Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
Here’s a pretty straight-forward question, Sweetpea: At what point in our relationship did I tell you the story of my father? I’m not talking about those times he embarrassed me during my oh-so-very awkward teenage years or the stories about all the adventures my sister and I used to have in his office, which was in a really spooky basement. And I’m not even talking about he’d sit by my hospital bed and read me the newspaper as I recovered from surgery. Those times were wonderful, of course, and helped to define my childhood, but sometimes — and well, more so lately — I get to feeling like it’s more about what defines you as an adult that ultimately helps you become the person you are meant to be.
Even more than my disability, I know my father’s suicide has been my adult “defining moment.” I know this. I suppose there’s really no getting around it — you can’t swiftly deny it or easily push it under the rug because it will just jump right back out and get you. I’m tied to it for the rest of my life. I don’t say this with a “woe-is-me” attitude. It’s just a fact. It’s a fact of life. It’s a fact of my life. But I wonder when it becomes a fact of our life, of our relationship. When does it go from merely being a scar I carry on my heart to one of “those talks” that helps define our relationship and our future life together? Does that make any sense?
Now, I’m guessing I hold back a little bit at first. After all, this isn’t the sort of story you can easily tell someone on the first date. It’s not like you can seamlessly work it into the conversation somewhere between a discussion of our worst blind date and our dream job. And it’s certainly not the sort of topic you can easily bring up over a romantic, relaxed candlelit dinner for two. Can you imagine us ordering appetizers in a quiet restaurant, and then I look you straight in the eyes and say, “So, there’s this big part of my past that I haven’t told you about…“
Yes, something tells me that won’t work. So what will work? I’m not really sure as of right now in March 2013. Maybe I won’t be sure until I meet you. Maybe I won’t be sure until we go out a few times. Or, maybe I won’t be sure until I can see us having a future together. Because I don’t want to tell this story to just anyone; it’s not the sort of nonchalant story you just tell someone when you’re shooting the breeze with them. It’s a pretty heavy story, you know? Believe it or not, I can be pretty guarded when it comes to this story sometimes. It’s not a story I readily share with everyone (and yes, I’m aware of the irony where my blog is concerned…), and I have to feel extremely comfortable around the person if I’m going to share something so intimate with them.
But, you can be sure of one thing, Sweetpea: Telling you this story is definitely going to mean something. It’s going to mean that I trust you with such an emotional and deep part of my life. I’ll want to share my story with you because I’ll want you to know who I am; I’ll want you to know everything about me. I can’t wait to tell each other our stories, Sweetpea. Until we meet… xoxo
[Photos via Le Love]