There was a little bit or grief, sadness, happiness, and shock in my Zac’s (my brother) voice when he called me. “Do you happen to be sitting down?” is never a good way to begin a conversation between my brother and me. “I am not sitting down but I am getting into my car.” To which he replied: “Do not drive anywhere until I tell you this”…What on earth could he possibly need to tell me that is so damn important? We had already had a series of shocks of the summer, what is one more right?
I can handle this I thought. After what seemed like an eternity of silence, an eternity of him thinking what the right words were. Here it came. The bombshell, the mother load of all that I had been, well, searching for in my life. There was nothing more that I wanted in my life than to hear this news. Or did I want to hear it? With a mixed bag of emotions, the bombshell went something like this:
Paul, (our biological father, the man I have never met in my life (I had, but I was 2, too young to remember) had phoned my Aunt Ruth after a Facebook searching, to let her know that he wanted to repair. Repair what? Repair things with his children? What does this mean? I thought. What is the repair? I don’t know you. I don’t know a thing about you, and yet there needs to be repair. Zac had his phone number and had relayed some intermittent details that I don’t really recall between the tears and the hope and the overall cloud that had suddenly passed as I was trying to hold on. It took me three days to get his phone number. Even though I knew I didn’t have to do anything with it, I knew that if it was kept at arm’s length, I was still safe. Safe from what? From being hurt? Safe from a man that I didn’t even know? You see, dear reader, there are the manic crazy questions that I ask myself, therefore you get a million question marks as you read (I digress).
Without briefing too many details of what I know to go on in our family as to why he literally disappeared. This is what I know: When he divorced my mom, Zac and I were then signed off onto another man that she had remarried (some years later). During that time, Paul was busy ruining my grandma and grandpa’s life with his antics. After the final straw, he disappeared for what everyone thought was, for good. He has been an addict of all sorts of things, wrenching terror on everyone’s life to get him by to the next phase, the next thing, the next addiction he could feed.
My mom never kept the details of who he was. She always let us know that we had a father, and we remained very close to our paternal grandparents and family. To this day, they are very much so a huge part of my life. So life went on as we knew it. The name change when the remarried man didn’t affect me but affected my brother in words that even I can’t comprehend. I don’t know this man. I don’t know anything about him and yet I have always felt this longing…where does the other half of me come from? I always felt as though I have been missing something, and so the food would fill the void.
Food is my comfort. I love it. I love the way it tastes, the way it doesn’t taste and just fills the hole in me. I love when it is encompassed with friends, family, happy times, and sad times. I love it. I use it for fuel but mostly I have been using it for feelings. It tells me how to feel and what I should feel after. Temporarily. All of it. Food gives me temporary emotion. It is an addiction. I am an addict to food such as my biological father; Paul was an addict to many other things.
I can count back to when I think about when the addiction really started and it was when my mom and (adopted) dad got divorced at the age of 17. I was pretty active with my horse so I didn’t really have to think about how the divorce would or was affecting me because Buddy (the horse) would comfort me and I could confide in him about anything. They have this natural power to tell you what you need to hear without saying a word (same as food). Then I had to sell my horse. I say I had to because I never wanted to give him up, he was my safe haven and after I graduated high school I was pressured to think I would have no time for him. There I was, no one to talk to, no one to lean on, my family in chaos and then Oh, look!! Food. Boom. Done. Between the divorce and now life has handed me some (sorry for the language) shitty circumstances. The only thing I knew that could save me was food.
I was still searching.
When I graduated high school I sent an invitation to what known address I had for Paul and it came back. Strike one. When I had my daughter, I sent him a card with the next known address I could find for him. Strike two. Finally, when I was married, I sent him a Christmas card of my “happy” family to the last known address that was on the internet. Strike Three. I’m out. I ended the search until I went through a divorce.
When I moved home, I was in conversation with my Aunt and so desperately wanted to find him. After hitting tons of dead ends, I gave up. I wasn’t going to go insane and curb check my good eating habits just for the sake of meeting some guy I don’t even know, or probably wouldn’t even talk to me. I was in a terrible place two years ago. I was defiant in the worst ways, could care less about what happened to me and gave up on the search.
He searched me out.
So now where do I go? I have had minimal communication with him through text. I feel guarded enough that my mixed emotions will be on my side of the phone and with this emotionless gesture I can still have somewhat control and not trust completely. I am not sure where this will go. I am not sure if I will ever really get to know him like I would if I was 2 years old growing up with him.
I went to coffee with a great friend that I met through a running group and he said this: “You are still a 2 year old in your mind”. How true. I didn’t give much emotion to it when he spoke those words but it has really set in. I am entertaining this conversation with Paul like a 2 year old would be entertained by her father. Not knowing what is a lie or what is the truth but trusting, trusting that what he says will be true and he won’t lead her down a bad path and will always be there. When I said to my Aunt over the phone “I don’ know what to feel because I don’t know him” so does the 2 year old little girl not know what to feel because she doesn’t know him but she is eager to learn. And so yet, I am eager to learn (guarded) and find out what I have been missing for 25 years.
When life hands you….what you have been searching for take it with grace, stride, caution, and use the ability to embrace it. It is amazing what you can do to yourself, and your eating habits when you embrace a new change and let the past fall to the wayside and not harbor on what went wrong but FORGIVE, FORGIVE yourself, forgive others and press forward. You never know what hole you could fill without food when you let the door swing open a little more than usual.
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