Father's Day

I need to cry but I can't cry. So I'll write because, for me, that's close to crying, it's a release of emotion, a vulnerable and personal act. I didn't want to wake up this morning. Every time my eyes began to open and let in the sunlight streaming through my bedroom window, I clamped the lids shut and buried my face in the pillow. I didn't want to move. I didn't want to be disturbed. I didn't want anyone to ask anything of me. I didn't want to read or write or even be conscious. My bed is my refuge right now. It's soft and I like covering myself with blankets because it feels like someone holding me, it feels like this perfect cocoon where I can't be harmed and, more than anything, I need to feel safe and protected. I love my room. It's the only place of freedom I've ever really known. I have old hollywood stars on the walls and stacks of books everywhere and pictures and a globe of the world and little trinkets I've collected over the years. My room looks very juvenile, with purple walls and a pink dresser. It looks like a little girl's room, at least it feels that way to me, but then there are Susan Sontag's journals and The Blue Octavo Notebooks and all my Virginia Woolf books. There are all these parts of myself struggling to dominate--the intellectual part, the silly part, the mature part, the naive part, and so on. But that's to be expected. I'm only 23. I'm not a child but not really an adult either. I am lost somewhere in between.

I didn't want to wake up because it was Father's Day and I don't have a father anymore. We didn't visit the grave. I wonder if we should have. We didn't really mark the day. I avoided the internet for the most part. It was too painful to read all the posts about other people's dads. I am still very jealous and resentful of people with fathers. This is an ugly part of me, one that I don't like to acknowledge. It was worse after he first died. I loathed the kids at school. When I heard some of them complain about their dads, I would become livid inside but I always hid the anger. I was consumed by my grief at the time. I know everyone has complicated relationships with their parents. I know that it's not anyone's fault that my dad is dead. I can't project that on to other people. But it still hurts to see girls with their fathers. It hurts to see elderly old men when I know that my dad is forever 45, the age at which he died. I will always wonder what he would have looked like with gray hair and wrinkles. I will wonder about a lot of things.

So today was painful, like it always is, like it's been for the past seven years. What I wouldn't give for one day with my dad. Everyone says that, I know. But I really did think it today. What I wouldn't give. But that's not possible. We say those things hypothetically, knowing that it will never be an option. He is gone. He will always be gone.

I was also thinking about this blog today and why I have it and what purpose it serves. Am I being exploitative by writing about him? Should I keep my thoughts and memories private? Should I share such intimate things online? Why do I feel the need to write these things at all? I tell myself that I want to connect with other people, I want to bear witness to my life, my pain, my grief and, in the process, make sense of what I've experienced. I also see writing as an act of creation. I'm trying to create myself anew, birth a different self, but I don't know if I'm actually accomplishing that. I don't know if these words mean anything to anyone besides me. And I worry that I have allowed myself to be too defined by my grief. My father's death is the only story I have, but am I going too far? Am I too consumed? Is it all too much? I don't know. I just don't know. 

I feel like I am constantly failing as a writer, that I've put the impossible burden on myself of writing the grief and pain out of me, of giving voice to this one singular loss that is, to be honest, unspeakable. I write and I write and I write but I am still dying in this silence, in this ineffable tragedy. Often, my mind doesn't even process things anymore. Sometimes writing is therapeutic and sometimes it's excruciating because I am so exhausted, so worn down, so without language and without the words I need, words that I once thought were lying somewhere inside me but now I think maybe I am only silence and darkness and nothingness. His death has completely annihilated me. It killed the person I was. It killed my dreams and my hopes and my innocence and my illusions. I am parts of a person, not a full human being. I am shards and what do you do with shards? 

I keep trying to imagine the future, the life yet to come and I can't envision it. I want to matter. I want to be heard. I want to accomplish something, contribute to the world. I want to write words that are meaningful. I fear that his death has trapped me in a place I cannot escape, that I am so traumatized that I cannot function, that I will always be in this bedroom with my books and I will be content because I love this room but I'll have missed out on something grand and beautiful. And yet, this solitary, lonely life is all I know and it's all I can bear. I have my books, my journal, my films, my music, all the things that fulfill me. Why do I have to be more? Why do I keep pushing myself to be something I'm not? My quiet life in the country has value too. Who I am right now is complicated and contradictory and messy but it has value too. I am too much. I praise all the girls who are too much, I am proud to be one of them, with our thoughts and passions and shyness and dreams and this cauldron inside of us that keeps churning and churning. We overflow. We write and cry and lose ourselves in art and find ourselves again somehow. Cixous knew this. Cixous knew that we gush and brim, that we are a torrent, that we are excessive, that wave after wave crashes in us. No one will ever fully know or appreciate us but we have ourselves. I have myself. I have these inadequate words that stumble over one another, that never get to the point, that never touch what they are trying to reach, but I have to keep reaching, you see. I have to keep writing even though I feel like such a failure, such a pathetic imitator and impostor, such a fraud to call myself a writer at all.