Last night I talked to my dad for the first time in months, and you know what, I am still kind of mentally drained from it.
The thing about talking to my dad is that I have to choose my words very carefully, and it gets quite tiring.
My dad is elderly — he turns 80 this year — and very conservative. On Christmas Day I stopped by his house to drop off a gift, and on his front lawn there was a yard sign that said something about liberty and religious freedom — those good old conservative buzzwords. I'm certain that I cringed and then left as quickly as possible (he wasn't home at the time). I'm not out at all to him. I don't know if gay people exist in his world, but if they do, I'm not sure I want to know what he has to say about us. Since he doesn't know I'm gay, he doesn't know about my girlfriend, and since he doesn't know about my girlfriend, he doesn't understand why I still live where I do (my gf is one of the reasons I'm still here).
As far as I can tell, my dad still thinks of me as I was in late high school/early college: an aspiring writer and hellbent on becoming a print journalist. As such, from time to time he will send me clippings of newspaper job openings in St.Louis. I never know whether to think of this as cute or depressing as I'm not interested in print journalism anymore and I'm rather indifferent to moving back to St.Louis.
Needless to say, talking to my dad can be kind of a mindfuck. In addition to having to closet myself and his weird attempts at trying to get me to move back home, my dad is an all-around questionable guy. My mother divorced him when I was 15, and I honestly think she would have done it sooner if not for her own father, who was super Catholic and probably would have disapproved of her getting a second divorce. At any rate, my mother has never given me all of the details — and I'm not sure I want to know all of them anyway — but part of the reason why she divorced my dad is because he was emotionally abusive and manipulative, especially as far as shared finances were concerned. I was too young to notice the subtleties, but I know that looking back I was far happier after my mother and I moved out, and my mother was free to spend money how she wanted (mostly on me and my education). As much as I want to dislike my father and push him out of my life completely, I find that I can't and that he has a way of coming back whether I want him to or not.
Sorting out my feelings about my dad is difficult because I clearly get some of my more prominent personality traits from him, and it is nice to share that with someone because I certainly don't share much with my mother, even if she's the parent I'm technically closer to. Also, for all of his flaws, my dad is gifted artisan — he was a carpenter and bookbinder by trade — and as a creative type myself (hmm, where did that come from), I have to respect that. But then there is the added layer of feeling like a generally shitty daughter for blatantly ignoring my dad. Blah, this shit is complicated, and it dredges up these feelings every time I have to talk to him.
I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I don't really have anyone IRL who understands this junk. Thanks for letting me blather on, GT.