For those who have/had fathers who were great role models, who were your friends, to whom you could speak freely, in front of whom you could largely be yourself without fear, I hope you have a Happy Father’s Day celebrating with them, or just celebrating them.

It’s been almost five years since I last spoke to my father. I will always love him, but ending contact was my decision, and it continues to be the right one.

When I look over who I’ve become since I last spoke to him, especially over the last year or so, I think he would be so proud. At the same time, I don’t think he’d like the person I now am.

More politically aware, but on the wrong side of the fence.

Making better use of my brain, but shirking my “duty” in refusing to pass it on to biological children.

More interested in science, but not the right science.

More confident, but therefore too assertive.

Ultimately, I suspect he and I would have ended up in the same place no matter what, not talking because we would just infuriate each other to the point of hatred.

And that’s a shame because, in so many ways, and as I am reminded more frequently than I’d like, I’m probably more like my dad in personality than my mother, or any other of my relatives. Weird sense of humor, weird sense of style, too off-the-wall, too unsociable, too outside the box.

I think my dad would be proud I went to CAMH this year, got a diagnosis, and got therapy. Despite his general refusing to admit to any faults, I think he knew he was screwed up somewhere deep down, and I think he worried more than once that he’d passed that on to me.

I think he would be proud, without reservation, of my dancing, even though I doubt he’d ever come to a show. He encouraged me to stay in dancing as a child, and I probably stuck with it years longer because of that. He was always adamant that I was physically stronger and more capable than I realized. About that, he was right.

And I will give my dad credit here: he always tried to make me feel okay about being weird. He usually did it totally wrong and made things worse, but I could tell he was trying, and even if it came from a quarter I didn’t (and still don’t) want to be compared to, it was nice to know that acceptance was possible.

He used to paint a lot, and when I was very little, he painted a picture of a candle and a rose. I thought it was the most beautiful painting I’d ever seen, but he hated it. Still, a few months later, when I got my own room for the first time, one my mom specially decorated for me, he surprised me on my first night sleeping in it with a new version of the candle and rose painting, painted specially for me. Just last week I had my first dance photo shoot, and that painting was a part of the background set. That’s how I see my dad now. He’s not an active part of my future, but he was a big part of painting my background, and he had a special intuition for the colours and images that suited me. A purple candle and a red rose.

Wherever he is, however he feels about me now, I hope he has a good day.