I am taking an awesome e-course offered by my dear friend Liv Lane from Choosing Beauty. Liv inspires me (and so many others), by finding beauty in her midst each and every day. As an exercise for the e-course, Liv has laid out this request of us, "to write something revealing, brave, or bold on your blog." Many of us are linking up, so once you're done reading my brave, bold, blabber, click away to your hearts content, and hopefully you'll be inspired to live honestly and vulnerably today.
I have to be honest, I struggled ever so slightly with this task. I stand around this blog naked so darn much, it was hard for me to think of something revealing, brave, or bold that you don't already know about me. I try so hard to balance fun, frivolity, and humor with the reality of my life as a grieving mother of five, with only three living children. I have told you all about how I really feel about mothering, what I think of my body, and if you've hung out here enough, you've realized that I have more than a healthy love for Target. What is braver, bolder, or more revealing than that?
Let's try this: I am the adult child of an alcoholic. I have never said this publicly (as in to masses). It was always said to me that my dad's story of being an alcoholic is "his story to tell." I now understand that, yes, it is his story to tell of his unhealthy relationship with alcohol, but I have a story, too. MY story is what it was like to be the child of one who has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. To answer your questions, he is allegedly in recovery (I use "allegedly" because I no longer have a relationship with him, but I assume that he still works his program), and he had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol my whole life, but was first put in treatment when I was 20. A facet of the illness of addiction is that the family dances around the alcoholic trying to protect them. It has been 14 years since my dad was in treatment, and I haven't had a relationship with him for the past 4 years, and I still have danced around telling MY story to protect HIS. So, now I am done.
I was just about to say that I have no shame around this. Then I realized that would be a humungous lie. I have tons of shame around this. Or perhaps shame isn't the right word. Maybe grief? Pain? I regularly engage in personal pity parties because I didn't get to have the father that I believe I deserved. I often have a difficult time accepting love (mostly from myself) because I grew up with one parent who loved to drink more than he was able to love anything else. I have almost no memories of my life before I was 8 years old, and even after that age, it's really foggy. I remember snippets of time, but if you asked me "what was it like..." I would not be able to give you an accurate image of my childhood.
On the flip side, it was about 2 or 3 years ago now (incidentally, sitting across a table from my friend Liv from Choosing Beauty, who is hosting this blog hop) when I realized that I am actually thankful for my bumpy childhood (may I just take a moment to say that my mom is my everything, and has done the job being a parent and a half for longer than I care to quantify - and she has done it well). I am thankful for the person I have become and what I have learned from this life experience. I definitely wish it were different. I definitely wish I had happier memories, or memories at all. I look at the father-daughter relationship that other's have and I feel a big old empty hole. You know what, though? I turned out pretty darn awesome (I think). I make good choices, and I realize that they are choices. The best choice I have ever made is to marry a man who is the father to my children that I never had.
This is my story.