Letter to my father, written for a class after reading Kafka's letter to his father. There is a lot I left out. May add more or refine later.
Daddy Dearest – I’m not entirely sure how to write this letter – considering you’ll probably never see it – or what it will do for me. I’ve always thought about what I would say to you if there wasn’t a threat of consequence. Thought probably isn’t the correct term, for me it has always been fantasizing about what I could say or even do. I understand that you love me. I know that. I also know that you believe you would never do anything to harm me, you never have. You believe that everything I have accomplished is because of you and your positive influence in my life. Quite the opposite is true. I strive to do well to escape you. I’ve spent fifteen years beneath you, always at your beck and call. I’ve stayed in my spot on the shelf you have for me, among my mother and brother, surrounded by your distrust and annoyance. I cannot honestly say that you have never done anything for and with me (such as taking me to a concert for my eighth grade graduation or early morning Maplefields coffee), but also know that I cannot say that you have had a positive influence over me either. My very first memory of you is me standing in my crib – I must have been three or four because we were still living in the trailer in Colchester – watching you cook breakfast. I don’t remember what I was doing awake, but whenever I reflect on this vision, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed by your presence, fear of your words. I was too young to understand what you wanted of me, but you had a powerful influence even then. Even as I am writing this I have to pause and remind myself that you probably will never read this. I am afraid of you Daddy, not of getting spanked for not cleaning my room as I once was, but of something else, something I am still incapable of pinpointing. There is something about you that isn’t right and that is what I fear. This incomprehensible fear is what drives me to stay awake until two in the morning, reading and writing about whatever comes to mind; it is the very thing that forces me to do well in school, to always be polite no matter how I feel about a person; to apologize for my actions regardless of how I feel. I am always wrong, always a problem. You have caused me to fear people. There is not one association with another person that I do not hide pieces of myself away. I do not trust people because of you. Daddy, we used to talk when I was younger. I always listened to your problems, how mommy didn’t want to have sex, hwy we had so many bills, why you thought Howard Dean was a faggot who didn’t deserve to breathe air. I was at an impressionable age when this occurred. You always told me what I couldn’t do. You threatened me with the wrath of God, saying that, “You’ll go to hell if you don’t stop doing this,” or “Do you want to see me in Heaven, or do you want to burn in Hell with your grandmother?” This is probably why I do not believe in the Christian faith – aside from the fact that the Church will not accept me anyway – no matter how hard I try. I tell myself that God is real, and that I need to believe in him or I will burn. I must always listen to you and conform to your opinions or God will turn on me. Well, you are not God. The world does not revolve around you, but my life does. Have you ever once taken into consideration my views on anything? No. I cannot express myself around you. I never approach you for advice because anything I do is condemned by you: “What is this, some bullshit the school wants you to do?” and, “Bring me proof! Don’t fucking talk about something you don’t have any proof of,” or, “I do my research! That is a bunch of shit! Don’t fucking tell me you know what you are talking about because you don’t fucking know!” How do I prove my feelings? Are the tears I cry because of your abuse not enough for you? Am I really wasting what god gave me by going to school, doing what I am told, submitting myself to you while hoping for some token of respect? For once I want proof, daddy. I want you to show me that you actually care about my life. I don’t want you to show up at some school function, or laugh when I say something witty. I do not want you to tell me you love me. I want, for once, for you to treat me as if I am a person who has a life and not something you need to dominate and control through emotional and physical imprisonment. Remember the time you locked me in my bedroom – a huge board on the outside of the door, towering over five year-old me – every night for two years? I know you had probable cause; you didn’t want me eating everything in the fridge at night, but for two consecutive years? I had to yell at the top of my lungs for hours on end just to be let out to the bathroom. Sometimes you left me there all night. You may see this as insignificant, but it impacted me very strongly. I’m imprisoned by you, for ever and for always. You have me locked in your house, in your grasp, always cut off from what I want most. I can never escape you, am never allowed out of my prison. My life is secret from you. You think you know who, and what, I am. You tell everybody that you are my best friend and know everything about me. You know nothing. In fact, my Father Francis – a black gay coworker of my mom who is more of a father to me than you are - knows more about me in six months than you do in fifteen years. I like girls and guys. I have a boyfriend who is several years older than me. I’ve been to Church Street with friends you didn’t know about. Do you know any of this? No! You don’t know me Daddy Dearest. You don’t know me at all. If for once you ever got to know me as someone besides someone you need to control, maybe I wouldn’t hide from people. Perhaps I would be able to trust and love others more freely. But you won’t and I can’t. I’m not sure how to feel around you anymore. The cancer scares me. The fact that you are dying doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know how to feel. Patr of me is irrationally angry; the other part is guilt, sorrow, and depression. If I was to be brutally honest – which is what I am aiming for – I would tell you that part of me is HAPPY. What the fuck is wrong with me? I can’t honestly blame everything that is wrong with me on you, no matter how much is true. I may not be able to tell you any of this to your face, but writing this did help. It helped me see that no matter how much I seem to hate you, I still love you. Love,Asher