Welcome back, it’s been a while since I have written about writing your truth. Today, instead of giving you tips on writing your truth or how to be vulnerable, I’m going to share something from my life.
My life inspires my writing, and I think it’s safe to say that’s true for most writers. I mean, what else are we going to write about if not our life. Even if you write fiction, fantasy, horror, little things in life will inspire things in stories. I’m going to preface what I’m getting ready to tell you by letting you know that I’m not sharing names, but I will let you know that I am talking about my Dad.
Alright, Dad has inspired me recently to start writing children’s story. Using the word inspired makes it sound like a good thing that he has done, but it’s really the negativity that he has added to my life that has inspired me.
First off, I’ll cover the good he has done. I know he is a good person, I can trust him to be there if I need him, and he did the basic things that parents are supposed to do to take care for their kids. He makes me laugh, and we have had good times together, and I still like being around him, but he has also hurt me in many ways. He wasn’t and still isn’t, big on practicing what he preaches. He often told me things that I should and should not do, but I constantly saw him breaking those rules.
He was somebody I was supposed to be able to trust, but, as I got older, I started questioning that trust. He also expected and wanted me to respect him, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. As I got older, I started questioning this blind respect I was supposed to have for him, and he didn’t like it. We’ve had our fair share of arguments, most of which revolve around this concept of trust.
Now, I know respecting your parents and elders can be a touchy subject for people. I know there are quite a few people like my dad that believes you’re just supposed to respect people older than you simply because they are older. I’m not one of those. Hear me out, I do think you should respect older people at first. Just like parents deserve respect from their kids from the get-go just because they are their parents. That said, if the older people and parents show you, on numerous occasions, that they have little to no respect for you and your boundaries, then you have every right not to respect them as much. Simple as that.
But that’s where my Dad and I bump heads all the time. We’ve had numerous arguments and it all comes back to the same thing. And it doesn’t matter how much I try to explain how I feel to him, he doesn’t listen, which, ironically, is something he tells me I don’t do. He doesn’t have the respect for me that he expects me to have for him. Growing up, I did respect him, but it wasn’t until I hit probably 12 or so that I started to really realize the injustice.
I live very close to some cousins, and when I was younger, we would ride bikes together and play, but my Dad hated it when I played with them. I never got an explanation as to why, but if my Mom wasn’t home, he wouldn’t let me go see them. Now, I did do bratty things growing up, but what kids don’t? I snuck out of the house once to go play with them because they had a swingset. I got caught, of course, but I didn’t do that again.
If it wasn’t for my Mom, there are a lot of things I wouldn’t have gotten to do. It seemed as if my Dad didn’t want me to be a child. I could be a kid, at times, when I was with my parents, like when they took me on vacation and such, but at home, I was supposed to be seen and not heard.
The fun part about growing up is I was pretty much grounded my entire childhood. I know I did things that pissed my Dad off, which is why I got grounded, but for the most part, I had no clue as to what exactly I did. The one thing I can remember is I spent the night with a friend once, and my parents asked me to call before I went to bed. I forgot to call. My friend and I were having fun and then we crashed. There was no between time where my mind went, “Hey, Felicia, we need to call home.” I apologized for forgetting, but that wasn’t good enough. My Dad told me I would never get to spend the night at a friend’s house again.
Now, I will say this, my Dad didn’t hold strong to those declarations, but whenever I managed to upset him, he drudged up every little infraction I had made growing up and he would punish me for them all over again. Like I said, I don’t remember much of the “bad” things I did as a kid. Trust me, I’m sitting here trying to remember things from my childhood, but I’ve realized I’ve repressed most of those negative moments. I can remember the fun I’ve had, but I don’t remember much of the yelling I got from my Dad.
When I got older, I began to realize a lot of my Dad’s problems stemmed from his childhood, but he doesn’t see these things and this causes us to be unable to move past these problems.
But my Dad loved yelling and still does. He sucks at sharing his feelings in any other way. If a friend asked me to spend the night, I never knew how to broach the subject because I didn’t know how he would respond. His favorite answer was “No.” He’d turn me down on everything.
High school was my roughest time and the roughest time for my parents. I went to an Early College where I got more freedom than a regular high school and I went stupid. I skipped classes from time to time, and I got found out and punished for it. Luckily, I was still able to graduate on time with my diploma and associates degree. (That was just a side note)
My Dad had a heart attack when I was in high school. It was scary for me, and I know it was for him. But here’s the kicker, when he was better, he blamed me for his heart problems. He had smoked cigarettes since he was 15 and had biscuits and gravy every Sunday, but I was the cause of his heart attack. That was something I had heard from him my entire life. Starting at around age 8 or 9, he would tell me on a regular basis how I was the cause of all of his problems. He hardly ever gave specifics, but most of the specifics were things that all kids do because it is part of the learning and growing process.
He doesn’t understand why I don’t respect him, which is his skewed viewpoint because I do respect him to an extent. He’s a man that doesn’t listen when I ask him to stop bothering me. He’d poke and pick at me, try to distract me from what I was doing, or just all-around bug me, and when I would say, “Dad, would you please stop,” he would say something along the lines of, “Don’t get an attitude with me.”
All humans have their faults, but I feel we should learn from those shortcomings and try to improve. My Dad, unfortunately, isn’t at a point to learn from his. He doesn’t want to face the darkness within, and until he does, he will always be the short-tempered, yelling man that I have always known. But, even though he hasn’t been the best Dad, I’ve always known that he does love me, and I will continue to love him.
So, how does all of this inspire me to write kid’s stories? I don’t have kids, yet, but I feel I can teach children something. Maybe, it might also help parents. I want to, in a cute way, share these struggles and teach them about respect, trust, and more.
Through my kid’s stories, I hope to shed light on this darkness that children and adults alike can learn from. Don’t worry, though, I’ll still be writing my other novels as well.
To sum things up, I decided to share this because I have preached about being vulnerable in your writing, yet I haven’t shown you vulnerability. I could get more vulnerable than this story, but I figured this was a good place to start. Plus, it felt good to share. I know I may get some backlash on this because people may see me as some ungracious brat, and if you feel that way, so be it. I’ve said these exact words to my Dad before, but “Only I know what I feel and think inside, just like only you know how you feel and think inside. It’s up to you to believe whether I’m share my true feelings or not.” I can tell you a million times I’m being truthful, but it’s ultimately up to you to believe me or not.
Hopefully, there is something in my story you can resonate with, and I hope that nobody views me as a brat. But, as long as you read this and it stirs up some type of emotion, that’s all that matters.
“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” – Noel Coward
Make sure you grab your copy of Loved by Death here. I am going to make it available, soon, on other sites as well.