I spent my day off creating a sculpture. The base is a cross section slice of wood, part of a bunch of art supplies my Dad gave me the last time I will ever visit him under the pretext of friendship. Supportive of my art until the last. I’ll always be grateful for that. This batch of supplies came with some bits of organic matter– bones, shells, quills. I politely thanked him, then explained I primarily work with metals and glass. Organic just isn’t my “voice.” He insisted I take them, saying I need to get over my “voice” and create with things people will actually want. Supportive? It’s complicated.
“Me and my wife will leave you the hell alone. Good luck with your adult life.” I wasn’t texting often enough. I wasn’t responding on his timeline. I wasn’t acknowledging his persistent attempts to draw me back into his world, the world I so intentionally walked away from. “Dad, I moved here to pursue the life I believe I’m supposed to lead. I need some space to be present with that life. That means I have to take some control of my pace. I know it’s a hard transition, it’s just something I need to do as an adult.” “Well what *I* need as an adult is for you to honor me.” And here we are again. With thousands of miles between us and only a cell phone to assert his presence, I really am in control at last. Still, he asserts. His communication needs trump mine. I acknowledge a twinge, as it seems responding to texts is “the least I could do.” Respond any time he contacts me. Be on call. Day or night, central standard time, if he has something to say I must attend. But when those texts cause a wave of nausea, when rather than a quick glance and response as with others my entire brain gets sucked into a dark space, his face before me, his expectations ruling my word choice, my mind shifting to “Dad language” so I can communicate in HIS terms lest he be angry I’m “not making sense,” when responding to a quick text means disorientation and disassociation, that is just not an option.
Because I need to set boundaries. Because he needs to control his world. Because I said no, he said goodbye.
I am pleased with my sculpture. On my wooden base are piled many seemingly random objects– bones, beads, toys. A wooden whittled house stands against a broken coffee mug, framing the letter “I”. A “C” rests in the pelvis of a grey skeleton, a wee little man sitting in the eye sockets of the attached skull. Leaning on the sharp ceramic edge of the coffee mug is a scrabble “L” and a bold green “M” balances out the sparkly green beaded earring nearby. A pile of skulls intended as a candle holder is now a “B” holder, and perched atop the B is a woman, skirts smooth, resting contented high above it all. Climb. Climb above the death and morbidity. Be present with it. Rest on it. Be at peace with the broken foundation. Enjoy the view.
I am present with here and now. As to my broken foundation I say: Rest In Peace.