**Get up later than I intended to, feel like a failure. Get on the scale and weigh more than I wanted to, feel like a failure. Get to work and find out something didn’t go as I had planned yesterday, feel like a failure. Don’t stay caught up with all of my email throughout the day, feel like a failure. Find out that my daughter was in tears, AGAIN, at the idea of going to school today, feel like a failure. Have to leave work earlier than I’d like to make it to parent’s night at my son’s school, feel like a failure. Get to son’s school later than I had planned, feel like a failure. Son pretends to not know his own birthday and makes a scene in front of his teacher, feel like a failure. Get home and realize how much homework I still have to do for this week, feel like a failure. Am too depressed, too exhausted, and too frustrated with myself to find the motivation to get to the gym, feel like a failure. Am short with my wife and kids because of my mounting frustration, feel like a failure. **
Noticing any redundancies? This is the glorious spiral that happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. Being a father of 3, a husband, an employee, a student, and just an adult in his 30s has left me with zero free time, and seemingly not enough time to even give adequate attention to the responsibilities that I have. I could feel myself getting more and more upset tonight so I decided it would be smart to stop, take a breath, and try to compose my thoughts. While doing so, I realized that I hadn’t had time to post anything on this site in over a year so I figured I would compose my thoughts online. Getting ready for STREAMOFCONCIOUSNESS9000!!!
On any given day I can be found ranting and raving about the fame culture that we’ve created, and the attention craving monsters that have built empires out of nothing more than wanting attention. Of course the very existence of this blog, and the fact that I’m typing this post, should represent an amazingly hypocritical irony, and it’s something that’s not lost on me. I’ve often wondered why I write these posts. Certainly my viewership is nothing to boast of, and for those pour unfortunate souls who do stumble across this tapestry of insanity and self-loathing, what am I hoping that they’ll gain from reading this? The answer is nothing. I could lie of course and say that I’m writing all of this in the hope that someone like me will find it out there, realize that they’re not alone, and feel just a bit better about themselves, but that’s not true. So why do I write these posts? Two reasons that I’ve been able to discern.
First, it helps me to make sense of my own thoughts and emotions if I can write them down. I don’t actually enjoy writing with a pen and paper, so I type them out and figure while I’m doing so I might as well put them in a single place where I, my wife, my kids someday, and my one and a half friends will all be able to read them at some point. And for whatever reason I do enjoy the idea that someone new out there might read some of this and get a kick out of it.
The other reason that I’ve surmised is that this blog has effectively been an ongoing and open letter to everyone that I’ve left behind in my life. Everyone that I’ve lost to time, distance, anger, and death has been on my mind when I’ve written all 100 or so posts on here. Because I’m no longer able to express these thoughts to them directly, this site has become a dumping ground for all of those things left unsaid. This has been my last word in a proverbial argument that may or may not have already ended, or may or may not have ever even begun.
I’ve spent a good deal of time and effort building up walls around my life and my family for what I consider to be the betterment of our little clan. I keep those out that I’ve deemed unworthy to share in our journey, or those that I feared would somehow tarnish the experience. I don’t regret this in the slightest, but it can make you feel isolated sometimes. I think one of the reasons people keep so many “friends” in their lives, digitally or otherwise, is because we like to have that insulation. When we’re feeling down, or when the darkness is creeping in, we can call upon this friendship army to come and help us beat back the demons. When you’ve made yourself an island you don’t have any reinforcements coming. It’s just you and your 4 other survivors, left to face the demons alone, waiting for the next sunrise to come. Is that melodramatic? Nah, it’s juuuusssst right.
I never really wondered if my dad was proud of me, and never really considered what he thought of me at all, until he was dead. Suddenly, as I was back in Nebraska, back in the wind and the cold that somehow feels colder than Indiana, I wondered what he thought of my life when he was at the end of his. Was he proud of what I’d become? Was he happy with what our relationship had become before he died? I like to think that the bond that we had formed had morphed into a sort of hybrid friend/mentor/father that may not have been typical, but it suited us well. Our conversations had become something more than the mundane small talk we’d had in my youth. When I needed a father, he really wasn’t one to me, and was hours away. But I didn’t need a father anymore, I had become one. I think that we both reached that same conclusion, accepted our past for what it was, and moved on with an honesty and respect that suited our personalities. People have told me that I remind them of him and I’ve come to take that as one of the highest compliments that I’ll receive.
I now wonder if he is somehow still watching me, and what he thinks of my actions day to day. I actually think more about his opinions of me now than I did when he was alive. I guess I feel like he’s past the family name onto me and I’d better make something out of it that we can both be proud of. Maybe that’s the urgency that I feel to be more than I am. Maybe that’s what drives me so hard toward a goal that I hadn’t clearly defined until he had passed. If I could sum up my 20s I would say: aggression, uncertainty, fear, loneliness, longing. If I could sum up my 30s I would say: certainty of desire, uncertainty of purpose, fear, happiness, exhaustion. Maybe those don’t all seem to go together, but they do.
The older I get, the less significant I feel in the grand scheme of things, but I have learned through many years of discussion, honesty, and even pain that I am significant to my family. We are a small crew, but each of us is as significant as the whole and that is something that I hold as sacred. I mean as much to them as they do to me, and that’s a feeling that I’ve never really had before. Thoughts composed, rambles rambled, and now it’s time to get back to finishing an education 15 years in the making.