Hurt

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.

22 Comments

  • erikd says:

    Very touching, I'm glad to see everything's going great right now, you deserve it.

  • Hi Robert,

    I too lost my father to cancer, aged 66 – it took him in a little over six months and was/is still heartbreaking for me and my mum. I miss him every day and agree the grief never leaves, only subsides – resurfacing from time to time.

    But I have two great sons with my girlfriend and the joy they bring to my life is immeasurable.

    And hey, what's worse? You may be bald, but my hair's going grey!!! Okay, I'm no spring chicken at 37 (on Sunday) but I'm not *that* old am I?

  • Kalle Wibeck says:

    Hi Robert (with a hug)!

    Life has truly given you some kicks'n'pushes, the question is; -Is it despite or because all this you turned out such a great guy!?

    At the age of 34, partly thin-haired and soon (this march) the father of two children. I belive that my own hard times actually were meant to be, in some strange fate:ish way, otherwise I wouldn't be who I am today…

    In the same way I'm greatful for your hard times, otherwise you would be who you are either, right!?

  • Tommy Olsson says:

    Robert, I recognise much of what you write about. Being treated badly for something you cannot help (such as being ugly) is really unfair. Unlike you, I never became 'hot', but I guess I've learned to live with that. I'm not balding, but like Steve I'm really grey and have been so since the age of 25.

    I'm at peace in life now. I've learned to accept that which I cannot change. I'll never be in a relationship, but so what? I had a pretty good upbringing by loving parents, who are still married (rare enough these days). I have a daughter whom I love very much, and who has grown up to be the sort of human being of whom I can truly say that I'm proud to be her father. I live in a nice place and I have a decent job. And I've been blessed with good health so far.

    <hug/>

  • Chris says:

    Robert,

    I could have written about my life most of the things you wrote about your life. You see, you are not alone with your thoughts.

    It is also good that you wrote this article because it is about essential things.

    Hug.

  • Chris says:

    My mother lost against cancer at the age of 49. That was hard, but also it helps me seeing many things way relaxter than other people.

    *hug*

  • Marco says:

    Robert,

    Thanks for sharing this. Don't regret it in the morning either. I'm touched by your parts on having hurt people and your desire for forgiveness. I know how you feel. Luckily, the good guys do win. I know…

    I'm very happy for you things are going so well now. I believe you're a guy who deserves it.

    *hug*

  • Maarten Leewis says:

    Not a post you should regret! It's always nice to see one open his heart. I understand how writing a release, it do it myself a lot. It's like holding a mirror in front of yourself and you learn about yourself while you write. It's amazing. I just don't post mine publicly, so therefor a lot of respect to you…

    Kram!

  • inoodle says:

    BIG HUGs.

    Cancer sucks. So many people seem to get it. My mother (age 53) has battled it for 8 years, and recently went blind and became paralysed down her left side. Death seems like a relief for someone who has been so active previously.

  • There will be hugs at SXSW πŸ™‚

  • Erik says:

    *kram*

    I always try to enjoy life when it's really fun πŸ™‚ It helps when it's not!

    And I can tell you a secret about baldness. My girlfriend thinks guys with no hair are really sexy.

    And I got a lot of curly hair πŸ˜‰

  • Ã&Acirc says:

    Hello Robert.

    Sent you a mail a few weeks ago regarding freelancing in Sweden. Just so you know who I am πŸ˜‰

    I feel your pain, really I do. I too got into some trouble in school, and it was not very pleasant. The most horrific time in my live however, was in the summer and autumn of 2001.

    August 10th my wife gave birth to our first baby, 14 weeks early. Sadly he did not make it and died only 6 days old. Only three weeks later I lost my father in-law to cancer. He had battled heroicly for more than a year this horrible disease.

    1 year (and 1 day, august 11th 2002) later, my wife gave birth to our second son, which is the light in our lives at the moment.

    After the "annus horribilis" 2001, we have seen all the little problems in life as not very important. Now we do not care how much money we have, or try to overwork ourselves to get to buy a new car. We know what is important in life, and have gotten some perspective on that.

    My point is, when a person goes through something terrible it gives that person a new outlook on life. People who go through life without nothing ever happening, seem to live life in another way than you and me.

    We have a saying in Iceland (don't know if it comes from another language). Anyway, it goes something like this: What does not kill you makes you stronger. And we have found that it is exactly the case.

    If I knew you at all, I would give you a hug in a second. Consider this message a hug from me to you πŸ™‚

  • Dejan says:

    Robert,

    It is too well known fact that male hair loss is mainly due to excess of some hormons. Lucky you, all ladies can see level of your hormons from far away. πŸ™‚

    Interesting enough, my father lost his hair in almost same age as you did, and I was almost preparing for the same destiny during my teenage years, so I was somehow puzzled when it did not happen to me.

    Hold on friend, we are all here to support you.

    Even hugs if you insist. But do not tell my wife.

  • icaaq says:

    Big dreamworkhug! Because of you I now have the a interesting, fun and developing occupation. So send me a mail, grab your bald head and then we can go out to have a beer(or something). Talking about kids, developing with standards and lives upsn´dows.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    The morning after, when I woke up, my first thought was:

    Did I really post that?

    I still can't believe I did, but all of your comments, your stories and your willingness to share really touched me. A lot!

    Again: thank you for being there! All the best to you!

  • quinn says:

    Greetings and hugs to all, long away from Japan,

    This is almost like the post I did in my blog a few weeks ago. I wonder if you had a chance to read it. My post was shorter than yours and not much details though. I lost my dad about three years ago, but almost same time, I became a father of two kids. My mother thought she was going to live alone when she found out about my father's cancer. Now, she lives with me, my wife, and THREE grandkids (a baby included) in a small house. It seems to be just fine for all of us together.

  • Laura Herald says:

    no disrespect but its an ironic shame the google ads seem to feed ads for hair extensions off the back of this

  • Robert Nyman says:

    quinn,

    Thank you for sharing!

    Laura,

    No problem, I actually regard it as very funny! Oh, the irony… πŸ™‚

  • Jewel says:

    Just seen your pic on your new map. Being bald definitely suits you, Robert. πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Long time since I saw you here, Jewel!

    And thanks!

    I guess I look ok… πŸ™‚

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