Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding a Relationship With My Dad

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If you'd told 17-year-old-me that in 2015, I’d be standing in Target, picking out a Father’s Day card or crying while dancing with my Dad at my wedding, I would've laughed in your face. Yet that’s precisely where I found myself this afternoon: staring at the remainders of a plundered Hallmark rack, seeking something that wasn't too saccharine or too silly or dismissive. And just a few weeks ago, on my wedding day, I danced with my father and both of us sobbed ugly tears. I laughed out loud in the store thinking about the absurdity of it all, given my life's history, earning a side-eye from a nearby shopper.

You could — if you’re into grossly minimizing euphemisms — refer to my childhood and adolescence as "tumultuous." I still find it difficult to talk about even with my closest friends, let alone publicly. In short: I was pretty severely physically and emotionally abused by my father from literally as early as I can remember un...

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Mari is a queer lady scientist and educator from Detroit, who skillfully avoids working on her genetics dissertation by writing about queer and trans life, nerd culture, feminism, and science. You can frequently find her running around at science-fiction conventions giving panels on consent culture and LGBT topics or DJing at fantastically strange parties. She is a contributing writer for TransAdvocate, maintains a personal blog at TransNerdFeminist, and can frequently be found stirring up trouble (and posting selfies) on Twitter.

Mari has written 36 articles for us.