Giving Me A Million Reasons

TaylorRuth
3 min readMar 29, 2021

What you, me, and my dad think to prevent ourselves from writing and why I’m not doing it anymore.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Like you, I have a world of reasons not to write:

  • Time
  • Perceived lack of skill
  • Netflix
  • Outside
  • I’m not “really” a writer
  • A new job
  • A new country
  • Covid blues
  • Squirrel
  • Family dysfunction
  • My dad died

About that last one — it actually matters to you. Not the way it matters to me, but my dad was a lot like us. Particularly when it came to finding excuses to not to do something.

On March 8th, I got a phone call that my daddy died. He’d had a year-long battle with cancer and, unbeknownst to the general population (me), he’d been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer quite recently.

The dynamics of my family, also like yours, are complicated. All families are complicated. My mother left when I was twelve. Before she left, my dad was my idol; after she left, he became my best friend. My dad’s sisters popped in and out for 20 years to make sure I was doing and living the way I “should” be. The three of them struggled with codependency, mental health, and self-medicated with alcohol. My dad was the most obvious in his self-medication. I too adopted this way of healing — the “right way” — for most of my adult life.

For most of his life, he maintained the title of “Party Boy.” Party Boy sounds nicer than alcoholic, kind of like how Adderall says nicer than Meth. As a party boy, my dad would dream, but his fear prevented him from pursuing them — like us. So he drank more.

Late spring of 2020, my dad went to the hospital to undergo cancer-related surgery. When he got out of the hospital, he was unable to cripple himself with alcohol and began dreaming as he had a decade ago. He decided to retire early. He was going to move to the beach and maybe even to Spain because “I don’t see why the hell not.”

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