A Recipe For Therapy. (Rants and train of thought by yours truly…)
My father tells me I need to go to therapy. My mother rebuts because I am normal. What the fuck is “normal”? Whatever it is, I am sure I am not that. My father tells me my logic makes no sense. My mother tells me she understands me on every level because we are exactly the same. How can two people be the same?
My father internalizes everything. My mother shares too much information. So where do I stand? I am caught between two polar opposites, one being a little too cold and one being a little too warm. With my father, I couldn’t even tell you his favorite books, movies, memories etc. With my mother, I could tell you exactly how she likes to get laid. This is one of the many reasons why I am fucked up.
My mother has told be the dirty details about what her and my father done to an extent. To me this is normal, because growing up with my mother she always reassured me how healthy it is to be as open as we are. And when you live with your parents and they control every move you make, they’re always right, right? My father has barely told me anything, I think I can remember a time when I was young and he told me his favorite colors were red and blue. He has also told me how disappointed he is in me because I didn’t understand school and wasn’t the best student. He even tried hitting me a few times. That evolved into him telling me he is disappointed because I couldn’t follow his instructions on how to change a bike tire after he yelled at me for a solid twenty minutes. I was probably hit on the head for that too. This disappointment wrapped itself in a cocoon and transformed into a feeling of even greater disappointment because I came out as bisexual.
For anyone who lives under a rock, bisexual is not normal, or at least according to society. Coming to terms with being bisexual has been a struggle. I remember the first time I was in sixth grade (I cringe at the thought of having to go through sixth grade, twice.), and I remember the first boy I felt my heart tug towards. We’ll call him Alex. Alex had olive skin and sandy blonde hair that went to his shoulders. He had this surfer aesthetic about him and he had a nice smile. This was all I knew about Alex.
So for some reason, I would catch myself thinking about Alex. This didn’t make much sense to me because we had never even had a conversation. We had mutual friends, but him and I never crossed paths. I pined from a distance every day at lunch, catching my eyes always drifting towards him and then looking away very abruptly if he even came close to catching my gaze.
Things changed when I was in the shower one night and saw how my body reacted to the thought of Alex. I was so scared. I couldn’t be gay. I had a crush on this girl, Taylor, who I sat next to in math class. I pushed the thoughts away but for some goddamned reason, found myself still staring at Alex.
Shit became real when my parents found out I was thinking of boys in that kind of way. I was asked if I still liked girls. I nodded. I was then reassured that it is normal to be curious. This didn’t feel like a curiosity though. Granted, I had never even kissed anyone in my life up to this point but nonetheless it was not just curiosity. I found myself enjoying and reveling in thoughts of my first kiss being by Alex or Taylor.
This school year was the first year I was called a “faggot”. But my High School Musical (sing along edition) and I just simply did not understand. Just wait…it gets better…If I reflect on myself from when I was younger, there were many signs pointing to my sexuality. I.e. likes, dislikes, attractions while not realizing they were attractions, etc.
I met my first love in eighth grade, Ashley. Her and I were best friends, this is where I discovered what I called “The Void” but most people know it as the friend zone. All in all, she led me on a few times, we kissed while she was just beginning to date her now husband, A LOT OF DRAMA. But she made it easy to suppress a side of me I never wanted to face. She also fed into my abandonment issues. Without disclosing all the details of this five year fatal attraction, I did love her. We are still friends today and I couldn’t be more thankful to still have her in my life after all of the nasty things we did to one another. She also lives across the country and we only chat through Facebook Messenger.
