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maybe a bit melodramatic

One of the trickiest feelings to navigate that has come into my life since losing my dad is the idea of becoming a person that he doesn't know. Which is, obviously, unavoidable. And when I really think about it, so much about my life has already changed in the year and ten months that he's been gone. I have black hair now, and five new tattoos. I left starbucks, started freelancing, and I work at a brewery. I've gone on dates. Made new friends. All of which is great and lovely and wonderful. But my brain still malfunctions when I think about how in the venn diagram of my life and my dad's life nothing on that list goes in the middle.

I find it really uncomfortable to sit with the feeling of knowing that not only will my dad not know my future career paths, the person I marry, or my future dogs and kids, but also that all of those things and people will only know the version of me that exists after losing my dad. I'll have to explain who he was, with everything in the past tense. And exist with the fact that losing a parent at 23 has irreversibly altered so much of me. Which just feels weird and uncomfortable and I don't like it.

The most recent time that this feeling came up for me was the week I was working a freelance gig in Asbury Park and my car had broken down on the turnpike. I was frustrated with so many aspects of the situation; but when I got off work the second night and went back to my hotel room, I cried hysterically for hours. Not because work was stressful or because my car needed a new transmission. I sobbed because my dad was dead. Because I couldn't call him and tell him. He couldn't help me. And, to be fair, alive him probably wouldn't have done much to help the situation but I was too consumed with the thought of him being gone to think about that. All I knew was life was happening and he didn't get to know.

It feels a bit melodramatic to think back on feeling this shade of grief. It writes a bit as if I don't have enough control of my emotions. Which in some situations may be a fair take on this. However, I think the point is to feel it. Whether it's because of a broken-down car or a new relationship or a new cereal flavor, sometimes I am going to melodramatically sob for hours. All of those things represent life happening - in really big ways and really small ones - and even though I hate it, I think it's okay.

The easy answer to how I feel about the phase of life I'm in right now is that I'm really excited about everything that is ahead. Truly, I don't know what most of the future looks like. I'm in the middle of figuring out a more stable career and making sure I continue to grow and work on myself. A big part of getting to the point of wanting to find those things has been sitting with and feeling the paralyzing realization that my dad won't be a part of them. Ignoring it leaves me frozen, exactly where I am. Feeling and existing with it moves me through it. I'm sure in another year and ten months I'll have cried lots but I'm also hoping that by then I'm even more different than the version of me my dad knew, because that means moving forward.

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