the post for my son

your dad

As I sit here feeling compelled to write this letter to you, I also feel the need to tell you I love you more than you could ever know.  You are 5.    Someday you may read this.  You need to understand what an extraordinary person you are.  You have a perspective on life that I am in awe of, which I am blown away by.  You roll with the punches like I have never seen.  I’ve seen you deal with situations that would devastate my sense of self and yet, you focus on the one or two moments of enjoyment.  I don’t want you to lose that, ever.  It will take you places, places you’ve never dreamed of.  You have inspired me once again to finally get back to something I love to do and put my thoughts out into the world.  So, I want you to know some things about your dad as he is today, as I am today and who I was.

 

the awkward kid and meaningless phrases

I’ve lived my entire life knowing that I am awkward.  It’s incredible that I latched on to the friends I did in high school that I still talk to every day.  People say cherish each moment in life, hold on to them, hold on to time.  This phrase, this concept is meaningless to me.  I shouldn’t say meaningless because it certainly provides me with anxiety, stress and probably an over exaggerated sense of questioning and failure.  So maybe not meaningless, it is more so infuriating.  “Did I do today right?  Did I create the best day for myself and those around me?”  Excuse me if I ever say this bullshit to you, son, because I hate it.  I’m not going to fly to fucking Mars every second of the day.  (Sorry for cursing)  This concept of cherishing and maximizing each moment is unrealistic and, in my opinion, impossible.  So don’t say shit to people that you can’t even follow yourself.  (As a side note, I probably say this crap too….and here it comes)

The truth is you really won’t believe how quickly it goes.  But you need to enjoy the ride.  Perhaps that is just another way of saying cherish each moment, but I believe my point is that instead of trying to live up to the world’s expectations and posing for the cameras, make the whole picture something beautiful.  When you take on a task, you will mess up, you will fail, you will get frustrated, but stay with it, finish it.  In the end, the result should be something you’re proud of.  I believe life works this way too.  Whatever you do, do it with passion, integrity and respect for others.  You do not have to worry about how you will be perceived.

Be odd, be silly, be goofy and don’t ever stop.  You’re so amazing at it now, don’t ever stop.  Let someone else be normal.  I’m not going to be, I never have been.  I don’t even know what normal would be.  I don’t want to be normal; I want to be the least normal person you know.  I am not saying I wear it as a badge of honor, I am saying I am odd, I am goofy, I am silly and I am almost 37 years old and I am not going to ever stop.  Normal sounds like a fate worse than……well it just sounds boring.  People don’t stop and notice someone ‘being normal’ on the street and say, “Boy, that is one normal guy; I wish I was more like him.  He’s memorable.”  They don’t say that.  People, that is.  Anyway….

 

it’s not weird to be weird

As I have grown, the reality has stayed the same that I am still the awkward kid who doesn’t think he can talk to people or make new friends.  That hasn’t changed, I just know how to make myself look good for the cameras and I can typically fake it enough to get by.  Early on in life I found ways to combat my fears and turn them into positives.  I found an ability to make others laugh and I quickly latched on to this skill and used it often and to deal with just about everything.  Later on, when the self-imposed pressure to keep the façade going of being normal, outgoing and funny got worse, I realize my addiction to acceptance became greater.  Eventually alcohol and drugs became the go-to tools that would allow me to be the perceived life of the party that I desired so badly.  You see, what I hope you never have to truly understand is that while your dad has been addicted to a lot of bad things in his life, there has always been an underlying reason, perhaps the actual addiction.  Acceptance.  But not only acceptance, I require affirmation.  When I am faced with rejection and denial it’s very difficult to handle.  Let’s just say I am workin on it….But you see, this is where you come in……

 

your light

You aren’t like me when it comes to this stuff.  You don’t react with pain, sadness or being unhappy when the world might get you down.  There is such a beautiful light in your eyes, in your heart; it’s so incredible to me that I cry even thinking about it.  I pray that you hold onto that, that you keep that forever.  I thought I was pretty good at looking on the bright side, but you make me look like a grouch compared to you.  I know you will grow up, you will change, the world will hit you many times, but I know you will get back up.  You are the greatest person I have ever known and you are only 5 years old.  I want to be clear that I mean that last comment with the most sincerity and truth I can offer.

