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Monday, December 28, 2020

I can speak for all of us...

... when I say that 2020 has been a shit show of a year.

For me, the shit show started at the end of 2019. After a lifetime of rejection, I had decided to call my father one final time for two reasons. 

First, because personal integrity forced me to at least warn the man that I was making this documentary so he could be prepared for any exposure he may receive, and secondly, I wanted to offer him the chance to tell his side of the story in my film, if only to make himself look better as a person.

He refused to speak with me -- no surprise there -- so I called his wife instead. She answered and we ended up talking for over an hour. An hour that comprised of me breaking down in tears several times but the conversation ended up being the most healing and cathartic moment of my life, which I didn't realize at the time.

Fast forward a few weeks to January 1st, 2020.

I keep my DNA in a national registry so it can be accessed by any of the DNA kits out there. I woke up on January 1st to an email informing me that I had matched as aunt to a daughter of one of my brothers. I thought, finally, my father and his legitimate children have no choice but to acknowledge me now.

Yeah... that didn't happen.

Then, on January 15th, 2020, literally two weeks after the DNA results, my father suddenly passed away. His death brought numerous emotions to the surface for me, emotions I thought that I had already dealt with. One of those emotions was anger. I was really angry at him for dying. I had planned to see my father at the end of this film so I could have my say and then forgive him face to face. My plan was to forgive him for me. Not for him, but for me so I could move forward and leave my painful past behind. His death took that away from me.

I have since done my best to forgive him and although it is difficult to forgive a person who is no longer living, I am almost fully there. And the only reason is because of that phone call with my late fathers' wife.

She put me on speaker phone for the duration of the phone call while my father sat in the background and listened to everything I had to say (I could clearly hear him whispering to her and trying to muffle his cough). At first I was pissed that he had the audacity to listen in after rejecting me so many times over the years, but then I realized that moment may be the only opportunity I would have for him to actually hear what I had to say. I knew there was a chance that he would slam the door in my face when I showed up to confront him at the end of my film, so I took my moment.

And once I started, I couldn't stop.

I told her (and his listening ears) everything I had kept to myself all these years.  How his abandonment affected my life. How his actions affected my self worth and self esteem. How he made me feel unlovable. How, even to this day, I have a hard time trusting men because I am scared they will hurt me. How it is hard for me to trust in the creative talent I was blessed with because I didn't feel it was deserved. How my mom would let me skip school on the Friday before Fathers Day as a kid because I didn't want to make a craft for a father I knew didn't want me. How it made me sick to my stomach when I would see him on TV with his arm around the one child he publicly acknowledged, glowing about how proud he was to be that persons' father.  And I made sure to tell him that parents shouldn't pick and choose which of their children to love and it was his job to be my father but he chose not to care. 

I finished by saying that I felt sorry for him. Sorry for whatever happened in his life that made him incapable of loving another person unconditionally and incapable of accepting his responsibilities. I said he should be happy that my mother raised me to be a decent, kind and caring human being and as such, I wasn't going to use any of his past secrets I uncovered against him in my film and I wasn't going to go out of my way to make him look bad. I am just going to tell my truth as it pertains to me.

When I hung up, I felt numb. I couldn't process my feelings so I put them aside for a later date.

That "later date" only came recently, in the past few weeks, close to a year after my father's death when I finally realized that although my father didn't acknowledge me, I did, in fact, get a chance to be heard by him with that phone call. 

Which is more that I can say for my siblings. My heart is broken for them as they never had their chance and as difficult as my father's death was for me, it is a lot worse for them. My siblings will never have the closure that I did. And I am going to spend as much time as it takes, the rest of my life even, to help my siblings heal.

Notice I said siblings?

My story turned out to be MUCH LARGER than I had originally anticipated. During the course of filming this doc and researching my family history, I discovered that I wasn't the only child my father abandoned. So far there are five of us. All of us DNA tested and proven to be family. And rumors of several more, all of whom I am currently trying to find. Needless to say, my life has changed completely since we found each other and not only have we formed a loving and caring family, their stories are also being told alongside mine in this film.

