Friday, June 16, 2006

Father's Day this weekend.


Today I wanted to talk a little bit about my father. Father's day is this weekend, and I am planning on avoiding mine like the plague. My father and I have a very odd relationship with each other. Everybody that has known my father always draw similarities between the two of us. We speak with a similar vernacular, we dress the same, we are into the same sports, we like the same music, and we both have similar personalities. However we have never been able to have a conversation that wasn't filled with awkward silence or the threat of violence.

People don't actually compare me to the man that my father is today, because nobody really knows my father now. They just remember him from when he was my age, and they see in me what they saw in him. As I have stated before, my parents had me when they were 15. My dad was forced to grow up really fast, and he excelled at being the type of man that was both a provider and a nurturer. Even though my family was rich enough to support my father and mother while they went through school, my dad insisted on working to support his son and wife.

When my dad was 19, my aunt tried to commit suicide because she could not cope with being a lesbian. My father stayed with her in the hospital for 3 days while she recovered. He talked with her and cried with her until she knew that she would be loved no matter what. There are many other instances where my dad did the same thing for many other people, because my father has a huge heart and he cares about everybody. Well that is until he didn't care.

When my parents graduated from UCLA at 21, they were both ready to start their lives as adults. Their lives changed drastically and they were not able to adapt to these changes as a couple and they divorced. My father was devastated. He stopped eating and it got to the point where he had to be checked into a hospital and force fed. Eventually he recovered, but he hasn't been the same since. He became very bitter by the way his life had changed and all the things that he had to give up because of these changes.

My father was very into "alternative sports" (surfing and skate boarding) growing up. As a teenager he competed against some of the biggest names in these sports today, and won. But when I was born he had to give up the dream of pursuing a life in these sports because he now had a son and a wife to take care of. When my mom left, it gave him time to relive all of these missed opportunities and the more he thought about these things, the more he changed. It is extremely frustrating to have all of this talent and not be able to show people what you are capable of! I know this feeling more than my father will ever know.

For the whole time that I lived with my father, we fought constantly about everything! I resented the fact that he had married a woman that beat me on a regular basis and he refused to believe it. Despite the photos at the police station and the way I curled up in fear every time she came near me. My whole life, whenever he has had to make a decision between the two of us, he has always chosen her. And because of that I have never given him any of my respect or even my obedience.

My father was very patient with me during my early rebellious years. He didn't start to resent me until the day that he realized that I was an amazing surfer. At first he tried his best to hide his resentment, but after awhile it became to difficult. By the time I was 14 we would have these shouting matches that would usually end with somebody's fist going through a wall. We could never just have a normal conversation. Something would always be said where one of us would get hurt, and then it just became another shouting match.

One day while my father was getting really drunk with a couple of his work buddies, we had one of the very few conversations in our lives where there was no yelling. HE told me that he hated how he treated me, but he sees in me all of the things that he could have been. While a better man would have been happy for his son, he just didn't have it in him to not be jealous of the fact that I still had a chance to follow my dreams. The thing that resonated with me the most was when he told me that he hated path that he had chosen in life, but he has gone to far to turn around. This is one of the reasons that I am trying my hardest to be a proud gay man. I don't want to live a lie so long that coming out would be showing the world that I am a dishonest and deceptive person.

From that point on things really began to escalate. It got so bad that I moved out of his house my senior year, and I moved in with my best friend Tyler. My dad didn't go to my graduation, and we didn't talk for almost an entire year. He wasn't mature enough to be a father, and I wasn't mature enough to be the kind of son that he needed. I feel like its to late for us to have a good relationship with each other because there is so much negativity between the two of us. No matter what happens I will always know that my father loves me. But I also know that no matter what happens my father will never like me.


This was a self portrait that I made of myself for a class project in HS that semester that I left my home. I was so emo!

40 comments:

Troy said...

[tear] That had to be the saddest post that I have ever read. OMG I am litterally crying right now. I don't know what I would do if my dad and I had that kind of relationship. I guess that I would find a way to cope, but I would feel so lonely. I am so sorry for you, but this isn't your fault. Your father has the problem not you.

Chris said...

You are a good man. If I were you I would have approached this topic with a lot more anger than you did. You are only 20, but you are wise beyond your years. This is the attitude that is going to help you all through your life.