What are abandonment issues? I don’t know anyone who can really give me the pamphlet on the topic but, I do have my own rendition on this issue. My birth father left my mom before I was born. I then had to visit him every other weekend after the court ordered it for however many years. I started calling him by his first name in spite and he made the court order my mom to make me call him “Dad” or some variation of the word. I now call him Sperm Donor. He gave up his rights to me soon after I turned eight. Can someone hand this guy a “Father of the Year award”? After my family and I moved to Arizona, Sperm Donor proceeded to tell me my grandfather was dying to “get back at me” because I was the one who broke the news that we moved and my parents claim they didn’t have the time to tell him. Seriously, at the least this man deserves a gold star or something. When i was about eleven, I stopped talking to him all together because accepting his money on some holiday was not worth having a five minute conversation with him over the phone. I talked to him again when I was twenty-two. We didn’t keep in contact long, he proceeded to prove he was nothing but a liar.
I joined the military out of high school. It wasn’t by choice. My parents made the decision for me after only being a painfully average student. They didn’t want to pay for college. I do understand their point of view, but they should have tried to listen to what I wanted. This is something they aren’t too keen on. After a bit of training, I ended up in Washington state. It was my first time truly being away from home. It was terrifying, but I was stoked. After about a month into settling into my new place, I realized…I was free to be who I wanted (to an extent because you know, military.). I first downloaded an app that a lot of people in the gay community use. I then had a few conversations and started to learn about the side of me I wasn’t even slightly educated in. There was a lot to process. There was also a lot of opportunity. Did anyone else know red-heads are considered “exotic”? It sure took me by surprise, I always hated my red hair.
I figured out how easy it was to get laid by guys. Let me tell you, in my experience, it was much easier then getting with a woman. I loved the attention and the euphoria and the rush of meeting up with people I never met and let myself expose myself in the most vulnerable way possible. It’s what a lot of gay and bi men do on these apps, so that’s “normal” too, right? I then felt something latch onto me after going through a slough of these one night stands.
I couldn’t think straight. I felt as though I was on auto-pilot. Days blended together. People I slept with blended together. I blended into the background of life and just gave up for a long time. I remember texting my mother at 3am after I purposely cut my bicep about twenty times and watched the blood drip down my arm. I didn’t tell her about the self harm. But I did express how hopeless I have felt. How gravity seemed to press down on me more and more each day. I never wanted to leave my bed. I would go to work and when I wasn’t at work, I was staring at my wall, trying to fall asleep. And how did i fix it? With more sex, of course.
I had my first therapy appointment after I tried to get laid one night. It was at a local hotel. The man was muscular, attractive, cut, hunky, whatever. He was just passing through town. I would never see him again, so what’s the harm, right? Well, this man didn’t like that I wouldn’t assume the position of being the receiver. I don’t receive, it’s something I am personally not into. I always carried my pocket knife on me just in case a situation like this occurred but my jeans were across the room and he was already on top of me. After wrestling, i somehow managed to knee him in just the right place. I grabbed my knife and he did not move. I did not say a word. I grabbed my clothes and walked out of the room, naked. No one would see me, it was about 1am. I scurried to get my pants on. I then managed to walk five miles to the military base where I lived. I know this is what happened, but it is hard for me to describe. The most vivid image I can remember is looking ahead and watching the pine trees and night sky look like a dark, endless tunnel. And I felt like I was nothing but a shell.
This is also the first time I have disclosed that story publicly.
Therapy made me feel worse. My therapist was kind and had a pretty smile, but she was leaving soon, so why get attached? She pointed out how i was becoming addicted to sex and my sense of abandonment because I would invite strangers into my most intimate part of me and when they left, so did any sense of who I was. I was careful about my depression because in the military, you have to be careful. Soon after my therapist moved away, I had a really bad night.
I left my now ex-girlfriend a text that wasn’t supposed to be a suicide note, but it very much sounded like a suicide note. I grabbed all of my anti-depressants. All of the Tylenol. Then all of whatever my roommate threw away that morning. Over all, there were easily over a hundred pills and i was ready to have them accompanied by a water bottle full of vodka. I walked. I walked every inch of the military base that I could and then I managed to make it off the military base and walk even more. My auto-pilot took over and I seemingly materialized at the beach back on the base. I was sitting on top of a rock, it appeared to look like the rock Ariel perched herself up on in The Little Mermaid, except it was facing the ocean and not facing land. It was close to 6am and I was ready. I was ready to have some stranger discover my corpse and have someone contact my parents who I know would be distraught. I exhaled preparing to let go. Just then, the sun began to rise. Its like someone whispered in my ear “It’s not your time”. I listened. I then went to my room where I went to bed and my phone blew up from texts from my ex-girlfriend. She made me promise to never say anything like that again or to attempt what I was about to attempt. I promised.
