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Azie avatar Azie
Retired Moderator
Level 56 : Grandmaster Grump
Hey, guys. Not very often that I write very personal stuff, but this holiday season has been a deeply relective time for me and I thought that maybe my experience might resonate with some of you too, so I decided I'd share it.

When I was too young to remember, my parents got divorced. We lost our house and our car, my mom was in jail, and my dad was struggling to make it as a single dad while also taking care of my nana.

He was bitter and angry and most of my childhood was spent in a courtroom talking to paralegals and mediators in between stints in the country courthouse daycare center watching old Disney movies. Mom was unreliable and hot-headed and soon I was bitter and angry too.

Dad had to be my hero otherwise I'd have nothing else to hang on to and for 13 years I idolized him. We went everywhere together and even though I didn't have a huge interest in hunting and fishing, I wouldn't trade sitting in a treestand with him in the cold and dark for 3 hours for anything. He always made sure that he got exactly what I wanted for Christmas, even if it meant using the credit card, working 20 hours of overtime, or camping out in front of Best Buy for 6 hours.

When I was in middle school, my grades started slipping. I stopped doing my homework and started intentionally trying to fail classes so the school would be forced to place me in easier courses where I'd have less work to do. It was all I could think of to do to make my life feel a little easier during what I now understand was the beginning of what I fear may be a life-long depression. I felt like I had nowhere to go with how I felt and I was right.

Dad disappointed me then. My outlet, video games, was the only reason he could see that might have been causing the decline in my health, mood, and grades so one day, after he picked me up from school, he told me he was going to throw out my console and wanted me to join a sports team at school. Taken aback by this, I came back to him a day later and asked him if he meant what he said.

He did.

That was the day I left. I packed my crap, called my Mom, and moved in with the person I spent the first 13 or so years of my life hating. In hindsight that was probably more insulting than the choice words I had for him when I slammed the front door for the last time and got in her car.

We didn't talk for a year. He called me on my birthday and on holidays, but I never answered my phone. One day I got a postcard in the mail: a wedding invitation from my dad. I didn't go.

A few more years passed, each one more angry and bitter than the last. Eventually I thought that maybe talking to him would help me resolve those feelings, but it seemed like every time we talked or got coffee together, I still avoided going back-- and I still do.

My dad is a narcissistic, arrogant, grudge-holding, abrasive, stubborn butthead and he still is, which is why when my mom asked me about 15 times if I was going to see him this Christmas, I hesitated every single time. The 16th time I hesitated and then finally said "if I have to hesitate every time, the answer is probably no". I resolved to spend Christmas day-- today-- alone.

My dad calls because he wants something from you. It might not always be something tangible, but it seems like he never calls just because he genuinely wants to say hello and that's it. However, that's not what he did yesterday. He invited me to dinner at his house.

It could be argued that he wanted me there for selfish reasons and I wouldn't necessarily disagree given how well I know him, but I decided to make him a gift. I felt compelled and it's something I haven't done in many years. I don't know why and I don't understand why I agreed to go in the first place, but I witnessed something that made me realize that I need to try to let go.

Let me preface myself with this: when we're young we often cling to a parent and idolize them. They can do no wrong. One day we find out that they're human-- just like us-- and they disappoint us. However, I'm of the belief that, while inexperienced, children in general can discern the good in a person and that even when someone disappoints them after a while, their initial belief is not unfounded.

Today I gave my dad a drawing of a deer a made and watercolored. Today I watched him play with his grandson and make jokes with his wife and cook for his family. Today he bought me art supplies and gave me money to pay for my medical copay and helped my nana get to the bathroom and smiled when he let the dogs in to greet us, even though they were so excited that they were jumping up on us. To some people it might've looked like someone doing their job-- cook, help mom, babysit-- but it reminded me of something I've had to relearn for myself lately.

He chooses to do those things because he loves doing them. He might be and angry, bitter old man, but when I showed him his gift in the car his "cool." was really a cry of happiness and his encouragment on the way home to continue doing art meant that that was the best gift I could have given him.

"Keep at it. I like drawings."

I want to forget. I want to just stop being bitter and I want to move on. I want to feel comfortable visiting and calling and I want to have a relationship so that when I get married my dad might like to be there, instead of being where I was and ignoring one of the most important days of his life because I was angry.

Maybe this is a step in the right direction. Maybe realizing this stuff is what will get me where I want to go. Maybe one day picking up the phone will feel like less work.

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04/20/2020 10:17 pm
Level 50 : Grandmaster Architect
Uknownymous avatar
Ah, the part where you just left so quickly after a single disappointment seems off. I suspect there was a lot more to that than was mentioned, especially with your change of heart leading to living with your mother so soon after it. I guess it's glossed over a little but the situation was probably more notable and you probably had many interactions up to that point and you probably already wavered at times about how to perceive your surroundings- but even so, well, even if it wasn't much more notable and even if the interactions weren't as negative, a person with little they appreciate losing one of the few things they do while already struggling with a lot and snapping tends to be hateful, I suppose, to what takes it away, and the hate can often be a lot more than may seem fair. Very... potent hate. ...at least in my own experience. I know I was- Very much hateful, for quite a long while, so I know hate well, as a personal acquaintance which lasted its while for many a year.

