Archives for April 2010

Disturbed, Distraught and Disappointed

“If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes”
Behind blue eyes-The Who

There are moments in my life where I have considered this to be a personal anthem, a theme song that describes me. Days when I woke up and described myself to be disturbed, distraught and disappointed. I count some very dark days among those moments. Times in which I felt like I was living my life alone and apart.

When I think about it those moments have been relatively few and far between. While immersed in them they felt interminably long and I sometimes wondered what was wrong with me. Sometimes I’d sit in silence and look at the people around me and wonder how they could all be so happy while I seemed to be trapped in misery or two steps removed from it.

What I eventually learned was that I wasn’t alone in this. I wasn’t the only person who felt like he was standing on the outside looking in. For some people that would be enough. That would be enough to make them smile and keep on moving.

I am not them. I am not one of those people. Read through the posts and you’ll see that I understand that others have a situation that is more challenging and more difficult. Their lives are harder than mine. I appreciate that and am happy that I don’t have to face some of those challenges. But their troubles don’t change mine.

“‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
You’re a slave to money then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah

No change, I can’t change
I can’t change, I can’t change
But I’m here in my mind
I am here in my mind
But I’m a million different people
from one day to the next
I can’t change my mind
No, no, no, no, no, no, no,no,no,no,no,no(fading away)
Bittersweet Symphony– The Verve

I don’t want to give the wrong impression.  I have a good life and much to be thankful for. I smile far more than I frown, but I live with a certain intensity level. When I feel something, I really feel it. And I am ok with that. Took a little bit of time to get here, but I am here.

And I should add that the painful episodes of my life have provided me with some gifts. When I write about some things I go back in time and revisit those moments. The memories lend themselves to better descriptions, they add color and depth.

More importantly these experiences that have helped shape me have helped to give me the strength to get through those that followed. They helped provide an outline and a framework that I can call or draw upon any time they are needed. I am grateful for that.

I frequently write about teaching children coping skills. Well, if you don’t have any of your own then it becomes harder to teach. I don’t have that issue. I know that I am a survivor because I have done it. I know how to get through it and because of that I can be a better father and that makes me happy.

The Ghosts of Our Past

The ghosts of our past haunt us to our dying days. It is a common misconception among people to assume that this is a negative thing, that this is a something that hurt us. It can be, but only if you let it. We have the power to control our destiny. That is what I had told her, a promise of our future.

We were so very much in love. She was intoxicating, addictive, my favorite drug. I couldn’t get enough of her. Even now I can still smell her, the scent that never leaves me. Ok, it is not completely true, now it is more of a memory, but in my dreams she still visits me. In the dark of night she comes to stay with me and in the morning I wake up to the bittersweet realization that she has left me again.

Sometimes I’ll close my eyes and try to fall back asleep, hoping, praying that I can reconnect with the dream. In my mind there is no pain, no sorrow, no loss and no heartbreak. We’re still driving a convertible, her hair blowing in the wind, body pressed close to mine.

“Young hearts gotta run free, be free, live free
Time is on, time is on your side
Time, time, time, time is on your side
is on your side
is on your side
is on your side
Young heart be free tonight
tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, yeah”
Young Turks- Rod Stewart

It was one of our songs, we loved the idea of just running away together. It was a plan of ours, to steal away in to the night and to find somewhere that we could live together for the rest of eternity.

You know what is like, the first love of your life. You have nothing to compare those feelings to, nothing makes your heart soar like they do. As a teenage boy you have to fight to not act like an idiot. You’d pick a fight with some guy just so that you could try and prove how brave you were. You’d do a million other stupid things like that, just because you felt like you had to show her how much she meant to you. There was a fire inside you that you swore could not be quenched, a burning that felt so good it ached.

Sometimes that passion you felt could get you into trouble. Sometimes you found yourself getting involved in things that were best left to others. Sometimes you got lost, got stuck with the wrong crowd and the wrong people. Sometimes you found out that your parents were not that stupid, that they knew something more about living and life than you did. Sometimes the lack of life experience could save you because you didn’t realize the amount of danger you were in and sometimes it was that very lack of experience that condemned you.

It was my fault that I lost her. It really was. Because I was an idiot who fumbled the best thing I had. Because my fragile male ego wouldn’t allow me to ask for help and by the time I was ready to the only people who would help me were the very people that I should have run away from.

When she left me it was because I was already gone. I had already left the relationship, the boy she fell in love with fell down the rabbit hole but there wasn’t a friendly rabbit waiting for me.

