Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Conversation Between Me and My Dad

Me: Hi Dad, guess what? I bought a new car. (I've been driving and old 1986 minivan for it, but it's time has come...well, did come years ago)

Dad: Hell, you never listened to your father's advice. Why in the hell would you buy a new car? (sort of joking I think)

Me: The same vehicles, but 3 years older, are only $3000.000 less and have no warranty, it made way more sense to buy new, plus I have never owned a new car. I just wanted a new car.

Dad: What else are you up to?

Me: (really excited)..oh, I applied for and got the volunteer position to teach 3 half day printmaking workshops to teens in the summer.

Dad: What kind of teens are they.

Me: Teens coming to the Art Clubhouse. Teen with mental illnesses.

Dad: Oh, you mean not real teens?

Me: (in my head...WTF?) (Out loud)They are REAL teens, what is that supposed to mean? They just have illnesses too.

Dad: Why the hell aren't you getting a real job, one that pays? Why the hell would you volunteer when you could be working for money.

Me: Well, I'm only volunteering to teach 3 hours a week and it's in a rehabilitative and supportive environment. I am trying to get better.

Dad: Well if you can volunteer to work you can get a real job.

Me: (wishing I'd never called, and wondering WHY I always contact him with the delusion that someday he will actually be proud of how hard I try, and wondering where I could get a job that allowed me to work just 3 hours a week and where I could feed myself and pay the rent) Dad, I am still not well. I cannot work right now. I am slowly trying to get better so I can work.

Dad: What you need is a real job. You have been doing that volunteer stuff for a long time now.

Me: (thinking yes...I've been managing a few hours a week for the last 1.5 years, but just recently began to feel safe doing that or even well enough to do that....and besides that, what I do in my volunteer work now is far more "real", much more meaningful and important than anything I have done work wise in my past). I am not ready to work yet Dad. I'm trying to get well and volunteering in this supportive environment is a safe way for me to work towards that.

Dad: Hrmfft. (Translation: you are so lame)

Me: (Hanging up from a call I initiated and entered feeling excited and proud of myself; and hanging up from the call feeling dejected, rejected, diminished, ashamed)

...bye Dad. I love you.

Dad: yup, bye. (click)


Dr. Shock said...

Brrrrrrr, is it cold in here or is it your description of your conversation with your dad?
regards Dr Shock

deepblue said...

I'm so sorry.
And, sadly, that conversation sounds a bit familiar, too.
congrats on your new car, though!

Polar Bear said...

That must really hurt.

I'm really sorry you had to go through that... but I HAVE to ask - why the hell did you call him?

You know, I get like that too after a conversation with my mom. She doesn't run me down or anything, but I always am left feeling dejected and unhappy. That's got to do with the fact that my mom is very critical (often of other people, even other family members) and generally very negative. I describe her as "toxic". She is poisonous and toxic to my well being, so I have made a rule that she can no longer call me. About 4 or 5 years ago they have stopped calling me and I will call them (mom and dad). Initially I called them every few weeks. That turned into every few months, and now it is becoming even less than that.

I haven't spoken to them in months now, and my emails are becoming less frequent too.

Maybe I'm more selfish than you, Aqua. I'm more concerned about my mental health and well being than making the daughterly obligation of calling her parents every now and then.

jcat said...

Hey sweetie, practice saying it to yourself a bit first,and then take it into every conversation with him as a subconscious thought:

'if you can't be happy with me, then f**k you'

Big hug from a very cold south


Michelle S. said...

Congratulations on the new car AND the volunteering. The car sounds like a wonderful new thing and the volunteering sounds both challenging and for the conversation, definitely gave it your best shot....give yourself all the credit in the world for trying!

The Silent Voices in my Mind said...

I'm sorry he's not more supportive but I'm glad that you didn't let him make you doubt your choices. You are doing what's right for you and I'm glad you could be strong.

And congrats on the new car! My hubby always said the same thing about buying used, right up to the point where he got me my new minivan (many years ago). I loved having it new and have never regretted it...

Aqua said...

Yes it is has been cold on the westcoast of Canada; both figuratively and literally (feels like winter still)...maybe "father winter" is why there's still so much cold weather when it's June. I should be at the beach!

Oh I'm so excited about my new car...don't even have it yet, it's backordered because they didn't have the colour/model I wanted in stock (2009 Toyota Matrix, charcoal grey, with tinted windows....It will arrive in a couple weeks.

Polar Bear: Protecting yourself has nothing to do with "selfishness". You do what you do because you are helping you. That is awesome.

I have this sadistic need for the approval of my father; approval I never get, will never get and should just learn to give up trying to get.

I swear, even if I were Winston Churchill incarnate I would not make him happy. I need to learn that these interactions gosouth, not because of me, but because of his insensitivity to anyone but himself.

Writing that helps me learn the lesson.

Thanks for the support everyone. Much appreciated.