The dark lining

I want to come up with a reason to live. I try really hard to everyday. I look at my kids and hope the love I have for them saves me; but then my daughter pushes me away or my middle son won’t hug me, or a promise is broken, and I’m reminded how very alone and insignificant I feel. I look at my wife and I see nothing but distrust and a bunch of empty promises mixed with lack of follow through, and it reminds me how very little I exist to the few people I exist to at all.

So I complain to this blog, because I have nowhere at all to go. I complain and I whine and I hope someone finds something worth saving or learning from, because it’s the only thing I’m going to leave behind.

I don’t know if it will be in a year or tomorrow or ten years or more, but I’m going to be gone someday. We all are. And this is what I’m leaving. A bunch of complaining and self righteous preaching. I’m leaving behind a list of grievances and poor me’s.

I’m like a kid. Everything hurts. Everything. I feel every fucking thing. I feel your mood. I feel mine. I feel the loneliness at night when the house is quiet. I feel the world is far away and I’m a speck so insignificant that you’d forget you even lost me. I exist only because four people choose it. And if they didn’t choose it, I could disappear without a trace. I don’t say that without recognizing the pitiful way it sounds or the gravity of saying it out loud. I say it with conviction because I know it. I believe it.

I’ve gone weeks without ever hearing a word from people I know. They wouldn’t even know I was gone. Maybe if I stopped posting blogs, but with the maximum of seven views I’m getting every few days, I can’t imagine anyone is reading this -but I digress (always wanted to find a need for that phrase).

One time, my dad told me I should kill myself. He was drunk. I was an adult, so I brushed it off. It’s always been back there though, in the back of my mind. “Your dad thinks it’s a good idea. Your mom has favorites and it isn’t you. No one calls to say hello. No one returns your texts. Give up, this is your peak. This is as good as it’s going to get.” This is where I should insert some positive message of overcoming and triumph right?

I look at things as if I were a person watching others love each other. I try to love so hard because I’m hoping someone will return the favor. I want to feel that naive, innocent trust. The kind of trust I’ve always depended on my wife for.

We grew up differently. She doesn’t understand the need. She doesn’t understand the breath it takes, or the life and death that it means. It’s automatic. It isn’t work for her. Love is effortless for people that just receive it. They think it’s just there for taking. For me, love means effort. How much effort did you put into us today? How much effort did you exert to show you loved someone? If you gave less than you received then you don’t love that person the same. You aren’t worthy of each other. It’s how I’ve always viewed things.

Love has never been automatic for me. I always had to work for it. I always had to try to earn it. My parents never gave that back to me. If they loved you, you owed them. My extended family treated us kids like property. We were either meant to be proud of or ashamed of, and I was the former. That’s how it was. That word “love” was really thrown around by my mom and dad. It got meaningless after a while. Their actions never matched the love I saw others had, or even the love shown on tv (my real family).

My parents always had their own thing going on. Two times in my life, my dad told me I wouldn’t be seeing him again. Once when I was four, and then again when I was around seven. These are some of my first memories… My dad sitting me on a porch swing and saying “boy, I’m not going to see you anymore.” I hate that word, boy. I hate that I call my sons that. It’s disgusting. The last time I stopped communication with my dad was my choice, and we didn’t talk for 12 years. We reconnected after my first son, but that didn’t last long. Things are better this way.

My mom and dad always had some one else to attend to, usually it was themselves, but sometimes it was, a drug addicted step father, their new step kids, their business (my dad had a lot of money, I grew up really poor though, if that tells you anything. He put his business in his wife’s name to avoid paying child support. He’s a good guy)… but mostly it was themselves. My moms excuse was always that she knew I was so mature that I could take care of myself. My dads excuse was that he wasn’t around and it’s my moms fault. Who cares? I didn’t ever need the excuses or apologies. I have my own kids now that I owe my life to.

When I was a kid living with my mom, she was with a guy that did drugs. He stole all of our things, he robbed my aunt, he left us without food and water (we had a cistern) for two weeks, he got us evicted several times from several places, he left my mom and my brother and I at the hospital with no ride after my youngest brother was born (another great guy) -there’s more but who cares about that, I colored the picture in for you. The point is, through all of this, I asked my mom, why she wouldn’t leave him. I begged. I was crying. I’m twelve begging my mom to leave him, and she told me “when is it my turn to be happy? When do I get to be happy?”. She stayed with him until I moved out. She continued contact with him years after I had my own kids. It never stopped until he od’ed and died. I still do not understand. Even as a child I gave up on him. She never did, maybe that makes her a better person than me.

When he was sober he was a good man. He was my best friend, and the best dad I ever knew. It’s funny to say that but he was just so attentive and wanted to be around me. He listened to everything I had to say, and he’d have conversations with me, and I knew he heard me. He taught me things that dads teach their sons. He always wanted to make up for what he put me through. It wasn’t enough In the end.

I never ever forgot her words “When do I get to be happy?”. I forgave her, but I never forgot. I felt gut punched. I felt a shockwave hit me when she said it. I thought we were enough for her. I thought you were supposed to put your kids first in every situation, especially before yourself. Her words were life changing for me.

At twelve years old I decided several things: 1. I am not important to this person. 2. You can never trust her with your life ever again. 3. You will always put your kids and wife above yourself. And I suppose another thing I learned was not to trust so easily. If a mom can do this to her two kids, with a third on the way (she was pregnant during this time) then someone that doesn’t even know me or care about me, can do much worse.

That’s why I take parenting so seriously. I know how that thing that’s missing feels. I know how it feels to be empty there. I want the effort to show. I want to work harder at it then anyone in the world so that they know how much I love them. And that’s why it’s so personal and so deeply affecting, if a promise isn’t kept, or a request is ignored, or my excitement about something I’m interested in isn’t given attention to or at least humored. It feels like being invisible. I won’t do that to them.

Growing up this way made me a great dad though. I am eternally grateful that it taught me to have conviction in keeping promises and showing intense effort in how I love. Those will be the most important and necessary things for me to give my children. I take those things incredibly seriously. They are life and death to me. And in turn, when a promise is broken to me, my wife or my kids, or a lie is told, or a brush off is given, or no effort is made -I make a note, I don’t forget, and I trust you less and less each time, until you aren’t necessary. Then I discard you out of necessity. That sounds cold and unemotional but it’s the complete opposite and you’d have to feel everything to understand that. Givers and takers can’t coexist outside of a parent/child relationship.

Anyway, that’s me. A crybaby that shares too much too soon. I had a questionable upbringing at best, and I can’t find the silver lining lately. I guess it’s easy to blame the past when you can’t figure out the future.

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