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“Why isn’t he more like me?” I assume that is what my father asks himself when I go on about things like buying noise punk vinyl records from my English teacher or expressing my opinions on avant-garde cinema or the emotional expression in blood paintings. My lanky long distance runner physique stands contrary to his muscular, football player build. I never wanted to watch the Packers game with him. I’d rather sit in my room and learn Black Flag songs on guitar.
My mom says that I am affected socially by the absence of a male figure in my everyday life. Growing up with my mom and sister, I had to form my own perceptions on living my life as a man. Being dependent on them for forming me when I was still in my impressionable years would have led to me being in an entirely different complex of social rejection than the average punk kid already is. I obviously wasn’t going to be the all-star football player ladies man that my father was. That was apparent much earlier in my life. Seeing him on the weekends and at the occasional appearance at one of my middle school B team basketball games wasn’t influential to my development as a man. I’ve been doing things my own way for a while now. I still had the longing to be more like the son I’m sure he wanted though. I spent a lot of time dwelling on that when I was entering high school. The thought of joining football even crossed my mind. I’m sure he’d be proud of me then. Bringing my physical well being into account though, I settled on running long distances in cross country. There must have been a Kenyan in our bloodline somewhere, because I found out that I could run. Well. That though of my dad being critical about my choice to run still sat in my stomach like a rock. That rock soon decomposed, to fertilize a new seed of motivation I was too ignorant to notice in the first place. Regardless of what I was doing, my dad was going to be proud of seeing me do well. Most of all, being happy while doing well. Whether it was me coming in second in a cross country race, or taking the stage before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with my band, no matter how different I am from him, he will always be proud of me.
Because of this mental awakening, I could really care less about proving myself to anyone anymore. I wasted too much of my life shaping myself into something I’m not for mere approval of figures in my life. They will accept me for however I choose to lead my life. They offer me independence. To be my own person. It is beyond being countercultural. It’s hardly that. It’s not even rebellion. Its understanding that I am passionate about the things I do and the things I love, and how that is unimpressionable.





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