Hellhounds on My Trail

Again, as we were driving back from Farm & Fleet, my dad said, “I told you never to put anything in writing.”

This is still the fight about whether he should mention Tiny Cat Pants in his Christmas letter, though I’ve resigned myself to the inevitability.

I sometimes think that my dad is as stressed out by me as I am by him.

When the Butcher got home from visiting friends today, my dad was more than happy to see him.  He seemed relieved.

I told him I had to work this morning and he wanted me to pick up sticks in the back yard instead.

It seems kind of unavoidable, that it would come down to this: I need to write.  I need to dump as much into my head as will fit there and then see what happens when it flows through me, what order it takes, what sense it makes.  And I need for nothing to be off-limits.  I need to be able to tell the truth as I see it and measure it against common knowledge and often against fact.  I need to set words in orders I find pleasing.  I need to articulate things to myself.  I need to connect my particular experience with the experiences of others.  I just have to do that.  

He needs to feel that he alone is in control of how he’s perceived by the world, I think.  He desperately wants me not to write.  And yet, I think, he’s extremely proud that I write well.  So, under the guise of bragging about me, he’s trying to ruin this thing I enjoy by exposing it to people I’d rather not have read it.  I don’t even know if he gets that that’s what he’s doing.  I kind of think he does.

I feel like such a fuck-up, I can’t even tell you.  I love my dad and I feel like the things I need to do in the world in order to survive and thrive are painful to him.  I about can’t stand it.  And yet, as much as I know he loves me, I doubt he’s sitting around worried about whether the things he does are painful to me.

Today he also said something about my pig collection, hinting around about whether I was going to take it back to Nashville.  I don’t know why I collected pigs.  I didn’t really like them.  I always just thought he thought it was appropriate for me to collect them because I resembled them.

Maybe that wasn’t the case.  I don’t know.

God, could this be any more disjointed?

I just am torn and I kind of feel like I’m going to throw up and I’m not sure if any of this is making sense.

I’m constantly mad at him and I’m tired of being mad at him.  I just want to accept that this is how it is and make my peace with it, but I don’t know how to do that, because I can’t stand it when he’s upset and I can’t yet resign myself to the fact that this is just his way.  He just does it because he does it.  I want to believe he does it because he’s deeply hurt.

If he’s hurt, I can change and make amends.  So, I cling to that, but it’s stupid.  All I can do is take responsibility for what I do, not for how it makes him feel.

So, bring on the relatives, I guess.  What the fuck. 

I think I’ll just go to bed and see what tomorrow brings.

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17 thoughts on “Hellhounds on My Trail

  1. Forgive me if any of these questions seem redundant; I’ve been reading your blog through RSS, so I’m not current with the comment threads. I’m wondering whether you are concerned about the people connected to your dad reading your personal entries, such as this very one, or your political entries, including your posts on various feminist issues. I can understand your concern about the former; while a blog is a good place to air grievances, and find support, it is not good to be "outed" from anonymity, and to find your personal life widely discussed and judged.As for the latter, it seems to me that the more it is possible for us, as bloggers, to present an unabashed face to the world, the better. Of course there are some issues and cases where this isn’t possible, and I firmly believe that anonymity should be respected by all people (family included) at all times. I’m just saying that since you’re a good writer, with (at the very least) challenging and relevant things to say, from a political standpoint it’s *great* if people who wouldn’t normally encounter such positions are visiting your site.

  2. Here’s a cliche I still love: Your family knows the best how to push your buttons, because they are the ones who installed the buttons.You’re circling the ongoing deliemma of any family that contains thinking members (as yours does obviously). the tension between owning your thoughts and letting your family be responsible for how they react AND not wanting to feel like ‘you’ are in their face and confrontive is difficult and actually, ironically makes for interesting conversation and blogging. Don’t quit now, lol.

