My name has become like a cruel brand – burned onto my person ever reminding me I will never be able to give my father the one thing he wanted most from me. He has said on many occasions with great conviction that he does not care who I marry or where I work so long as I am a Christian. He best expressed this expectation when he named me because Kristina means “follower of Christ.” Ever striving to make my father proud, I fulfilled this desire with ease – attending church faithfully, ascribing to evangelical dogma, and pursing vocational ministry. All of this made my father proud, and with his pride came a steadfast assurance of his affections. He once told me he interpreted my dedication to Christianity as a sort of redemption of his failures. This statement initially strengthened my resolve to follow Christ but ultimately it has come to haunt me.
Over the past few years I have become disillusioned; my faith has completely dissolved and with it my confidence in my father’s love for me. I see him look at me with worry and disappointment, but he is more disappointed in himself than he is in me; the daughter who was meant to redeem him is now his greatest failure. This devastates me. My father has many wounds which have caused him to be distant and critical; I have always forgiven him for the pain he has caused me because I believed I could be the person he wished he had been. I should have been a salve but now I fear I am the greatest wound of all. My father will always have my love and forgiveness, but I struggle to forgive myself for turning what he hoped would be a legacy into a lie – my name is a cruel brand.