So I had this whole thing written out detailing how I met my father when I was 19 but I realized that most of it was for me. I’m 27 years old now and the whole experience still fucks with me but I’ll give you guys the Cliffs Notes version of what I learned from that experience so that maybe you can relate and get to know me a little better without rolling your eyes at the minutiae. I go a long way to get to my eventual point, which is basically that you have to find your “special”.
Like I said, I met my father when I was 19 years old and at the time I felt like I had to. My freshman/sophomore year of college was a wild, mixed period of both self-destruction and self-discovery. I was failing out of school, experimenting with drugs and alienating from people all in the name of “finding myself”, maaan. I felt at this point in my life, it was only right to get to know the other half of myself. After some Facebook sleuthing and a few direct messages to confirm key information, I found my father and he was willing to meet up where he lived in Ormond Beach, Florida.
Now it’s highly unfair to put expectations on someone, it’s even more ridiculous to put expectations on a moment, but holy shit was it surreal. I thought I was just meeting my father but what I didn’t know and realize was that I had an entire other family. I had cousins and uncles who looked exactly like me, half-sisters, aunts, grandmas, dead grandpas, and I met them all (minus the dead g-pas of course). It was overwhelming, to say the least. My father didn’t have much to say. It felt like he was hiding behind his family and acting like the moment was so much that he couldn’t say anything. It just felt like he couldn’t wait for it to be over. I don’t know what he could have said though, really.
“I’m sorry I never fought to be a part of your life” might have been too on the button.
I left bummed out. I had built this moment up from the first time I realized I didn’t know who my real father was (around 7 or 8 years old). I built this guy up in my head because I wanted to be that guy one day. I remember day dreaming as a kid that my father was this charismatic, rugged dude who couldn’t stay in one place for very long. Instead, I met a guy who lived in a house he rented from his brother near his hometown with three daughters and a baby mama whom he’s clearly not passionate about. He clearly wasn’t “living the dream”. It was depressing. I thought, “Will this be me?” It wasn’t a particularly bad life but it’s certainly not the pedestal I want to end up on. He seemed sad and unfulfilled. It’s not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings but up until that point I had a lot of pride in who I was and who I thought I wasn’t going to turn in to. My mom was this strong, standup person, she certainly wouldn’t have procreated with a dud, would she?
I think that’s why I’m pushing so hard against the status quo now. I want to pursue creative avenues not of the norm to avoid a life of silent desperation. I don’t think I’m “destined” to do great things but I would be lying if I said I don’t think I’m special enough to possibly do great things one day. I guess we all think we’re special but it’s the people who embrace it and believe it are the only ones who actually do anything with it. This meeting 8 years ago was a setback but I’m embracing my “special” more and more each day.
I obviously have a lot more to flush out about this experience and things to confront concerning my daddy issues but it feels good to be honest on how I feel about someone who shouldn’t affect me one way or another anymore. I can let go of the resentment and anger. I can appreciate that this person gave me the gift of life by not squandering it with mediocrity and self loathing. I don’t have to repeat the cycle of misery and guilt of abandonment, and can instead be cognizant of my “special” and use that as fuel realize my full potential.