For the full details, you will have to see the film (which is currently on hold due to travel restrictions but will be completed very soon).

In the meantime, I am so honored and pleased to present my siblings, all of whom I have grown so attached to over the past couple of years and love very much. We truly are a close family unit, made even closer by the similar life experiences and pain we all share. 

Aaron, Adrian, Trevor, Paula and myself.

 


And we have an Uncle. A special giant-hearted compassionate Uncle who has embraced us all and become the patriarch of our little family. His story will also be told in what has become "our" film and not just mine.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

My Radical Truth...

One of the steps to healing a deep wound is to tell your radical truth so here is mine.

I AM A DADDYLESS DAUGHTER.

My father made a living in a sports entertainment field and traveled a lot, passing through towns, cities and countries, drinking and carousing. It was a "love 'em and leave 'em" mentality back then, so I don't begrudge my father the lifestyle he had when he was young. I could have been one of countless children he left behind without knowing after a one night stand.

But I'm not. My story is different.

My father came to Vancouver for work and actually had a relationship with my mother for a number of months.  When she became pregnant, he promised he would bring her (and me) on the road with him and would always take care of us. Then, several months into her pregnancy, he left and never came back. The last time my mother spoke to my father was on the phone the day I was born.

I grew up having to see my father on TV, knowing that he didn't want me. Very painful, indeed. I made several attempts to reach out to him over the years, but he always refused contact.

As a direct result of my father's abandonment and repeated rejections, I have spent my whole life feeling:

UNWORTHY
UNLOVABLE
UNIMPORTANT
UNWANTED
UNACCEPTED

Even though I am well on the road to healing, as with all abandoned children, the scars we are left with will never fully go away.

There you have it. My Radical Truth.

On that note, our website is up.

JUST CALL ME LISA



Friday, May 17, 2019

True Forgiveness...

Can you forgive someone yet still carry anger for them?

NO.

However, I convinced myself I could.

What I really did was turn the residual anger I subconsciously carry towards my father on someone else. I've come to the realization that while I may have forgiven my father for not being there, I haven't been able to get past the fact that to this day, he still won't acknowledge my existence. It's weird, really. I don't want a relationship with him but it still hurts that he is not sorry.

And I guess the hurt over that goes deeper than I thought. But it will be okay. I am now aware of it and being aware is the first step towards letting it go.

The second step is acknowledging that I let the hurt affect me and my actions.

I acknowledge that I still have a path I need to walk before I reach the point of being fully healed. And if I want my film to be painfully honest, real and organic, I am going to have to address this issue on camera.

I'm still having a hard time opening up and expressing my true feelings on camera because I've kept everything inside myself all these years. I'm hoping that acknowledging it here first will make actually talking about it easier.

I knew this was going to be the most difficult project of my career thus far, but DAMN!

Guess we will find out how my journey ends when I finish this documentary.

On a final note to parents, don't abandon your children. It fucks with their minds...


Thursday, February 28, 2019

My absent father

A year ago, I really didn't know if I would ever make it to the place I am today or if I would ever be able to write the letter below and actually mean it.

Yet here I am and I do. I mean every word.


To my absent father:

I forgive you. I forgive you for not being there. I forgive you for not wanting to be there and I forgive you for all the pain you caused me through the choices you made.

I may have never met you but we remain connected through negative emotions and it is time to sever that connection and set both of our souls free. I don't want anything from you and you owe me nothing. I absolve you of any karmic debt connected to me.

I thank you for two things -- for giving me life and for the creative talent I have been blessed with that obviously runs in your side of the family. I acknowledge that most of my talent came through you. However, nurturing that talent and always striving to use it for the betterment of humanity comes through me and the life lessons taught to me by my mother.