It is unfortunate that you father is unable to see the man that you have become and appreciate you for it. But you need to know that his approval or acceptance of you will not change your world. Don't let sunday be this awful day for you, because that gives him power over you that he does not deserve. You love your father, and that is admirable, but don't let him dictate your life anymore than he already has. Sunday is just another day.

Marc said...

There is no way that you don't know how talented you are at writing! This had to be one of the most moving posts that I have read in a very long time. Honestly, I fought back tears and felt silly crying over words on a computer screen.

I don't have much in the way of advice to say to you. Your dad sounds like a very sad person, but I hope that you don't feel like that is going to be your future. It kind of seemed like you see a lot of yourself in your father. The difference is, you see the things in him that you aren't also. Don't forget who you are and you will never have to worry about beoming your father.

The things that you have in common with your father are all superficial things. There is so much more to you than the way you talk, the music that you listen to and the sports that you play. Even if you and your father had a 5 page list of similarities. You are more than the sum of your parts. DOn't forget that!

Terry said...

Amazingly sad. It's really tough when a guy's dad is either resentful and distant or proud and distant [mine was/is the latter]. I can't imagine how much it hurts you to experience the anamosity because you are excelling in surfing! What you are saying is that if your dad couldn't continue surfing then he doesn't want to see you out-do him. Damn! That's tragic.

You *do* have your own future though. By being the best that you can in your surfing, your art and your writings you are showing your dad that you are going to make it -- despite his harshness.

The trouble with "distant" dads is they don't know how much they hurt us -- because we love them so much.

Anonymous said...

I guess there is a point when our parents aren't really our parents, and become another person in our lives. I think it's that point that decides how our relationships with them will be. For what it's worth, I think your father probably hates himself, more than he hates you, for his life. He's not really lashing out at you, but at himself... hah, not very insigthful... and you probably already know that. Still... just sayin'

Well said... or written, or whatever. You are definately someone who has a good grip on who they are and where they are in life.

-spt

Peter said...

Reaching adolesence means you realise your parents aren't perfect.

Becoming an adult means you have an understanding of why it happened.

Attaining wisdom means you forgive them.

In your own time mate, in your own time. Have a good surf.

Matt said...

Wow. That was really amazing. I am sorry you have gone through so much pain. I appreciate you being so vulnerable on here. I look forward to meeting you.

Asher said...

That was a great post. I am truely appreciative for what you have written. I can relate to what you are saying and I am both sad and happy about this. Thanks for being brave enough to post something like this.

It never gets feels better, but it gets better as you gain life experience and persective. I'll think of you on father's day when I am avoiding my father also.

Josh said...

Don't beat yourself up. You are the child, not the parent. You said that you weren't mature enough to be the son that your father needed. You need to change the way that you think. This had nothing to do with you, and everything to do with your father. Generally I would say that in every relationship it takes 2 people to make things work, or fail. However in this situation, there is nothing that you could have done to make your father be any different than he was. Have a good weekend, and don't let this affect you to much.

Brady said...

This was a great post. There are so many things that are going on in your life and it doesn't matter if they are positive or negative, because you always look at everything with perspective. That is a gift, and you should be proud of it.

Jessica said...

I feel like such a dork. I am probably the only girl on the planet that enjoys reading gay blogs, but I can't help it. I was just sitting here at work reading your blog and it made me so sad that I started to cry! SO here I am sitting at work with a face full of tears and people are starting to stare. But I couldn't help it! It was just so sad and touching and a million other things. I really need to stop falling in love with boys who only date other boys. haha

Trevor said...

You are the most outgoing and happy person that I have ever met in my entire life. I was shocked to read that you were dealing with something like this. But I think that this is a misconception that most people have have about happy people who seem like they have it all togehter. Sorry I am just thinking out loud. You really made me stop and realize that you don't have the perfect life. I guess that the grass is always greener on somebody else's lawn.

Greg said...

Great post. I am at work and I am a complete mess. Sorry that your dad is not the kindest person to ever grace this planet, but its good that you know that he still loves you. That's an important thing that every son knows that their father loves them. I hope that one day you guys will be able to be friends. If you are 20, then he is like 36 or 37. That sounds like you have a lot of time to get a relationsip with your father before either of you are enve ready for retirement. You were blessed with a young father and I hope that you will be able to take advantage of all of the great things that go with having one.

