My dad was born in 1971 and grew up with a sister and a single mother in Palmdale, California. He ended up then marrying my mother and having 3 daughters(this guy was destined to be surrounded by women, I suppose) He is funny, intelligent, and has a bunch of cool tattoos that I found endlessly fascinating. I have always loved this tattoo of his that has the sun and the moon fighting, it made my imagination go into overdrive and followed me into my dreams. The sun burned the moon while the moon screamed in agony, the moon bit back and the fighting never ceased. This rumble happened all while I slept in a cocoon of warm blankets my dad tucked me into tightly-sometimes more than once until the tuck felt ‘right’ and I could finally drift off.
My dad has the best taste in music, by age twelve he had taught me all about Queensryche, The Violent Femmes, Social Distortion, Suicidal Tendencies, Depeche Mode, and Oingo Boingo(we love Danny Elfman!). Not only did he pass on his wicked music taste, he also gave me his green eyes(and a slight lazy eye), and some lessons about how to view the world.
Before I begin to divulge some of the lessons my dad taught me I would like to say that I don’t think my dad considers himself a feminist (the connotations surrounding the word ‘feminist’ give us such a bad wrap), but even still he unknowingly taught me everything I needed to know about feminism and self love.
Religion was always an interesting subject in our home. My mom believes in God, my dad has never told me that he does or doesn’t believe in God, but he isn’t a fan of religion. My dad did used to tell me that if there is a god, she is a woman, because women create life. He would speak about my mother and my grandmother as if they were gods themselves. Men and women both play vital and beautiful parts in creation, however women do the work of not just creating the life, but nurturing it within their wombs. What a positive way to view women and creation.
I believe that the main reason my dad speaks so positively about women to me was because he was raised by a women that is beautiful, funny, and hardworking. She waitressed at Denny’s to support her kids, and I have never heard her complain about doing so, she just did what she had to do and she raised pretty amazing kids.
My dad loves his mom in the same admiring way I love him and my own mother. That alone taught me a lot. My dad is not a man of many words, but what he said about his mom was always positive and sweet. He is a mans man that loves to hunt and loves beautiful women and loves beer, but he always has time for his mom. That respect towards a woman didn’t seem special to me until I started to see the way some people speak to the women in their lives. I began to see relationships between other men and women and being startled because these men called women ‘hoes’ and ‘bitches’ in front of their children and that was never anything I had experienced from my dad.
I once told my dad I liked girls (as a kind of practice run, if you will) and then quickly followed up with a just kidding and he said something along the lines of, “It doesn’t matter either way.” That made it easier, years later, for me to finally embrace my sexual orientation and come out without following it with ‘just kidding’. Me and my dad don’t talk about my sexual orientation, but I know that he loves me just the way I am. That helps me love myself, the queer with the fat rolls and frizzy hair and all.
My dad now lives in Northern Idaho, where i had the pleasure of being born and raised and I currently live in Santa Barbara with my older sister. My sister, her boyfriend, and my niece went to Idaho for Halloween and I stayed home. Upon my sisters return home from the trip she told me that my dad took them to a new gay club and that he said, “Now we have a place to go when Brooke comes home.”
That may not seem significant, but it was pure, inspiring love in that statement.
So, that’s how my dad gave me the foundation to be an outspoken, self-loving feminist. He taught me limitless love, the power of kind words, and acceptance.
I love you, Dad.