True confession: I was worried when I hit the PUBLISH button on my last entry, the one about why dads matter. I worried I was opening up a whole can of worms; I didn't know if the essay would upset anyone, or if they would think bad things about my dad, or bad things about me for revealing some of his darker demons and the effect they had on me as a child and, later, a grown up.
But (I thought as I clicked PUBLISH), screw it. Honesty matters to me. I find it important to be open and willing to share what is or was true for me. (This is why storytellers tell stories, you know...because they can't NOT do it, but also because they're consummate observers of Life and Humanity. It's a deep, dark need to understand and know and puke out some type of catharsis...I think.)
My dad was a lovely, wonderful, really good guy. He also struggled with some inner turmoil. I know a lot of people are really lovely, wonderful, good guys who maybe have some inner turmoils; I know a lot of people out there maybe know some lovely, wonderful people who they're watching struggle with inner turmoils right now. It's nice to read something, or hear someone speak a truth, and have your soul recognize theirs, experience a common affinity, an understanding. (I call this: Finding Tribe.) (You can't steal that--I'm working on the trademark.)
Also, please know: I couldn't have written that blog entry were he still alive today; his story was and is a lesson for me, but also for people who didn't know him at all, and that's all very true because his story happens to have an ending, and it was the kind of ending we can all walk away from in agreement about (i.e., the themes of: Don't Wait, Don't Build Walls). Also know that I'm an incredibly different person today simply because he's not here; I don't have to worry about pleasing him or disappointing him, two things I spent my entire childhood and young adulthood really really focused on. (In fact, still struggle with people pleasing and extreme conflict avoidance. Hurrah, Dad, thanks!) Here's the whole point to this blog entry (I do have one): Truth-telling in stories and essays and blogs and other places is important and it's important because:
1-People were touched by what I wrote. Homies (who HAVE to tell you things like this, if they're really your homies) told me I need to send that shit somewhere besides blogger and facebook. One person (a relative) is currently setting aside money to buy my first novel (because seriously, where would we be without supportive family members? They're our first fan club presidents).
2-More important than all of number 1? I had at least 2 people contact me privately after that blog entry to say thank you for writing it, that it really moved them, and they wanted to reach out with some of their own struggles, and--you know--basically connect with me. Connections were made.
And therein lies the power of Story.
It's really important to be honest--with and to yourself, with and to other people, and cling to Truth as much as you can. When you tell a story, be it an essay of a personal nature (like my dad's), or a work of fiction, it's important to be honest. I actually think it's harder to be honest in fiction, because you'll need to weave the truth into the story threads. I'll give an example: I've been re-reading a really wonderful story by a novelist friend of mine called THE LIGHTNING CHARMER (highly recommend! Kathryn Magendie writes incredibly rich, well-developed characters--she's a master) (also there's a lot of hot (tastefully hot) sex in this book and, uh, it's summer and summer's a good time for that soooo....wait, what? is that an OCTOPUS behind you?? Watch out!)
What's that? Nothing was behind you? Huh, weird. Wow, sorry. My bad. Where was I? Right. Truth. Story. At so many points, I'm being gut punched by a casual observation, or a memory, made by a character in Kat's book. A thought voiced by a character will resonate so powerfully in me, I have to stop and get a pen, underline that thought, because it crystallized something for me, or I identified so strongly with it...it spoke to me.
Stories are essentially all about connections. They bind people. They soften our hearts, heal our wounds, make us think, push us to change, or encourage us to start (or not give up). That's where stories connect us all, as a species. Doesn't that make you deliriously happy to be a human being? To know that our people brains have been given the magical power to do that with, to, and for one another? It makes me so happy. Kangaroos certainly don't WHUPOW! each other. I mean, they do. Just not via stories. ('Cause, uh, they...use...their feet. To WHUPOW! each other. And you too, if you get too close. ...............Never mind. Kangaroos are probably not good metaphors.)
In other Official News of a Personal Nature:
Miss M is now officially a REAL Mermaid ("Mommy! I'm learning to be like Ariel! Aren't you so happy?") Of course, my love! Who the hell doesn't want to be Ariel's mommy?? Just stop singing those frickin' songs from FROZEN, and we'll be copacetic.
Seriously, it's like some wonderful, weird fairy godmother wand waved over her, and she can't NOT be underwater now. She's like Rush Limbaugh swimming naked in a sea of Viagra and loose women. (I'm sorry. I so apologize about that. You weren't eating, were you? Just go back to the mermaid theme.)