*(image from Women on Writing).
I’ve had the honor of being featured at Women on Writing today.
I have not been writing about Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar much, because I’d been grappling with a lot of emotions around it since my first reading. I guess I still had some guilt about publishing it, seeing my father as having an illness. I had some angst about forgiveness. Was I a bad person for writing it? Was I trying to punish him? Every time I think I’ve put those questions to rest they circle around again.
Enter Bill Macy as Frank Gallagher in Showtime’s Shameless series.
Watching the series has been helpful for me. Frank is over the top, to be sure. He’s very different from my father in some ways (my dad held a job and did very hard physical labor, Frank is a “disability” junkie, looking for any way to scam the system) but there is enough of my father in him. The part of every active addict that cares more about the substance, than about anyone he loves. The part where people are only useful for you if they feed your addiction or your ego. If not, to hell with them. Even your own children.
Thinking about my previous post on Project Forgive, I had a revelation. The man whose family was killed by a drunk driver? The one who forgave the guy who did it? He was never asked to act like it didn’t happen. He was never asked to sweep the violation under the rug. No one questions his true “forgiveness.”
I can hold deep compassion and forgiveness for my father AND I can talk about my own experience and write about it. One does not cancel out the other.
And you know why it continues?
Because it’s taboo. Because people are too ashamed to talk about it. Because society makes people like me feel guilty for even mentioning it.
But you know what? I am a good person. I am a loving person. I am a compassionate person. I am a forgiving person.
I am also the Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar.
And there are millions of me.