A tale of two dads

If you have not watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – don’t read this.

The world has been strange lately. Well, it’s been strange since December 2016, but as I try to address the strangeness, I seem to just be going deeper into this crazy rabbit hole of disparity and disconnection in a bid to try and connect with who I am. Whatever that even means.

Having a Psych//Coach has been the best investment I could have made this year. Lord knows , I’d probably be back with NHS counsellors for 6-12 weeks with them thinking I’ll be fine and sending me on my way. If not, then I’d be back on the fluoxetine just to numb the pain and confusion of something that really needs to be looked at squarely and discussed.

But I digress.

I have two dads.

It’s never really been an issue. I have a biological father, and a step-dad whom I only know as my real dad. My father is black and my dad is white. My mom/mother is black and yes, I’m black. But I’m really just the darkest mixed-race girl who favours her white heritage more than her black heritage, whilst always and forever proudly proclaiming she’s (Dutch) Kenyan: Dutch by law, Kenyan by blood. It’s where I began, and it’s (hopefully) where I will end.

Even with that, I never really sought out my biological father. My mum says I wanted to meet him at the age of 6, decided I didn’t like him and didn’t want to see him ever again. I have zero recollection of any of that. I remember shaking the then president of Kenya’s hand and asking him a question or something then running off – but meeting my biological dad for the first (and only) time? Nope. Nadda.

And with that I let it go until I was in my early 20’s and in a long-term and insanely intense relationship with a guy who was initially diagnosed as bipolar, but then wasn’t. The latter was after we broke up. There’s this ideology that goes around that states being with a bipolar person makes you a little bit bipolar too – and it’s true. At least to the extent of understanding their manic and depressed moments, and possibly adjusting or accommodating them. As an “empath” I adjusted and accommodated a lot of behaviour, one was anger. I recall going into my first bought of counselling at uni and trying to deal with my emotions at the time. Equally my partner was trying to be helpful but instead encouraged me to probe my mum about my past, unrelentingly.

It broke my mum even though she didn’t want to tell me. Apparently it wasn’t my place. Which I initially accepted but was rightfully asked why I should accept being denied access to my own history. She gave me a name. At the time FaceBook had finally opened up to more of the world and as luck would have it, my biological father was on there.

Shock and awe ran over me like a waterfall shot out an uzi. My weird as fuck, slightly Khoisan yet almond-shaped eyes were looking at me with a masculine slant. As were my cheek bones, without the chipmunk cheeks.

I sent him one question – if he knew a woman by the name of MO (my mother).

He said yes.

I left it at that.

So, a little back story aside, this year has had some interesting themes running that I’ve been trying to observe and note and act upon. This one is around comic/superhero movies and parent/child relationships.

I watched Logan and managed to keep my shit together……until the girl called Logan “daddy”. Floods of tears from an empathetic centre couldn’t be held back. Not so much from the storyline, but for whatever reason my subconscious tied it to my own reality and lack of identity or family stability.

Having just watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – I knew there was a dad angle to it, but I didn’t realise just how big it was! The wonderfully ironic Ego and Yondu are the father figures: One biological (Ego), the other indirectly adoptive in nature (Yondu). The subtext pokes and provokes questions from a personal and professional level.

A professional one being: nature versus nurture? Biological versus adopted?

And many personal ones which I won’t get into now – it’s a big topic I’m still trying to figure out. But what absolutely caused me to lose it was when Yondu says:

That guy may have been your father, but he ain’t your daddy

Ignoring the slightly flickering parallels of the storyline (I’m in my early thirties and have just about found my biological father but haven’t said hello yet, I’m scared. But I’m running around trying to be a big deal whilst being a deviant) That phrase above is an accurate representation of how my fathers have been in my life.

What makes it worse is, due to my dad being as white as the night is black, I was a bit of a hard ass as a kid. Stating he wasn’t my dad as he was the wrong skin colour. My mum would get angry sometimes, but not once did my dad ever get mad at this comment – he would always calmly say. “In a way, it’s better because I’ve chosen and fought to have you in my life. Being adopted isn’t a bad thing.” I always got upset – it didn’t make sense that I had to put up with this situation.

But I couldn’t be more thankful. And feel somewhat sheepish now as things have dissolved amidst what can only be described as a cluster-fuck of an upbringing, being sent off to boarding school as the family was separated by foolish choices and the lack of emotional fire to fix things.

On the flip-side, there’s my father. Whom I’m sure is a good person – and befriending him on FaceBook means I can get a glimpse into his life and he can get a glimpse into mine. I have half-sisters. Being a kinda/sorta only child (my half brother was born later on) makes the concept of having other siblings a strange one. Yes, I have older ones from my dad’s first marriage but they’re all considerably older than me. They’re around my mother’s age. I’m not exactly going to develop deep bonds with adults when I’m a quiet 6 year old who likes her own company.

So there’s this desperate curiosity to see what my father is like whilst fearful of critical judgement that I had to put up with from my mother growing up. Being scolded isn’t nice and it would appear that you can only verbally hammer me for so long until I crack and snap back – then people resort to trying to physically silence me. Which isn’t a good idea if you put your child through various martial arts schools and she ends up working as a bouncer for 10 years.

Connecting with both paternal units is on the cards to hopefully help bring some order to the big question:

Who the fuck am I.

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