Breeding.

“I feel like I didn’t know my father”

is what I say about my dad more often than not these days.

This begs the question “what does it mean to know someone.”

&/or so often knowledge is a kind of stupidity, an assumption, taxidermy, a deadening. I can’t know you, only how I experience you & what you tell me of how you experience yourself. Or really, just how I interpret what you tell me. What judgments I make about it. How I feel.

Of course I’ve written about this before, of course.

*

Ritalin makes me weepy, or quicker to react to my emotions.

I cried at work last night, & almost again this morning while reading father’s day posts on Facebook. So many fathers have Facebook. Tagged pictures & digital monuments to action. I appreciate the sincerity of these displays, especially on holidays that have been appropriated by capitalism. Intellectually I understand that the family can be an oppressive force, & these illustrations of fatherliness reinforce a narrative that eliminates the complexity & violence that are often elements of having or being a father.

I don’t have actions besides the settling of ashes somewhere in Pennsylvania. But I have pictures, too.

I’ve already written a book about the other stuff.

*
On the way to Whole Foods this morning P reminded me that he isn’t ready to be a father & of course he isn’t & I can’t even own a phone without cracking it but this didn’t prevent me from having a mixed reaction–

The urge to reproduce is overwhelming & inconvenient. I know I’m not ready, but I want to lay the groundwork. I know when I say “maybe you’ll show our spawn where the rail spur was” I am remembering my father. I am fantasizing about something certain, fantasizing that a plan will bring knowledge.

It is problematic, but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it– what’s the alternative? I always thought “create something better” but now I’m snagged on the fact that the form of our relationships communicate meaning. They effect how people know us, & how people– loved ones, strangers– can’t know us. & this not knowing is full of radical potential, & silence, & problems.

*

I had lunch with D last week, & he couldn’t remember if it’s called transference or countertransference when we work out our issues with our parents in our first relationship. I know he & I did this. I am less optimistic than he is, I suppose- I don’t think this issue is limited to our first major romantic relationship. I don’t know if I think it’s an issue, though. I like the new age idea that relationships are containers for growth. & what are we growing out of besides our previous container, our oppressive & nurturing families?

When I miss a father, it is often D’s.

*
This, I suspect, is because I don’t know P’s parents as well yet. So far, they’ve exhibited kindness & generosity that I could only hope my father would have extended to us if he were alive. They’ve offered us a place to live with discounted rent so we can “start out right” & “save” & “make a plan” for the imaginary & uncertain future.

None of my plans have ever worked out. I want them to this time, even if there’s no natural light & it’s in a strange neighborhood. 

Planning for the future always seems so glamorous & cozy until I get the opportunity to actually do it. I know the blow will be greater if I call what we’re doing “goals” & not “dreams” or “silly things middle class white people do that I want to call something more subversive.”

I haven’t said yes to the rent deal yet. I want to plan to buy a house with P. I want to stop cracking phone screens. I want a job with benefits. P is like my father in his practical nature, his sense of humor, his desire for privacy, how he interacts with the dogs. I want to make it work & do better than our parents. We won’t– it will just be different, likely– but if I make this plan, if it’s mutual, it’s something different than I’ve done before. Maybe I’m a different person. Maybe I’ve learned something. Maybe I’ve forgotten the promise of being radical–

see above for my skepticism regarding knowledge–

*

This Friday it will be six years since my father died. Legend has it that next year, cell for cell, I will be a different Megan. I wonder what parts are intact, what hasn’t changed since he was alive? I can’t know. I can’t even know if he’d recognize me. I can only know him from knowing the locations of substations or from accumulated slides, train magazines, check carbon copies. Meticulous disorganized records.

“A container for growth.” I don’t think about my father as much as I used to. It’s even become difficult to care what he would think about my participation in the world. I think he taught me to be a skeptic. I know I can’t guarantee that anything will occur as I plan it, but this is not a reason to not plan. I know I can’t know my entire inheritance. I can’t know my dad entirely. I can’t know P, or even myself according to him, or you, hypothetical reader. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to reproduce or how typical that will look. I’m ready to accept it as it comes.

I’m ready to accept that sometimes I can’t control what I can control. & even if everything is going to make me cry about my father today, I’m exited.

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