We never really got off on the right foot, did we? I should have been the perfect child, the jewel atop your perfect marriage. Except there was no perfect. The marriage existed, and I was the result. At best a rough diamond! Far too similar to you for comfort. My mother was, is, beautiful, Dainty, fragrant beautiful. Always out of your league. So you used brute force to keep her, control her, reduce her to a shadow of the woman you fell in love with. You tried the same process with me. I had your brain, your fierce intelligence. Sadly, your hairy legs, terminal acne, and your forehead, large enough to land small aircraft on easily. And ultimately, your temper.
You chose to make the best of a bad job, and exploit my brain. I won a scholarship to a private school at the age of four. You encouraged them to fast track me, push me forward, basking in the glow of my achievements. I was painfully shy, terrified of you, and you made me take part in speech competitions, music recitals, activities that made me physically sick with nerves, and laughed at my fears. You entered me for yet more scholarship exams, and refused me the opportunity to accept any of them, sending me instead to a huge comprehensive, when I was not even ten years old.
I loved you dearly, tried so hard to please you, and that was my greatest mistake. In this, I mirrored my mother. The more we tried to please you, the more brutal you became.You told me I was all nose and teeth, and that no self respecting man would have anything to do with me.
And then you pushed things too far. I fell totally in love with words, and music, and history and art. You would only accept the sciences as real subjects. Refused to let me follow the path I wanted. So I left school. You didn’t even realise for six months. I became a hairdresser. A bloody excellent hairdresser! One of the best, in fact!! I even ran my own salon. And you told people that asked that I was a barber.
I also fell in love with the most beautiful man. He should have been everything a father would wish for his daughter. Smart, intelligent, caring, well bred. You hated him, and made it your mission to drive him away. Yet welcomed my subsequent partners. When the first one left me, pregnant, you asked how he was coping. Said you wished I had taken my ‘A’ levels. In advanced contraception, perhaps?
The man I married sought to control me, as you had. For too long a time he succeeded. And then, finally, the real me surfaced. Said *&@k you,and clawed her way back! It hasn’t been easy. Still isn’t easy!
But i learned a valuable lesson from you. I learned that control isn’t love. Real love is trusting others to make their own choices. To encourage them to follow their own path, even if you don’t agree. Let them make their mistakes, and learn from them. Make them believe they have wings, and they can fly. My children have the most beautiful wings, and they will soar.
And I am doing what I should always have done. I am writing. I am loving every word that I write. And I am writing for the man I love. The one you thought you had driven away.