“How do you strive to be similar to, or different from, your parents?”
I have spent the majority of my adult life trying desperately not to be like my father. Often I find myself asking the question, “What would my father do?” and fighting that answer tooth and nail. Which is funny, of course, because as a teenage boy I adored my father, no matter what he did or said. There was just something about him, an easy nature that made me want to emulate that, a charisma that drew people to him like flies.
But it wasn’t authentic, or at least it wasn’t altogether real. I wanted to be him for the surface, but everything that was underneath the facade just wasn’t… real. It suddenly hit me like a sledgehammer once I grew up and realized that the fairy tale of my dad coming to my emotional rescue wasn’t going to happen, that I would just have to be my own rescuer and do things differently. And he still has that outward charm, but I’m no longer charmed by it.
How do I strive to be different from him?
- By still asking myself that question before decisions (What would my father do?)
- By understanding my motivations, and staying true to myself
- By realizing that the small things are just as important as the big ones
- By not being fake
However, I guess the most important way I can strive to be different from him is to just live my life, because I’m *not* him, and I’ll never be him. If I give him that kind of power over myself and over my decisions that doesn’t help me. Instead it makes him central in my life, which is something he will never be again, in any way, shape, or form. And even on Father’s Day, when the rest of my siblings fight those feelings of abandonment, I thought of him once — in order to write this journal entry. Which is both sad, and a sign of progress.