  3. I was going to respond the other day when you posted about it that maybe if you agreed to let them (your folks) read it, he would agree not to put it in the Christmas letter. Then I decided that was probably never an option anyway (i.e., he probably does read it anyhow).Man, I don’t know. On the one hand I wouldn’t care about most of mine, but on the other hand I’ve always been almost the only one who was really into All Things Internet (probably much like yourself) and I kinda like it that way, always have. However, my Mom also happens to be the only other one into All Things Internet and always has been. And my Mom and I happen to be best of friends so that’s cool. But, even so, it STILL creeps me out a little that I know she reads my blog. Even though I KNOW she’s been reading it for nearly ten years. When she mentions something I wrote, I just kinda shudder inwardly.I try not to let it affect my writing and I know for the most part it doesn’t, but I also know it might just a little bit. Like maybe I don’t drop the F-word as often as I might, or maybe temper the drug addict jokes a little bit. All a little tiny bit, but yeah, it’s there a little bit.I’ve been thinking about this ever since you wrote about it the other day and wish I had a bangup solution. That’s a tough call. My longtime close friends have been reading me for years, could care less about it when it comes to them. But yes, there’d be some acquaintances and family I’d rather they didn’t, or at least rather I didn’t know it. And some it probably would bother me as much as the current thought is bothering you. I don’t envy you this and I don’t have any great words of wisdom about what to do about it, wish I did (he sounds awfully set on it anyway, though). But I do understand, it’s really not just some little nothing thing, not at all. Hope this all at least works out to be something you can both deal with (and each other)…

  4. So Dad likes playing chicken, huh? By threatening to out you as the mastermind behind TCP, does he hope to wield his control over what you write? By thinking you will be embarassed if Aunt Tillie and Uncle Milton read a haiku you wrote to your cooter, he’s looking to leaven your content with a cup and a half of shame.Time to break out some off-color and inappropriate posts to coincide with the Christmas letter. That’ll teach him.Besides, how many of your relatives who get this letter are savvy and motivated enough to get on the computer to read TCP? Are these people capable of using the computer for more than email and recipes? It is like when Jerry gave his father the Tip Calculator.No matter how hard I try, I can’t get Mom to quit reading mine.

  5. "I sometimes think that my dad is as stressed out by me as I am by him."Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!B, I’m the new guy; I don’t know you personally, I haven’t even known your blog persona very long. I’ve given up trying to guess your age (it matters to this conversation); many times you write very much like a 23 year old still working out Daddy issues, and many times you write with the wisdom of a 75 year old sage. I give up on that front. Besides, being a southerner, to even try would be considered "rude". So I’m going to have to be very careful in what I have to say.But, as a FATHER, I have some insight to add to the discussion. Like I said, I don’t know you or your father, But if I had to guess, I’d say that, regardless of your age, he’s still trying to "teach" you. Believe me, I know. A Dad never stops.B, my very first comment here, I said something you considered provocative, and you (in a virtual sense) pushed me against the wall, got in my face and challenged me. When I backed down, you explained that you were "testing me to see just how much I was willing to defend my position".Quite possibly, your father is doing the same thing to you. Apple/Tree, that sort of thing.

  6. Is there no way that he can proudly mention your blog without giving the name and the URL? As a compromise — he gets to brag about you (and I think that that’s at least partly his motivation) without compromising your anonymity. Otherwise, there’s nothing you *can* do to prevent him, and you might as well accept it. You don’t have to forgive it; just realize that, forgiveable or not, that’s who he is.

  7. Courage. Sometimes one must do what one must do, no matter who is watching. If it’s part of your identity, then you need to get out of the literary closet and claim yourself in all circumstances. If Dad in his ornery way is helping you do that, declaring his pride in you (hey, I guarantee that nothing except my fecundity was worth a mention in the family Christmas letter), then buck the hell up and go with it. He’s a big boy and presumably knows what he’s getting into. Nothing we do is without some cost. Life without secrecy is freeing.If anyone cares, my name is Bridgett Williams-Searle.

