morning alarm and my father’s shame
chasing me from bed
sun rays dance across my face
catbirds clear their throats
Today is Thursday. Market day. And there I was this morning, sound asleep. What a wonderful feeling. My sleep patterns have inched in the right direction for the last several months, and last night was the best yet.
The Market will wait. It’s almost time for lunch, and I’m just poking along without shame, enjoying the sun (not yet too hot) and the morning light. And thinking about my father and me. And shame. Partly because of recent posts about how women and girls are often shamed, and partly because Sunday is Father’s Day here in the USA.
I woke up thinking about my father’s shame. It was there long before I arrived. Shame about his father mercilessly shaming him. Shame about his face and crooked teeth that weren’t as handsome as he thought he might have been. Shame about not having at least one son. Shame about his social awkwardness and so much more.
From the moment I was born, my father’s shame was in the air. I believe it began with his father passing his own shame on to my father. I remember suggesting this to him when I was older. He thought my idea was nonsense. Yet I can’t ignore the reality that children are the recipients of unfinished business between their parents and grandparents. My father’s unfinished business was Shame.
From my childhood on, I believe my father projected a heavy dose of his shame on me. Sadly, I could never be the submissive little girl he believed I should be. In addition, my mother was never able (to her shame?) to present to him the son he desperately wanted. Score: 4 daughters, 0 sons. He joked about it sometimes. Yet living with him was no joke.
If there’s one thing I would wish for Dad on Father’s Day, it’s that he would look into a mirror, smile at himself without seeing all his defects, and see instead a man loved and sought by his Creator.
©Elouise Renich Fraser, 14 June 2018
Gray Catbird photo found at Birds of North America Online