Compassions in Reflection’s

  • July 7, 2024, 10:45 p.m.
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  • Public

That is a photo of myself when I was 17 years old. I recently found it. I was surprised that I looked so good back then because my self-esteem was so low at that time. I thought assumed no girls would want me because I was too weird. Yes, I was a very messed up kid back then. It’s through the lens of time that I can understand that young person. I have fantasies of going back in time and finding him and trying to help him so that it would not take 50 years for him to see what a good guy he is and to try to install some self-confidence in him and deprogram from the abuse of his father. I admit, I am grateful for whatever path I took to get to where I am now inside myself. To get so that I like myself. The fantasies of going back in time are interesting, but my logical self of now keeps finding stumbling blocks of reality from that time. I spent such a long time loathing myself for what the fuck up I was but I came to understand how that happened and now I see that photo and I feel compassion for that person.

My father was a very charismatic man on the outside a great teacher. He was good at just about everything he tried, and I was the opposite. I think that disturbed him a lot embarrassed him. With compassion beyond the memories of his screaming at me, and sometimes hitting me, I am able to look at what his life was like, and the pain and anxiety he lived. For years, I lost sleep because he stayed up late at night nervously pounding the arms of his chair, playing music and looking back. I see he was a nervous wreck. There was that thing with his generation where you could not talk about how you felt to anyone. He was embarrassed and ashamed that I was such a troubled kid, and he never could look at himself as being part of the problem. He ridiculed me for having to see psychiatrists. The idea was alien to him. It was something he would never do because it was not culturally manly. I believe close as he was to my mother he could not find it in himself to open up and let her know about the pain and fear inside him. I think it would’ve been a great relief for him if he could’ve told somebody that he was afraid. Full of anxiety like so many of us are these days. But real men did not do that and he was a very macho, charismatic man. Alcohol was his psychiatrist that is what I believe. I think subconsciously I tried to copy him in that starting as a kid. It must be OK because dad drinks but dad was experienced and my high school endeavors of drinking and puking. Were just pure stupid. I was the bad child but did not harm anyone. I just did some very aberrant things. I tried to escape from the life I had. But I do look back and feel for my father, because unlike me and so many others, he could not release the pain and fear inside him except through anger. Anger was manly. After my brother died two years before I was born, my father told my mother that he would never cry again. But I saw him fighting tears when mother was dying. I wish I could’ve been just another man and told him it’s OK. Let that shit out. Dad could not see me as an adult as any kind of equal I would always be his fucked up kid. I doubt if any of his peers could have opened him up to talk about what was inside and maybe cry it out instead of yelling and interrupting in anger.

When my mother lay dying in a cancer coma in my sister‘s house, I recall how my extremely macho brother tried to cry, but he could not. He was like my father so much in that way. Real men don’t do that shit. Crying also takes practice and how to let it out. I felt for my brother so much then because it was like he was sick crippled that he could not release the grief. I believe, looking back that my brother‘s death haunted him all his life. I believe I was the replacement and not a very good one to him I Believe. I’ve seen it in so many people the only emotion they let other see is anger because our society has said yes that’s OK that’s strong. Tears are weak. I look back and I feel for my father having so much pain inside and I I did not make it easier for him. I was just another pain inside him I think. He was a good dutiful father that helped me throughout my life, but in the end he hated me maybe he needed somebody to hate. Out of respect for him I did not go to his funeral because his ghost might’ve been screaming about. Why the hell was he there? My family understood. I have grown to feel so much compassion for my father trying to imagine how much pain he felt. He was a husband, a father, a teacher, and lecturer. Highly respected and he could not show any weakness. That was part of his pain. I wish he could’ve been able to open to my mother about all that garbage inside him eating him away, but he had to show he was a good husband and father. Alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine were drugs that helped him. That is one of the few ways I copied him until I quit smoking in my early 20s and other things I quit years later. Oh wait, not the coffee. I just cut down on that. Sometimes I tell my father I loved him and I wish I could’ve told it to him. I remember trying to tell him that and he pushed me away like I was talking something horrible. Children loving their parents how very odd. Fortunately, my mother felt my love. As she lay dying I cried I cried a storm of tears, and I felt strong in that because I could. I wish someone could’ve helped my father so he did not sit there late at night chain-smoking and pounding on his chair with nervous energy. I wish I could’ve told him that I loved him and appreciated all his good and sacrifice for me. I would love to have said it, and just see him nod.

Compassion and empathy are healers.

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