IN PURSUIT OF COMMONALITY – RECONCILING WITH MY FATHER

The strangeness of being raised by a family that doesn’t look like you comes and goes over time. But the racial inequities that exploded to the surface in 2020 birthed a reckoning, and this reckoning made me yearn for commonality more than ever before.

I was reeling from an election season that exposed unfathomable bigotry. Damaging bigotry exposed in neighbors, friends, and family. And with the loss of each friendship, I reflected on prejudicial origins.

Soul-searching with refreshed eyes, I reflected on the prejudices that I have held, along with the prejudices that have been held against me. And as I reflected, I found myself seeking out the previously unknown side of my family. The family that looks like me. The family that may be able to relate.

Eventually becoming exhausted by sleepless nights of scrolling marriage certificates and obituaries, I realized that I had but one lead to follow. It was time to contact my father.

For more than twenty years, largely through social media, I kept tabs on him from a safe distance. Just in case the time would come for a relationship, I monitored his whereabouts.

Without getting into the details of why I waited twenty years, I will say, my younger self was simply not prepared to deal with the demons that he fought in his own life.

But with that being said, I still had hopes that things would be different this time. After all, now I am an adult, a mother, and a woman that has made great strides in the way of self-assurance.

Perhaps he was different too? Maybe, now that I didn’t need him as a parent, we would be able to connect as adults. Connect over life stories, family members, social concerns, racism.

So I did it. I threw caution to the wind as they say, and fired off my first sign of life via Facebook. And at first, things went surprisingly well. He was genuinely excited to hear from me. And while rapidly bringing me up to speed on our shared family members, he gleefully forwarded cousin’s photos, uncle’s birth dates, grandparent’s death dates, and every date of meaning in between.

Then it happened. The cracks that would destroy my hopes of having a social justice comrade for a father began to appear. And it all started with a Youtube video that he shared.

To my horror, my father sent me an argumentative video detailing how BLM activists orchestrated the insurrection at the capitol. And it didn’t stop there.

Relentless and with something to prove, he forwarded conspiratorial articles and conservative podcasts. All the while, repeatedly using language with discriminatory undertones. Even as I made polite attempts to get him to change the subject, his attempts to influence and persuade persisted.

Exasperated, I made my stance on these issues abundantly clear. In defense, my father used his own brown skin, and the fact that he has black “friends”, to justify his opinions.

Sigh… It became glaringly obvious, the camaraderie I sought was not coming in the form of my father.

So where does a parent/child relationship go from here? Do I retreat back to the shadows as a Facebook stalker? Hopefully not. Despite our differences, I would like to stay in touch. But with enormous conversational boundaries in place.

And as for my quest for commonality?

I realized that I had it all along. The people in my life that stand along side me today, may not provide commonality in genetic features, but each one provides the benefit of commonality through shared experiences and principles. Like they say, you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.

29 thoughts on “IN PURSUIT OF COMMONALITY – RECONCILING WITH MY FATHER

  1. Jim Borden

    I admire your willingness to reach out to your father, I’m sorry it did not turn out the way you expected. These past few years have exposed the opinions of several of my old friends, opinions which are in direct opposition to mine. I am sure if I were to meet such people today, it would be hard to be friends with them. But the old ties are strong, and I just try to avoid bringing up sensitive topics, and enjoy their company like in the old days…

    Liked by 9 people

  2. ashok

    I just read this post of yours and realised how relevant my Renewal is for you and for us all.

    It was good to try and connect but some parents are worse than children 😊 You can’t change anyone and least of all old people. Pray for him and let him be.

    I think you will like my book- 4 Pillars of Abundant Life. Do look at it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Adeleke Adeite

    I have teary eyes now. I have distanced myself from my supposed family too.
    I have realised that not everyone has a fantastic biological family but God always find a way to make them find better replacements.
    There comes a time in everyone’s life where they will have to choose inner peace and mental stability over family ties.
    I have told myself, just like you, that my family is anyone who believes in my dreams, builds me up and shares the same principles as mine.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on commonality. We need to keep spreading the gospel of love and harmony.
    I will bookmark this piece. I need to read it over and over again.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. believableshe83

      Adeleke, I am truly humbled by your response to my story. And thank you so much for sharing your experience in turn.
      Mental stability is necessary for survival, and inner peace is necessary for quality of life.
      Keep faith my friend, you’re doing great things.🌺

      Like

  4. Lisa at Micro of the Macro

    Amen to your last sentence! And good for you for trying. My family is different from me in every way. Like you, I didn’t have a relationship with my dad until late in life. We never really clicked, but now that he’s passed, I am so grateful that I made strides. I’ll bet you will be too. Blessings to you. 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Christy B

    You’re so right that you can’t pick your blood relatives but friends can become family on so many levels. I choose to focus on those who support and uplift me, and It sounds like you do the same. I’m sad to hear about your father’s actions but happy to know that you have others close to you who are your real family x

    Liked by 4 people

  6. petespringerauthor

    A very touching and thoughtful piece. I’m sorry that things didn’t work out with your father. Maybe the two of you can forge some relationship, even though it might not be the one you had hoped for.

    I lived such a sheltered life growing up. I think I knew I had good parents, although I probably took them for granted. It wasn’t until I became a teacher and truly saw the dysfunctional “role models” some of my students had that I truly realized how lucky I was. To this day, I still get angry and emotional when I think about how unfair life was for some of these poor innocent kids who are a byproduct of their screwed-up parents.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. believableshe83

      Thank you for reading and sharing your story, Pete.

      I was incredibly fortunate to have support from extended family and other adults in my life. I have made it my mission let those who exist in the peripheral of childrens’ lives (teachers like yourself 😊) know that there is no act of kindness too small. Kids remember, and the little stuff matters too🧡

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply to Sarah Davis Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s