A Facebook Fathers Day
Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 12:00PM
The Artist Presently Known As Ed in correspondence, family dynamics, father, renewal, repentance

Kelli asked me if I was ready to come out of a four and a half year long silence between me and Willy, the man who used to be called my dad. Or maybe my father. But since one is too cozy for the kind of relationship we have, and the other is too formal for a guy who often acts in ways that a five year old might, I have to stick with Willy. Or "The Old Man." Or maybe like when both parents were giving me hell around 2005-7, the "Y-Unit."

Facebook readers out there can participate if you want. There is a guy on FB called Beemey Smith. It is his bogus account for doing some sneaky stuff. You can report him or block him, or if you think this is important enough, you can forward this to him by FB or even Snail Mail it anonymously to 

William Lucas 
5052 Artesian St. 
San Diego, CA, 92117 

Let your conscience be your guide.

Onward. Kelli dared me to keep to one page. That's a lot for me. A lot in its brevity, I mean! What would I say?

Stop being landlord. Stop being the builder. Stop being right. Stop being condescending to Kelli and blaming our trouble on her. Stop hating my mom for doing what a single mother has to do to take care of her kids in a world stacked against her. Stop obsessing about material shit and finances. Stop belittling me like I was 10 years old. Stop ignoring ideas I have that might actually do some good and make me feel like a partner in all this. Stop living like the whiny little boy you must have been when your dad and mom were willing to do anything to keep you around so they wouldn't lose you too. (Eldest son to drowning at 12, and a stillborn daughter.)

Start finding something to like about Kelli. Start thanking my mom for her share in giving you such a loving, smart, compassionate, articulate, handsome son. Start asking questions about timeless things. Start telling me about hurt and strife and pain like you lived it. Start sharing more. Start opening your house to people. Start trusting people. Start conversations that show you are interested in other people. Start taking accountability for your own misdeeds and shortcomings. Start taking God seriously as if your life was a gift from her.

My public offer for breaking out of nearly five years of estrangement is this: You go to at least one year of family therapy with me. Two might be better. Or more. There is plenty of work to do. You pay. You pay for the best qualified male therapist you can find (since you don't trust women to lead you, but I don't mind you facing that it isn't about what they do, it is about what you do in these situations). You'll pay because this is one way to start putting things back in order after your financial windfall from the house you sold out from under me and Kelli. Money isn't the issue for a guy who cashed in on a $515,000 house near the peak of the market. Will is. When the time is right for you to do this work, I'll know because you'll call me and ask for it. You know how to be in touch. Start with the right words and I might even respond. The right words will probably feel funny and hard to say. They won't roll off your tongue like the old lines did. This is a good thing. Trust it. Go with it.

The moment will come when you realize your method of dividing and conquering has failed. Your inability to relate to people normally has failed. Your loneliness has mounted. Your money and your house are meaningless in the realization that nothing else exists for you. Neither of them love you. You'll find yourself at the end of the line of that kind of life program. You won't know what to do with yourself. You might feel like I did in 2003: suicidal. Rage filled. Lost. Disconnected. Hurt. These are the signs that something good is about to come. On the verge of something big.

You SHOULD mourn the loss of relation. I do so every day. My answer was finally to start to build it up again, but I don't kid myself that I am not the sole architect of any renewal. Kelli has been invaluable in that regard, and even she is compelled by a larger force than she understands. She even asks about you. We talk about you like we care. But we just don't know what to do about you. This is why I am not going to stand for your badmouthing of our relationship, as if she was the wedge between us, as if she ushered in the end of a golden age. She has been the best thing to happen to this family in ages, returning a much needed feminine element to the balance. When you're ready, you can admit that and join the party. It will require getting over a whole host of long-held beliefs about women, about young people, about clergy, about wives. About relationship. Consider it a dare. Consider it the terms that will need to be met before you and I get very far, therapy sessions or none.

I do feel compassion for you and I sort of have an understanding for the situations I know you've been in. But I don't see the wisdom in your methods that so far have demonstrated an uncanny ability to drive people away from you. Or to prune things of beauty from the space you inhabit. It must be a lonely place in there. It's scary to look at from out here. All we have is your actions to judge by. When you eventually come around, we'll know because you'll be a lot more transparent and open. Generosity will flow. A smile won't be crooked. Laughter will be genuine and warm instead of self-conscious and cackling.

Becoming human can be scary. You're 67 now. Give up the old shit that hasn't worked. Give it up! No parents are here for you to either impress or to manipulate. All the shit that drove us apart is not working for you. All the ownership of property and even the selling of property has not helped either of us be part of any family. Maybe that isn't what matters after all. None of that matters. It is all dressing. Now it can be seen for being threadbare and bankrupt. It is not the relationship you need. The security you offered people was a good thing once, a long time ago. Now that same source of security has become a weapon and has scared people out of your life, bringing you to this day. It is a failed plan. So give it up. Give in to being someone who isn't defined by all that. Give in to someone who sees relationship in terms of quality of exchange of good will and time. When you're past doing the hard work you've done all your life, you need something else to get you by.

In the men's work that has done me good, that is the movement from living as your false self to being your true self. True self is creative, not destructive. Giving, not taking. Loving, not loathsome. It is already in you. But the outer layers have to come off. Better they can be peeled like onion skin, and not jackhammered like stone. You can't engineer your way into true self. It happens to people who get out of the way. That hasn't been your method as long as I can assess. You can only want it and be open to where that desire takes you. But almost invariably, you'll only want it on your worst day alive. I can't tell if you've gotten there yet.

The terms are at least a year of family therapy, once or twice a week. You pay. That will be your incentive to show up and stay the whole session. The rest follows.

Happy Father's Day.

ed

Article originally appeared on The Artist Presently Known As Ed in word, image, and sound (http://tapkae.com/).
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