**Please note: I am incredibly tired and there is a good chance this post makes no sense. Enjoy*
It’s hard to say what I feel right now. No surprise really, given I can’t really label my emotions correctly anyway. I should explain. I have just returned from a round trip interstate. Melbourne to Queensland and back again with my father. My grandmother passed away and we had to go to Queensland for the funeral. We have a torrid relationship. One built on a foundation of genetic relationship. There’s really no denying my linage. You can tell from the minute you see us together that we are father and daughter. I am very uncomfortable about just how similar we are. So much so, that I have dedicated 20/35 years on this planet to not be like him. You can’t fight genetics. I’ve tried and failed terribly.
I had very little to do with my dad during my late childhood and adolescences. Today was unusual in the fact that I didn’t react to any baiting. I come from a long line of shit-stirrers and games like “Lets tell stories about all the mistakes Pinky has made” gets played a lot. Like most people, I have a past. One I am not always proud of, but I own it. To have this dragged out at every family gathering is tiring. I made some poor choices and got myself in debt and in the shit. I learnt from it. So even though I will be paying off my debt till the day I die, I guess it was worth it. I certainly wont be doing it again. Ever. I think I am a disappointment to my father. I have had a successful career as a nurse, but my OCD limited that career to 7 short years. I still love medicine but its more of an interest/hobby than anything else these days. My brother on the other hand is very successful. Associate Partner at his work before he’s 40. Pretty ace and I am proud of him. He owns his home, travels regularly and ski’s in New Zealand every other year. While I am happy for him, I still think there should be a law that says your little sister should go skiing in NZ as well…but that is another post. Dad has nothing to boast about with me. In his mind I really haven’t achieved anything. He was surprised today at the level of achievement I had in nursing. I was rather good at it. I worked in Aged Care (high-care dementia and palliative care). I always took a shine to my mischievous residence as they offered me the greatest challenges. I never needed restraints (chemical or other wise) because I worked with my residence and not against them. If they were stuck in 1942, I went to 1942 with them. If they called me by another name, I answered. I would also find out who the person they were calling me was/is and find out about story behind it. A little investigating goes a very long way. For patients with minimal or no family contact it can be a little tricky, but there are ways of finding out history. I loved the abandoned residence the most but this post isn’t meant to be a lecture in nursing. >_<
When I told dad my success with my residence and how the intervention is now implemented as the norm for all seemed to blow his tiny mind. I said to him, “I’m not as stupid as you believe I am. I am rather good at understanding people. It’s a gift and curse” he muttered something about how he never thought I was stupid, just silly and irrational and something about, that I can’t help that because I’m a girl. This is the message I have grown up with. “You’re nothing more than a silly girl who will grow into an even sillier woman”. This is my example of what a man should look like. It really was inevitable that I was going to end up marrying the type of man that I did. For the record, I’m not silly because I am a girl. I’m silly because that’s my nature. I like to have fun. I like to laugh and tell bad jokes. I like to share the very silly things that happen to me because it makes people laugh and possibly feel better about themselves by comparison. This has nothing to do with my gender and everything to do with my ego.
That message will stick with me forever. It’s so ingrained. There is a positive to this tale Dear Reader, the awareness I have can be directed towards a better version of me evolving. I can be a better parent to my daughter and my sons by modelling the opposite of the stereotype. Women can be emotional, that’s true. Evolution requires us to be. Hormones force us to be! I believe it’s not a bad thing. Its very much a strength. My implies that some how it’s a fault to be a girl. I can’t get my head around it. I wanted to look him in the eye and say: “You are so fucked up. You just don’t see it, do you? You’re a freudian cliché. How sad for you” But I didn’t. I just listened to him slaughter my gender without comment. I know this is a battle I can’t win, so I don’t even engage.
It’s very draining biting your tongue. Constantly. It’s my nature to argue when I see an injustice taking place. It borders on compulsion. But I didn’t. I talked about Tony Abbott and asked how the “New Regime” in Queensland is going. I was a good girl. It gave me much comfort to be home and with people who think similarly to me. Who believe in reaching your full potential and seeking more enlightened (scientifically based) existence is the meaning of life. According to my father, this is a fault too. I guess I was right about my dad, we can’t have the relationship that I so dearly want, because he is not capable of being open to new ideas and accepting me as I am is not on his option list. To not be me, is no longer an option as it sends me batty. So I guess we are right at the beginning. Full circle. I’m a girl and he doesn’t know what to do with me…