Take this. I’ve been carrying it for you for 16 years.

Insight by itself isn’t particularly useful. You need to actually do something with it in order to benefit. I’ve known for years that I never fully mourned my father’s death. That the knot in my shoulder probably has something to do with him. That I’m angry with him for hurting Mom and me, lying to us, and abandoning us. That I’m not going to recover from my depression until I forgive him.

But today was the first time I actively expressed those emotions to him. With Wakana’s support and guidance I propped up a stuffed animal to represent him and yelled and cried and stood with my hands on my hips and didn’t hold anything back. I wasn’t nice about it at all. I was brutally honest.

Something came out that took me by surprise. Something extremely familiar, yet completely unexpected: Disappointment. I’m disappointed in him. It seems absurd, what right does a daughter have to be disappointed in her father? Well, this daughter is all grown up. And yes, I’m disappointed in him.

When he married my mother, he made a promise. I’ve made that same promise to Fox, so I know how important it is and how difficult it can be to keep. But I’ve made a commitment to keeping that promise, to always working with Fox to keep that promise no matter what. My father broke his promise to my mother. I am very angry with him for that. I am very disappointed in him. These are my emotions that I feel, and I feel them toward him because of something he did.

When he helped to create me and took on the role of father, he made a promise. It might never have been spoken, but it was a set of expectations I had for him: that he would protect me, that he would live by the values he taught me, that he would be there when I needed him, that I could trust him. He broke his promise. He hurt me both physically and emotionally. He lied to me after teaching the importance of honesty. He was a hypocrite. He abandoned me. And he taught me to value and respect him more than I valued and respected my mother. For all her flaws, she deserves at least as much respect as him. He should have modeled that for me, but he did the opposite.

I am very, very disappointed in him.

Here’s the thing: I’d been directing that disappointment at myself. I’d taken on the guilt I imagine he would feel, were he alive to hear the things I said today. I took responsibility for his failings; I believed I was the one who’d committed the sin of betrayal; I thought I had to redeem myself and did everything I could to do so and felt crushing guilt when nothing I did was enough. Maybe it’s possible for a father to make it up to his daughter after disappointing her as my father disappointed me. Maybe. But for a daughter to make it up to herself? Impossible. Nothing I can do will make my disappointment in my father go away.

But now I am directing it at him. I am disappointed in him. I am giving him the responsibility I’ve been carrying for the things he did to hurt me. It’s his responsibility. He’s the owner of the guilt. He’s the one who, if he were alive, would have reason to feel like he has to do something to redeem himself. Not me.

I am the one in control, the one feeling the disappointment, the one with the ability to sentence or forgive. I am the Judge, the Warden, even. I was never on trial. He is.

I’ve expressed my anger, my rage, my disappointment, my hurt, my sorrow. I’ve yelled and cried. I’ve handed him the burden I’ve been carrying. It’s his burden, it was never mine; it belongs to him.

And under all of that, I love him. I’d been saying I wanted to punch him, but when I had the stuffed animal standing in for him I decided it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t need to become violent, to have that violence on my shoulders. I hugged him instead. I chose to express my love for him.

Now it is time to let go. To say goodbye. And to forgive.

Can I really just walk away from all of this?

Well, I have lots of people whom I love and who love me. I’m married. I’ve already lived 16 years without him, carrying a burden that was never mine. I’ve experienced success and I’m learning to tolerate failure, as much as I dislike it. I’ve been and will continue to develop my talents and skills. Some day I might even have meaningful employment. Children of my own. A legacy.

Yes, I can leave this burden in the sand. I can walk away from it. That is what I choose to do.

You disappointed me, Dad. You weren’t the father I needed you to be. But I know that you were human, and humans make mistakes. And I still love you, Dad. I’ll always love you. So I choose to forgive you. And I need to live my life. Goodbye.

The (Current) Sims 3 Saga Continues…

When we last saw our heroes, they had just taken the Sims University Aptitude test and received 6 credits toward the completion of their respective degrees! Will they get too juiced to take their exams? Find out today!

So yeah… this and a lot of my playing The Sims 3 is all about wish fulfillment. I want to do well in school and actually complete my degree! And I want Fox to do the same. Upon graduating, I want us both to have fulfilling careers that pay well.

Spending quality time together and with friends is important to us both. I’ve always loved Halloween and the traditions associated with it, especially carving Jack-o-Lanterns and dressing up. I haven’t been able to dress up for Halloween the past few years, so I take dressing my sims up for Spooky Day very seriously.

I’ve also been questioning my and Fox’s ability to complete our degrees and enter our careers of choice. We can’t just take the classes we still need because I have to wait for mine to be offered again and he needs to fulfill prerequisites. While I’m waiting I need to recover from my anxious depression enough to get through a class without thinking I should hurt myself.

We both need to complete an internship and neither of us feels particularly confident in that department. (Honestly I don’t think completing the internship will be an issue. The problem is acquiring it!) I don’t even want to think about finding paid employment while we’re still in school.

Reality is just really gross, I want nothing to do with it! I feel like I have no control over my life. I don’t really have a lot of control over The Sims 3 game either, but at least I get to tell the sims what to do!

Now I don’t know how to stop…

In the two weeks since my last post, I played The Sims 3 to the point where the offspring of the original young adult couple are young adults themselves, recorded over 400 memories (with carefully-composed screenshots), and 10 seasonal greeting cards. The mother is an elder, the father is a vampire, the older daughter is dating a female vampire, and the younger daughter wants to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps. I’ve decided to set it aside for now because I made the sims’ lifespans too long (180 days, for anyone who cares). Playing that game has become unbearably tedious.

A 4x3 grid with 10 images. Changing seasons are depicted left to right: Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. At first there is a heterosexual young adult couple. Then the family grows to include a child and teenager. By the last image both children are young adults, one of the original young adults is an elder, and the other is a vampire.

The 10 Greeting Cards: Here you can see the family change and grow in conjunction with the cyclic changing of the seasons.

Now I have a third version of that family, but with shorter lifespans (130 days). I built them a much better starter house than the previous versions. The front room is one big open space with both living room (left) and kitchen (right); there is a counter island that separates the space. Walk about halfway into the house and the door to the bedroom is on the left; to the bathroom is on the right. A door between the kitchen area and bathroom provides an alternative entrance/exit and passage into a new addition to the house, should one be built (which will happen eventually). I’m sorry I don’t have a screenshot because it’s really, really nice.

What I do have are the first seasonal greeting card and 13 memories for each of the sims in my new game. I’m really not sure what would be the best way to present them, and I don’t want this to become a The Sims 3 blog! But I feel like there’s gotta be a reason I’ve become so obsessed with this stuff, something I’m trying to express through it. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m just trying to avoid reality as much as possible. All I know is I’ve pulled an all-nighter and I feel like if I go to bed without writing this, when I wake I’m going to get all caught up in what other people want me to do and never get around to posting it. It has to happen now.

Here’s a thumbnail grid with the images in as close to chronological order as I could get them.

One thing I’ve noticed so far is that Angelo seems to be happier than Maria for two reasons: 1. He starts out doing something he loves (not something he hopes will lead to something he finds fulfilling). 2. He focuses on his area of success (receiving 6 credits toward his degree) instead of feeling disappointed about something he didn’t get (a scholarship). Maybe there’s something I can learn from him.