Fast forward to when I just left the military. I was living with a friend for a few months and then I was given an ultimatum by my parents. First off, don’t ever push me in a corner. They said “Either you come home, or you’re not welcomed.” My mom will say those were my dads words, but the thing is, she didn’t stop him. She also will make sure he takes the blame. No wonder I don’t have a relationship with him. But nonetheless, I caved in. I wanted to keep the bond i had with my mom and not hurt her. I left Washington about a week later. My heart shattered. I had finally found a place where I felt free. Where I did manage to make a lot of friends and have many opportunities presented to me outside of the military. I found people who were part of the LGBTQIA+ community, I found people with a passion for the same interests, I found people who genuinely cared about me. I do love my mom and dad, but they are all that is there for me in Arizona. I was walking away from so many things that pulled me out of the depths of my darkest hours only to go back to the place where it all started.
I made my way into town after a couple of days and I had to pull over. I parked in the parking lot of the former grocery store I used to work at and I had a full blown panic attack. There was no way any of this was real. It was just a bad dream. If I pinched myself, I would wake up back where I belonged. I cried for a solid ten minutes and then I pulled myself together.
I didn’t stay long in Arizona. While I was there, I felt as though all of my anxiety came back. I felt as though my eyes were about to pop out of my head. And no matter what I was doing, I still was in the wrong. I got a job, quit (because the hours sucked and I was about to be starting community college), got another job, jumped into a relationship that only lasted three months, and then World War III. World War III is also kind of a blur. I remember a lot of yelling and then while trying to convey my side of the argument (which I can never do with my parents) they brought up my sexuality and relationship. I have been feeling great about myself until this argument. I had never previously mentioned how I was uncomfortable with myself or anything because I wasn’t uncomfortable and for them to bring it up out of nowhere in the argument makes me believe they have been silent about their issue with me just being me. It was many more things than that…they compared me to myself back in high school and said how I never changed even after years in the military. How I am a liar and untrustworthy because I wanted to rearrange our previous plans for me to dog sit so i could make it up to one of my best friends birthdays in Washington. I suggested multiple solutions but they wouldn’t listen. The list goes on. By the end of the week I had dropped out of community college. One whole weeks worth of school, wasted. I made my own decision to move back to Washington. This is where my mothers true colors came out.
It took a lot for me to move here. This was maybe the first thing I’ve done in my life that was truly for me and not anyone else. This is also a difficult thing to do because I am a people pleaser. I then had guilt because I was moving in with my best friend and her family and my mother and father think I am choosing another family over them. No. I am choosing me and they’re helping me with that opportunity. My mother butted her way in a few times and crossed multiple boundaries, for example, messaging one of my friends behind my back, opening my mail, blowing up my phone to where I literally have over thirty text messages waiting on me. I tried to be vocal with the boundaries I need, but she talked down to me and said the fact I lived states away was enough boundaries. But when your mother shares as much as mine does and crosses all of these lines, it feels as though states away is still not enough. After ignoring her for a period of time, I sent her a very honest, unfiltered email. Please excuse any errors…
“I’ve been really trying to piece my life together and i’ve come to a couple very large realizations. One, i don’t know what the hell i am doing. Two, i don’t know who the hell i am. And Three, i don’t know where the hell i am going. But in a weird way, i take comfort in this because it’s true and i’m being much more honest with myself and am working on being a more grounded, realistic person who doesn’t lead into every situation with his heart exposed. I opened up to my therapist in a way i never have before and it was hard. I cried a lot. But through this, i’m realizing i am scared of life and i shouldn’t be.
