Your post really affected me. I was feeling such compassion for your boy as I read – and then – SURPRISE! – one of my boys showed up unexpectedly. I’ve seen him before – but was always disgusted and repulsed by him. This time – as I turned to look at him, I felt the same empathy for him as I did for your boy. Thank you for re-introducing “us.”
I had caught glimpses of him before today – and always turned away. but this time I paused to really look at him - thirteen: too big for his age, awkward, gawky, clumsy, uncomfortable in his own skin, miserable, feeling ugly and unwanted, out-of-place, a misfit, an outsider, a reject. He is pale, with thick horn-rimmed glasses, a terrible haircut, blemished skin and a too-big nose. He doesn’t know what to do with his hands or feet and is always shuffling and twitching, scratching his upper arms and pulling at his eyelashes. He squints in the too-bright light and grimaces for the camera – tense and unhappy with his own appearance and unwilling but resigned to have it captured and recorded – an indictment against him – proof of his unworthiness. He wishes he could just disappear. He is alone in his family and alienated in his school and ostracized in scouts, inept in sports, no good at anything that anyone else values.
I loathed him and hated being him – and wished with all my heart to escape him. Just the same way that everyone else in his life seemed to feel about him and treated him.
I must have decided to ditch him. I don’t even know how it happened. I know we moved. I remember I thought that maybe I could start over and be someone different in a new place. The next thing I remember was like being a whole different person. I had left him behind when I crossed the ocean or the border or passed through customs and immigration. No one knew me. That was good. It was like turning over a clean page and beginning to invent myself. I put on a new identity with the new school uniform and tried not to look back or think about the past. He was hidden, sleeping, only stirring restlessly when something happened that echoed his memories of painful emotions. I outgrew him and forgot about him. I moved on. I got a life…
But now, he has come back to haunt me, like an orphaned foster child, abused and neglected by me – the responsible adult who left him out in the cold and refused to feed or clothe or protect him. He is like the old friend that I deserted and betrayed when someone new and more popular and charismatic came along. And now I feel compassion for him – and acceptance – and want to accept, nurture and heal him. I want to embrace him and comfort him and tell him that it’s OK now - and that he can be loved and valued and cherished. And that I am so, so sorry.
please pass on this message from my boy to yours.
Edited by traveler (11/15/12 11:19 PM)
A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense to not himself.
Or just as mad.
So there you are.
Stark raving sane.
- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead