First, I have the most amazing father in the history of the universe. He has profoundly impacted my life in the best of ways. How did that work out so fantastic for me? Second, going through crappy times really are fantastic for helping to learn a lot about yourself and most often make you a lot stronger. Third, I am so happy to have married Alex because he only periodically gives me need to remember the message of my father's email, and always respects and responds. Again, that worked out pretty fantastic for me too.
The email from my Father was one he wrote to me when I was going through a challenging time with a boyfriend. This boy and I had dated for a few years , he was very intelligent, good hearted, and funny. We had a good time together.
The problem was, there were little ways in which I felt belittled. They were seemingly harmless jokes about my intellect or my taste in music. There was poking at my traditional viewpoint of how I believed I wanted my future to play out, and challenges to so many small things I said. It was not constant, but it was there and it permeated me as a person, changed how I acted.
I felt second. I always felt second. I acted second too. His needs and thoughts were first and I started to believe that was right. I don't think he even knew it was happening though. I was horrible at discussing these sorts of things. I ignored it and ignored it, until I was pissed and unhappy and it had to end.
I wasn't fantastic when I was with him and it took me years to figure that out.
My Dad, always quick to point out the awesome in me, while challenging me along the way, sent me the following email during the rocky time of me trying to end this relationship that just didn't make me as great as I should have known I could be. He knew though, and he is so amazing at reminding me in the most subtle and powerful ways.
(He calls me goofy, just in case you were wondering what that was all about.)
I promised you this sometime ago.
Background: Richard Feynman(1918-1988) was a brilliant scientist. some considered him the smartest man in the world during the 40s and 50s. he won the noble prize for physics and was a factor in the development of the atomic bomb.
he could master any subject in an afternoon if he wanted to.
Feynman prided himself on honesty, independence, and, of course, logical thinking and knowledge. he was attractive; women liked him and he liked them. his first sweetheart was arline; they married and she died shortly thereafter from tb while he was working at los almos on the bomb.
feynman became concerned about disputes between husband and wife. using his logic, he devised his method for resolving these disputes, to wit: one hour would be set aside to argue the point under dispute. if a conclusion was not reached, he would decide the issue because he was older, more knowledgeable, and more experienced. as a practical matter, feynam would simply give up and arline would decide. an example of the theoretical mind at work. arline knew where his vanities were. once she sent him some pencils emblazoned with 'richard darling, i love you! putsie' and caught him cutting off the incriminating legend. she then sent him the following poem.
If you don't like the things i do
my friend, i say, pecans to you!
if i irate with pencils new
my bosom pal, pecans to you!
if convention's mask is borne in view
if deep inside sound notions brew
and from without you take your cue
my sorry friend, pecans to you!
I can't imagine having navigated life this far without my Father.
Thank you Dad!
I love you!
I love you!