I recently wrote a piece at my job about my dad. I work at the school newspaper and they have this section where you can write a longer piece about some life-changing event – so I wrote about the death of my father.
It was much easier than I thought it would be, especially given that I still find it hard to talk about him in real life. Maybe it’s because I’ve been able to develop this voice I have in my written works in so much more untrammeled a way than I had ever been able to in real life.
You might be wondering what could possibly be the relation between my father and my self-confidence? Well, let’s just say he wasn’t very nice to me sometimes.
It’s not something that I need sympathy for and it’s certainly something I’ve come to terms with. I guess it’s like Kambili in Purple Hibiscus and how she realizes that some things can only be explained and accepted by never really understood.
That would pretty much sum up my father’s death and the last year or so of his life. I do like the guy, I do even love him but I’ll never pretend that he did a good job as a father. Kafka’s Letter to the father has me realizing this, that my dad’s particular brand of parenting didn’t really work for me.
It made it hard for me to be myself when I was younger. He died when I was 11 and only now at 21 have I really started to feel normal, or at least like myself.
I spent the last ten years in this constant emotional upheaval, it made everything I do seem scary for no reason. It was just that I did something, that in itself was scary, it did not what. My anxiety was not so specific as that.
I used to find it really hard to talk in the changing room before and after hockey. I’m a social guy, I would think of things to say, and yet anytime I tried to say something I just got scared instead.
This really pissed me off for awhile. I felt like some caged lion and I only have just started to see what those bars were that kept me in.
It was the unsureness of the outcome that scared me really. I never knew where my father stood with me, I had no way of understanding him, and for some reason I carried this with me into the real world.
But now, I see him as a man, a flawed one but still someone who managed to make something in his life despite never really been giving anything.
He did something fantastic in that he made a family, he made a group of people coexist and though it did not last, it was something. And so I am thankful for that, for what he gave me.
For anyone interested, my article can be found here : http://www.queensjournal.ca/story/2017-09-28/lifestyle/dealing-with-loss-of-my-dad/