Letter From My 48th Year (Feb 1)
As I’ve been thinking about my Dad lately, getting ready to make the final push on this last batch of poems for the manuscript, I’ve also been thinking about what I could have done to change things between us. I think a significant misstep on my part was never really getting angry at him. I understand why I didn’t: I had anointed him as the “good parent,” and couldn’t risk losing him. I’d also seen so much anger in my house as a child that I was terrified of it.
But there’s a way that the expression of anger clears the way for something new, something fresh to happen. Like when farmers burn their fields to encourage new growth. I’m not sure if I’ll dig into this more with my writing, at least not for right now, but the idea really crystallized for me today when I was listening to David K. Harbour’s interview with Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. (Well worth a listen as it’s an excellent master class in acting and on the creative process.) In the context of explaining his process of creating and sustaining tension on the set between charcters, Harbour segued a little into talking about the process of falling in love:
“You can’t really fall in love with someone if you don’t fight with them, if you don’t show them your underbelly of your own weakness and your own stupidity because then they see you. And then they’re able to love you and you’re able to love back. Because you’re like, ‘Holy shit you saw me and still are hanging out with me?” That’s beautiful.” – David K. Harbour
It’s too late for a do-over with my Dad. But I think it’s still worth thinking about other places in my life I may be stuck because of my unwillingness to feel and express anger, other relationships that are in limbo. What’s there waiting to sprout if I’m just willing to take the risk?