I wasn't expecting to see something like this when looking through your submissions- I was just curious. Rather curious indeed- I didn't expect something so appreciably emotional, but I guess there was. This was interesting to read. I can't say it was nice- It wasn't quite nice; it was sad, a little up and down, and not quite nice, but it was definitely a positive ending and hopefully a motivational step for the future. I wonder how that's gone now.

...not that I know you, but I am too curious to not wonder.

Uh, though this is 3 years too late to think about, some thoughts which you may be aware of but I want to mention anyway for anyone who may see this, just in case:
-Everyone has things they care about. No matter who the person is, they will always have things they appreciate and care about, even if they aren't entirely able to recognise what those things are. In some cases what they care about or appreciate may be twisted or cruel or self-centered or harsh or else, but in others it can just be hard to tell what it is they do care about if blinded by an emotion and they may actually have nice things which matter to them.
-Emotions are blinding. Like stated above. They always are. No matter how good a person gets at handling their emotions, the emotions will always blind a person to thought to a varying degree, in a varying amount, and it can really make it impossible to think clearly at all sometimes, especially with something like hate. The same applies to both good and bad emotions, but the end result can be quite sad, so- yes, just- a thought.
-People make mistakes. Now- this seems obvious, of course, but often people can overlook this without even realising they're doing it. Someone may say something harsh or do something cruel and even if they intended it at the time they may have been blinded by some kind of emotion or not realised the impact it may have had or else, and in which case it's a mistake, and a sad one at that. Mistakes, both good and bad; neutral and not, occur, and everyone can make them, aimed at anyone, no matter whether they like them or don't.
And finally, well, a little extra thought-
-Parents - and anyone with any influence or power over something - can, albeit usually subconsciously, let that power slowly get to their head and they may not use it completely fairly. They're human. They aren't capable of being completely fair all the time, constantly, and often even if something like that is opposed they may not manage to understand at all, instead letting it get to them that as they have the control over it, they are the one in the right. If they're stressed they may be harsher than usual; if they're happy they may overlook something they wouldn't normally, and if they're used to the control and to having the last say it can slowly, over time, even if they didn't mean for it, become harder to think about the people they have control over and consider it from their perspective, because they don't need to. Optional things like that are hard to keep up. :p When they aren't required to think about who they control or be more careful with what they do they often won't think it through. It's why laws for things like child abuse came into account and are handled a lot more strongly than would seem fair for the parents, at times. They're because people will slowly, always, at least subconsciously, be taken a little by power, and I know that from my own experience just the same, with my own actions just as well. It- is probably the most important thought to take from it, because while everyone may realise when others slowly let the power get to them, it's rare people notice it for themselves. ...and parents are just an especially good example of this, where they think they're often right, or that they'll usually know better than the child, and things like that- well, usually don't go well at all and will result in fallings out.
Just thoughts-
For anyone who may need them and come upon them randomly, even if Azie does not want or need them at all. Hope they help someone who comes upon this think a bit at some point. :p
04/20/2020 10:19 pm
Level 50 : Grandmaster Architect
Uknownymous avatar
Sorry as this topic made me think so I guess I wrote too much for a PMC comment even if it's fairly standard for what I'm used to elsewhere so, uh, oops.
08/23/2019 12:07 pm
Level 39 : Artisan Archer
Just25Savage avatar
This inspires me! Thanks Azie!!!!
08/17/2018 6:27 pm
Level 1 : New Explorer
-AngryPanKakes- avatar
im depressed also i feel sorry for you but im sad now
03/09/2018 3:50 pm
Level 23 : Expert Geek
Cardinal System
Cardinal System avatar
It took me a long time to recover from my father. I am happy to see that your's is showing resolve, as mine never did. He is a very important figure in the long journey that lies ahead, so hope and pray that your relationship can be fully restored. Good luck <3
04/30/2017 2:53 pm
Level 20 : Expert Button Pusher
UltraBobT avatar
This is truly inspiring. I barely have words for how amazing this is.
03/19/2017 3:04 pm
Level 9 : Apprentice Architect
SheedoPlayz avatar
I like your writing style. Looking forward to reading more!
01/31/2017 5:23 pm
Level 1 : New Explorer
Pokken X
Pokken X avatar
01/02/2017 3:56 am
Level 42 : Master Dragonborn
spookysoph avatar

this makes my lil heart warm as I see you being such a strong-willed person.

i know that we don't know each other, but I would like you to know that you are such an amazing and wonderous human being.

It takes a lot of determination and will to do and accomplish what you have done.

Now im not going to be really cheesy and say "I know I haven't gone through this but I understand!"

because i dont.

I don't know what it's like to be in that situation, but if it happened to me, I definitely would never build up the courage to do what you've done. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful childhood, and haven't gone through a divorce. I know plenty of people who have.

So basically, I really want to congratulate you on being such a strong and brave person. I wish the best for you, and the most fantastic things to come in 2017.
01/02/2017 11:04 am
Level 56 : Grandmaster Grump
Azie avatar
Thank you so much for your kind comment. :) I don't know that I'd consider myself brave since there are a lot of people with worse childhoods than me, but thank you for saying so anyway. :)
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