Montezuma: A Daughter’s pain revisited
“Now I am older, than my mother and father, when they had their first daughter, now what does that say about me?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdN2bfov9JQ
Edit: A few months after I published this, we are now on much better terms.
I had a couple of stories floating around in my head that needed, and still need, to get out sooner or later. But, last night, I woke up in tears after a dreadfully realistic dream that I had lost my father. Not normal, calm, weeping. Loud, intense, like I was furiously exiting my mother’s womb all over again, afraid and tired and hungry, waiting to be held close. I cried so much I almost suffocated. My nostrils were filled to the brim with snot, and I was trying to bury my head in my pillow in hopes of not waking anyone up. Then, I realized I was going long spells of time without breathing as a result of this, and that I needed to just stop somehow. I felt terrible for disrupting my partner’s sleep, but was grateful to have him there, and grateful he didn’t ask me what my dream was about this time, as he had the other times I have awful dreams that prompt this response.
In general, the intensity and lucidity of my dreams have historically excited and frightened me since I was a child. As you can imagine, when a dream is good, it’s so good, and when bad, so bad, etc. There are days that are boring and or sad when I look forward to sleeping because I might have more fun there.
My father and I have a very broken, tense, long distance relationship. Actually, we don’t have a relationship and we haven’t for some time now. My talent for deflecting hard feelings has been exercised heavily because of my Father.
My Father was my hero. Every morning he would take me to school in his blue Ford Ranger pickup truck and we’d study. We would go to the playground where the numbers and letters were painted on the floor with boxes, and I felt like my Dad and I had entered this magical machine where we shrunk and got to play on the pages of a textbook, so it was fun.
My Dad taught me how spell, count, swim, how to play baseball, and basketball. In fact, he was my basketball coach for two years and I hated how he only put me into the game for the minimum requirement of two minutes often….didn’t he know I was only doing sports to please him? I was so embarrassed that my own Dad was my coach and thought I was trash. He taught me what favoritism and nepotism were and how he said regardless of how good I was, he would never put me in for too long to avoid anyone accusing him of this. I actually become decent at basketball, though I vowed never to do anything athletic every again from the PTSD.
My Father taught me how to drive manual transmission and helped me buy my first car. He taught me the word initiative…well, my dad was in the United States Marine Corps and he sorta raised me with elements of the USMC.
When I was 12 years old, my father, 39, got tired of being a family man. He had married my mother at age 21 (she was 18) after 4 years of dating. He was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and immigrated to Baghdad, Arizona as a teen. He worked in the fields every summer, was a popular jock at Oxnard High School, didn’t go to college, and joined the Marine Corps during wartime (Persian Gulf War). You bet he wanted some fun with no strings attached. His alcoholism was rearing it’s head out as well, and the image of my hero began to crumble.
It began to transition from crumble to full blown pain, and drill deep holes into my heart around the time my Father met this young woman named L. L was a Jehovah’s Witness, yet she spent a lot of time and money dedicated to taking care of her appearance. She was pretty, young, not better than my Mom, but different. She wore tight outfits that emphasized her best features, and wore a lot of makeup but well. To be clear, I am not knocking her in any way shape or form. I harbor zero hard feelings for her. In fact, now as an adult I respect her choices. She taught me the lesson that appearances matter, but I’ll save that for another time; I digress.
My father had called upon my younger brother Anthony and I to aid him in concealing the fact that he was seeing this woman, well, we didn’t know that, he said she was his “friend”. It wasn’t until I accidentally spilled the beans to my mom that shit really hit the fan, and I learned about what everything meant. I felt sick to my stomach having been complicit to the deception once I figured out my role. My parents got divorced soon after. I didn’t see my father for a couple years after this, I was furious and my entire universe was punctured. My mom, my brother Anthony and I lived in a bedroom in the house of a church friend. We were all in pain, living on top of one another, during a time when I was supposed to continue being a kid, alongside my brother.
I never saw my Dad, I saw his truck everywhere with that giant “USMC” sticker on the back. I saw him from across the parking lot when he picked up the two daughters, twins, of L who happened to be my age and go to my high school. I would hear stories of how he would do lots of family/fun things with L and her girls at school, and I felt like shit.
My mother ended up having another child with another man, my little brother also called an A name, and his father ended up having mental health problems coupled with a penchant for hitting women with his fists and baseball bats. In fact, he put my mother in the hospital more than once.
This one time during the fall of 10th grade, I came home early and he was getting out of hand. I jumped in to defend my mother, and then he chased me down and locked me into a room, slapped the phone out of my hand as I tried to call the police, and I don’t remember much of what happened after that, other than my brother Anthony and I had to go live with my Dad and his new family. He married L soon after, and then they got divorced.
I got a job at 15, moved out at 17 and the rest is history. We never recovered. We never talked about it.
I had already failed my father by not becoming a physician, for being so rebellious, for leaving home, for dating, marrying the wrong people, for getting all tatted up, for taking forever to finish school, for not going to the best schools, for never escaping a 30K income bracket. My life was in vain. What good was all that investment and training?
When I was going through my divorce, I called my Dad on the phone, which is very scary, almost several times a week and he never once returned my call.
Eventually we did talk, 6 months later and he revealed to me that he knows I am such a strong woman who can take care of herself. I hear this a lot. Yeah, I guess I am, but guess what? I was forced into being like this. I’d rather be resilient than not, but if this was the reason my Dad abandoned me, I resented it.
Anyway, in my terrible dream last night, I dreamt that I went to a place that starts with an “S” (not Spain) not sure if it was a city or country, but it looked old, possibly European and there was water. In the dream, I had travelled with my mother and my 16 year old brother, a half brother, A.
In the dream, my Dad was annoying me per usual, and not spending time with me per usual. He missed his flight and had to catch the next flight out. He never makes it back to the US. I search endlessly in emails for flight information that I thought I had seen, to no avail. My life is gutted out, I devote my life to trying to solve this mystery as a body was never found, and a plane crash never reported.
I woke up this morning/never went back to bed, and felt like I needed to stop ignoring what had happened with my Dad. But first, I needed to go back to it all as much as possible, as soon as possible. My hope is to reach out to him very soon, and just accept him as he is, and hope we can have a relationship while he’s still around. I’ll admit that I am very scared he will reject my attempts, so I need to be ready.
Life is hard, but it’s made me incredibly resilient and adaptive. I have done a lot of hard work, paid a lot of money, and done a lot of research to overcome the pain and low key traumas I have endured. They have made me a richer, kinder person with depth and resolve. I am grateful.