Crying, But Different

I left my parents and the Butcher before dinner. Everything was fine, I guess. I just wasn’t hungry and I wanted to be home. And then I cried all the way home.

I spent some time trying to name it, in complicated ways. Do I feel guilty? Do I feel inadequate? Do I feel like a coward?

And the truth is that those are all too complex. I feel sad. And I feel this longing for the good man my dad often is. And then I feel sad again that I’m losing my dad and I’m losing any hope that some day things will be different.

My mom says he’s a bully. And that I just have to stand up to him. Be mean right back to him.

But holy fuck do I not want to do that. I don’t want to hurt him.

And I don’t want to let him win by becoming the bitch he thinks I am.

And I don’t want to be mean, period. I don’t want to be the kind of person who is mean to her father, regardless of who her father is.

If I have to become that person in order to spend time with them… I mean, that’s the thing. I’d rather not spend time with them.

If that’s the ask–that I not only tolerate this, but that I lean into it and let it transform me in ways I don’t like (or different ways I don’t like)–then fuck that. It’s too much.

It’s all so fucked up.