Saturday, December 31, 2016
Happiness is a tricky thing. You think you have it. Joy is right in front of you. It's yours. And then, POOF, it's gone. Maybe, it was never there. Maybe, it was a mirage. Maybe, it was invented deep inside your hopeful mind.
2016, I looked forward to you. 2015 was full of changes. I left my home. I left my marriage. I started a new relationship. I thought I was happy and I was sure 2016 would be the best year of my life. Wrong.
The year started so well. I had control of my life. I was managing all my responsibilities as a single parent and working two jobs. I found a groove and I enjoyed it. By April, I managed to confront Jack about his alcoholism and forced myself to no longer be his enabler. I thought it would be the hardest conversation I'd ever have. Wrong.
Jack stopped drinking and found himself again. He became a true partner in parenting. My responsibilities lessened and I thought it was the beginning of easier times for me. Wrong.
Jack was clean, but not sober. By the end of summer, he was throwing away companionship time with our children to sit on a bar stool and feed booze to a new "friend." He started a sexual relationship with an alcoholic crack addict, 16 years older than him. He tore me to pieces when he showed me their conversations. He talked to her. For 20 fucking years, I begged him to talk to me. I thought nothing could hurt worse than knowing I was never good enough, but an old, used, piece of town trash was. I thought it wasn't possible to hold more anger inside me. Wrong.
Jack found the light. In an epiphany, he came to terms with alcoholism as a disease. He saw how utterly disgusting his choices were. He chose to seek help through counseling and AA. He was, and continues to be, completely open. He is humble. I chose to focus on nurturing a friendship with him. After all, we are on the same team. We still need each other if we have any hope of raising well-adjusted adults. I thought the final months of the year would be simple. Wrong.
In September, I started receiving Facebook messages from Cecil Roberts. "Ask your mother who Cecil Roberts is." "Have you asked your mother who Cecil Roberts is?" "Ask your mother who sang" some stupid song I'd never heard of. I ignored those messages. I thought they were from someone who was trying to sell me something. You know, like if I had replied he would have told me about some golden money making opportunity. It was just insignificant spam. Dead Wrong.
In October, I got a message from a woman named Shannon. "Hello, April. My name is Shannon. I live in Indiana and I believe you are my sister." WTF???? And then my gears started to turn. Who is Cecil Roberts? I replied to Shannon. I thought it was possible that she could actually be looking for my sister. I have never known who my sister's biological father was and our mother has given several stories over the years. I suggested to Shannon that she may be looking for my sister and offered to forward the message to her. Shannon's reply, "Cecil Roberts is my father and he says that he is both Amanda and your biological father."
You guys, I started to wonder if my father was my biological father when I was pregnant with my first child. I moved in with my dad when I was 15 years old. My relationship with my mother was horrible. She was my monster. My father is one of the nicest, most generous people I know. I once asked him how he had gotten stuck with someone as crazy as my mother. He told me their first date was on New Year's Eve, 1978. My sister was almost 3 months old. He told me he fell in love with Baby Amanda and he knew he wanted to be her dad. I thought that was pretty amazing.
When I got pregnant with my daughter, I truly didn't quite understand how long the gestational process was. I also wasn't sure when I became pregnant. The doctor estimated a due date based on the size of my baby at my first ultrasound and told me that an average pregnancy is 280 days.
My brain loves numbers. I cling to them. I was born on the 239th day of 1979. My parents had their first date on New Year's Eve. My mother had always told me I was born early. I was a 6-pound-13-ounce, healthy, baby girl. I may have been early, but I wasn't 40 days early. In that moment, in 2006, I recalled that conversation with my dad and I started to wonder if it was even possible for him to be my biological father. Jack and I had many, many, many conversations about it. I even told my best friend, Michael, about my doubts. But, I let it go.
Then Shannon contacted me. Amanda and I had many conversations about this new information. I called my mother. She said "Hello" and I immediately replied, "Who is Cecil Roberts?" You could hear a pin drop. For what felt like eternity, she said nothing. And then the lies started. "He's no one. He's a trouble maker. Do not talk to him. Block him right now." She refused to talk about it, even though there was some evidence to support his claim. Instead of admitting her lies, she created a distraction. She stabbed herself with a pair of scissors. Rather than get help for her obvious psychological problems, she signed herself out of a treatment center because, "she didn't like the music the other women listened to."
Through Shannon, Amanda and I pieced together some very disturbing details. I am always honest with you in this blog, but I just can't tell you how my mother knew Cecil Roberts. It is disgusting. It is horrific. And, today, it would be criminal. She was a victim and he was the piece of shit who used her and left her.
The hardest conversation of my life was talking to my dad about this. He likely raised 2 kids he owed nothing to. He put up with years of Hell and torment from my insane mother. And when I apologized to him for basically ruining his life -and he could have had a much easier life without us in it- he said he wouldn't change a thing. He said Amanda and I are his daughters. He said he loves us no matter what. (My dad is AMAZING.)
I cannot give words to the anger I have for Cecil Roberts. At this time, I have no idea whether he is my actual biological father. I only know it is a possibility. He continues to claim he is Amanda's and my father. He claims he tried to stay around for years, but his life was threatened and he left us for his own safety. He claims he was too young to know better. He claims he met my dad and respected him so much that he "got out of the way." And, when asked why he chose now to attempt to re-enter our lives, he claims it's because he thought his daughter should know her sisters.
Cecil Roberts, I hope this makes it's way to you. FUCK YOU. If you believed you had 2 daughters, you should have stuck around and fought for us. You were too young? Bullshit. My dad is the same age as you and he raised us with more love than I hope you've ever known. You used my mother. You took advantage of her. And when you couldn't hack it, you moved on. Quickly, as Shannon is only 13 months younger than me. You didn't stick around for months, let alone years. You hurt my mother. She was already volatile. She had been abused. She had daddy issues. She was mentally fragile. You knew it and you hurt her anyway. And here you are, trying to hurt me. Motherfucker, you have no idea how strong I am. When others are weak, when others stumble, when others fall... I'm still standing.