Monday, June 30, 2008

Who Am I

Blogging is no substitute for journaling. I've always known this, but every now and then I'm reminded of it in dramatic fashion. When I blog, I sit down with a rough idea of what I'm going to say. When I journal, the words just flow, and I often learn something about myself that I otherwise wasn't aware of.

Today I sent my first father another letter. This is my third. Over seven weeks have passed since the last attempt. So I try again. I'm not sure what else to do. Silence seems so bad because it doesn't tell you anything. I have no idea if he's reading the letters, throwing them out, trying to find a response, or simply hoping I'll go away. I won't. But I don't know what else to do right now. (I have some ideas, but I keep hoping that he'll just respond to the letters, rather than a phone call or asking someone else to contact him.)

I sat down to write about this in my journal, and something came out. My real fear in all of this, I think. (I say I think because anything that comes out in my journal is always open to revision. This is how I feel about it today. I reserve the right to feel differently tomorrow.)

I don't think I'm looking for acceptance from him. I have three parents that love, support, and accept me. If I don't have a fourth, I will survive. Having a relationship from him would be nice, but it isn't necessary. It isn't what I'm really looking for.

What I'm looking for is, in a way, harder. I have long disliked men, as a rule. I had many troubles with my peers growing up, and I don't tend to trust men. (I've found a few since that I love and trust, and so I hope I've gotten over this to some extent.) But the problem is more internal. As a male, I have a tendency not to trust myself, to think of myself as not compassionate enough. There are many people who would say I'm wrong. And I love them all for that. But deep down, I don't know if I believe I'm compassionate. That distrust of men, though overcome somewhat when it comes to others, still seems relatively entrenched when it comes to myself.

I think I need my first father to be a good, compassionate man. I need to believe that I came from that. If I find out that he's heartless, I worry that will simply confirm my own worst fears about myself.

I still hope to find a compassionate man who just is overwhelmed and doesn't know what to say to his long-lost son. But I realize I might need to prepare myself for the worst. Not rejection as such. But the confirmation that my father might not be a compassionate person. And if he isn't compassionate, I will need to find a way to believe that that doesn't say anything about me. Right now, I'm not sure how to get there.

So for now, I'll keep sending letters and hoping he'll show me that I might be okay, too.


Lori A said...

I would be one of those people who completely disagrees with you about your level of compassion. In the few months I have known you I find you incredibly understanding and compassionate toward others. But I know first hand how that doesn't reflect on how a person feel about themselves. I only have hugs for you until you find your realization for yourself.

phil said...


Thank for your kind words. I won't argue with your perception (or that of others).

For me, it's just a deep-seated fear, a worry that deep down, I'm not a good person. It's a fear I've lived with for a long time, and it seems to have become personified in the ghostly figure of a father who hasn't responded to me, yet.

Lori A said...

Phil, I had the same fear but for the opposite reason. I was always told that I was just like my father. Nothing made me more furious, because I knew things about him that others didn't want to know. they were told, just refused to believe. I look more like my dad than my brothers and I have a bold personality. I feared I wasn't a good person because I did know him.

phil said...

Yeah, I do see the danger in knowing. I think before I tried to contact him, I could believe anything I wanted.

The problem isn't (exactly) that I want to know him to have my goodness confirmed. It's that I fear his unwillingness to even respond to my pleas for acknowledgment says something awful about him (and by parity, me).

But I can certainly understand how knowing who he is might not help me at all.


I really wasn't aware of what I was doing until I wrote in my journal. I know that, in the end, it's going to fall on my shoulders to decide who I am. I just hadn't been connecting my own long running fears about that to my distress about his failure to respond until now.

You're giving me helpful reminders. Thanks, Lori.