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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

day 50: revelry, mistakes and what it means to be fatherless

Today I actually talked a month's worth of blogs with an old friend over a pint. She's a friend who, like me, has put a lot of time and effort into self-discovery and introspection. Quite ironically, this pint took place when I was meant to be at a rehearsal, not 2 city blocks away. I missed the entire rehearsal with my phone on vibrate.

   I say 'ironic' because it will be the topic for this evening's blogatron. Upon realizing what had happened I was immediately and forcibly disappointed with myself. I was supposed to leave teaching and go right to rehearsal, not, grab a drink with my friend and forget entirely. It took some work to quiet my despair over my colossal fuck-up (naturally, for the sake of my friend, playing it like it wasn't a big deal). Anyone in tune with my last 3 weeks wouldn't begrudge me my distraction and scatterbrain, but I have a hard time being as forgiving with myself. I've honestly NEVER missed a rehearsal by simply forgetting it existed. It's upsetting to think of the people I let down, or who's time I wasted, or who's respect I lose with little events like this. It took some work to let it go, deal with the here and now and accept the consequences of what happened. It also takes equal or greater effort to convince myself it isn't actually a big deal. I know that missing one rehearsal, regardless of the circumstances isn't going to stop the world from turning. It probably isn't even going to reflect in my next performance with this band (since we don't have any upcoming gigs).

   The part where the irony really sets in is in one of the topics we hit over that ill-gotten alcohol. Both of us having a fairly tumultuous upbringing, we talked about the affects of having somewhat absentee fathers. It's obviously different for women than it is in men, but one of the main things a man loses is the opportunity to push against someone. The ability to, as we are figuring out who we are, push against our "ideal" male to define where we stand. This offers us two significant learning/growing opportunities; the ability to see stability and constancy (I can push against you and you won't disappear) and the ability to know where your boundaries are by pushing against the boundaries of the person you had emulated until now. For me, these opportunities were lost. I didn't really rebel to find out who I was and I've never been totally sure that I could be in conflict with someone I care about and have them be there when the dust settled. There were a million times I wanted to argue or shout back when my mother would reprimand me, but how could I argue with the one person who was still there and know I wouldn't end up alone?

   The job of defining the ideal male for me then went into stories, tv and movies. I built my concept of the perfect father, boyfriend and man out of heroes in the stories I loved. With this expectation I became the man I am today, and truthfully, I'm very proud of who I am. There are drawbacks though. I have had, in the past, an expectation to be a person no one could ever be, perfect in every way. Somewhere along the line my need to be a human being conflicts with that. The need to be hurt, express pain, to allow myself to fail, to allow myself to be who I really am instead of who I think I should be. It doesn't fit with those men in the stories. They are stalwart, and strong. They solve problems and take it where others would fold. They don't need approval and they will say what needs to be said, even when it hurts (something I used in place of rebelling). All of these are things I wanted to be, but they didn't encompass all of the things I was already growing to be, a lover of laughter and mischief, a horrible academic (in the traditional sense), a person who needs to be loved and cared for (like any human being), and on and on. All these traits that made me human, not a hero.

   Obviously this is a journey for many people and even though I've made leaps and bounds along this highway (thanks to mix-master-mary), I still sometimes struggle with forgiving myself. Tonight was a good example of that. I made a mistake in a time of huge change and upheaval, and you know what? Even without this week's understandable flakeyness I should be able to make a mistake and not hate myself for it. I'm not perfect, and thank god I'm not. I've much preferred living life as a human being. Someone who encompasses everything it means to be human, good and bad. That puts day 50 in the bag. Good gravy, 50 days. Plodding on. 

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