Object Dar't

November 25, 2013

The Art of Banking

My Dad passed away a couple years ago. My Dad was an epic man; 6 feet tall, thick bones, massive hands that could crush and a aura that could bring a room to a halt. He was unbelievably smart yet uneducated, painfully sensitive yet withdrawn and possessed a set of ethics that I’ve yet to see rivaled in another human being. He wanted to be so many things but kept himself in his own words as "just a grease monkey." The quick synopsis; he grew up in a horrifically abusive home in the slums of Worcester under a single Mother who delivered regular beatings (with a cast iron skillet) and indignities that would have killed an ordinary soul. Somehow, he managed not only to survive it all but survive relatively sane. The result, however, was a man with emotional scar tissue so deep and thick that it was impenetrable. He was emotionally unavailable to any human being including his wife and daughter.

La Muerta (for my Dad), Copyright Denyse Dar 2011

When he passed though, something became painfully clear to me. My Dad didn’t want to ever hurt anyone but he also saw the world as an awful place that you needed to protect yourself from in order to survive. If I had a nickel for every time that man tried to coax me into toughening up and not being so “naive”, I’d be FILTHY rich! His strategy was to stay in neutral and slip under the radar. Mind your business, keep your chin tucked to your chest and be ready to swing if cornered. As a result, his life ended in nothingness. We had a memorial for him. It was painful because no one remembered him. The people who came, came to support my children and I. But it was clear, he’d literally made no contribution or impression upon the world around him. No one missed him and it was just a case of “oh that’s too bad.” So that wonderful, pained man shrank himself into such a small ball that he left this world with nothing more than a tiny “poof.”  
Untitled, Copyright Denyse Dar 2011
What an awful ending for a human being; to have been so insignificant as to not even be noticed when you are gone. It’s painful to be his child and have that as his legacy. Especially knowing the rare greatness that existed in my Dad. But I learned in my father’s death that we each get out of life exactly what we put in. Maybe that’s akin to the concept of karma – I don’t know? But I DO know now, and have seen in my own life, that we absolutely get back tenfold whatever we put out. Like a bank account! And it’s all very fair and matter of fact. It’s just always our choice what we will contribute, if anything. With my Dad, because he put nothing in, he got nothing out. And I take real issue with all that. Because he had no right to complain the world was a crappy place when he didn’t do a single thing to add anything good to it. I saw it as irresponsible. If he thought the world was such a crapola place then frankly he should have bellied up. He bellied up to pull himself out of the slums. He bellied up to provide his kid with a stable home. So why didn’t he belly up in this instance?
Copyright Denyse Dar 2011
I learned so much from my Dad while he was living. He is where my art comes from and my ethics and even some of my very annoying faults. But I learned much, much more from his dying. He used to say to me that it was the natural order of things to do a little better than your parents. I took that to heart. I refuse to go out with a pathetic poof. And I refuse to be an armchair quarterback complaining about this world. For 6 years now, I have been making daily deposits into this “bank account”; something good, something positive, something loving. In my personal life, I do whatever I can, no matter how small. Whether I am being supportive to someone who is feeling down or leaving something yummy in a friend’s mailbox because I know they cook for 1 or are sick; I’m at least doing SOMETHING. Even my work is a form of making a deposit. And as a result, in 6 years, the world has changed drastically in my eyes. It’s a little softer, a lot kinder and so unbelievably rich. I hope when I leave, that I’m remembered for my deposits. I may not have started out so great but dammit, I left on a high note. More importantly though, I hope I leave behind 3 little souls who will follow the natural order of things and do a little better than their Mom and Grandad. It will mean that I was a smart banker – I started with 1 but invested well and turned my investment into 3. ;)