I finally did a DNA test - my father is my father. I have no other fathers but him.
The family story my aunt told me must have taken a wrong turn somewhere - I'm sure they did use ART to conceive me and that the "donor" bit got attached to the rumor somehow. Perhaps
they used IUI or IVF and then I was born, looking nothing like my
father or his family. Could people have thought I wasn't his? Could it
have occurred to him too? Some things are still just too bizarre to be explained in any other way.
I spent a year on an emotional rollercoaster for no good reason. I made an absolute idiot of myself.
But there was something good about it: the idea of a possibly sane father out there who might be like me and who might like me enabled me to feel. I gave myself permission to love this non-existent man and grieve for him. I had never grieved the father I couldn't have. I hadn't felt any real emotions towards my father (or mother) for decades. I had blocked all emotions.
Now they came back - for a person who doesn't exist. It proved how vulnerable and, really, pathetic I am. I longed for one man in particular to be my real father - because he was nice and enjoyed my company and liked me and shared my interests and gave me books of poetry and short stories. Which was much more than I ever had with my father.
It was so easy to let myself believe this. To have a tangible reason why he couldn't love me. Why he resented me. Why I had to be sooo grateful just for being allowed to exist (I'm sure they had to use IUI or IVF and I did cost them something - at least, the shame he had to endure in front of the doctors) and why "You look like your mother" was so often thrown at me (I guess that was my entire sin - I didn't have to be another man's offspring to be resented, only not be his carbon copy - I really look nothing at all like him or his family).
I made myself believe I could expect nothing from him or his family - they owed me nothing. This made me remember how cold they were towards me.
But they owed me love and support, no matter who I looked like. My father should have loved me. He owed me that.
I might take some time off to process all this. I'd spent a lot of time obsessing over something that wasn't even true. There are other, real things to focus on, and although right now I feel drained and exhausted and deflated, it can only get better from here if I focus on my daily life from now on. I hope.