I have no name for you—nothing that doesn’t stick in my craw, anyway.
I’ve tried many names on you over the years, but nothing fits for long. Mostly now I just try and ignore you, but I still don’t have a name for you that sits well with me.
A few years, way back, I called you “insect,” because I hated insects at that time. I considered them repulsive, creepy, and at least they were squishable. I never again want to touch you or for you to touch me—the same way I felt about all insects.
But then I fell in love with, first, honeybees and then all insects followed, to include a healthy respect and admiration for even the aggressive yellow jacket. I gained too much knowledge about and respect for insects to continue to fear and hate them. As I began to have respect for them and their ways, I had to search for another name for you.
I tried “infant” for a while, because you are so ignorant and selfish and unaware—so base and primitive. That one didn’t last very long, though, because infants are mostly innocent, and in my lifetime, that you most certainly never were.
I briefly considered calling you “motherfucker” or actually more like “mother fucker,” and you were—are–my mother’s fucker. But then, by that definition, you would also have to be a “childfucker,” and, well, they already have a word for that, don’t they?
I only thought about calling you “the sperm donor,” the way I have heard others refer to their own no-good, sorry fathers, but never could—mostly because it made me about throw up, thinking of how you used me as your human garbage can.
“Son of a bitch” only got a few moments of consideration, as I really have little to no beef with your mother, my gra’ma.
I thought about and used the word “garbage” for quite awhile as your name. It turned out to be appropriate for a long time. I stole it from one of my early therapists, who was always saying that someone or something was, “…just a piece of garbage.”
I loved the way that phrase always fell so directly and easily right out of her mouth—landing in my lap like a tidily wrapped package to be scooped up and unpacked later in my own secret of secrets.
How could she say it so fearlessly? Sometimes even with a little giggle hanging off the end of it?
Didn’t she know that this piece of garbage she was talking about had often held my very life, my continued, literal, existence is his hands and at his whim?
I loved to feel her fearlessness, her nonchalance as she said it. It felt reckless to me, though, and I would only join in the (for me, nervous) laughter with her when it was only she and I in her office.
Even then, I was frantically and mentally checking over my shoulder, listening for those terrifying footsteps in the night.
But I loved the way those words strung together came right over and swirled around me, delicious, as I practiced them over and over to myself, liking the rotten image, liking the putrid smell, liking the power of it, the very rightness of it.
And wishing I, like her, could say it—hell, even think it, without fear—without baggage.
Such a longing I had for that indifference.
But then I began composting, and garbage, I discovered, was Earth itself, waiting and longing to be baked back into itself. You don’t even have to turn a compost pile—it may take longer—but you can just pile organic stuff up and it will eventually turn back into dirt; it’s like magic.
I came to love compost and see it for the miracle and magic that it is. Compost is a saving grace and a forgiveness—and that absolutely did not fit for you.
The word “shit/feces” had a short trial run: “shit, shite, govno, merde.” But then there was that whole composting thing again—manure into earth, Mother Nature’s fertilizer. You could never deserve such a regal name as “shit/manure.”
It was too good for you.
These days if I have to refer to you at all—which I mostly avoid, I call you the bmp—all small case. I will not bestow an all-caps acronym on you.
It stands for: biological male parent. The “bmp,” I say, I write.
Kinda sounds like that little store down on the corner, doesn’t it? It sounds way too innocent, but I guess the fact that I don’t use the word “father” or “dad,” or god forbid, that dirty word, “daddy,” gives it away, doesn’t it?
I almost want a different word, a name that really says it all. Do they have this word—perhaps, in another language? Perhaps even in English but of which I am ignorant—I just haven’t found it yet?
For instance, there’s a word from the Yaghan language, “mamihlapinatapai,” which translates as, “looking at each other hoping the other will offer to do something that both parties desire to have done but are unwilling to do themselves.” The Guinness Book of Records lists it as the most succinct word in any language, and it’s regarded as one of the hardest to translate.
I love that word.
Is there a word out there for you? That encompasses that whole, long paragraph of descriptive words that, in short, mean child-abuser-rapist-monster?
I’ve thought that maybe I should just make up a word for you, but then I have a lot of respect for words—in all languages. I can’t insult the sounds, the letters, a word like that. It would be a waste of good letters on you, exquisite breath and sound.
You do not deserve it.
“Daddy” = you don’t deserve the title and by definition, you are not one.
“Daddy” = an obscene, dirty word that evokes revulsion in me.
“Daddy” = a word that until recently, caused bile to rise up into the back of my throat and panic to twist my gut every time I heard it said out loud by some innocent passerby or in a conversation.
I hear it said all over the place—everywhere, and I am envious of its familiar use. I long for it to be wiped clean of connotation. I long for it to be just another innocent word—better yet, a word that actually evokes good feelings, feelings of love.
I hear people walking down the sidewalk talking on their phones saying the D-word. Toddlers asking for reassurance, turning to find him, “Daddy?” they ask, as they turn and look to find him. They are really asking, “Are you still there? Do you still have my back? Can I count on you?”
I tell myself I have forgiven you; because I have done my work, continue to do any more work that comes up—infrequently now—to be healed. I understand some of the “big picture karma” involved, understand that I would not be the compassionate, nonviolent person I am today without that early abuse and neglect.
But if I have truly forgiven you, wouldn’t I want to talk to you, try and bury the proverbial hatchet—make peace before you die?
Because I still want to never see you again.
(This blog post was written before he died and published only after his death.)