Anonymous said...

Do you think that you could be gay because you had a crappy father figure? i was reading an article that said most of you people had awful fathers and they never taught you how to be a man! Maybe its not to late to straighten up (pun intended). You people just need to realize that you are only victims as long as you don't allow yourself to change

Charlie said...

You are an awesome person. I don't know how I would react if I had a father who resented me the way that your father has done to you. You are the type of person who changes the world by just being who you are. All of these things that happen to you are just life experience that make you the great man that you are today. I get that its painful, but look at what the finished product is. You are wonderful.

Rodney said...

I have a lot of respect for somebody that can be so open about his life. I am sure that writing this post was extremely difficult for you. You did a great job letting your emotions flow and getting out the way that you felt about this situation. You are an inteligent and artiulate man and I love they way that you express yourself.

I love reading your blog because I never know what to expect from your next blog. I hope that your weekend goes well also. It seems like you have a lot to do so your mind will be pretty much occupied the whole time. That's a good thing. Thanks for sharing, that was a very brave thing to do.

ps

What does "emo" mean?

George said...

Fathers have a way of making their sons feel inadequate. I don't think that they ever do this on a conscious level the way that your father does it. But most of us have father's who are worried that their son's are going to surpass them and make the obsolete.

You have already become a person that any father would recognize as a success and that probably scares him a lot. Don't let his fear win. Keep on living your life, and one day you guys will find a way to have a relationship. No matter what, a father will always think about his son and worry him. Even if they don't share these feeling with you, a father has these thoughts. He loves you and its good that you know it. I am confident that one day he will be mature enough to be a father that you can respect. I wish you all the luck and wisdom to recognize and accept your father the day he is ready.

Sam said...

that was deep. Thanks for sharing. It meant a lot.

Riley said...

I don't even know what to say. You are an amazing guy to be able to talk about your life like this. I loved the fact that you are open enough to share your life like this. It really seems like the more you come out of the closet, the more confidence you have in yourself and your life. I love yreadin gour blog, because you never stay in one place. You have this dynamic life and you live with constant change. I love that about you. I could relate to your words today in a big way. Thank you for sharing, at this point in my life this was something that came right on time.

Patrick said...

That was really powerful, thanks for sharing. I sometimes forget that other people have problems also. thanks for putting everything into perspective for me.

Aaron said...

That was a very brave post. I sat here crying the whole time. Not because I was sad that your dad didn't give you the respect that you deserve, (even though that was sad also.)but because you are such a strong and resourcful person. Keep up this good work, you really know how to pull a reader in and keep their interest, because I was totally enthralled with your words.

Zach said...

I could not imagine my HS graduation without my father there. When I read that part I lost it and I began to sob. I mean I was fighting it the whole time, but that part inparticular really got to me. I still can't stop! I am so sorry for you, but I am happy to see that you are okay after all of that. I could not even fathom not speaking with my dad for an entire year either. I hope that one day you guys can fine an even ground where you can get along with each other. Most fathers and sons do not share so much in common. And most fathers and sons aren't so close in age as you guys are. I feel so bad for you. And I just want you to know that I will be thinking about you on sunday and I hope that you catch some good waves.

Anonymous said...

I love the way that you can put these things out there. I am not in a place where I could display pain like that for the world to see. I can see how the internet would provide a safe and non threatening place for you to vent, but still. I would know that it was there. Godd for you for having the courage to be honest like this.

David said...

You are the most grown up 20 year old that ever existed. I am in my early 30s and I am barely coming to terms with the tumultuous relationship that I have had with my father. Good for you for realizing early that you have to live your own life no matter what your father says or thinks, because at the end of the day, This is in fact your life that you have to live not his.

Andy said...

That was deply personal and very touhing I feel like I know you now. I feel like such a dork, but I am sobbing as I write this comment. You are an amazing guy and I wish you the best of luck in building a relationship with your father. Never give up on him because he is just as lost as you are. Sometimes the children need to be the parents.

Anonymous said...