My anxiety stems from being overly aware of others emotions and not wanting to step on others feelings. This causes me to appease people and formed me into a people pleaser. This goes as far back as me being a kid and not truly feeling into my emotions because either way i was going to be punished for whatever. I then trained myself to roll with punishments because it was easier to roll with it then fight it. In this way i bottled so much up and never really got to express who i am. Fuck, if bottling that up was easy, i should bottle up my sexuality too right? Because “gay people live sad lives.” And i use gay as an umbrella term and not as instead of the term bisexual. Granted, i didn’t know how to approach it at the time, but that was my thought process.
You guys have always wanted me happy. I am not pointing blame at all either but hearing small things such as “gay people live sad lives” or comparing me to dads older brother who i have never met (Which my therapist also agrees is unfair because one, i’ve never even met the guy and two, that is a comparison and no one should be compared to anyone. Even if they’re comparing themselves. It warps identity and creates negative self-imagery.)
I share this because i am wanting to show i am making strides as well as wanting to hold myself accountable to them and my past actions and trying to show you. Me, you and dad have all done wrong, I am choosing to rise above it because i do love you guys.
Living states away is not a boundary. It helps, yes, but the action itself is not a boundary. Me deciding to not be as open with you is not because i love you any less, you are my mother. I love you unconditionally as i know you love me. I decided to do it because me and you going back and forth saying passive aggressive things is far below our maturity. I am talking about me ignoring you out of irritation and you sending me thirty text messages and messaging Wes without my knowledge. Again, i am not trying to start anything by bringing any of this up, i am owning my shit by saying i am fucking up too. I am trying to look at our situation from an honest perspective. I also know so much about you that i just shouldn’t. Yes, i have chosen to be open with you in the past, but one, doesn’t mean that should be used against me because it has always been said “It’s healthy to be open with your parents.” or being reminded how open we are. This is all i knew, so it was right. Right?… You and i were open to the point where we could talk about our sex lives pretty openly. I am your son and i shouldn’t know that as well as i should not share details about my sex life with you. Our version of being as open as we have been, is not healthy. We are both messing up and i am trying to take a step back and reproach my life, my mental health, my spirituality, and my self awareness.
My therapist believes you and i have codependency issues and it only makes sense with my abandonment issues as well. I hold on too damn tightly and open myself up to people in hopes they don’t leave because i am putting effort so why wouldn’t they? And your my mom, the one person who wouldn’t ever leave if i needed you, so you became this unofficial therapist who only had her own perspectives to draw from.
Put it in this perspective. You told dad when he asked if you have ever fallen in love before, you told him yes. Not in the sense of someone who wasn’t him, but in the sense of becoming a mother. You were as codependent on me as i have been on you. It was me and you against the world. Bill left you, and then you had me. You weren’t alone anymore. With Grammy and Pa fucking you up in every way possible, I would be the one who would understand because i am your blood. I came from you. You were the only one i ever truly confided in because you were my constant and vice versa. When dad came into the picture, you fell in love with him and built your relationship but you and i still managed to stay as codependent as we were. Admitting we are best friends just proves this. We are codependent on one another. And i am trying to not be. This is why i am setting boundaries.
I am trying to reproach my relationship with dad with a new perspective. Through therapy, i’ve realized i’ve always seen him as the bad guy. Well, he was more physical with me at times. He’s willing to play devils advocate. Him and i were always differing in interests. I saw him as someone who was opposite in the sense him being logical and so he just would never understand me because i am not a logical person. Whenever i tried to talk about you and him as a whole when talking about why i was grounded, or even the ultimatum (
which yes we have cleared up, i’m just referencing.), you always say it is dad who takes it too far. But the thing is, as much as you argue with him and readjust the situation, the damage is already done. Being lashed at whether it was me being grounded or on the opposing side of an argument, to only have it simmer down and to go back on something, because you, yourself simmered down the situation, makes it appear to me as a contradiction. I know that is not what it is and is not intended, but i warped that into thinking dad was a hypocrite.