You need to know that you are special; you must know that you are a true gift from God.  I want you to know that it is ok to be different.  You don’t have to be what others tell you to be.  I am 36 years old and I am still awkward.  When I take you to school I say hi to other parents and teachers, but on the inside I still have fear and paranoia.  I want them to like me; I want them to want to talk to me.  I have always been an irrational, socially anxious person and yet I recognize it and know how ridiculous it is.  I can produce the pictures, proofread posts and filtered profile information for everyone so the circle sees me as person with everything, who does everything and is always in pure bliss.  But that just means I can make the fiction better than some others can.  It’s not real.  ‘The real’ is about fun and sad and happy and not-fun, it’s life with all the good and bad.  What makes me so happy is that you are so much better at that.  You are so much better than all of it.  Which brings me to my next point…

 

 

i learn from you more than you learn from me

All you want is to enjoy.  If life or the world gets in the way, you pass it off like it is no big deal and you tell me things like “hey, at least I got to play with that kid for a little bit, and a little is better than nothing.”  You do things at 5 that melt my heart.  You go out of your way to give your sister your favorite toy or stuffed animal because it makes her happy.  You care so much about her it is inspiring.  You spent your time outside cleaning up the leaves in the yard just for your mom because you thought she would like to come home and see a clean yard.  You were so quick to ask if you could make daddy’s friend who is in the hospital a card when I explained he was sick.  You believe in a world I wish I could tell you is waiting for you when you get older, but don’t lose that sense of happiness and wonder and an ability to see the good everywhere.

You are the book that I can’t wait to read each day, the movie that continues to get better each minute and I just know I will walk away from each scene with something else to try and implement in my own character.  I never dreamed 5+ years ago that you would change the world the way you have for me.  I said earlier people will throw phrases as you that don’t mean anything.  One that I actually do like is “You can change the world.”  A lot of people do this every day.  You do this for me every day. Changing the world doesn’t have to be monumental or something you read about in a book.  Change your world.

 

if I may just say a few last things…

Do something in life that makes you happy, but not something that does so at the expense of others in any way.

You are very intelligent and this can be a great strength.  Do not let this lead to arrogance or it can quickly become your weakness.  Use it to lead, use it to teach those who need guidance.

Forgive.

Recognize your weaknesses and don’t pretend to know that which you do not know.  There are other intelligent people out there and they can recognize when someone is bullshitting them.

Recognize a bullshitter.  They might be intelligent, but not wise.

In my opinion, at least in 2016, social media can be a tremendously dangerous outlet for our society.  The creation of fake realities is playing on everyone’s anxieties, fears and doubts on a daily basis.  The number of suicides among younger people has increased dramatically in the last 4 years.  Just remember the phrase now more than ever ‘don’t believe everything you read or everything you see.’  {This being said, sorry for all the picturesque photos of you and your sister that I posted.  Moving on from this tangent….}

Hold the door for the person near you.  Every time.

Don’t be mean.  When you are mean, apologize.   Own your mistakes and learn from them.

Relax.  It is going to be ok.  I promise.

Eliminate the idea of multitasking from your mind.  It does not exist.  Finish one task then move onto the next one.

Stress is in your mind, it is not something tangible that exists outside of your brain.  This one is very hard, but believe me, it’s true.

Be careful when you drink alcohol or try drugs, if you do.  I pray you don’t have my disease, but if you do I am always here.  Always.  You will never receive a judgment; you will only receive a hug and a hand.

Laugh at yourself and be awkward.  Be the beautiful person you are today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s