What I Would Tell Daddy

Life is funny. Just when I think I am certain I know myself, age softens me. I know that a whole world of events is necessary for building a complete richly multi-faceted person such as myself. I am only halfway there. I know that you cannot sift out those choice moments from those painful ones you’d sooner forget. It hit me the other day – I have a strong personality. Yes true. I thought about how bad it sounds to have a strong personality, like you’re overbearing, a control freak, bold, loud etc. I counted up all the reasons I may have started out soft and hardened into a strong personality and stopped counting after inventorying break-ups, scars and hospital stays. I decided, damn fucking straight I’m a strong personality, and whomever knows me, likes me that way..plus I don’t know any rated G pansies at this point in life. All those many layers of who I really am started from the moment I graced my mother’s inner thighs and wailed a cry that could have been nothing other than a miraculous earth-shattering first phrase from an infant! It was an undeniably, pitch- perfect full on CRY that enunciated – “oh shit, I’m not ready.” See here-I was two weeks late. Uh huh, I am nodding like Melissa McCarthy. A theme was purely foreshadowed for a lifetime of tardiness. I invite you to think about that. Moments like these may be key in piecing together what impact it had, when you, like me, were always selected last in gym class? Ordinary moments are the pinnacle of importance in the building blocks of people’s personalities.
Here’s what I mean. Let it be known- I have never shared this before, not even with my mother. It was about 1984, that ill-fated, Spring day, me in my nylon shorts and white polo shirt cutting into my arms, sausage-like.. cowering In the midst of a bunch of really cute girls with good posture and lots of purple eyeliner, me, talking to no one-complete lack of words, I mean, what would say? “I’m am soo excited! “ ” I just love this song!” or “I wonder if I will be SOO good they decide they need 13 on their team instead of 12?” It just didn’t exactly make sense that I was trying out for the drill team. I could tell no one. Just imagining my sister’s taunting, stoking of words she’d be readying to fire at me if she found out-SHE would NOT find out. I was on my side. I was open to who I could still become. Knowing all too well, my parents could care less where I was. I was doing some research on stuff. I knew I wasn’t THAT cool. I was in the band, I wore those uniforms, and they were NOT pretty.
But seriously for young teens especially, until you have put down some seedlings – you cannot know. It’s true- I had sprouted. It’s just sometimes you don’t know what you planted. I could’ve been a weed or a wildflower at this point- it was a crap shoot. One of the very reasons I know there is some sort of GOD is that I blossomed into such a paradoxical straddling of good and bad, whim and reason, teetering on sweet and bitter, my whole life may not be have been what it is today if not for exactly every detail of it.
Today, I still don’t take time to observe trying to” be” cool cause, frankly it’s as much of a waste as streaking would be. But admittedly-there is an inkling of leftover rebellion from my grunge years. I would be lying if I said otherwise. On occasion in my back yard I put on an a moldy oldie, Nirvana, The Beasties’ some De La Soul or Screaming Trees and pull weeds and really prove to my plants that I ROCK! I pride myself on having very nice speakers and not just an iPod docking station- cause these don’t do music justice. I respect the music enough to play it at full range, as it was intended; highlighting the bass, the treble the sound picked up in studio, the recorded nuances resonating. It’s especially euphoric on a Friday night on the back deck, sound stretching itself over my nicely manicured lawn. Thank god that crotchety old man who raised me taught me about music….And even let me call him Daddy even though my eyes were green. He taught me everything I know. My trucker mouth is a testament to his teachings. He was a Marine. He schooled me starting as far back as reel to reel, then 8 track, we even ordered Super Bubble off the TV! Music always played at our house, the Stones, The Beatles, Chicago. He had all of it in his collection from Dusty Springfield, to Madame Butterfly. And If he could tune in to me today the way he tunes into Disney Channel- sitting for hours laughing, I might tell him “Daddy, I still like music, and war movies and the junk yard.” “Daddy, when you die no-I’ll make sure no one touches your Japanese imports records.” I would tell him “you were NOT the reason I never tried out for a single thing in school again and you were right about my stubbornness.” I might even show him how to work the remote, but he is either grumpy or does not care what I tell him.
True, honest self evolving takes time. This is why I take it now, with you. I recognize the value in archiving the real meaning in present day life. It requires many tearful hours spent doing about faces in the mirror, realizing- that really IS you, just in reverse. I heard that appalling song the other day “Let’s Hear it for the Boy.” The one at tryouts in Junior high, and I still felt genuinely unmoved by it. If a girl had danced to that song successfully, it was her true calling in life to be a Sea Gal, or a Rockette or an impersonator. Clearly, whomever pulled off those jumps while smiling to that song was ready for Hollywood. I know I would have shaken my ass and leaped with the poise of a dolphin had they played Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin.
Today, adding up my tales of adventure, romance, heartbreak and tales of grief, I’m overwhelmingly happy about this life. I’m more patient and kind than probably my mother or sister would have anticipated. I take time to take time so yesterday doesn’t become today. Through the failures and the awkwardness of it all, the world is gonna be okay. I am still however, confused that, yes that is really me, standing there at attention in the mirror, only it’s as I see the world, mostly good and a little backwards.

One thought on “What I Would Tell Daddy

  1. I love your writing. You have a great voice, honesty. Too rare!

    I wonder if the format or the template you have used is to blame here, your text as one contiguous paragraph without break.

    But I want to read it… but it is very hard.

    I love your writing.

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