I recently experienced this exchange with my father on facebook:
After which, I pondered about his inability to identify a single positive thing about me, and instead, was only able to discuss the thing he hates the absolute most about me.
It doesn't bother me that he hates me being gay. I mean it does, a little bit. But I know that he will never, ever change his views on that subject, so I am able to move past that.
What bothers me about this exchange is his absolute refusal to acknowledge anything good about me. Not one single thing. That's what hurts. I don't think I'm asking too much. But maybe I am. Anyways, this is solely to get this off of my chest. So here's the letter I wrote to him to clear the air, so to speak.
I'll likely never send it, to date it sits in my drafts folder, waiting on the command to be sent. But I'm a chickenshit loser, so that's not likely to happen.
*Let me set this up a bit more by explaining that after having endured a 6+ year estrangement, when we reconnected and saw each other again, one of the first things he said to me was, "I spent so many hours praying and asking God why my baby girl isn't in my life anymore."
**Let me also give you some back story on that. It was because my parents specifically told me NOT to contact them again. So I didn't. It was my dying great aunt's wish for us to reconnect, and for her, I agreed. The road, since then, has been rocky, at best.
How very sad it is for you that after spending an entire paragraph discussing the accomplishments of everyone in your family, you were unable to find one single positive thing to say about me. The only thing you could come up with was a complaint about my "lifestyle."
No mention of how, despite dealing with vision loss and legal blindness before the age of forty, I was able to get my art exhibited in a nationally renowned art show, or how I was able to achieve dual degrees in Computer Science and Computer Information Systems, with certs in Web Development and Web Design. No mention of how I have done freelance design work for international companies, or the work I have done for many not for profits as well as independent business owners. No mention of how I was able to become a seasonal employee trainer for the corporate department of a national electronics and technology retailer...
You only want to talk about my cursed lifestyle, but you don't even know what my "lifestyle" consists of.
Let me tell you about my "lifestyle": It is donating time, effort, and money to charitable organizations to help the homeless, the hungry, the underprivileged, even when I am strapped for cash, myself. My lifestyle consists of spending family time with my in-laws, my nephews, and a slew of others cooking family dinners, having family picnics in the park, and enjoying time with kind, loving, thoughtful people. My lifestyle is playing with small children and helping them learn their alphabet. My lifestyle is tending to my garden and creating pieces of art. My lifestyle is living a gentle life, a compassionate life, an empathetic life where I chose daily to help someone else who is in a worse position than I am. My lifestyle is comforting those in pain and campaigning to help those who haven't yet found their own voice against oppression. My lifestyle is caring for animals and giving a truly great and happy life to as many as I can, as often as I can.
My lifestyle is filled with love, pure love. So when you refer to who I chose to spend my life with, who I fell in love with, as being my "lifestyle" you are missing out on the majority of who and what I am.
I finally realize that you will never see any of the good that I do. And I'm never going to gain your approval. Honestly, I don't even want your approval anymore, because that would mean that I had betrayed everything good, and kind, and compassionate about myself in order to be the person you want me to be. And that would feel entirely too disgusting for me to live with. I tried that already, and it made me want to kill myself. No exaggeration. It literally made me want to die. And, on a few occasions, I earnestly tried, to make that happen. Luckily I failed. And then I learned to be me and to love me, in spite of my parent's refusal to, I learned to love me.
I'm going to tell you now what you have said to me time and time and time again throughout the course of my life:
We share the same blood, so I love you, but as a person, I really don't like you at all.
I don't understand how a parent can behave this way toward their own child, while behaving so differently toward their other child. And I don't understand how you can claim to be Christian, yet behave in a manner that is so very opposite of what Jesus actually taught!
So the next time you find yourself wondering why your daughter isn't in your life anymore, remind yourself about how you have, throughout her entire life, consistently been unable to acknowledge any of the good in her, and instead have always focused on what you hate about her. And then remind yourself of how you never did give that same measure of criticism to your other child.
Meanwhile, I'll continue to persevere and keep working on myself to improve who I am, as a person and to overcome a childhood that many others couldn't have survived.
I've finally come to understand that your rejection of me for being who I am says a whole lot more about you and your character than it will ever say about me and mine.
How very sad that is for you, indeed.