The Father/Daughter thing: Dad told me he loved me....

29. Aug, 2016

.... aged 79, after I had apologised for some of my judgemental and dismissive attitudes. His profession meant he was away throughout most of my childhood, leaving our mother to raise us. She had her own 'stuff'; abandonment featured heavily in her life, so no surprise that she (and he) picked someone who wasn't going to be around that much. All this is factual, not 'good' or 'bad'. It just was.


 I spent most of my early adult life, dating a series of boy/men; both of us trying to get from the other what we had not received as children. Now, after a good deal of hard work, I am much more conscious of this pattern, and am in a relationship; with myself; however touchy feely that may sound.


 The father/daughter 'thing is THE most significant relationship (apart from the one with the mother) for a girl/woman. Patterns set in childhood are set to repeat in adult life. The distant absent father is likely to prompt the grown woman to pursue absent, non-committal men. She thinks she wants 'intimacy', but the reality is, she is frightened of it, as he is. The two embark on an addictive 'dance' which is, of course familiar, but often, deeply unsatisfying for both parties.


 My dad and I are now close. After I apologised for some of my attitudes, and said I understood why he made the choices he made (his marriage to mum had its fair share of ups and downs – with both sides playing their part), and was able to share some of my own struggles, in his kitchen, with the uncontrollable Labrador looking on, his eyes filled with tears. Not overly demonstrative; he's a Yorkshireman, we managed a hug, and I remember his arms around me, and mine around him. We did not have to 'say' much; there was a healing and a reconciliation. I would describe it as a 'coming home'. I treasured, and treasure that moment now.


 Our choice of career/profession can also mirror our unresolved childhood struggles. Until we begin to face these often uncomfortable truths, then often, we are doomed to repeat our patterns over and over again. Once we start the reflective process, there may be no dramatic change in circumstances, as we are all complex and multi-layered, like a Bake Off cream slice. I am still freelance, and I ADORE my own space, but I am more conscious of what motivates me. I can now make real choices, rather than act compulsively because something unresolved needs to be healed. I attribute this to a good deal of therapy, which continues, and some god (whoever she is) given courage to sit with myself no matter what.

 Such freedom.


 I know not all of us lead examined lives. But despite the pain, and the deep discomfort, I am glad I chose 'the road less travelled'. The phrase was coined by M Scott Peck, and was the second self-reflective book I ever read. It's another truth, that many of us do not choose to examine our internal lives; but those that do, often because the pain gets too much, find that being 'conscious' can, on balance, be more of a blessing than a curse. The first, by the way, was 'Families and How to Survive them', by the late Dr. Robin Skynner and John Cleese. Both have been out for years, but are worth an Amazon buy.


 I don't go to dad for more complex emotional support, I have others who can meet that need, but I know he loves me deeply, as I do him, and I am able to accept him as he is, and vice versa. It's taken a while, but I got the father/daughter relationship I have always craved. The knock on effect, is an ability to accept myself as I am and where I am. Very precious.

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9. Jun, 2016

Stay IN: and Strawberry Sours'll be £50 a pop....get OUT and the duty'll be the killer....more referendum rumours on the podcast......

Keep Calm and Go Freelance...

2. Jun, 2016

An honour to do: talked about the struggles as well as the  'such fun!' bits

An honour to do: talked about the struggles as well as the 'such fun!' bits


20. Apr, 2016

and, as the pic suggests; pet. When the cat goes; (I have the Blue Cross helpline number in front of me now; she's fine at the minute), I'm getting a THREE legged greyhound. She's in a dog's home near me. Her beauty pageant days may be over, but she'll be an antidote to the increasing number of supermodel specimens sauntering by on the street outside my flat. Go back 20 years, and the 'it girl' handbag was THE accessory. I just had an eating disorder. 


 Why is it that so many of us, consciously or unconsciously, seem to pursue an ideal that we can never reach?  'Progress, not perfection', was one of the many support group mantras I memorised, when beginning the slow and  painful recovery from bulimia, two decades ago.   The rage, shame and lonliness were never eased by the 6 eclairs and 3 bars of (non-organic) chocolate I ate late at night, in the loo. All obsessive behaviours, and yes, that includes the more acceptable work addiction, are signs of a deeper longing, at least, that's my perspective and experience. Like it or not, our bodies will sag (no matter how much surgery we sign up for),  our minds let things slip, even if we're ultra bright, and even the most complex comp - I'm told it's the F35 - must say 'no' sometimes, just for the high tech hell of it. 


A focused high achiever I know, suggested I have 'cleaning the house/supermarket shop/sorting out my pants, 'goals'. I have to work hard at what's now called 'executive functioning'. Sorting out life's minutae so that I can exist, on my own, or with others, in a nourishing and joyful environment, makes some kind of sense. I'm the reason why Tesco's post it/felt pen profits are now Trump Tower high. I'm sure this kind of micro planning IS important, and sometimes it works. But the day spent preparing the flat for what was going to be a transFORMATIVE paint job, left me wiped, and weeping gently into a large glass of 'Gruner Veltliner'. (Austrian white, W'rose special offer, just got it out of the fridge to read label; thought I'd live a bit). All prepped for the decorating shindig, I tripped over my #quicksetsolutionforawkwardgaps  expanding foam Polyfilla  spray, (Tesco direct 6.99 - this is NOT a sponsored feature, I promise), and am now wearing a heat patch on my lower back. 


I am also constantly revamping the CV - the 'blink and you'll miss it' pension - online presence' - and the rest; in an attempt to keep the cash coming in until I don't get to retire, ever. I have my 'goals', but in smaller more manageable steps. This, I find, is more holistic, realistic and above self caring, than the 'all or nothing' misery making compulsive decisions, of my eating disordered past.


Of course, I have not got it all sussed. Driveness, the critical parent/superior 'friend', still snaps at my heels, or tries to live rent free, in my head, and start a conversation.  Sometimes, when I choose, this voice, which I make more compassionate, can be a useful tool. Generally though, if i don't keep it simple and small, I get sick. And I want to stay and live well. So, I update a para, rather than the whole CV in one go, shop the supermarket -  but don't try and carry a whole week's worth of fruit and veg home, and make the Polyfilla back pain worse. I Laugh ALOT more, spend more time with the kids I love, and hang on (despite the obvious horrors) to my sense of wonder at the world.

AND THE GREYHOUND............?

The three legged Greyhound, has, I'm told, found her imperfect home at last. Complete with an imperfect companion who loves her to bits.