What do you do when your self-worth is tied to validation from your father, and you no longer have a father?  What do you do when the only person whose opinion ever mattered no longer has an opinion?  What do you do when throughout your entire life the only person who always wanted you around; who always enjoyed your company; who always made you feel worthwhile, is gone?  What do you do when the one person who gave you purpose and made you feel important no longer exists?

Okay.  Stop crying.  Let's deal with this in a professional and unemotional manner:

     1)  I am emotionally retarded.  I should have gotten over this whole father/daughter thing back when I was thirteen years old like every other woman on the planet.

     2)  Let's be realistic.  He wasn't all that great.  (Yes he was.)  He was just a typical run-of-the-mill dad.  (No he wasn't.)  Our relationship wasn't anything special.  (It was extraordinary.)

     3)  Scratch number 2.  That wasn't at all helpful.

     4)  I can't fix this.  I can't power-wash his brain to remove the plaques and tangles that have robbed him of his mind, nurse him back to health, and then stand before him and jubilantly proclaim, "Ta da!!  Hi Dad!  It's ME!"  (Although maybe I should submit that power-washing idea to the Alzheimer's research scientists.)

     5)  I need to mourn this loss and move on.  So it's like I never existed; so what?  I have to get over it.

But how do I get over it?

Clearly, the only sensible thing to do is to turn to drugs and alcohol.  Yep, that would solve everything.   But I'm too old for that crap.  Either too old, or not old enough.  If I was 80 it wouldn't matter; I could happily (or not-so-happily) medicate myself into oblivion.  But I'm 51 and I have too many years left to give up.  Okay, so drugs and alcohol are out.  Now what?

I know!  Since I can't be the best daughter in the world, I'll throw myself into being the mother of all mothers.  I'll be the best damn mother in the history of mankind. I'll be Mother of the Millennium.  That's it!  That's the answer!  I WILL MOTHER MY SON LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW.   No.  That's no good.  He'd resent the hell out of me and besides, he'll be off to college in a couple years and then I'll be right back where I started. Okay, so being Madonna is out.  Now what?

Let's see...  I appear to be running out of options...

- Join a convent?
   (Do they have convents for atheists?  Hmm...  No.  Probably not.)

- Become a high-priced call girl?
   (Quit laughing.)

- Find someone else to take care of?
   (Do I really want to keep taking care of people for the rest of my life?)

- Raise puppies?
   (They love you no matter what, but aren't very good conversationalists.                      Besides, hard-core dog people are weird.)

- Stand on a street corner downtown wearing a sandwich board that reads: WON'T      SOMEBODY PLEASE LOVE ME?
   (Note to self: this may be a tad too pathetic.)
   (2nd note to self: this could possibly be used in conjunction with the call girl                option.)

- Move to an ashram in India?
   (Sounds like a lovely escape.  But escaping doesn't really address the issue.)

I give up.  Maybe there is no way to get over it.  The fact of the matter is it's a horrible feeling knowing I'm no longer loved by my father.  It's a horrible feeling knowing I mean nothing to him now, and it's even worse knowing that as far as he's concerned I never did.

It's only his memory of me that's gone, right?  It's not as though when I ceased to exist in his mind I actually ceased to exist, right?  So why does it feel that way?

Is this one of those pivotal moments in life where I'm supposed to have an epiphany and discover validation comes from within?  Where I learn I don't have to rely on others to make me feel like I'm a valuable human being?  Where I embark upon years of intense therapy to FIND MYSELF?  Blah, blah, blah.  Who has time for that nonsense?

All I want is to be loved, admired, needed and desired.  Is that too much to ask?

Of course it is.

Think maybe I'll check into that ashram thing...

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