Arrested Development

I often feel sorry for men. And those boys who try to become men, few as they may be nowadays.

I remember when my dad started writing poetry in middle age, in order to potentially ward off another divorce. It was a phase that didn’t last long and I don’t remember if his poetry was any good, but I remember being impressed by that effort. First he converted for her, got baptized and everything, then he attempted to swim, via words, the seas of emotion, alone, at high tide, with no training.

Doesn’t surprise me much. He’s always been impressive that way. Exactly that sort of way, actually. While dismally unimpressive in other ways.

I do understand that’s called being human.

But it bugs me this isn’t something we’re allowed to talk about, the being human part. The warts and all part. Because the sugar coating gets nauseating after a while. Besides, it’s not healthy, in that where’s the broccoli sort of way.

This is not allowed in my FOO (family of origin) and I know for certain, it’s not just mine. Broccoli hits that table only soggy and drowning in artificial cheese sauce.

Somehow over the generations there’s been a great divide happening between many aspects of familial and societal life, and leaving all conspiracy theories aside for a moment as to how that’s come to pass, there are clear and present repercussions being felt by the glaring lack of healthy masculinity being demonstrated currently in our culture.

Dad’s poetry efforts didn’t pan out. Too little, too late, I suspect. That pesky human error thing—hindsight, tunnel vision, any one of the 7 deadly sins—or whatever.

As flawed as I’m able to paint him, which depending on my mood might go pretty dark, it’s the unwashable tones that I prefer, whether that spectrum proves dark or light.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the skill, or the distance, to paint him well, to do him justice, warts and all, not even in words. But, someday.

All I feel able to do now is to demonstrate those parts of him I admire, and always have and always will, which comes down to pointing out their antithesis.

Who is Dad not?

This matters enough for me to post about publicly because there are a whole lot of heroes out there, but you’ll never learn about them until you turn off the TV and really tune in to what higher minds are trying to tell us, because it is becoming increasingly less common knowledge than it should be.

Examples of positivity masculinity exist and were once diligently cultivated. For every accusation of power abuse there is a man who gifted power, maybe even a dozen of them.

For every accusation of narcissism there is a man who dispersed his glory voluntarily upon those close to him.

For every accusation of arrogance, selfishness, egoism, betrayal, there is a man who knew, above all else, that what it takes to be a man is as tough as it is simple: never accept arrested development.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt