It had been almost a year since I had an actual conversation with my dad. Due to a series of announcements, misunderstandings, misfires in communication, and a general reluctance to simply deal with our issues, the last time I talked to my dad was Father's Day 2009. It's been a tough year.
I've been angry, sad, unhappy, annoyed, resolved, and myriad other adjectives about the whole situation. I doubt that everything is fixed, really, but I think we're finally making a start. We cried, laughed, apologized, and talked for two hours. I got off the phone emotionally drained, but optimistic.
The one thing I've realized after wading through our reasons for how we dealt with each other is that I need to be more assertive. If you met me ten years ago (or even five), you'd realize that I'm much more assertive than I used to be. But I need to be bold, be unafraid to speak my mind, and stand up for myself. They (my parents and others) may not like what I have to say, but I think that being upfront and honest is the best way to handle a lot of situations. Things get ugly, I've discovered, when people don't communicate and deal with problems. By speaking my mind, the other party has the opportunity to voice theirs and perhaps clear the air, instead of sulking and having the wrong ideas about the situation.
It was easy to blame them for a lot, but I have to take a bit of responsibility myself and admit that I was afraid to directly confront some of the issues. I honestly didn't think they would listen--or I thought they did listen and just weren't interested in what I had to say. And part of that is true. I can't expect everyone to handle situations the same way I do, and I can't expect them to confront something. Sometimes, they need to be forced to confront it.
Anyway, I'm glad the situation is changing, at the very least, and hopefully it'll be a change for the better. And I am learning that I should just be strong and speak my mind, even if it's a little uncomfortable. Of course, speaking my mind doesn't mean I should be tactless or undiplomatic. I'm just thinking about it as good practice for both life and my future career.