How a Picture Ended My Relationship with my Father

NOTE:My views on my Father’s warped view of Islam is not meant to be a blanket statement for all people who practice Islam. I know and love many wonderful people who’s Muslim beliefs are very different from my Father’s.

Each person interprets and practices their religion a little differently.

Also, if you know my father (or either of my parents), and you are reading this, please keep your opinions to yourself, as I do not give a fuck, and you will be wasting your time.

Thank you!
*******
So to say that a single Picture Ended my relationship with my Father sounds dramatic, it was. It sounds made up, and on some level, I wish it was, but it’s not. And of course, might be asking what that picture was, and why was it so awful? What was so awful that ended your relationship with your father?

That.

Yep. That was it. That was the day my Father told me that I brought shame to his family name.

For the sake of his anonymity, I will not be using his name. I will simply refer to him as Father. Out of respect for him and his family, I will also not be delving into any deeply personal information on my fathers past, because boundaries.

And now, as they say, a Picture is worth a thousand words; well this one was no exception. This photo of me, taken by me, in my bathroom, was an act, and unbeknownst to me at the time, a message. I even said to myself, I wonder if Father would be pissed about this? I wonder if he’d even ever see this. Well, yeah, he did. As it turns out, his younger sister, who was supposed to be planning my Henna party (Turkish bridal shower) for my trip to Turkey, showed my Father the picture, and to nobody’s shock at this point, he was pissed.

First, he tried to act all coy, like nothing was wrong. Then, as soon as I called, the anger spitting began. “Your my daughter, you don’t post things like that.” He grilled me a bit more, to which I replied, “Father, I am 30 years old. I love you. Good bye.”
Then came the threats.


Then came the trying to make good. My brother told me that if I took down the picture, and said I was sorry, I could still go on vacation with them. A vacation which, I was now dreading. Father was trying to dictate what I wore on the trip, even though I’d already told him that if I was willing to go (he’s been begging me to go back since 2008), that he was not going to dictate what I wore.

So hold on there. We just unpacked a WHOLE LOT of information there. Let’s back it up.

So for those of you who don’t know me, I am half-Turkish, and half- American. I come from a Muslim/Mormon background respectively  (hold for dramatic effect), but neither one of my parents practiced while married to each other.

My father’s family, who practices Islam, comes from a deeply old school, and abusive family. My grandfather would force my father to watch him beat my Grandmother. He later vowed to my mom that he would never hit any one in front of his children. And when I brought it up once, I could see it in his eyes that he meant it.

My father loves me, but his old school Muslim background mixed with abuse and neglect, leaves him unable to empathize with me. My Grandfather taught my Father that women were property. I truly don’t believe that my Father has the emotional capacity to respect me, or any other woman. Honestly, half the time, it’s like he doesn’t even hear me. He only sees and hears what he wants to hear.

And sadly, this isn’t the first time it happened. Once, when I was younger, as a new bright eyed makeup artist, took the job as a makeup artist on the set of a small non-adult film in Houston, where the director was flying in Ron Jeremy (Google Search Adult Safe On; You have been warned), where he was set to act in a non-adult yard. He ended up finding that photo and throwing a hissy fit, demanding that I change my last name of Facebook.

I told him that if he was forcing me to change my last name on Facebook, that I would be legally changing it.

I now know that, for my Father, his last name is a form of ownership. So as a result, I now see a last name as ownership (Thanks, Obama). Which is PROFOUNDLY sad. Because I love my father, and I know that he loves me, but because he cannot see me as a person, I have to let him go.

He is ashamed that I have chosen to study and research sexuality. He is ashamed that I am the product of a failed marriage. He is ashamed that his first marriage was to a strong-willed American woman, who then taught her daughter to be strong-willed and independent. And he is ashamed that he has children don’t embrace his culture and beliefs like his friends’ and family’s children seem to.

He has established a long pattern of controlling behavior, and any time I give him an inch, he takes a mile.

That picture, to me, represents freedom: sexually, personally, mentally, and emotionally.

My father taught me that being a woman was shameful, that I was to be seen and not heard. About a week before this mess, I went to his house for dinner to smooth out last minute details, and he told me that I wasn’t allowed to wear XYZ and to go shopping.

As I started to get irritated, and tell him no, he handed me $200 and told me I was talking too much.

The first time he met my fiancé/husband(Which was only in April of this year) he told Patrick, in front of me, “When you’re done with your plates at dinner, make her pick them up,” gesturing to me.

So as much as it hurts me to say this, my relationship with my father is over, and strangely, I’ve also never felt so free. 

One thought on “How a Picture Ended My Relationship with my Father

  1. OMG! Reading this brought a tear to my eye. I want to thank you for being so open. I also appreciate that you didn’t generalize this as all men, all Muslim, all fathers, etc. Your words were confident and showed your strength and resolve. You are a credit to *your name* and I hope that he has the courage to read this, see himself through your eyes, and change his ways. Thank you again for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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