There was a creature with a smile like the Cheshire cat, a creature who was only too happy to take me on as their apprentice. She called him an asshole and a loser. She called him a leech, a thug and more.

I called him Georgie.

The People You Love Most

(I thought that this was worth sharing again.)

In the quiet of the night my son asked me to try and explain why boys fall in love with girls. He admitted that there are some girls that he likes playing with, but that is only because they play more like boys do.

I told him that love wasn’t something that you could study or understand. It is not something to be analyzed. It is meant to be felt, to be experienced, to be lived. I wasn’t surprised to see a look of confusion on his face. It is a bit more sophisticated than talking about superheroes.

And then he surprised me by asking if love could die. So I told him that a parent’s love never dies and that he shouldn’t be worried. He told me that wasn’t it, he wanted to know if loved died because Jason’s mom and dad had split up and so had Michael’s.

I asked him what he thought and he said that he thought it could. I told him that I thought that he was right. And then he went back to asking me questions about boys and girls and how you know that you are in love with someone.

We talked about it for a bit and he whispered that love makes you act stupid. I whispered back, “you’re right.” And then we laughed.

I told him that you always need to let the people you love most know that you love them. I told him that when he was older we’d talk more about why boys and girls fall in love. He said ok, and then told me that he didn’t think that girls could understand it because their brains are mushy.

I laughed pretty hard and told him that he’d find out that girls brains operate a little bit differently than ours do. Of course he asked me to give him an example. So I told him that one day a girl would ask him what he meant when he said something. I told him that she would spend time trying to understand the hows and whys of what we do.

He looked at me and said “really?” and I said “yes.” And when he asked me to tell him more I elaborated a bit. I tried to explain to him that sometimes love did make you do silly things. And that sometimes when you really, really, really love someone you get nervous when you don’t talk to them. And that sometimes when you are nervous it makes you angry because you are afraid.

And wouldn’t you know it, that smart boy of mine totally got it. I was pretty impressed.

The conversation meandered a bit and then he told me again that he never wants to get married. I told him not to worry about it and he said ok. Then he told me that he might want to be a father so that I could be a grandpa.

I teased him and said that if he wanted to become a father he might have to kiss a girl. He said yuck and wanted to know if there was a way to just stick the baby stuff inside her without having to talk to her.

Since I heard his mother standing at the door I said that it was always better to do it that way and that talking to girls was a big waste of time. Ok, I almost got through that little speech without laughing, but I couldn’t. He looked up at me and said “I know that you were only teasing.”

There was a short pause and just as I thought he was going to ask another question I realized that he was asleep. Oy, I can only imagine what other conversations we have ahead of ourselves.

The Father I Want To Be

Superman– REM

The rules of the blog are simple: be open and be honest. Tell your story as you see it, not as others wish to. So simple in concept yet far more difficult in practice. Difficult because it means unloading a closetful of chaos upon the screen and I am not sure that I am ready to look at some of these things during the day light.

It is a funny thing, this concern of mine because the person who I am most afraid of already knows these things. The person whose opinion will bother me most won’t be fooled by simple parlor tricks or fancy smoke and mirrors.

They’ll see through it all in a heartbeat. Because I am him. He is me. I am my own worst critic. You won’t anyone who is harder on me than me. The fact is that I can’t hide or ignore these things. So I am shrugging my shoulders and admitting to myself that sometimes I can’t get it done. Sometimes I fall short. Sometimes I feel like I live on my own island because I put myself there.

And the reason for my frustration is complicated. No matter how badly I wish to beat myself up for my shortcomings there are not the sole reason for finding myself here. You can only fight the tide for so long and then you are stuck.

The father I want to be will be more accepting of these things. He’ll take the same advice he provides his children but this time he won’t ignore it. The father I want to be will rediscover patience and its twin tolerance.

He’ll stop berating himself for that which he can’t control and accept that some times there legitimate excuses. And when he does this he’ll be a happier man because he won’t walk around carrying the weight of the world.

For Your Reading Review

A snapshot of recent posts:

Ain’t Got You- Or A Different Sort of Muse
Cookie Monster Cures Writer’s Block
Two Kids & A Dog- Part Three
We Live In A Bubble
Why Do They Want To Kill Us?
Dad’s Not Your Friend
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #8

 And your blast from the past:

How Do Fighter Pilots Go To The Bathroom
Time Is My Enemy & My Ally