Cafe Hitch-hike


Sit in my own light

My birth father's esteemed boxing coach died at age 70 this week. One of my distant relatives shared posts, and included were pics of my birth father. I shared the posts and downloaded pics; I don't have many of him.

I downloaded the pics and looked hard at the resemblances. My sis Princ has his eyes and face more than I do. I see where I get my complexion; Princ and I have it. I still possess a resemblance, yet as I get older, I favor my mother and the women on her side.

After looking carefully at the pics, I sit here and see I'm the one who remains standing although he was the badass semi-pro boxer. What a life that man had. He is yet another person who had a radiant public image, but the females in his life (including his wives and girlfriends) got a completely different version.

I know my half-sisters are probably still reeling after one of his antics came to the surface last year. They still long to embrace him and have the relationship with him none of us ever had, and this awful truth that came out probably makes that much harder...

...I knew about this since 1988 by complete accident, but said nothing to no one. Maybe that was why its big reveal didn't affect me the same way; better yet, maybe that was why I never had the same longing for a relationship like they had. I never repeated it because it was one of those things that wouldn't do anyone a damn bit of good.

So I saved the pics. As I did, I thought to myself that all I needed was to accept the things I learned as my own truths; it doesn't matter that the world saw one thing and we got another. I now can live with that and can quietly accept it on my own terms.

I sat alone in my place, and I saw the announcement after Rafael left for the evening. As I downloaded the pics, I gradually felt glad that I no longer lived in my father's shadow. I resented it although he was never in my life. I hated that people gushed so many great things about him, while we lived with a different experience. It took me so long to really accept these different takes on the same person, and to not get angry over them.

I had to surrender the anger, and stand with what and who I was. Regardless of anything that did or did not happen, I created my own place, worked my way into my profession, and identified myself more on my own attributes than what I inherited; the inherited ones things I took and repurposed for my own use. In some ways, it was no different than living with my stepfather's presence (and effect) on my family; he also had his beloved public side and not so wonderful family side.

I never had my father's name, and that has been fine with me. Having my mother's was more appropriate.

The aftermath of his death in 1990 led me to where I live, but what I did with all that was largely up to me. Where his presence and influence lives in my life is the same.

I honestly have no idea if he would be proud of me or the woman I became, but in a way, it doesn't matter. The bigger parts was seeing his images, not getting angry, and being able to sit with all the uncomfortable truths about him that my sisters and I live with. I can sit with all of it without wishing for what wasn't, accept what was, and be glad that I can fully and comfortably sit in my own light.

downwind | upstream