Water is beautiful. Its contribution helps to sustain life. We’re made of over 70 percent water (So they say). There is more water on the planet than land. How awesome is it to have an ice-cold bottle of water waiting for you during and after an intense workout?
If you’re working outside on a hot day, ice water sure does hit the spot on a much-needed break.
We cook with water. We clean with water. It’s a part of all of our lives and enhances everything for us human beings. Especially sex in the shower. (More Humor) My bad.
But what about the negative aspects of it. Hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, and snowstorms that can be so intense, whole cities get shut down. Or God forbid, someone dying in a misfortunate accident of drowning.
As beautiful as water is, it still has to be respected, handled with care, and never taken for granted.
Let’s go back.
My parents weren’t married, but my dad was.
From what I learned when I was older, a family member initially introduced my parents. My dad had a nice amount of money, a good job, and if I’m not mistaken was already an entrepreneur.
He was 20 years older than my mom. My dad had a wife and two children (my half-brother and half-sister). They were around the same age as my mom.
I don’t know all the particulars of my parent’s relationship, but my mom once told me that my dad was going to leave his wife and kids.
I’m not sure if he was leaving his family FOR my mom, or if he already planned on leaving, and it just happened to be around the same time he met my mom. I never really got clarification.
However, what’s important is, when I did arrive, my dad decided to stay with his family.
When I was just a child, I do remember it just being my mom and me. At some point, when I was between 4 and 7, my mom handed me a telephone and when I said hello, this big voice on the other end of the line said HEEEEEEEY TORREY.
I knew it was my dad. I was so excited to hear his voice.
I don’t remember anything about the conversation but I just remember being on the phone with my dad.
At some point, my mom and dad agreed on me spending time with him. He would pick me up and take me to wrestling matches and fishing.
Later, they thought it would be a good idea for me to spend summers with my dad, and for the rest of the year, stay with my mom while I was in school.
I don’t remember the first day I met my dad’s family. His wife, my brother, and sister. However, I do remember not liking my stepmother.
My dad made me call her Mrs. Jones. I for damn sure wasn’t going to call her mom. For some reason, Mrs. Jones sounded so cold and formal to me. It felt like some type of mechanical arrangement.
It seemed more like a title than an actual name or person. I couldn’t imagine myself getting close to her. She wasn’t my mother. She wasn’t my friend or someone I would consider a family member.
Mrs. Jones, the name, felt like a barrier that wasn’t meant for me to cross.
Spending summers with my dad was almost like having access to two separate existences. Maybe I’m being over dramatic about it. However, I saw two separate lives during the summer.
The times I spent with my dad’s family. Stepmother, brother and sister, and times my father and I left to run errands, do specific jobs he had, or go visit my aunts and uncles and their families.
My dad came from a big family. They were originally from Texas but all found their way to California.
My dad had a big house. The family mostly lived and did everything upstairs. Downstairs was a separate living space where they took care of mentally ill patients in the home. It seemed like a pretty big family operation.
However, beneath all that, there was all this tension.
Looking back at it, being a grown man with a wife and kids of my own, I now understand where the tension was coming from. My stepmother especially, and my brother and sister went through a betrayal and my dad cheating.
I can’t imagine what it would feel like for my kids knowing that I had a secret relationship with another woman, a baby coming out of that, and bringing it around.
I’ve asked myself a question many times….
What was the conversation between my dad and his wife about when the decision was made to bring me around?
Did she disagree with it? Did she hate it? Did she look forward to getting to know me? Or even worse, did she not have a say in it?
My dad was old fashioned. Maybe he felt since he was bringing in all the income, that it was his decision alone and my stepmother just had to deal with it. Who knows?
As far as my brother and sister, they seemed to tolerate me because of the circumstances, but I highly doubt they wanted me around.
I have a niece who was the same age as me. My sister’s daughter. There were definitely times we got along and played together but every now and then, she did remind me that I wasn’t her “Real Uncle”.
I was in a place where I never felt totally accepted and for good reason. My dad got his jump-off pregnant and brought the baby around like it was ok. Or at least looking back, that’s what it looked like to me.
My guess is my dad handled it wrong. The bringing me around part.
Number 1, my feelings were never considered. I’m sure it was because of my age but yet and still, putting a child in that situation, without all the loose ends tightened up, definitely impacted my life in a negative way.
Number 2, not feeling welcomed regardless of the circumstances made me feel not good enough. Many times, I felt in competition with my niece over attention from my dad.
Sometimes, I felt he believed she was better than me and definitely smarter. Because of that subtle vibration of negativity, I felt I had to compete with her in many ways.
I wish my dad loved me like I loved him. Maybe he did. I knew my dad loved me, and would do anything for me, but at times when I needed just him, it always seemed like I needed to share him or just ME wasn’t enough for him.
Back to the present.
I know for sure many men have had to deal with these types of challenges in their formative years. Some of us had to deal with much worse.
