July 18, 2016
STUFF I KNOW (c) April Krubel (Guest writer)
“I wish I could see you, but I need to get some stuff in order right now. Maybe another time.”
These are the words of a now dead man….my father…..who I never saw or heard from again. It was the ONE and only conversation I ever had with him. I was about 19 on a payphone in the employee break room of Meier & Frank in downtown Portland. I was sobbing and couldn’t change his mind.
I spent the next (far too many) years trying to make others love me and never leave me. I acted like a complete idiot ravaged with jealousy and insecurities. I was dramatic and drank too much because it “gave me courage” and I could forget my pain. I gave my power to everything outside of me and embarrassed myself more times than I can remember. I was the “party girl” because I always got plenty of attention to feed my need for acceptance. I wished I was someone else nearly every day and sabotaged anything good that came into my life because I didn’t think I deserved it. His absence did a number on my self-esteem.
Then, one day….I truly had enough. I started taking my life back. It was a muddy process, but even the baby steps were progress. I never stopped looking towards the woman I wanted to be even when I fell backwards on my journey. I knew I could write ANY story I wanted about my future and I was in charge.
My father died with regret. I believe when he reached the end of his life he reflected on all the missed opportunities. I think he realized his lack of courage to do the right thing made a life mostly wasted. I know he was a good person, but that wasn’t quite enough to do the right things.
Forgiveness does not mean you condone or support the behavior. It does not mean you allow it into your life. It simply means it no longer has power over you. And when we stop villainizing those who have done us wrong, we start to see they did the best they could with what they knew. If my father had known better, he would’ve done better. I won’t let his lack of evolution poison my existence.
Today I am grateful for the missed opportunities, the abandonment, the stupid decisions. I am rich with experience, lessons, and strength of overcoming emotional obstacles. I appreciate the good that many others take for granted and married a man who hits a home run as a dad. Getting Chuck as a father was a gift even if it didn’t look like one. I feel exactly the same way about every misstep in the wrong direction.