Sunday, September 18, 2011

Filling in some gaps...(a family history lesson)


 This post is of a very personal nature.  If you feel you cannot handle it, please feel free to move on and there'll be no hard feelings.  Of this I promise.  However, please note, this is why comments are monitored/screened before being posted.  Any one that feels the need to be hateful or hurtful in leaving their comments they can just go ahead and click the little red x up at the top right hand side of your screen now. 

Thank you.

A while back while posting a playlist I made mention that I would explain why it is that I loved certain songs (specifically those that speak of empowerment, particularly female empowerment), at that time, I said that I'd explain later.  I think now is later and is a good time to go into why I take those sorts of songs rather personally.

When I was a kid my parents got divorced when I was 6 or so.  My father disappeared when I was nearly 8.  Over the years I made many attempts to try and find him, always getting close, yet never close enough.  When I'd ask the barnacle why it was they got divorced, she'd tell me "he got my best friend pregnant and he had to marry her."  Keep in mind this was back in the early 70's, a time when divorce wasn't as commonplace as it is today.  Even still to a 9 year old, this didn't make much sense.  He had me, why would he just up and leave me?  I could never figure it out.  I was daddy's little girl.  I only have one picture of us as a family and even at that my older cousin is in it.  I don't talk much to her unfortunately, she's basically on the other side of the country and at that we've hardly a thing in common.  Yet we've a few family pictures we're in.

Dad, Me, The Barnacle & Cousin

I'm the little one that's got the "chicken legs" as my dad would say, lol.  So going on, growing up with the barnacle, yes that's her in the photo above.  The 1.0 version of her.  I dare not post a 2.0 version, firstly I don't think I have a current photo and lastly I don't think your monitor would be wide enough for the image.

Anyway, moving on, she would tell me that he got my step-monster pregnant and that's why he took off, so I promised myself...."Self, if ever you meet up with your Dad again, find out why he left". 

That's just what I did.

I always said that if ever my Dad wanted to try and find me he would and how he would do it if he were a smart man would be to send a letter to my grandmother (the barnacle's mother) and she'd forward it to me.  Which is exactly what he did.

I got that letter 3 weeks before my 25th birthday.  I sent him a letter overnight postal to call me, collect if need be, the number and photos of my wedding day.

The Wonder One and Me (age 23)

I got the letter on a Friday, sent it out that very day and he got it on a Saturday, called me that afternoon from California.  We talked for quite a while.  First thing I asked him that I promised myself that I would, oh so many years before..."Why did you and mom split up?"  Very clearly he stated and I can remember this to this day, "Because your mother cannot keep house to save her life."  Well, having lived with the barnacle, I knew he wasn't lying.  There was more to the story than that, but that's the nutshell version.

He asked about The Wonder One, I bragged about what a wonderful man he was.  My dad replied, "Well that's good, it's a good thing you've got a good man and that you've got a good head on your shoulders, because, well, let's face it, you're not the prettiest gal in the world."  Yep, he was looking at my wedding pictures that I had sent him.  There were not words to tell you how gutted and devastated I was to hear these words come out of his mouth.

For every girl growing up, it's a pretty much drawn conclusion that the first man she falls in love with (if he's in the picture that is) is her father.  To hear such a criticism come from the one person you place on such a lofty pedestal...well, to say the least, it brings everything you thought you knew about yourself crashing down around you.  I'm realistic, I know I'm never going to compete for some cover of a magazine and win, but I'm also not ugly enough to scare some troll out from under his bridge either.  So to hear something like that from the one person who is supposed to love you unconditionally is gut wrenching.

That's why songs from Christina Aguilera (Beautiful) and Pink (F'in Perfect) hit so close to home for me.  It's hard to hear that you aren't these things without it becoming ingrained and you start to believe it.  Some things have to be unlearned.  Sometimes you need the help of people who don't even know you exsist, just so that you can.


  1. Shannon,

    It took great courage for you to write this post. I don't have a relationship with my "father" either (albeit for different reasons) so this post hit very close to home for me. Personally, I think you look absolutely stunning in your wedding photo. I can't understand how someone (father or not) could say something like that. As for your father, it's a shame that he'll never get to know the real person behind the photograph. And that, certainly, is his great loss. You should take great pride in the fact that you grew up to be the wonderful person you are today WITHOUT him, and I really hope that you don't let his words define who you are and how you feel about yourself. It's very true that friends are the family you actually get to choose, and WE love you.

  2. I grew up with my Da calling me Mikie,, as in *Give it to Mikie, he'll eat anything*. The human garbage disposal was also popular. I can certainly understand exactly how you feel. Knowing you as I do, I know the beauty that you have inside you is equal to the beauty on the outside too. I think you're gorgeous, always have always will. I love you with all my heart, and I know that a crappy childhood sucks,, But I also like to believe that the people that we surround ourselves with as we grow, make us better people. I surround myself with the likes of you!

  3. Shannon - you deserved a real dad. I so identify. Sorry for these men who pose as fathers, but are neither men, nor fathers. My dad is the same. And I married a wonder one, too, like you. Yay, us!

  4. You turned out great in spite of the thoughtless, unfeeling things both of your parents said to you. Probably my biggest regret in life is that we didn't have children to give us the opportunity to try to get it right ourselves (granted, I had a much easier time than you; there were only a few things I'd change). You call me the Wonder One, but I think you're the wonderful one.

  5. By the way, I still think I look great in that tux (that I picked out). Just think, I'm now almost at the weight I was when that picture was taken. You look great yourself, I remember that day like it was yesterday. Here's looking forward to at least another 20 or 50 years together