Why I stopped Picking Up His Calls!

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When I was attempting to apply for theater in Lebanese University, I had to write a script and perform it in front of the jury, I was so scared of the idea of writing and performing, I didn’t end up going through the entrance exam.

But I did write my script.

It was a dialogue with my grandfather’s grave. In this dialogue, I was blaming my grandfather for all the abuse that he practiced for years over his 3 sons and 3 daughters. A history of abuse that my family refuses to acknowledge, a history of abuse that continued till after his death, where his children practiced the same form of oppression over their own children.

I will never forget when I was 6 when I woke up in the middle of the night to find my mom running away from my dad when he was trying to hit her. At the age of 24, I found out that that night my dad hit my sister and I when we started crying out of fear of what’s going on. And days later the whole family went crazy and my aunt’s husband went after my mom to bring her back home because she tried to leave the abusive house that she is living in.

I will never forget that from the time I was 17 till I was 21, I had to work at my dad’s shop 6 hours a day and 7 days a week and on holidays working 12 hours along with my siblings, to be able to get my 35,000 Lebanese Lira per week.

I will never forget I was hit by a fan and saved by the desktop screen cable that prevented him from grabbing the screen and throwing it at me. My step mom cleaned the food off of the ground after my dad threw the plate at the wall when according to him: “kabaret ras” (being a big head). That night, I walked around the house showing off my bruises to the whole family. My stepmother and my sister told me “Don’t hold a grudge, he is just a sick man and his kidney failure is getting worse”

The first day I had off of work at my dad’s shop was the day after he sold the shop and handed the keys to the new owner.  That morning, my dad woke up full of anger and walked in to the kids’ room to tell my brother that he is a eben 7aram (bastard child) and louti (fag) and that he is ashamed to have him as a son. He then yelled at him to leave his house and walked back to his room. My brother and I looked at each other not knowing what to do (I was 21 and my brother was 16). I assured him that it’s just one of his fits and he should go back to sleep. Five minutes after that my dad comes back and starts yelling at him, asking him to leave his house. My brother left to my mom’s house to live with her and my sister. A week later, he was dragged to the hospital to see my dad because he entered the hospital and had to start dialysis. “The pee has reached his head” is what everyone said as an excuse to his anger a week before, which was supposed to justify kicking his bastard son out of his house.

A year and half later, I donated my kidney to my dad. Everyone in the family was against it, using mainly the argument of “Don’t do it you wont be able to have kids” or “How will I find a man to marry me with one kidney”. My siblings told me that they wouldn’t do it, and my mom was scared for my health. And although she never expressed it directly, she didn’t want me to prioritize the health of a man that had abused since he married her over my own health.

But I did give him my kidney. I gave him my kidney so he can be a better father for his son from my stepmother. I gave him my kidney so he can stop being so angry and terrorize my brother. I did it to get rid of the guilt of “not giving him attention”. I did it so I can stop talking to him when he again failed as a dad.

I was 23 when that happened. Now I’m 25 and I no longer talk to him.

I no longer talk to my dad because I’m no longer daddy’s little girl; that girl that cried while carrying her dad’s photo because she hasn’t seen him in 2 years.

I’m his baby girl that he takes pride in how strong she is. He doesn’t mind that I don’t like men and that I’ve given myself a man’s name on facebook and that I have unshaved legs and short hair.

My dad is a great man. But he has failed as a father. My dad is a ball of issues and abuse– same as any of us. My dad is a great man and I inherited from him a lot of values that I still go by, and the one I cherish most is that no man or woman has any right to disrespect their mother.

And now I’m teaching him that no parenthood is acceptable if it comes with abuse; and that it is so easy not to talk to him: as easy as it was for him to abandon his wife and his 4 children for years.

Our relationships with our families are as complex as any other relationship. The families that we surround ourselves with and invest efforts into maintaining a healthy dynamic with, can be of any form that we choose for them to be. A form that is suitable and convenient for all. Right now, the family structures that we live in obliges us to forgive abusive parents, be understanding of them, and continue to live with them. This only reinforces power dynamics that, at times, prevents you from doing things as simple as raising your voice out of frustration or regulating your behavior and life.

I know not all parents are the same, but I have come to believe that not all parents are worth a visit or a phone call per week.

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