(Trigger warnings: this entry involves father Issues (not physical), a psych ward, and the loss of a pregnancy/miscarriage. Please do not continue if that will be too upsetting to you or your system.)
We don’t like talking about this, but it is necessary to know for this excerpt that the body was pregnant in 2011 and had a miscarriage. It was horrific and set us back to square one in our ability to cope with DID and lost time.
My dad and I have issues. Mostly trust issues, stemming from my childhood of psychological and emotional warfare. I didn’t know if the dad I’d see that day would be mad at me for clipping the bag of chips incorrectly or ecstatic that he’d heard me practicing piano the night before.
Don’t get me wrong- there’s no physical issues. But it has been hard to be able to ever really know whether he has an opinion on my existence besides the whole “when was the last time the living room was vacuumed?”. He seems to have no interest in actually having a child beyond its usefulness to him.
He changed the locks on our house the day of my high school graduation because of some sort of video recording from my digital video camera of me going through my old boxes of my elementary and middle school assignments/projects. It was from the first month I had it where I was literally just testing it on anything the would appear on a screen. The file was buried in the depths of my desktop computer and hadn’t been modified or even viewed since the first day it was copied over. But I digress.
Dad changed the locks. Graduation day. My cap and gown are inside the house. He’s nowhere to be found. Our principal made a huuuuge fucking deal out of the fact “no gown, no walking”, so I’m understandably flipping out. Well, sobbing in the passenger seat of my then-girlfriend’s car. My version of flipping out.
Our relationship, though not really the greatest to begin with, pretty much went down the shitter that day. My mother had to threaten him to even come to my graduation. My mother never threatens my dad (they’re divorced, by the way). She pretty much just tries to recover what little parental-relationship she can with me, and ignores my father. Then he and I barely talked for months. Years.
Then, when things hit rock bottom for me a little over a year ago and I ended up in the psych ward, it didn’t even occur to me to call my father. I was sitting in my room when an attendant taps lightly on the open door and grins at me.
“Your father’s here to visit you.”
I blink at him. He has the wrong room. He has the wrong girl. This girl’s father has a thousand other things he’d rather do than visit his emotionally and mentally unstable daughter in the hospital. This girl’s father shouldn’t even know she’s in the hospital, because this girl is smart about making sure her father knows as little as possible about what a fuck-up she is.
This girl is terrified when she steps into the visiting area to see her father seated calmly at a table and looking at her.
Her instinct is to run. She hates being in that hospital, but even running back to the horrible room they have her in is better than facing more accusations of disappointment, apathy, and wishing this girl could be a good girl. A real girl.
Somehow she digs out what little courage exists and goes to sit next to him.
It’s mom that told, of course. And she makes herself act contrite when he expresses surprise and confusion at why she wouldn’t call him. Or tell him that she was having such a “hard time”.
Mom shows up and we have a weird little family get-together, the likes of which I’ve never experienced in my life.
At some point, it comes up that I want to leave this horrible place. I explain the main reason as to why I haven’t been able to yet.
“The hospital won’t let me leave to live on my own.” I mutter. Recently I’ve come to live in a huge house by myself.
Me, myself, and I are the most destructive of friends, so this doesn’t work entirely well.
My father stares at me as if I’ve grown a third arm. I discreetly check to make sure I haven’t.
They have me on a lot of drugs.
“You know you can always live with me, right?” He says matter of factly. I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. Perhaps these are some other girl’s parents and the multiple anti-depressants and anti-psychotics they have me on just make me think they’re my parents. “Right?” My dad says again and I realize he is waiting for a response.
I give the one I’ve been programmed to give my father since I was a young girl.
I nod. Mutely.
He nods back. “So it’s settled. We’ll tell them and get you out of here in no time.”
It doesn’t feel like no time to me (almost two weeks), but it really isn’t long before I’m whisked out of the hospital and back to my childhood home. And I thought things would be better. I tried to talk to him like a normal person. It seemed to work a bit. For a long time he tried to treated me like a daughter. It was strange.
Then there is a distance that automatically happens when I have to tell him I’m pregnant. He kicks me out. Again. But I just figured it was life.
And now, I get a text from him mere days after being released from the ER for miscarrying.
“Everything going okay?”
I smile slightly. He cares! It’s a strange feeling. I don’t even quite know what to do with it. I’ve had a really crummy past couple of days, especially pain-wise, so it’s nice to be able to talk and confess this sort of thing. Makes me feel better. I briefly text back that I’ve had some pain and nausea, but am doing much better and I appreciate his concern.
“U don’t have 2 read anything into my question- just asking 2 make conversation….didn’t really want to know…”
The bottom falls out in my hypothetical little world where I am a daughter with a father who wants to be there and wants to care.
But it’s okay, because I’m used to it.
Another text from him a minute later. I think, I hope (because I am dumb like that) that perhaps he is recanting. Perhaps he was joking entirely, but realized that over text it wouldn’t be obviously read as a joke.
“Steak and bacon will cure that nausea right up. Wonder foods.”
I stare at the text. I hit the reply button and imagine myself saying how he’s put our relationship back to square one with this stuff. I imagine saying how he hurt my feelings. Then I remember how he feels about “emotional stuff”. How I’m supposed be a good girl and a real girl who doesn’t have “those problems”.
I remember the response I’ve had programmed into me. I translate it into the universal text-speak for an apathetic head-nod at him.
Then I feel myself automatically reprogramming into the girl who’s father would rather hear about what interesting food she most recently ate rather than how her day went. It’s easy. That girl never really went far anyway.
And now that I had that experience with a guy who really didn’t want my child, but felt like in “this society” he “has to do the right thing”, I wonder about me.
If when my mom had to tell him she was pregnant with me, if he balked. But then felt like he had to do that “right thing” anyway.
And for a split-second, I think maybe the miscarriage wasn’t such a bad thing. Because I wouldn’t wish all the pain and feelings of being unwanted I’ve felt over my whole life on my worse enemy, much less a child I love and nurtured. And the feeling doubles back and cycles out of control until I’m now I’m back to the black hole of depression I thought I had finally dug myself out of days ago.
And I hate myself more for being such a fuck-up.
Of course, he’s probably right. Having emotions just causes problems anyway.