“He did a million things in his lifetime: he was always busy with his hands. And when he died. I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for all the things he did. I cried because he would never do theme again … he was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them just the way he did. He was individual. He was an important man. I’ve never gotten over his death … He shaped the world. He did things to the world. the world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.”
“If you lifted my skull, by God, in the convolutions of my brain you’d find the big ridges of his thumbprint.”
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is divided into three parts. This book is about a society where firefighters don’t put out fires; they start fires. What they burn are books. Because books make people think and can make them sad, people decide to ban them. However, all people are not on board with how society has morphed into a place where people are obsessed with watching television, drinking, taking drugs, and driving cars dangerously fast because they just want to be happy.
At the end of the last section of the book, the words above are shared by a character who knows books are needed. 2022 was the year I finally read this book. Bradbury is a talented science-fiction writer, and this book is a classic text. However, I had not read this book until now. I was not prepared for the ending and how it would stir up emotions about my dad. One lesson I have learned from grief is that you can be fine one moment and in another minute your emotions can be unexpectedly stirred up.
Bradbury’s words really got to the heart of my grief. I am sad for the value my dad added to my life and the world. I miss his ability to bring everyone together despite anyone’s actions or attitudes. I miss what my boys will not get an opportunity to learn from him. I miss how he kept me balanced when my anxiety got out of control. However, I know if you could see into my brain, “you’d find the big ridges of his thumbprint.”
I believe that 70 to 80% of who I became as a person is rooted in my dad’s impact on my life. In 2022, I have decided to 100% be that person. Parts of me I have suppressed out of some silly decorum or pomp and circumstance. Whether it was a Bible verse or some quote by a Black intellectual, the message is always that part of me is broken, wrong, and problematic. The message is that I should change. I have bent myself into knots trying to be who others wanted me to be instead of being unapologetically me 100% of the time.
It is my time to shine. It is my time to not feel compelled that my purpose is to take care of other people who could not give a shit about how I have been impacted and who refuse to call a lie a lie and refuse to understand this:
This post was shared on Narc Wise, a platform to call out narcissistic trauma.
Until you have endured the behavior of others for years and that destruction on your life, don’t come preaching to me about anything I should or should not do. I am not asking for anyone’s permission. I am telling everyone how it is. You accept it, or you don’t. Point. Blank. Period.
Furthermore, love is unconditional regardless of actions. I love both of my parents, both my mom and dad, unconditionally, but it does not mean I have agreed with or liked every action they have taken. However, I am old enough to be honest about this and choose the best parts to be who I am today. I know my own children will think the same of my husband and me. I hope they take our best parts.
I have realized that some people don’t have the stomach for that kind of honesty. I give it straight, no chaser just like my daddy James A. Stockton.
As a child, I was told I was too bold, too opinionated, and too aggressive. However, those three traits are the same traits that have continued to bring me success in life. Being a mat for people to walk on isn’t me. Being silent about how I have been treated is not me. Being passive keeps you stuck where you are. If you want it, you have to fiercely fight for it.
I also learned how to balance those attributes which is why I wrote Monday Musings: ‘The Rest is Silence.” I am sick of explaining myself. I am sick of who I am being up for debate. I am sick of being told what I should do (especially when I have not asked), and what I should just endure.
Below is my why.
I share my story because other people are where I am, and they need to know they are not alone.
James Stockton is a huge part of me. My daddy was intelligent, a direct speaker, a tenacious task-completer, an unconditional lover of his wife and daughter, and a planner for the future. I am all of those things. I wouldn’t be an owner of two businesses without these skills.
I cannot continue my path of success when I am explaining myself or trying to jump through hoops. My dad withdrew from people he didn’t want to deal with. He wouldn’t even notify them. I have started doing the same. No long explanations and as my friend Coco shared with me through the post below, “you not finna stress me out on MY cellular device.”
Life is too short to beg people to love you as you are. Life is too short to give up your dreams in hopes that you will be liked.
Live your life. Make people proud who left an indelible mark on your life.
As I was told, “Nobody wants to read that crap you write.” Guess what? Come closer. They sure do according to my bank account. Let me get back to the business that pays me.
Daddy, I love you. I hope I am still making you proud. Thanks for what you brought to this world and the impact you have left on me, my husband, my sons, and everyone else who had the privilege of knowing you.