I was getting ready to go out, and I had some time to kill so I thought that I would read some blogs. I first read Matt's over at debriefing the boys, and then I read yours, and now I am a completel mess! I am balling my eyes out and I am in no condition to go anywhere! haha I feel like a complete loser right now. I just thought that it was imperitive that I share that with you. You are a gifted writer, keep up the good work!

Edgar said...

I am very impressed with you. I love how you write this gay blog, but you don't make this the center of your world. You are much more than your sexuality and I think that is awesome. So many young gay men put way to much of their identities in the people that they choose to sleep with and I feel like that really hurts them and limits their experiences in life. However I also feel lik emaybe you should try and open yourself up more to gay culture because there might be a lot that you are missing and a lot that you have yet to experience once you embrace your gay life more. Sorry just playing devil's advocate, I think that you are an awesome guy with an awesome life! You are a great guy and a talented writer.

Anonymous said...

You are brave, I am speechless.

Mike said...

That part where you talked about your need to come out because you were scared that if you waited to long, people might view you as dishonest. I can relate to that on a personal level. I am in my early 30s and I feel like I have waited to long before coming out. Now I have gone to far and told to many lies to just look at everybody and tell them the truth. I am sorry if I am not making sense it is hard to think and see with all these tears rolling down my cheek. That really got to me

James said...

you may not see your relationship with your father as a positive, but do you think that you would be the same person if he had acted any differently? You are an amazing person that is capable of amazing things. I feel like I am witnessing the beginning of greatness.

Evan said...

I have only been reading your blog sine wed. But I have managed to read all of your posts. I have never read anything that was so easily relatable. I am an asian american baseball player. I play college ball and I feel like I have all of this pressure from my family, my team mates, myself and my culture. There is so much going on and your fears are my fears. It is so eerie to think that you are out there struggling the same way that I am. I can't describe how good it feels to not be so alone out there. I would love to ask you a lot of questions about how you deal with things and stuff. I think that I will do it in an email though... I hope that you have a good weekend also!

Sean said...

Thank you so much for this post. My father and I have not been on speaking terms for years. I sometimes forget that just because we don't talk doesn't mean that he has stopped loving me. I think that its great that you still know in your heart that he loves you. Any father would be proud to have you as their son

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell, you are amazing!

Josh said...

I read Trevor's blog, I think that you are way to freakin kewl dude! You are the kind of guy that kids remember for the rest of their lives. You are going to be the story that they are going to tell their kids about their summer camp experiences. I mean look at the impression you had on him! I am completely impressed with you.

Anonymous said...

I need a nap after reading this. You really know how to emotionally drain a person! Great blog it made me think. Of what I am not sure, there are to many thoughts spinning through my head to focus on any one, but it was a great post. Thank you.

Kai said...

***high five!! That was an awesome post. After I was done reading this I called my dad and I thanked him for loving me so much and always supportig me in everything that I did. I was crying and I think that he thought I was about to tell him taht I was dying or something! But I just had to call him after reading this because I felt like I was taking my relationship with my father for granted. I now realize how special our bond is and I am truly sorry that your dad doesn't know how amazing his son is. Because if he did he would be the proudest man on the planet.

Jay said...

I don't know what to make of this post. I can't tell how you feel about your father...

Do you love him or do you hate him? WHat is your relationship like now?

I am rally sad by your story and I hope that you guys have made some positive steps towards reconciliation. A father is an important person to have in your life.

Anonymous said...

I am crying right now. I just want to give you a big hug.

Marc said...

I saw my father today and I got a really emotional because I was thinking about this post. I ran up to him and I gave him this HUGE hug and I teared up a little bit, but I did't cry! You made me realize how much I take my own dad for granted, and how important he is in my life. My dad thought that there was something wrong with me because I was acting overly eemotional, and i am never like this! But once I convinced him that it was just because I missed him, we had an awesome day. Thanks for sharing your life Eric, it really made this day more special for both my father and myself.

O yeah, I read that post that Trevor wrote. I was curious because it was mentioned in your comments a couple of times and I wanted to see what they were talking about. You are such a sweet guy! There are no words for what a special person you are.

Jason said...

So sad. I needed a few minutes to recover after I was done reading. You are an amazing person and you do a great job expressing your emotions and your life experiences. You have a special gift with your ability to express yourself in such a way that makes the whole reading experience deeply personal and extremely accessible. Thanks for sharing.