I sat with my dad for lunch today. It was overdue. I work with him, making products and using his place as the warehouse. He takes care of accounting so we speak frequently about all that stuff.
We were due for a moment of proper connection.
So we sit down and we’re catching up. He gets into the subject of his training. He boxes 4 times a week which is pretty bad ass. He’s getting frustrated though, that with age, he gets injured really easily and it takes him forever to heal. Obviously this is a normal part of the aging process but I gave him a couple of nutritional/supplementation suggestions that could help with the healing process.
This was the catalyst to a major realization.
My dad went straight to the idea that every supplement company wants to make a buck. They’ll make up anything to sell their product, therefore he wasn’t interested.
I’m a student of herbalism, but that didn’t matter to him.
All my life, I’ve felt unseen and unimportant because, this being a perfect example, my dad didn’t show interest in my new found knowledge on supplementation and herbs, or anything else I’d share. He has always been so fearful of being fucked over that he wasn’t able to meet me in a place of loving connection. He wasn’t able to see me.
I spent my entire adolescence making that mean that I wasn’t important, or worth listening to.
Just replace supplements and herbalism with starting a new business. I was met with his fear of every possible thing that would go wrong if I worked for myself. Never have I brought anything to my dad without it being analyzed through the lens of: the world is a scary place and you are not safe.
Sitting at the table this afternoon, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I saw my dad as a child.
My grandparents immigrated from Turkey when he was under 5 years old. The children of immigrants have it pretty rough. There is immense trauma that is passed down from a family that is struggling to survive in a new country. The looming fear of having nothing is something my dad has had to live with forever. The day he was born, he was burdened with the responsibility of keeping his family afloat financially. His fear fuelled him to push through engineering school and to create enough wealth to support his new family, with my mom and me in the picture, as well as his parents. He had to support 5 people. Alone.
In a split second, I understood everything. There are magical moments that arise where I look at my parent and I see a human being. Not a person who I expect to be a certain way, or who I expect needs to change. Just a person who was born, who’s been lost, who’s been found and then lost again.
I was flooded with a sense of compassion. Just complete love for my dad who continues to live in a state of fear. I saw a lifetime of stress, of fight or flight. I saw his reactions to me growing up as a product of being fearful and unconscious about it all. He was just a passenger in his body, living a life of action and reaction.
Then came another wave of compassion for myself.
My dads reactionary state always made me feel like I was fundamentally flawed.
Everything we do stems from fear or from love.
I’m a risk taker and every risk I took was met with negativity, hostility and fear. I made this mean that nothing I did was good enough. But I didn’t see that he simply could not support me because he was locked into a state of fear.
He recounted a time when I was a young child, and he’d be so afraid that I’d get hit by a car when playing outside. He’d see older kids whipping around the bend of our street in their cars and he’d imagine me being there at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
In the 90s, playing outside with the neighbours every day was a thing. If I’d cross the street without asking, my dad would YELL at me in front of everyone. It made me feel small. Embarrassed. Unloved.
Little me didn’t have the tools to see that dad was hurting,
so little me blamed herself.
And little me turned into big me who lived a life with a constant low grade feeling of unworthiness. The unworthiness was always buzzing in the background, keeping me small.
And that is how trauma is passed down.
Clear as day.
When deep seated traumas are uncovered, I think it’s impossible to bypass feeling compassionate. I think a cure to the worlds madness is to uncover our traumas. To look at them square in the face. To befriend them. To love them. To share them. To heal them together.
We operate in this world under an alias that we create unconsciously to protect ourselves from suffering. Everyone is interacting through the layer of the alias. If we all were to unearth the trauma, we can drop the alias and meet each other for the first time. We are all the same.
It all comes down to fear & love.
Which one do you operate from?