Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

If you were alive today, I’d ask you if you think I am enough. I’m 27 now, Dad. Have I done enough? Are you proud?

I don’t make much money. Do you think I’m successful? Does it matter to you?

How would you treat me? Would you greet me with hugs? If you were still alive today, do you think I would live near you and Mom? Do you think I still would have moved across the country? Would there have been a need in my heart to leave?

What were your hopes for me? Have I captured them?

Sometimes, I wonder if we’d agree politically and religiously. Could we be the two black sheep of our family?

I will forever miss you. I was your little girl. I wish I could have been your adult daughter, too.

Don’t worry about me, Dad. I’ll continue living on with you—it’s your odd, square chin I sport and pieces of your personality I have you to thank for.

Happy Fathers’ Day, Dad.

Love,

K

 

 

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Dear Women

Dear Women,

I am guilty. I think nasty thoughts about you. I judge you.

I’d like to blame society for why I do this to you. I’d like to say that I was encouraged, even conditioned to be this way—to see you as the enemy, as my competition constantly, consciously and who the hell knows what I’m thinking of you subconsciously.

But no matter the influences, I’m in control of my thoughts (the conscious ones) and actions. I’m secretly quite unkind to you, and I’m sorry.

I’ll admit that it’s born of my own insecurity. When I see your better this or that (body, hair, presence, charisma, drive, job, car, body, face, eyebrows, body, body, body, body), I fear that I’m not good enough….but for what? For my own acceptance? I thought I determined that. Your perfect hair (and God, is it gorgeous) doesn’t mean mine is worse or unacceptable. It means you have great hair.

But I stack us up and against each other in my mind. I place us into a hierarchy situation, hoping I come out on top, always.

I get nervous to walk into a group of women. I often tell people that it’s a terrifying situation. Women always agree with me. No exception. We know and fear how horrible we can be.

If it’s just me and a group of guys, I get nervous because I fear gang rape, but I feel comfortable because there’s no one there to negate my specialness. In that group, there’s no one to compete with. I’m the best person present. (JK. Feminism is about equality, not reverse sexism. Get it clear, people.) I’m the best female there because I don’t have competition.

But other women are not competition!

I get nervous when another female comedian gets on stage to perform. My fear is rarely: Oh God, what if she’s funnier than me? (Chances are she is; I’m pretty new.) My fear is: Oh God, what if this means I don’t matter?

As if there can only be one female comic. (And there practically is in this city. I get that people don’t think women are funny, generally (sexism or stereotype that tends to be true?), but in a city the size of Portland, it seems odd that over ¾ of the comedians are male. Maybe not. Maybe my naivety is still going strong. Clearly I’ll become more jaded in a few years. That’s what comics tell me. Which is fine—it’s our internal brokenness that tends to make us funny and you appreciative. While we’re on stage anyway.) (Why don’t you want to deal with our depression off stage?! Blarg.)

Dear women, it’s so difficult to appreciate you. I’m sorry that your presence makes me nervous. I crave your acceptance, yet I’m afraid you’ll see my flaws—the ones that make you better than me (in my sick brain).

But here’s my new promise, whenever I find myself judging you as you walk by or as you get on stage, for every negative thought, I will find one thing that I appreciate about you. Even if your gorgeous hair trumps me. Even if you’re funnier than me. Even if, even if, even if I’m always insecure.

Love,

A Woman

Codependent Anonymous.

My dear Codependent,

For the love of humans, please stop apologizing for your existence.

You’ll find a full life if you find the courage to be yourself.

There’s no one better to be. The rest of the world can’t connect with you if we don’t know who you are.

We can’t reject you either.

I get it. I know. Your mask and your apologies serve as your protection.

I was once you.

Everything was perfectly planned–every interaction a performance.

But nothing was genuine, and I could never be perfect (codependent) enough.

In time, I learned to drop the mask, the facade, and the expectations of others.

And you know what?

People didn’t always like me anymore! Ah! My fear realized!

But I did. I liked me a heck of a lot more. And my friends–the people who saw and only wanted me, not some facade–liked me even more.

Relationships become powerful and fake friendships fall away when you rip off your codependency. And it. Is. Worth it.

I see you fake happiness a lot, and I don’t blame you. A lot of people get that confused–believing that maximizing happiness is the goal in life or that happiness is the only acceptable emotion.

It’s not true. All emotions are good. We’re meant to experience the spectrum. That’s the only way we humans know what the heck is going on! Emotions are information and experience intertwined. 

I’ve watched you numb yourself from uncomfortable emotions, but in that, I’ve seen you numb yourself from them all.

My dear Codependent, you can’t erase sadness without erasing joy.

Don’t numb yourself from emotional pain. We’re meant to feel. It’s the only way we’ll recognize joy when it happens. You don’t want to miss that.

Joy is not the happiness you fake; it’s something unmistakable, irreplaceable, and heaven-sent.

We only know joy when we’ve known pain. Sadness, depression, frustration, anger, melancholia.

So stop hiding from your own experience and from others. We’re meant to be seen and to feel–fully and truly.

Perhaps I should leave you now before I piss you off too much (feel the anger–it’s information, remember).

I hope you take the risk in and for yourself–to actually show yourself to the world and find out if you are enough.

And you are.

You always were.

Love,

An Ex-Codependent