Some men were abandoned altogether by not just one parent, but both. Some had to deal with severe emotional trauma. Some of us were physically beaten by our parents and rarely received a feeling of love or encouragement.
Some of us came from families where the parents picked their professions over quality time with children. Some of us came out of families with large numbers of siblings and in some ways were forgotten about.
Some came out of sexually abusive households where you never spoke of it, and those episodes were so far in the back of your mind, that you didn’t remember it, until you read these words.
If you’re reading this book, you’re either on the other side of all that, or maybe it will birth your call to action to get to the other side of it.
Talking about it is a great start. Whether it’s with yourself first, or maybe expressing your feelings to your parents or whomever you’ve had negative feelings towards, take steps in that direction in an attempt to find closure if it’s possible.
Writing your feelings down is a great option as well. Maybe keep a journal, and every time something triggers a familiar feeling of pain, confusion, or the wanting of acceptance when you’re not feeling included or valued for some reason, you can document it and begin to work towards the root of it.
Sometimes because of death or other circumstances, the ability to find closure with an individual can be a challenge as well. In these circumstances, I’d seek counselling of some sort.
It doesn’t have to be a professional therapist. Older living members of your family who may have known the whole story and would be able to share the experience from there perspective can be a positive way to go about it.
When you find the courage to stand up to the negatives and traumas of your past, there powers over you diminish.
To lead by example, I’ll write a personal experience from a time in my dad’s household. This book will be my makeshift journal.
Hopefully, closure for these events can be reached by me and one more obstacle conquered on my own journey to my higher self and my own spiritual freedom.
To give more of a background on the relationship with my niece and I, because we were so close in age, less than 3 months apart, we were more brother and sister than uncle and niece.
At times we had a very close relationship. There were many wrestling matches and fishing trips shared between my dad, my niece, and I.
Even though throughout the school year I’d stay with my mom, there was plenty of weekends I spent with my dad. My niece was there as well.
In the summer, probably to keep me company, my dad would pick up my niece from my sisters and the two of us would stay there in the house with my dad and stepmother.
Because we didn’t permanently live in the neighborhood, we didn’t have many friends, so anytime we played outside it was pretty much just the two of us.
We were in Richmond, California. One morning I woke up and it was a normal day. My niece wanted us to go outside and we left the house. We went to the corner store and she bought us candy and plums and we went to the park to hang out.
We started walking the neighborhood having a good time, and I began to notice that everywhere we went, my niece would buy stuff for us.
Definitely a bunch of candy. For whatever reason, I never questioned her about the amount of money she had and why she was spending so much of it.
We were probably around 10 or 11 years old if I remember. We began to walk further and further away from home and during those times, we didn’t have cell phones.
There were pay phones scattered throughout the city. It was a dime to make a phone call. We got too tired to walk all the way back home so my niece called my dad to pick us up.
We drifted quite a ways from the house. Somewhere between 2 to 4 miles. When she called my dad, I didn’t think we’d be in any kind of trouble, but I knew we would have to answer to my dad for how we actually got in that particular location.
After we got home from my dad picking us up, the first thing he did was search my pockets. At this time, I’m clueless as to what’s going on.
He searched my niece and I, once more after we got in the house. Again, he asked how we got the money. I told him I didn’t know. I never thought about how my niece got the money she was spending.
A lot of times when she came to visit and I happened to be there as well, her mom always sent money with her. Or at least that’s what I thought.
As I remember, many times I rarely had any money but my niece always had a little pocket change that she would share with me from time to time.
At this point, I’m still oblivious to what’s going on but something felt really off to me about the energy in the house. It seemed everyone was mad at us for some reason.
My dad took me to his room and asked me one more time, where we got the money from and once again, I told him, I didn’t know.
He never said that he had money missing nor did he ask if I knew how my niece got the money she was spending.
My dad pulls a cable cord from behind the TV and begins to whoop me with it. I still at this point don’t know why he’s beating me. Let alone why he’s beating me with a cable cord of all things.
Apparently, my niece came across the money. I don’t know if she went in my dad’s room with the intent to take money, or if the money was out, and she felt if she took it, she wouldn’t get caught. You’d have to ask her about the motives.
All I knew and felt was that, my dad questioned me about a very serious matter and when I gave him my honest answer, he didn’t believe me.
I don’t know the exact amount of money my niece took but from what I understand, it was more than a couple of hundred dollars.
After we were beat, and I intentionally say beat instead of spanked because of the severity of it, and what was used to beat us, the worst part of the whole ordeal was how everyone seemed to forgive my niece, but no one cared two shits about me. My dad never mentioned anything to me about it afterwards.
I sat on the couch in a house full of people in pain, feeling betrayed by my dad and still not knowing what the fuck just happened.
Even now, all these years later, it really hurts to know that my word or feelings were so dismissed.
Maybe I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt by saying this, but maybe there was a possibility my dad did believe me. Unfortunately for me, my niece was getting punished and I was with her.
