Adulting trash, B. Ain’t nobody ask to be grown with bills, in the working class no less. The working class?!? You know how damn brilliant I am?!? I need to see a manager, someone get a sorting hat, reset the game. I have to get up go to a job where I’m well aware that I’m underpaid just so I can pay other people for survival essentials like food, shelter, and Netflix. It’s something you can’t possibly understand until you get *there*, especially not as a child. To work all day, come all the way home and the chicken isn’t thawed. To spend your hard earned money on clothes they gonna tear up playing. To pay for them to explore passions and interests and having to be just as supportive when they end up quitting. Failing a marriage and feeling like they resent you for it. (okay, maybe I don’t want kids, not without like a 100% pay increase, or a wife that makes way more than me. I’m walking in the spirit of a Stedman.)
So on my birthday last month, I took a vacation. My father called me to wish me a Happy Birthday and we chopped it up for a bit. He reminisced about where he was when he was my age; Married, working 2 jobs and they just had me even after wanting to stop at 3. (he did have 3 more kids after, and I mean…yikes.). Now that the youngest is grown and he’s nearing retirement he’s finally at a place where he can live his best life and even better he’s happy to see that I am. After that talk, I decided to go visit. He usually flies up to see his grandkids but we rarely bother to go see him, especially me. Our dynamic has always been a little strained. Still a little strained, really. Not much unlike him and my grandfather. Even while you “get it” as an adult, you still become indifferent. Forgiving parents isn’t easy, but sometimes necessary. They affect our entire lives even subconsciously, the adults we become. Me and my father are a lot alike; intuitive, reticent, stubborn. It’s perhaps why we butt heads so much as adults. We both recognize there’s…something wrong here, while also feeling like it’s the others’ to fix. He’s not getting any younger, I’m not the one who broke it and so, stalemate.
As I approach the steep hill that is my 30s, part of me worries I’ll be him. From our eerily similar decor choices, to my approach in relationships. He’s a lot more expressive and open in his later years but that wasn’t the man I grew up knowing. His love was assumed, shown through a roof over my head and Jordans every first day of school. I was too young to really remember my parents in love, but with my step mother it always felt like, service. They were together for 10 years because they were together for 10 years, in hindsight it mirrored my longest relationship. We been together this long, why not see this through. More recently, I had someone I’m with ask me that if a complete stranger was watching us right now, would they think we were in love? I couldn’t answer. I did love her, but clearly I sucked at showing it. It wasn’t being expressed, it was assumed. Damn, I am him. He lived through the civil rights movement, the military and having a whole ass family in the Reaganomics era, I can’t possibly be this way already. I won’t allow myself to be.
Maybe, it starts with forgiving in the first place. That’s a journey in itself that I’m still working on. Without going too deep, there’s a lot about my childhood that I’m still processing but as an adult I at least find myself at a place where I see and empathize with him as a man; imperfect but steadily trying to grow as he prepares to embark on the next phase of his life as just as I’m trying to do with mine. I usually try to end posts with a pretty little bow but there isn’t one, at least not yet. All I can do in the interim, is work on improving our relationship and myself to become a more open, vulnerable man that believes in accent colors. Oh, and no babies til like, 33? 35? 40? Yeah, maybe 40.