Friday, September 5, 2008

My Greatest Fear

I once heard that every piece of western literature and, to a lesser extent, all literature is about the son killing/replacing his father.The idea is that we cannot become complete people until we have usurped the place of our parents and forebears. The usual goal is to become better people than them and to learn from their mistakes. Unfortunately, the case becomes that we become exactly like them or sometimes even worse than they were. This leads me to my greatest fear...

I fear that I will one day become my father.

I will preface this post with this- my father is not an evil Vader like figure and at the end of the day is probably a really good buddy to play a quick pick-up game with or go on a fishing trip with. (I wouldn't be joining you but I think you guys would have a good time) I also want to say that he has some attributes that I like to embrace. For example, he is a good artist, highly creative, charming, witty, intelligent, confident and self-taught. And I don't hate the man. Hate is a strong word deserved for very special individuals and I don't think there will ever come a day where I say I hate my father. Disappointed and sometimes dislike? Yes. Hate? No.

My fear is this- that I will ultimately embrace his darker sides. He is a recovering addict, has multiple kids, does not keep up communications with said kids, always has "financial issues" to the point where I stopped asking for anything from him over a decade ago and is generally not someone to be in a relationship with. (this last one seems to have changed since he has been married for maybe a decade now)
I used to say all the time how I would never get married or have children. My reasoning for this was because I thought I would never find anyone I truly loved and the world was/is a screwed up place to bring a child into. Now, that I look back on it, it stems from watching this man. I fear that I would have kids that wouldn't be able to depend on me at all times and that I would screw up any relationship I chose to enter like he did. I have gotten over some of this fear but it still resides in the back of my head scratching at my brain like a rat.

Perfect example of the relationship or lack thereof I share with my father. Had a long talk with my friend and it made me think I should take a weekend to address some people I should apologize to and to be a bigger person and extend my hand to my father. I had, at the time, only called him if there was an issue with my brother or if my siblings needed me to ask him something/wanted to see him. His favorite line to me has been since high school "The phone works both ways." (familiar to a few of you, I know) My problem with this statement was 1) how come it only seemed to work from my house and 2) you have my number because it was yours for years so why should I as the child be the one to step up? But I looked pass all of this and made a phone call. It was a civil enough if generic conversation. The same question about my relatives and his old friends, i.e. a phone convo that was the exact same as the convos I had when I went to his house. Anyway, we talked and when it was all said and done he said he would call me back. I said I wasn't sure if I would have the same number but I would call him if it changed(it didn't).

Flash-forward to the end of October. He comes to Las Vegas on vacation with his wife for the weekend and doesn't even call. Mind you my number hasn't changed, he talked to my brother the prior week so he could have gotten it from there and the only reason I knew he was in town at all was because my brother mentioned it during my weekly conversation with my mother. Yeah. I was not happy about this but I chalked it up to just how that guy was.
But it made me reflect on my own actions. I quickly scrolled through my head and thought if I had behaved similar with people. There was one incident but I apologized immediately afterwards and, more importantly, my friend is not my son. It was just another incident involving me and my father that had made me recommit to not living my worst fear- becoming him.

I could go on with a few more stories but this post isn't to demonize the man just to state some issues I have with his behavior towards me or involving me tangentially.

My sister once told me that my father is a great friend but is lacking in the dad department. I have come to agree with her (but I'm currently not too interested in discovering if the friend part of that statement is true). My goal is to become a better man by not making the same mistakes he did.

1 comment:

littlelazer said...

I think wanting to be/not be like one of your parents is the biggest motivating factors for any kid. I know I've definitely been motivated to change some similarities I've seen with me and mine, and like G.I. Joe says, knowing is half the battle.