A Father's Day Post


Father's day is weird for me. I don't miss my father, but I am proud and pleased to be his daughter. He and I were nearly inseparable until just before my brother was born, but for the last eight years of his life I could hardly stand the sight of him. His death brought a sort of sad relief to my brother and I. It sounds horrible, but the truth is often unpleasant. I called my father Papa because he hated "Dad" or "Daddy." He didn't even like when I said to another, "my dad likes that." His father, who I never met, was called,"Daddy." I do not know what happened between them because my father would never speak of his own father, except to say that he was "the worst kind of man, and I hope I am nothing like him." Thankfully, I can't say the same. My father was a beautiful, troubled man. He was a genius in every sense of the word: more intelligent than was safe for a beautiful black man, his artistic talents oozed from his body, and he taught me so many things he thought were important. Good examples include all about Bayard Rustin, the importance of volunteerism, how to fight a man who is larger than you so as to injure but not kill, how to drive backward at full speed, how important it is to collaborate with other artists to grow new art forms a la Picasso and Braque, and how to pattern your life to conceal extra-relationship affairs. (I don't mean that last one as some faux-deep, passive-aggressive comment on my parents' relationship. No. I mean I was given explicit instructions on how to pattern my life and choose friends so as to conceal affairs. I can only imagine my brother's only-son life lessons.)

Honestly, most of the things he taught were invaluable but hard to teach, like the difference between sincerity and flattery, but some that I wish I could unlearn, like how much it hurts to be let down by the one person you believe will be forever in your corner. I wish hugs and love and happiness for my father wherever he is. I know that his spirit is alive in many people, most of all in my brother and in myself.