Sunday, December 28, 2014

Life of excuses

I don't care who's hurt me. I only care who I've hurt. I used to feel bitterness about people who had hurt me but then I learned they were just like me: working within the bounds of who they are.

But me, I feel like I should be broader. All the time I feel that. All week I have been the same neglectful, terrible father I have always been. And even though I say to myself, like a prayer, do not make it worse, work harder, do not break them more, I spin around in my own circle of pain and break them more all the time and can't do differently.

Sometimes I think about the choice I made to be here and wonder whether it really was better for them that I choose that. I won't lie to you and pretend that all I cared about was them and how they would be. I stayed because I could not bear to leave.

It was terrible when I said to B that I couldn't deal with her because I was feeling sad about Mum and she said well maybe you should have phoned her more. It was such a godawful thing to say and I wouldn't have been hurt if it hadn't been true.

When I think about B all I think is that I wish I had given her more. And when I think about Mrs Zen I think the same. I feel -- I know, I should allow myself the luxury of knowing it -- I am capable of being big enough to have made her happy. But if that's true -- and I will not allow myself to wallow in thinking it isn't -- isn't it like everything in my life? Like I have had an extended adolescence and I am still waiting to pupate, to become me.

I only feel low when I start thinking that is just a lie I have told myself. That I am not just flawed -- not just weak -- not just lazy -- not just stubborn -- but that I really am nothing much at all.

This week that is where I have been. Believing I am worth nothing at all. That anyone who thinks I am worth while, I have lied to or they are lying to themselves.

I do not want to believe that.


I was watching The Family Man the other night. It left me deeply saddened. And I was thinking, if I was with Tea Leoni, cute as a button, caring, gentle, would I be content?

Well of course I could but why do I want to blame women for not loving me when I am not loving them. I am just giving them a pale, unnourishing gruel. I could be Tea Leoni myself, couldn't I?

Mrs Zen used to think I did not love her enough because I got with her on the rebound from E and that I still loved E. Which wasn't true. I am capable of loving more than one woman and I can carry a torch like it's the Olympics in my loungeroom without that spilling over into other parts of my life. Mrs Zen wanted for herself what she believed I felt for E and felt shortchanged that I didn't.

But I did not love her enough regardless. And I don't know whether I would have loved E more or less if we had stayed together. By which I mean, love feels like something to give and something to receive, and those two feelings are not always the same. I suppose what appeals about The Family Man is its simple belief that they are.

We can only do what we are capable of.


But what are you capable of?


At 7:41 pm, Anonymous Looney said...

You are not beaking them. Of course we want to do better, but they are not breaking. One of the key thresholds of growing up is the moment we realize that our parents are small, frail,and imperfect like us. We can forgive them the bullshit and understand that they're struggling like we are.

Better if you can fuck up and love your kids by being open and honest about your faults than have them think you're perfect and wonder what's wrong with them that they're not.

And yeah, we do love you anyway ;)

At 11:01 pm, Anonymous $Zero said...

Fathers who ask themselves these kinds of questions have got to be doing their children way more good than harm.

I was going to add my usual True or False question thingie to the end of that, but I don't even want to fathom a world where that's false.


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