This is going to be the most or the least interesting thing I’ve ever written. When I start writing this, the time is about 23.30, and I’ve just been out to a company/customer thing, and maybe having some beer and wine has gotten me emotional. This is a post that I’ll probably regret in the morning…
When I was a kid, I was harassed on and off, mostly around the age of 10. I had fairly big front teeth and I had glasses; perhaps I was also a bit soft emotionally compared to the butch ice hockey guys (I did play ice hockey for many years, as well as doing other sports; I just didn’t seem to share the men’s dressing room mentality with the other guys). To be told that you’re ugly; that you don’t fit in; to be looked down upon are terrible things. It wasn’t that bad for me as it has been for many other people, I never felt suicidal. It wasn’t really a walk in the park either, though.
Anyway, I got older and grew into my body and became hot (or something). But that luck only lasted for a while; when I was 24 I started balding. That has been one of the cruelest things life has done to me, especially since my father had a lot of thick and beautiful hair. Such mockery. For those who don’t know, it’s a very hard blow to one’s self esteem. I remember when I was a kid; my family went on a vacation to France together with one of my uncles and his wife. He was bald, and seeing him on the beach rubbing his scalp with sun tan oil, led to me thinking:
God, he looks pathetic.
I’m now 31, and I’ve pretty much come to terms with my baldness. I think I’ve spent (and sometimes still do spend) a lot more time thinking about it and letting it affect me, than other people around me do.
Back in 1998, a former girlfriend and I quit our jobs and went traveling in Australia for a while. About a month after we got home, she broke up with me. She moved out of our apartment and went on with her life. There I was, dumped, unemployed and just started balding to top it off; generally feeling pretty worthless. I started to write very short paragraphs about how hurt I felt, what it was like having been to Australia and seen and done wonderful things and having no one to share those and lots of other nice memories with. I published these writings on my web page and sent her an e-mail, hoping that she’d read it and that she would grasp my feelings of loneliness.
What happened was, she printed these pages and sent them in a letter to my parents together with a note basically saying in how a bad state I was in. Let me tell you, a letter like that isn’t received in the best way by parents. Naturally, they got very worried about me and it was followed by some time of them feeling insecure. Eventually, I got them to understand that the writings were just a way for me to channel my feelings, to get it out of my system.
A little more than two years ago, I saw my father die. In his own bed, in the house he built with his own hands. Cancer got him. He was 64 years old, and he fought it bravely for four years. Sometimes that moment comes back to me, and remembering his last words just tears me apart. The feelings of hurt are indescribable. I don’t think a person ever fully recovers from a thing like that, and seeing how it broke down my mother was heartbreaking. They had dreamt about spending their retirement days, the remainder of their life, together and just enjoying living. But fate had another cruel plan.
People sometimes tell me that they appreciate my bitter and cynical sense of humor, but also that they hope it just an act, that I’m not really as bitter as I convey. Let me be honest about this: sometimes I really am that bitter. Sometimes I really do wonder why life has to be about getting hurt in such terrible ways as there are. Seeing my little daughter and knowing about all the bad things a life offers that she has to go through breaks my heart. Of course there are good things to, “life’s up n’ down” (which is exactly what a plaque read that mom gave me for one of my birthdays, depicting Goofy turned upside down on his head), but I can’t stand thinking about how mean and evil life and people can sometimes be.
I’ve hurt people too in life, which I am truly sorry for, and I do hope for forgiveness from those persons; deep down I’m not really a bad person (or at least I strive not be).
All in all, though, I am happy. I’ve had a wonderful upbringing by my loving parents, and my mother taught me to always be honest. That has really helped me in life, and also to being able to life with myself and some of my actions. And now, finally, I’ve found my place in life. I have a lovely girlfriend with whom I have a wonderful daughter who really makes life worth living. Amongst other things, what happened in 1998 was a turnaround for me and I decided to face the tough situations life deals you, and to stand up to them. Learning the hard way to be strong, and to handle whatever happens.
I’m not really looking for sympathy here, just understanding. If you ever meet me in real life, please give me a hug. We all need love, and we need it a lot more than we think. This also comes down to my writings at this web site; all you people coming here really mean a lot to me, and I’m extraordinary grateful for you coming back here again and again.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for being there.