The Sun Keeps Rising

Grief is a strange process. Especially when you avoid it at any cost. I make posts on social media and occasionally I may verbally say “I miss my daddy,” but any expression that requires depth, I avoid. It’s a defense mechanism I guess. I have to keep going, keep living. I don’t want to be the sad girl. It’s approaching two years and I don’t want pity. I don’t want judgement. However, I have not properly dealt with my grief. I sit in my regular therapy sessions and I discuss my mother or romantic relationships, and even my relationships with friends. Rarely do I talk about my daddy or my grief. I don’t talk about him. Not really. I don’t explore my hurt. I don’t explore his absence.

A few months ago, I went through a bout of depression. I had the desire only to lie in my bed and binge watch Blue Bloods. Blue Bloods is a show that my daddy called “our show” because of the father/daughter relationship between two of the main characters. One day I realized that I was watching this show because I missed my daddy. It was my subconscious way of dealing with my grief. After years of sacrifice and consecutive tragic life events, I moved into my first apartment in Houston. It was joyful and stressful. Particularly because my car required a series of expensive repairs around the time of my move. Even though I always have consulted my mom and not my dad about my car troubles, I found myself feeling and saying “I miss my daddy.” The day I picked up the keys to my apartment, my mom was on the phone with someone sharing my news (as she often does because she suffers from verbal diarrhea) and I said to her, out of my mouth, “Who is that, daddy?” I immediately bursted into tears in the leasing office. A couple days later I was driving back to Houston from Dallas and my car wheel was giving me some trouble and I said to my cousin after I couldn’t gain assistance from my mom and others, “I’ll just call my daddy.” Even though something similar happened days before, I still shocked myself.

I’m so happy to start this new chapter, yet there is a damper. There is something missing…my daddy. (I just realized as I typed that sentence and my eyes swelled with tears that THIS is why I have been so moody) I have been depressed, needy, lonely, moody, and simply unpleasant. And I have been in my bed in my new apartment, alone, binge watching Mad Men. The main character and his life reminds me of my daddy. Watching the shows that have connections to my daddy have been unintentional but makes sense. Subconsciously, I’m looking for ways to be close to him, to fill the void that is impossible to fill. My daddy would be so happy for me and taking this step, living my life for me. Even with that being true, I can’t be happy. I can’t help but wonder if every life event that is to come will be challenged but this dark gloom of my father’s absence. I’d like to believe that when I stop avoiding and actually deal with my grief, I will handle life events in a more healthy manner. For now, I am up at 3 am watching Mad Men, feeling every bit of my daddy’s absence and it hurts like hell.

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For Raven and Melanie

Thursday I received a text that said “did Raven reach out to you?” I didn’t think much of it, maybe some family drama. I simply replied “no about what?” The next five words made my heart sink, “her father died last night.” I picked up my phone to make a call I never wanted to make: to welcome my pure-hearted, genuine spirited, kind cousin to a club she never wanted to join. She answered the phone, strong, “holding it together.” What she didn’t know was that I was a mess. You all know my relationship with crying. When I say, I was broken down on that phone call. (Of course I hid my tears from her) My heart hurt for her. As I tried to explain that the studies were wrong, there may be five stages (sometimes seven) of grief but you don’t experience them in a particular order, you bounce around them. And the truth is, you don’t start healing once the body is buried or cremated. You have to be intentional with your healing and sometimes the denial/avoidance stage is the longest.

Jasmine and Joe Lott

Jasmine and Joe Lott

It will be two years in October that my dad has been gone. The truth is, I just began moving out of the denial stage. I literally got back to Houston after his funeral and picked up two more jobs, that I really didn’t need. I started studying for the GMAT. I filled my time up completely to avoid dealing with the reality that I will never see my father again. I was “okay.” I kept it together. I was slaying this grief thing. I remember my friend Jasmine Lott, whose father passed in 2012 texted me that “I’m here to tell you it never goes away. The pain the tears. I still wake up crying. It’s like it happened yesterday. Keep praying and crying wake up and just live your life that’s all you really can do.” I remember the feeling I felt when I read that text. It was so sad and morbid and I was in denial so I was like “Nah that won’t be me.” …Then I lost control. First, I started crying in inappropriate places. Then, I started acting out. (All things JLott had warned me about) I went numb, but thing causing the pain was a reality.

