Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sorry, Oprah, I Don't Want to Do It

Recurring Dreams

Do you ever have those recurring dreams? Yeah. Me too.

I keep having a coffee shop dream.

The premise is always the same. Sitting face to face with another person and it's a casual conversation. I am explaining to her, no, actually, justifying to her, why I ended the relationship with my father. All the reasons are always the same. There is an undertone of desperation, need for approval, the deep desire to still be loved by him, to prove I am lovable to him.

I am tired of this dream. I am tired of this reality.

Oprah's Life Class Tour with Iyanla Vanzant

Coffee Delusions

In one of my sleepy mornings, I read a call for submissions in my Facebook news feed. Stories about father-daughter relationship problems. OWN.

I sipped my coffee.

Wow. Wouldn't it be validating to hear Oprah and Miss Iyanla Vanzant rip him apart? I know, that's mean, and not really the Oprah way. Okay, to simply be in the presence of Oprah? Miss Iyanla? Wouldn't it be nice to tell my truth, to tell the world how I have found myself through this journey?

I will argue it was because I hadn't yet finished my first cup of caffeine reality, but truth be told, there was little to no hesitation. I submitted the links to my blog, wrote a quick blurb and sent it off.

A few days later, I got the call...

Lisa from Harpo

Lisa: Hi Aubrey, this is Lisa from Harpo.

Me: Hi Lisa from Harpo!

This is not me,
but surely how I feel.
I couldn't think, let alone breathe. Oprah was calling me! Oprah was calling me! Oprah was calling me! I know. I know. It's not Oprah. But it is Lisa from Harpo...and she's still waiting for me to respond...

And, did I really just call her Lisa from Harpo? Oh geez.

Lisa: So we read your submission. Can you tell me a little about what's going on?

Me: I quit my job when my son was born, my father disapproved, said we were making poor financial choices, and has only communicated by email since. We have not had any contact in three years.

Lisa: Oh I see. Well, let me tell you, we are looking for a situational dynamic, one in which you would sit down with your father and discuss the problems.

Deafening silence...I can't even hear my heart pounding in my my heart still beating? Is she still wondering why I called her Lisa from Harpo? 

Me: Uh, um, Lisa, (I leave out the "from Harpo" this time), I don't know what to tell you. I can't say that he would be interested in this...I can't say that I want to sit down with him...I don't know what there is to resolve.

Lisa: Well, think about it, and if it seems like something that would work, call us back.

Me: Okay. Thank you for calling, and I will consider it.

 Sorry, Oprah, I Don't Want to Do It

Oprah reassuring me...
Or at least how I like to picture it.  
Consider it. Consider it. What is there to consider? 

Duh! National television! What was I thinking? I didn't think Lisa from Harpo would actually call me. Didn't think they would find any merit to little old me. But they did.

And actually sit across from my father? Even in the presence of Miss Iyanla and Oprah, I wouldn't feel protected enough...from the criticism...from his truth... 

No. No way. Not what I want. Not now.

 Who's Got the Power?

So, after I turned down Oprah, (long sigh) I had the coffee shop dream again.

This time, the dream ends with me screaming it, screaming loudly, all the things my father did to me, to hurt me, to criticize me, to crush my passions...all the reasons he is wrong. I scream it loud and I scream it proud. At the top of my lungs. It came with such conviction, pure rage, like nothing I have ever allowed myself to feel.

I sat that morning, sipping my coffee, feeling such vindication, such freedom from the burdens of my father's truths. His words are not my reality. Whether Oprah, Miss Iyanla, or even little old me says it...I am enough. I have the power. Those things he says about me, about my future...they are's not the truth for me, and it never will be, because I have the power.

So, if you see some crazy white girl shaking her booty at the grocery store, as she crosses the street with her kid and her dog, or even up on stage with Miss Iyanla and Oprah, you know it's me! I've got the power!

Are you dancing now too? Are you embracing your power? Come on, sing it (and even dance it) with me! Ready, go!

It's gettin''s gettin''s gettin' kinda heavy....I've got the power! whoo..whoo......(booty shake)....I've got the power!

Other links that explain more of the story:
Do I Save It, Just In Case
Parent Free By Choice, There is No Room for Regret
Fatherly Blessings

Photo 1: Oprah and Iyanla Lifeclass; 101doves{dot}com picture shot
Photo 2: Faces of the Last Season of Oprah; The Atlantic, Entertainment Section 09.14.2010
Photo 3: Reassuring Oprah, google images
Video courtesy of YouTube.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fatherly Blessings

They met after I went off to college.  My mom called me to ask about dating rules.  Her nervous giggles.  I knew she had found love.  It made me nervous.  It had always just been my mom and me.  I knew this would change things.  I just never knew how...

handmade gratitude altar
He is an artist.
He is a scholar.
He is a friend.
He makes armor.
He loves my mom.
He loves my family.

He is my father. 

He is not the biological one, but the one present in my life.
He is the one that opened his home to my family when we needed it most.
He is the one that shares creative space, encouragement, and optimism with me.
He is the one whose eyes light up at the sight of my son, his grandson.
He is all the things you would expect a father to be.

He always has the time and energy to listen.
He sees me for all that I am and loves me for it.
He is my father and I know he always will be.

When we focus our energy analyzing what we don't have, when we spend our energy resisting reality, we miss the beauty that lies right in front of our eyes.  I am so very grateful for the love of my step-father, he has made my life more beautiful, more meaningful, and more special than I could have every imagined.

To trusting that we are supported by the universe, that we have all we need for our souls to be healed.

Have you ever focused so much on the larger more negative thing, only to find that you already have what you want?

Other readings, you might find useful in understanding the whole story...
The story behind my biological Parent Free By Choice.
My own processing of the relationship with my bio-father...Do I Save It, Just In Case