I am depressed. I am at a really highly emotional point in my life. I left Arizona. In Arizona there was no way i could see myself growing as much as i have within the months i’ve been in Washington. Granted, even if i did find a way, i didn’t believe i could. I already invalidated any chance of me being happy in Arizona just by this. I was jaded. I then get flashbacks and have nightmares of what high school was like with constant arguing and therefore i put you and dad into a box of who you used to be. And so i didn’t move. I felt i was walking on eggshells just as i used to. And by not making a single move to improve my situation, i was failing.
I left on not so great terms. I recognize that. I’ve also been in such fear that you guys are right, that for a little bit, i didn’t move again. I am currently at this place called Work Source where i am trying to find a good job as well as learning to budget money and manage myself financially. It was a huge hit to my ego. My ego is one of my greatest downfalls. I’m usually too prideful to admit that. After being able to talk to a professional with my past suicidal thoughts and sexuality and growing up and every detail of my life and then go to the one place where i know i can fix it, seemed like a lot. I cried so damn much. I felt as though life dropped a sack of flour on my head and right when i was feeling okay, i read an article that felt like life dropped a second sack of flour on my head.
The article above is my answer to who i am. This article is so on point with my train of thought, it scares me.
I am trying my best to heal myself as well as fixing the aspect of my life i am aware i royally screwed up in. I do want a relationship with you. But i am also not living to appease anyone. Not you, not dad, not anyone. And so this letter is an apology, but not for the sake of apologizing. If we start emailing anything that can be perceived as nasty, i will not reply. Plain and simple. If we can look at ourselves, TRULY look at ourselves and be honest with one another, without me appeasing anyone and recognizing our faults to their true extents, i think we will be okay.
I personally think you would benefit form therapy as well. You can tell Dad everything in the world and that is amazing on every single level. But a therapist will be honest with you because they are a third person party. Dad is honest with you, but he is also your husband. Having a third party to use as a soundboard is beneficial. You have issues with being superficial at times and its related to your own body imagery. I also realize i adopted these body imagery issues and i do not blame you whatsoever. It was ingrained into you because you were at a heavier weight and were treated like crap for years and you were the most invisible person in the room. Now you’re stuck in this mind set that deep down you are not beautiful enough (at least that’s how you come off). But you are. You are beautiful enough for Dad and that’s all that matters. But you also need to learn to be beautiful for you and truly embrace the concept. You seek validation from others because you compare yourself to strangers who don’t even matter. When we go to Wal-Mart and you point someone out and ask me “Am i as big as them?”, that shows your true insecurity. You are depressed as well. You’ve taken medication for years and it’s not something one should be dependent on. I know about your struggle with depression because that is something else we have opened up about. But the medication is supposed to only give you a crutch for so long. I want you happy on every single level of your life and not just what’s on the surface or what’s around you.
All in all, this is me opening up about my true feelings and perspectives and attempting to be as real as i can. Even if you disagree, i hope you can respect that.
I love you. You are beautiful and creative and and deserve to be happy on EVERY level.
We are all messed up.
I understand if it takes a while to reply.
I really love you.”
She didn’t receive this email very well. Almost nothing I was stating was addressed and the things I could tell hit her, she didn’t comment on. I have come to terms with the fact that my mother does not understand my point of view. For someone who is supposedly “Just like me”, I have never felt more different.
I have made strides to being a better me. My mother has blocked me on Facebook and I personally am enjoying the space. My father and I barely talk as it is. I am coming to terms with that my mother is a narcissist and is manipulative and my father is just a bully. I am coming to terms with my sexuality and mental health and spirituality on a whole new level. Maybe for the first time in my life, I feel like I am going to be okay. There are many more details to this summary but if I were to tell them, it wouldn’t be a summary.
I am seeing a therapist very soon.