Father abhorred laziness. “The idle mind is the Devil’s playground!” he’d say. Or: “What are you trying to do; win the horizontal championship?”
Well, I’m the horizontal champion now, thanks to illness. Wonder what he’d say about that? Still, I’m not lazy.
To my face he was hardcore, unless he was soppy drunk, then the he’d tell me how much smarter than him I was, and that he loved me, and ask if I knew that – all very confusing, and somewhat frightening, to be honest.
Sober, we were all goddamn idiots and didn’t know how to do anything right. “You don’t know what problems are,” he was fond of saying if I ever moaned, or: “Take that mood to your room; we don’t want any of it.”
But when severe menstrual pain would double me over, he’d sit at my bedside and apply pressure with a pillow. “Just like I used to do for my sisters.”
And when I moved away from home at the age of seventeen to escape his brutality, he called me every morning to make sure I was okay.
As I say, very confusing.
“Don’t do as I do; do as I say,” was another favourite and one that really riled me. Dad was an alcoholic, with violent tendencies: a brick wall, who declared himself omnipotent. We were to be “seen not heard” and always ushered to bed before he got home from work. He was unpredictable and impulsive, and no matter how hard we tried we could never please him.
And then he bragged about us behind our backs.
In retrospect, he likely suffered PTSD from war time combat (he was a commando on a suicide mission), plus he was born a female in a male body – something I never fully understood until after he was gone.
I know that he believed that God hated him, although he’d always profess that the “Good Lord will provide”; and I know that towards the end of his life he regretted much.
I also recognize, fourteen years after his passing, that I / we missed out on a relationship that might have been.
(The focus for my weekly challenge is: “Things my father said.” )