  8. Shut up! That’s my name, too!You guys are so great. Seriously.I think the problem is that, on my end, I shelter him from a lot about the truth of my life, because I know it makes him uncomfortable. For instance, when they come to the house, we still put the booze away.And I guess my gut instinct is to think–shoot, if Dad’s sending people here, he must expect I’m going to turn it into some safe space for them.Sarcastro’s right. There is an element of chicken to it. There’s also that he’s excited about it. God, if there’s one thing I would love to get across about my dad it’s how everything is both incredibly important and inconsequential at the same time and so it’s impossible to guess which response to anything he does is the least problematic one.But you know, again, fuck it. If they want to read, let them read. What are they going to do? Not visit? No one visits us anyway.Slati, I am indeed an emotionally stunted 75 year old. It’s those years I spent in a hermetically sealed tube as a youngster that put me behind.Joseph, thanks. That’s very kind.All right. It is decided. We will carry on as always, with a great deal of complaining and whining, but forward.

  9. Personally I think Sarcastro hit the nail on the head. But I also think your dad is proud of you. He doesn’t seem to be able to come right out and say that, though. So he annoys the hell out of you with it.

  10. Eesh. Parents are complicated.I have the same issues with my journal (as distinguished from my yet-to-be-created blog, by content type and audience). My parents don’t know of it. Or, if they do, they’ve kept it remarkably to themselves (which I don’t think my mother is capable of doing, much as I love her). I’d rather keep it that way, because even though I haven’t written (much) there that I would be absolutely mortified if they read, I wasn’t writing it with them in mind as an audience.I would be far more embarrassed if my parents read Tiny Cat Pants (which my mother does know I read, and post on, and under which name)… I like playing in your sandbox better, Aunt B., and I’ve said a lot of things that I just haven’t quite gotten around to telling my parents yet. How exactly one goes about telling one’s parents that the very nice boyfriend coming over to visit for the first official time today happens to also be the D in a complicated D/s thing, and oh, hey, by the way, [everything else I’ve ever talked about here]… when we’re still doing the thing where we all politely pretend that my relationships don’t proceed past holding hands and the occasional hickey? … yeah.So I feel for you. But you do an awesome job, and this is a lovely place. You’ve got a lot to be proud of here, and if you can get through the initial rush of ‘my god, I’m never going to hear the end of it,’ everything else will work out just fine. *hugs* And maybe, just maybe, your dad will take a peek and start to get it.

  11. I’ll throw in…My family all know I write a blog, but they know we’re on opposite sides politically, so they don’t stop by often….Unlike your dad, I don’t think they want a brawl. Don’t censor yourself! TCP is yours, and your family can have an attitude, but they don’t get the keys to the keyboard.

  12. Sounds like you need a viewing of "Home for the Holidays." Family can suck sometimes, and there’s no better time to remember that than Thanksgiving.I’m laughing reading this because my entire family just found out about my blog and they now read it on an hourly basis, judging from my stat counter. It makes things harder, but it’s also sort of a relief, because at this point, there are no illusions; they can take me or leave me. And that’s a very good feeling.So hang in there!

  13. My mom & I have the same relationship. Last thanksgiving she actually broke down & cried, exasperated, holding her head in her hands & said:*I am so unhappy with the way you’re life has turned out* – Me: *Um, excuse me? I’m 34, have a good job, education, health and great friends. What more do I need? If I am happy with my life then how can you be unhappy with it?* – She said *Oh, I just wish you were dating someone, or married. I mean, it makes me wonder if you are *normal* – do you even like boys?* My reply: *Of course I do! Do you want me to tell you about all the guys I bring home and screw? All my one nighters?* – That shut her up. And fast. (disclaimer: I do not have multiple one nighters…. sometimes I wish I did, but alas, do not! boo hoo. . . . )Ok, I digress.Farm & Fleet!? I love that place. I always make a point to visit over the x-mas holidays when we stay with my aunt in Bloomington, IL.HAPPY GOBBLE GOBBLE!!!

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