abuse I received at her hands growing up. As I would never be believed. After about a half-hour I started to close the call then he did what I knew he would do and that was to say “Alright love you son” and then I hung up.
Now let’s talk about the topic of Toxicity. I knew what would take place. I knew what would be said outright as well as being shut down when I showed my growth in knowledge. I knew that I would be devalued in anything I said. So why did I call him? There is no greater pull than that of the love of family. When you don’t have that greater connection to your past there is a drive to have it. In some way when it is refused we can understand the issue of trauma. Then when it goes on for years and children enter the picture we start to see generational trauma “Why can’t we meet Granddad?”. Believe me when I say I know this type of Trauma well.
I have never told my children that they cannot know their grandparents. In fact, I think that is wrong on so many levels. I also am excited when my children surpass my knowledge on a given topic. I could never shut them down or tell them that they are not as smart as someone else. That someone already did the research and it is a done deal. The moment we do that is the moment we devalue people thinking outside the box and looking for something we might have missed. That is when we hobble growth not only in ourselves but in others as well. In my dad’s case, this is also where he becomes Toxic. It is also where he started to talk about Trump.
“Trump did a lot for the US” well on a global stage yeah he made you guys look like fools. But telling him what we see from the outside looking in would have sparked a fight and I was not willing to risk that at this stage. I tell my children to pick their battles wisely sometimes it is not worth the effort even when you know you are in the right.
As the call ended I wrote to my Aunt and let her know that out of respect for her I did call my dad. I let her know what took place and her reply once again showed her love and compassion. I am very thankful for that. While it might not be the nuclear family connection that I have been wanting. It is family nonetheless take what you can get and enjoy the beauty in it. But at the same time know when to walk away. Because self-care is the most important thing one can do for themselves.