Had my niece got punished and I didn’t, even with clear evidence that I wasn’t involved in anyway, there could have been potential backlash from the rest of the family.
That could have put my dad in a position of clearly choosing me and I don’t think he was ready or may I even say brave enough to take that type of stance.
From that point, there was a blistering fracture in the relationship between my dad and I, that even now, I have a hard time moving passed.
Years later, while we were grown, during a lunch we were having in this restaurant with family members all around the table, somehow, that event with the missing money came up.
My dad believed he did the right thing. He believed WE took the money instead of my niece acting alone.
He was actually laughing about the whole ordeal. I was definitely infuriated sitting there amongst all these people hearing my dad tell this story as if it was a proper acting parent disciplining two mischievous children.
As I’m writing this now, forgiveness comes to mind. My dad, stepmother, and sister all have passed on. The only living memories from that time still remaining, is my brother and niece and none of us communicate these days.
Since I’ve been learning about spirituality and the act of forgiveness, I do see my past as a hindrance to my growth. My dad and I before he died, had a weird in and out type of relationship.
We would have fallouts. I would approach him about clearing up whatever the misunderstanding was, but for whatever reason, he could never take full responsibility for his part, or just admit being wrong about an issue.
There was always some misdirection or even a suggestion that I could’ve did something different to avoid blowups between the two of us.
When I would get wise to that, call him out on it, and he clearly saw he was wrong about something, he’d never admit it, however, a classic admission of guilt from him, would be to offer some type of gift. Usually in the form of money.
Money and gifts can be nice, but from a father son aspect, clearing up a rift by way of mutually conversating to solve an issue means more. At least to me it does.
If I could talk to that young 10 or 11-year-old child I once was, I would tell myself, once my dad dropped me back off to my moms, to never go back.
That senseless beating I endured wasn’t about some money that was taken from him. It was about sacrificing peace. Mines. I feel It was an attempt to restore a level of peace in a house where he caused so much pain.
There were other gut wrenching and heartbreaking moments I went through with my dad. Not as bad as being beaten with a cable cord, but emotionally and spiritually were just as taxing.
Maybe at another time I can share those experiences, but for now, I’ll just move on.
As far as forgiveness. Forgiveness for my father. He’s dead now. I don’t have any reason to believe that if he were still here with a sound mind, that he’d feel any wrongdoing about that particular situation. Nor would my obvious hurt move him to some sort of compassion towards me regarding it.
As painful as the whole ordeal with my father and his family was for me, I have come to understand that it didn’t happen to me, in a weird way it happened for me.
Not so much the missing money aspect of it but the total experience. Actions and decisions affect people. My stepmother Mrs. Jones never got over that act of infidelity by her husband.
Maybe before I came along, my mom had goals and aspirations that she had to let go of, in order to raise a child and there was a level of resentment there.
Not so much towards me but towards my father who could have portrayed himself as wanting to be her knight and shining armor, and when things hit the fan, was left by herself with a baby.
The hurt of my brother, sister, and even niece, turned into a bitter venom towards my father for hurting their mother and grandmother.
I’ll forgive it all and just be better. My goal is to provide a loving experience with my sons so they never feel the bitterness towards me I have felt towards my father at times.
I share plenty of good memories with my father. He wasn’t a bad man. He was a provider. He taught me about boxing and other things so I’ll begin to hold those things dearer to me and leave the rest of the past where it is. That’s my closure.
In closing for this chapter, for us men that have come from these crazy, desperate, and hurtful beginnings, I’m going to share with you words my therapist shared with me during my first session with him…….
YOUR MORE THAN ENOUGH!!!
Looking back on my childhood I’m now able to see the main ingredient that my life has been missing. ME. I’m my own savior. I can definitely get assistance from outside sources with things I need help on, but the work is ultimately mine and mine alone.
If I’m up for this challenge, you are more than enough for the challenge as well.
As you evaluate your life, its ok to build a list of values and codes to use while moving forward. One of my codes to my present and future life is to speak up for myself.
At the time of my situation with the missing money, I never told that to my mom. In fact, I didn’t tell her until I was much older. I was scared.
I’m not sure whether she would have done anything about it or not, but I should have expressed that to her immediately.
I should have been vocal about how I felt about everything.
If you’re in a place in your life and things have happened to you regardless of how big or small you consider it to be, speak on it and express yourself.
It’s important for your own well-being that you show up for yourself. That you have the courage to stand up for yourself.
Internalizing your own pain and staying quiet when your voice needs to be heard only hurts yourself.
I once heard Dave Chappell say that his mom told him, sometimes you have to show yourself as a lion to be the lamb you truly are.
Finally, and most importantly YOUR MORE THAN ENOUGH. Even if your own folks don’t see how dope of a person you truly are, dismiss there doubts and dare to be great. Use your new license of freedom and empowerment to create new family and friends with new positive, loving memories.