Thursday, September 4, 2014

Brutal Honesty during Improv: My dad

When you have a rocky relationship with your mom, it's really really easy to wish you had a dad.

I'm not sure if I've written about this, but after a brutally honest Improv class tonight, (which was fucking amazing and life changing by the way) it inspired me to write. I guess I'm kinda-sorta starting to realize that I'm interesting.

I'm interesting.

Something I've never thought, or said out loud, but I need to start believing it, and being confident in that statement. We are all interesting, and as Jason Shotts said tonight "you are enough, know that you are enough."

The first time I left the country seems like a freak accident. If I didn't have touristy proof that I went abroad, I wouldn't believe it.

In 2010 I was dating this guy and things went to shit. While I was hating myself and too young to realize that I didn't need another person to be happy, I got a letter in the mail. A letter from my dad's mother. I hadn't seen her since I was ten, and we hadn't spoken since. She SOMEHOW got my address. The letter said that she was hoping it was in fact my address and that she hoped to hear from me. I immediately responded and received a letter about a week later. I had mentioned that I had never been out of the country and would love to travel but never had the funds. She responding saying if I could make the dates work she would pay for everything.

At this point I thought I was being punked.

I got a new passport and a Russian visa, and counted down the days. My asshole ex boyfriend ( who happened to be a magician, and wasn't actually an asshole, but he did find a new girlfriend pretty quickly so I'm allowing the name calling this time) issues seemed so small now. I was going to Europe! Fuck yeah!

I mentioned that I heard St. Petersburg was beautiful in the summer and would love to go. My grandmother mentioned that it wasn't exactly in the itinerary but she would see if we could work it in.

The first couple of days I stayed in a fancy hotel. A double king bed all to myself, amazing view, I had never had this kind of luxury before. The world outside of my hotel was frightening. I didn't know the language, Russians CANNOT DRIVE..FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TRAFFIC LANES DO NOT EXIST, and I was spending two weeks in this place.

I met my great grandmother the night I got in, she was 97, and I heard that she was my father's favorite person in the world. She knew not a word of English, but my grandmother translated and told me that she was happy to meet me before she died, and that my father would of loved me very much.

My grandmother then told me that she was able to find the contact information of a friend of my father's in St. Petersburg and arranged for us to meet for a few days. I was to take a four hour train ride alone to meet this man I had never even heard of or seen a picture of. I was terrified. My grandmother handed me a piece of paper with my name written on it in Russian for him to identify me with.

I sat on the train next to four lovely people from Helsinki. We talked about culture, food, politics, perspective....we were almost to our destination when I told them I was terrified and they offered to help me find this mystery man. We got off the train and my eyes anxiously wandered. Then, this man approached me and said "are you Sacha?" I didn't even have my sign. He told me I looked just like my father "it's like looking at a ghost from the past"

Did I mention he was wearing a Helsinki shirt?

I was in Russia with a man I barely knew and yet it felt right, it didn't feel foreign. A rush of comfort came over me. I felt like we had been great friends for many years, my dad had good taste. We drank and drank, and hit up all the non touristy spots, including an amazing doughnut shop with cardboard napkins, shitty ten cent coffee and swastikas carved into the walls.

The next night he showed me a DVD that he said no one else in the world had a copy of. It was about an hour of footage of my father and his friends. There was heavy drug use, footage of my dad playing and singing strange music, tons of his artwork. I'm not sure I took a breath the first time I saw my dad on screen. I was waiting and waiting for him to appear. When he did, I wanted to cry. I wanted so badly for him to be real, to be in my life, in this moment and always. I used to think my mom was lying when she told me he was dead. I never believed her until I had a copy of the death records. He passed from carbon monoxide poisoning that leaked through shower pipes. I mean what the fuck.

There was a point in the video where my dad spoke into the camera. Behind him was a sketch of a baby with big blue eyes. My dad's friend asked,
"Do you know who that is?"
"That's you."

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