Raven and Dad

Raven and Her Dad

I tried to explain all this to Raven by simply saying “It’s a process and the best thing you can do is to deal with everything you are feeling.” I know what she is about to go through and that breaks my heart. Everyone’s grief is different, yet the same. Raven’s father was a Mexican native who was deported when she was a baby. She was just beginning to build a relationship with him and was robbed of that because someone took his life. That is an additional level of grief and trauma to deal with. (Honestly, at this point I am thinking to myself, Christina this is some sad ish, you need to make this post positive girl.) Truth is Father’s Day is not Happy for a group of people. Maybe life will turn around to make it a happy period for us that feel grief. Maybe we will have a child born on Father’s Day Weekend or some other positive life event. But for now, for me, for Raven who lost her dad the Tuesday before Father’s Day….it just ain’t that happy.

Ironically enough, my Soror Melanie made a Facebook post on Friday sharing that she had not spoken to her father since she was 19 and this year decided to reach out for Father’s Day and learned that he had passed. Raven and Melanie were robbed of something that I will never personally understand but I can definitely empathize with. So where’s the positivity in this post, that you all have support. Jasmine Lott was my support. She was the one person who could say anything to me and I would not get offended because I knew that she knew EXACTLY how I felt. (Our relationships with our fathers were extremely similar, even their deaths were similar) I also had support from those I had not been previously close with. An old co-worker Jessica Cain gave me so much support in an exchange in Facebook messenger. And my friend Stevie. Stevie and I will be spending Father’s Day together moving forward, celebrating the lives and legacies of our amazing fathers.

I am a Grey’s Anatomy fanatic. And I share the same morbid humor and sentiments of the writers of the show. When the character George’s father died, Cristina Yang said to him, “There’s a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can’t be in it until you’re in it. You can try to understand, you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss… My dad died when I was nine. George, I’m really sorry you had to join the club.” George replied, “I… I don’t know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn’t.” Cristina then said, “Yeah, that never really changes.”

 

I am really sorry you have to join the club, but please know you have support.

 

 

 

 

Vulnerbility

I am skilled at putting people in boxes. The issue is the more I shut myself off from those people, the thicker the wall I’ve built between my emotions and the rest of the word becomes. Everything in life is geared with a transaction, an exchange, a risk. I hold on to my end of the exchange as tight as I can. I have a lot of pride and self-protection which makes it difficult for me to release power and show vulnerability. This becomes a challenge because how can you grow with someone if you never let them in? This becomes for complicated for me, because you cannot truly let someone in without showing vulnerability. So I walk around life acting and believing that if you have not crossed some arbitrary line with me, you are disposable. A guy that I dated constantly told me “you have to stop acting like the people in your life are disposable, that’s not how life works.” Another guy I dated told me on the regular basis that he felt like he was always one mistake away from my blocked list. (Truth of the matter is that he was correct) Instead of spending energy on what seems to be a bad investment, I like to cut my losses early.

Now, I never said that this makes me a good person. This post is actually very critical of my coping mechanisms and the purpose is to dissect my challenges with relationships, both friendly and intimate. Through experiences during my high school and college years, I have grown to become extremely protective of my vulnerability. In adulthood, the few instances that I have allowed myself to be vulnerable, have been in vain. So how do I accept that with vulnerability comes disappointment and that I should not allow that to prevent me from being vulnerable; while maintaining that everyone is not deserving of your vulnerability? (Yes, being an adult and actually dealing with your mess is complicated)

Everything with me is an exchange of power. This can cause me to be very petty. A couple weeks ago, my ex called me, very friendly conversation, not uncomfortable, totally cool…I cut the conversation short so I would be the one to end the conversation and not him so I could keep the power. (Yes I realize there is something wrong with me) Maybe I did this because I lost so much power in that relationship, so I try to reclaim it in any way that I can.  The “I’m going to get you before you get me” mentality is not mature, productive, or healthy. I am aware! That doesn’t prevent me from being on a constant power trip. “Noted” and “Ok” are my constant states of mind. I don’t rebuttal or share when I’ve been hurt because I don’t want to reveal my true feelings. I avoid confrontation by taking note and removing myself from that situation, a lot of the time this results in me removing myself from a person’s life prematurely. So I put that person in a box and add another layer to the wall.

**It is difficult for me to end the post here because I have not resolved the issue that has been presented. There is more to come. I need to explore, how this causes me to sabotage healthy relationships. Truth is, this is not a solution based post, I am literally analyzing myself. I don’t have the resolution yet, but when I get it, I will definitely share. I plan on working through these challenges here, (www.ChristinaCornelius.com) I hope if you have the same struggles that you attempt to work through yours as well. If you’d like to share your journey, please email me at Christina@ChristinaDCornelius.com (Yes that is a different domain, I’m working on cleaning this up)

-Christina

me trying to date