"I didn't know what to do with you..."

When I was 18, I moved a few states away from home to be with my boyfriend. Four years later, my dad was sick in the hospital. I flew home to be with him, and he passed away days later. 

I returned home to my boyfriend, and we started arguing about something stupid. He looked at me and said, "I was going to break up with you before your dad died, but then I didn't know what to do with you, so I just stayed."

I felt my heart break a second time, and have never felt such pain from someone I loved saying something so awful. 

We broke up soon after, and I have never been happier. 

But those words still echo in my mind when I think about my dad.

Terrible Role Model

I was in a bad marriage, had a small child and suffered back to back miscarriages. I was also battling depression and really had no one to turn to. 

One day, I saw an email to my husband from his mother stating that I was a terrible role model for our daughter.

This completely crushed me. 

I somehow found the courage to end the marriage, which really helped the depression. I went back to school and got my degree (which my ex never finished). And I have stood by my child as she has battled mental health issues, without her dad. 

I try so hard to support my child in every way possible, yet I will never forget that email.

"I forgot you were a man-hater."

Even though I was raised with the idea that I could do anything, and my parents both encouraged me to be a feminist, they sometimes say things that reveal the limits of their progressive thinking. 

In the last few years, I have become more vocal about my differences, and they seem to equate disagreement with disrespect. Especially my father. When I have disagreed with him on certain topics, particularly relating to women, he gets kind of nasty and lashes out with hurtful comments.

Recently, I was visiting home with my significant other, whom my parents both adore. We were all coming home from a movie, when my dad brought up a male celebrity's alleged abuse of his wife, also a celebrity. My dad's take was that the woman was "crazy," and the man had been cleared of all accusations. Having followed this story since the news first broke, I disagreed with my father, stating some of the details that my father admitted he did not know, and while certain accusations had been proven untrue, others remained that indicated a violent history. My dad's response? 

"Oh that's right - I forgot you were a man-hater."

It wasn't the words that cut me; it was the tone. It was at once wholly dismissive and casual, yet vicious and angry. All over some f*cking actor he doesn't know much about.

He apologized, but only for the word choice, not for the meaning behind the words.

Those Kinds of Girls

When I was about 12 years old, I was going though a rebellious phase. This meant lots of Anne Sexton poetry, flannel shirts, and awkward, uncertain attempts at trying to establish my individuality. 

One day I was at the mall with my mom, and there was a gaggle of cute, perfect cheerleader types near us. I regarded them disparagingly and said something along the lines of "Ugh, I just don't understand those kinds of girls."

Without missing a beat, my mom looked up at me and said, "Well, those are the kinds of girls that guys marry."

"I can't imagine why!"

I had a baby when I was very young, and I tried to raise him. When he was four years old, I let my parents adopt him so that I could grow up. I ultimately thought that this was a good idea, because if I couldn't even take care of myself, how could I take care of a baby? 

I moved to Florida and my son stayed with my parents. About two years ago, I was planning to visit them. I was on the phone to my mom, and she said, "Oh, he's so excited to see you!

Although I can't imagine why!" Then she followed up with, "Oh, I'm just kidding!" 

Our relationship hasn't really been the same since, and my mom and I don't really talk anymore. 


One day when I was 20, I was driving to hospice with my parents to visit my aunt, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I had my headphones in, but I had paused the music, and I overheard my parents talking about one day having grandkids.

My dad said to my mom, "I hope my granddaughter doesn't turn out to be a f*cking whore like her mom." 

I've always tried to forget this, but I can't seem to.