Wanted: Emotion pt. 1
Sooooo, what can I really say about this one...I don’t know if I love my kid.
If you’ve been following PI for awhile or you’ve gone back through old posts, you may have read the Honesty piece. That gave the real and whole truth of my history with kids and how it’s been one of the largest sources of my internal discord and really, my drinking. This is quite easily the hardest thing I’ve written since then.
My son is 6, I’ve known him for two years and he’s amazing. He’s brilliant and innately kind and considerate of others. Getting to know him was easy. Because he was so young I don't think he really noticed my absence. I imagine that to be why he doesn’t harbor any resentment towards me over the prior four years. This couldn’t be any more laid out on a silver platter for me as a person attempting to step back into life and responsibility. Also, considering the terrible situations with my other kids, this is a gift. I should be grateful, right?!
Back story: His mother was a woman knew from a bar I was working in. We hung out a few hours every Sunday. This lasted for a few months. We didn’t hang out or talk at all Monday-Saturday. I came over, we drank and smoked, did whatever, and then I left. She called me and told me she was pregnant. I told her I didn’t think she should have the kid. Under our interactive circumstances it seemed like a really shitty situation to attempt co-parenting in. Again, given my past with kids and their mothers and the effects it had on me, nothing about this seemed like a good idea. I was still very much an active drunk (yet another reason) so it’s no surprise what happened next. She chose to have a child and I chose to keep my life as it was.
Fast Forward several years and I get sober. A part of that entails my being an actual human and owning my life. More than obligatory I actually wanted to be an active parent. I have a great relationship with my daughter and it’s only improving. Every other opportunity in my past for this ended horrifically so this opportunity with him was a blessing...IS a blessing.
The first time I met him was cool. I was really taken aback at how friendly and polite he was with strangers. Like, he’d dart off from us (his mother and I) to grab the door for an elderly person. We were eating and there were some cops at another table and when we were walking by to leave he just stopped and said, “Thank you for all you do.” I thought it was weird but hell, he was authentic and genuine in his sentiment. The list goes on with servers, grocery store and gas station cashiers, the other parents on his different baseball teams...the kid connected with people in a way I’ve very rarely seen. I literally can’t think of a thing that would make him a better kid.
His mother did a phenomenal job with him. She was totally open when I reached out to her and has been nothing short of accommodating with regards to time spent. I really couldn’t ask for a better situation and this is what makes me feel like shit.
I’m doing all the things I know to be right as a parent but there’s an essential emotion missing: love. I am certainly no expert on emotions and I don’t compare what I felt in prior situations to this one in a sense of degrees or similarities. It’s just a there or not there thing. I like him a lot, he’s fucking amazing so what is wrong with me? Just typing this makes me feel even more like a massive asshole. I didn’t expect some sort of instant bond from day one but it’s been two years. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do because I’m supposed to do it but I’m severely lacking the want. I’m going through the motions. The inauthenticity sickens me on SO MANY LEVELS.
Psychologically it’s this huge mind fuck. Like, I’m his dad, I’m supposed to be and act a certain way so I do but it’s contrived, manufactured. I work tirelessly to identify and eliminate any and everything that isn’t authentic. Because I’ve spent my whole life on bullshit, I don’t want to fake anything in any way any more. But I can’t not do that when/if it negatively affects this innocent child. Am I fucking him up by feigning emotions through inauthentic actions...even if he has no clue they are inauthentic? Am I fucking me up by repeatedly practicing inauthentic behaviors?
Emotionally I’m finding it hard to connect with myself because I keep thinking I’m broken. One thing I learned from Love Yourself was that I’m not gonna do it all perfectly, falling short of my expectations will happen, and that I am constantly a work in progress...and that’s what makes me human and I am still okay. But the expectation here isn’t for me to accomplish something, it’s for something I core believe shouldn’t be in question about my ability to love. I’m doing my best to not hate myself but I’m feeling like my heart is broken. Not like hurt broken but like not functioning right and I don’t know where to go to fix that.
UGH this feels like absolute shit!
So I started this last night and by 2am I was totally spent mentally and emotionally. I had to sleep because awake was feeling like hell the more typed. I woke up feeling like shit. I prayed for peace because I knew I could be no good to anyone in my current headspace. I spoke to this guy after the 7am meeting and he pointed out that I’m placing expectations by having a ‘should’ mindset. Expectations are the seeds of disappointment and the root of resentment. “I should have X emotion, things should be X!” are my thoughts. Wrong! Things shouldn’t be anything but what they are. I lost sight of the fact that I only have control over my actions and zero control over the outcomes. I’m doing right by being there, whether I want to be or not. It’s feels like shit to have these feelings, it hurts, a lot. But suit up and show up is my next right action a my only option thus far.
I’m gonna close here because there’s a dissonance in last night’s writing and today’s and I don’t think anything I’ve written really made much sense anyway. I don't want to write for the sake of filling space if the emotion isn't there. Sorry for the lack of fluidity, resolution, and comprehensibility here. This was a catharsis of my right now(then).
To Be Continued...