I never thought I would be able to say this, but I am thankful for you and how you treated me. That pain made me the person I am today and I am proud of who I am.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Just Call Me Lisa

Turning the camera on myself is not easy. But for this documentary, it is necessary.


One of the most difficult, challenging and scary things I have ever done, yet also one of the most honest, soul-freeing and healing. I can't hide my true feelings from the camera so you get to see the real me. The painful part that I usually keep hidden. 

And the things I have discovered on this cinematic journey so far? You'd have a hard time believing me if I told you...

Thankfully I don't have to tell you because when this project is complete, you can see it for yourself.


Stay tuned.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

And I finally have my documentary title!

JUST CALL ME LISA

A Journey of Healing



“I don’t feel like I have a family name or history that I am connected to. When I was born, my mother didn’t want me to have the stigma of being a bastard on paper so she gave me her ex-husband’s last name, Pinter. I was married for awhile and became Lisa Purves. After I got divorced, I couldn’t go back to Pinter because it doesn’t belong to me. I couldn’t take my mother’s maiden name because her father wouldn’t accept her giving him a black grandchild. I couldn’t take my father’s last name because he refuses to acknowledge me. So I kept Purves, even though that doesn’t belong to me either. When I introduce myself to people, I always say my last name really fast and when they say, Lisa who?, I tell them to JUST CALL ME LISA...”


Started out this doc with plans to have numerous people in the same boat as I, share their stories. Turns out it isn't easy to find people willing to open up their inner pain to the public. Who knew?

Well, someone's gotta do it -- it's the only way to shed light on how deeply being abandoned by a parent affects a person for life -- and my director thinks it should be me.

So okay.

Monday, January 15, 2018

2018 brings change!

Long time!

2017 was an interesting year for me, especially in it's final few months. It's a long story so I'll cut to the chase, I'm making my first feature length documentary.

Last year, I was working on an especially deep and dramatic script and in the middle of writing a particularly difficult scene between a father and daughter, I burst into tears. That's not unusual since as a writer, you become your characters while writing so you feel all their emotions, but this time was different. This time, the crying didn't stop for a few months. Until I finally realized that my issue had nothing to do with the script I was writing and everything to do with the painful feelings about being abandoned by my father as a baby.

I started doing research about my circumstance and came across a plethora of information, statistics, papers, interviews, books, etc., about the effects of being abandoned by a parent and in it all, I found myself. Completely, absolutely me and how I felt deep inside throughout my whole life. I also found that I am not alone. Not by a long shot. The statistics of abandoned children and the repercussions of being one are staggering. So staggering that I felt compelled to bring the issue to light.

I put my other projects on hold to make a documentary about abandoned children which will include my own personal story. I'm asking people involved in this documentary to share their own private hell, which includes feelings of shame, humiliation and unworthiness, in a public platform when it's hard enough to acknowledge those feelings within yourself. I can not ask any of them to do something I am not fully prepared to do myself.

I started by telling parts of my story through my social media accounts in the past few months and will tell the rest in this documentary. And if you are curious, yes, it sucks. Yes, it is embarrassing for me, and yes, it hurts. A lot. I liken it to having open heart surgery while you are awake. But on the flip side, I have found such a strength in myself that I never knew existed. I'm well on my way to being healed and I sincerely hope to help others find the path to their own healing through this film.

So let the games begin! Stay tuned for more details :)

And I did have a title, but as with documentaries, you follow one lead which leads you to another until suddenly the story is much bigger than you first anticipated. There will be a title change in the near future.

Happy 2018, all. I hope this year leads you on a path to fulfillment within yourself just like it did for me :)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Movie of the Week!

One of the short films that I wrote and produced, DEUTERONOMY 24:16, has been chosen as Movie of the Week on shorts.tv starting Saturday, July 22nd, 2017.

They even put together a short teaser for it.




If you happen to subscribe to the channel and want to check it out, please do :)