My unopened letter to my dad
We lived in the same house for 26 years. That is quite a long time and yet it seems like you barely know me. I’m 37 now. I’m still here. Some of the things you have completely ignored include:
I am on the spectrum
Not being able to talk properly
Terrible bullying when I started high school
I had depression for a good 5 years until I was 23
I have been taking anti depressants for the last 14 years
I just want you to know apologise for absolutely nothing. I don’t apologise for not being able to ride a bike until I was ten. I don’t apologise for not getting a single touch of the ball when you made me play AFL. I don’t apologise for having no interest in cars. I don’t apologise for not being able to use a hammer to fix a door. I don’t apologise for never being interested in trucks or being a handyman or running a small business.
And likewise all my successes the only people that deserves any thanks is mum and myself. So thanks mum (and me) for giving me emotional support to get through school and university. I got all of those jobs all by myself. I’ve taught myself so many things, some of them came natural to most people, some of them people would never have the resilience.
I have everything I need to be happy, I just had to look in places that to an outsider seem pretty depressing. But I don’t care. The substitutes I’ve utilised for myself wouldn’t be much for most people but I’m so grateful for them. In fact I’m impressed with myself for being so resourceful.
So how did I substitute the complete lack of a male role model? I read books (a lot of books) on the subject. I wouldn’t have spent more than $500 on them but I learnt more from reading those books that I have from you in 37 years.
I learnt about relationships
I learnt about being resilient
I learnt how to pick myself up after disappointments
I learnt how to interact and make friends
I learnt how to get jobs (good jobs)
I learnt how to do investments
I learnt than no one in this world will ever help me
But none of things I have achieved all by myself mean nothing to you. You just see me as someone who can’t fix a door and can’t get a kick of the football.
You are hurting very deeply and have presented a powerful statement to your resilience and self improvement.
I also feel for your father for his inability to recognise/address everything you needed growing up - it sounds like he tried in his own limited field of understanding (bike, sport, mechanics, trade - these were his experiences) but was insensitive to your interests and personal struggle. Perhaps he only thought of himself when determining how much to push you, or maybe disrespected your individuality and needed to show more patience.
I don't deny your right to have the feelings you do, but can I ask you to read one more book on the power of forgiveness? Not just for your dad, or saying everything is okay and forgotten - just to forgive yourself for not meeting his expectations, for everything you have endured (and overcome) and free yourself of resentment for what is past.
There are many people who will gladly help when you are in need - if you have the humility to ask. Your dad sounded a little inflexible, please don't allow your mind to become hardened in the same manner.
Thank you for expressing yourself with such passion.
Hi The mandalorian
I am so proud of u
For educating urself and being proud of who you are
Take "getting a touch in football" and replace it with any "quirk" our sometimes deluded parents decided was what defined a person
My Dad couldn't celebrate me if I came second. I had to come first. always.
So I can relate. This is emotional for me to read ur post...
U've overcome so much and found ur voice.
U deserved better.
Ur Dad won't apologise but u won't need it - ur strong and sufficient and will ultimately be the role model u needed growing up. Good on you, my friend
Hello The_mandalorian, we all get experience by reading and 500 different books would give you a wide range of topics all in circumstances that may actually differ from one person to another but gives you the general idea of why it's happened, but with each case, the outcome may change from one situation to another that does seem similar but won't end up the same.
You don't have to apologise to us because if you feel resourceful then you've come a long way, strength is what we all try and aim for and in everybody that takes on another form to face the hurdles we need to overcome.