Adolescence's Fall

January 20, 2010
“That’s not normal to me.” Her excitement made her voice loud and her face glow but at the same time she seemed almost to be throwing her voice so that my heart aches weren’t laid out on display. Her eyes darted from one of my eyes to the other searching to reassure herself that I was listening. She wanted me to hear this. She had talked to me before, about things in class and such, but this time she seemed intent on making sure that I hear everything she wanted to say. I’ve never been very good at controlling my facial expressions, but I gave her the best ‘interested’ look I could so that she would know that I was genuinely interested. “I can’t understand how anyone can simply not love there child.” My heart sunk like the Titanic. “It’s just not normal. Even animals love their children!” Damn, that was true. Even animals love their kids. So why didn’t my dad love me? What did I do? What had happened to him? “Your dad is sick.” The tone of her voice wasn’t disgust, like if she was saying he was perverted, but rather sympathy, like a doctor telling a woman that her husband has cancer. She turned to her computer; there was something already on the screen. This woman, as busy as her life was, had taken the time to look something up for me. Wow.

Sure it wasn’t giving me a kidney but it was more than a lot of other people could add to their resume. I was listening. She pulled up a Google search on ‘personality disorders’. “He has a personality disorder,” I questioned myself. Then, with all of my attention focused, like a race horse, on what she was doing, she navigated to a page on narcissism. Narcissism: it sounded like some evil, wicked, messed up mind problem. “Someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has at least 5 of these symptoms...” As she began to read the page out loud to me, the cogs of the clock that is my mind began to turn. Like a humble little fire, made out of the desperate need to survive, finally taking to the sparks of hope’s rocks, my mind began to burn with understanding. And then, she said something that I will NEVER EVER forget. “You need to understand that you’re dad has a disorder. When you realize this, I think it will be easier to forgive him.” My heart stopped beating. My lungs lost their will to draw in life. All this time….

For so long, I had HATED my father. I had always said that it was no big deal, but when he left, it had pushed me over the edge. I had lost it. My life had slipped away like the sands of time through GOD’s fingers. I had died inside. When he left, he carried my soul as his prisoner in the urn of his rage. So, I buried my pains in the casket of my hate. I said that I had forgiven him, to make my mom stop crying, but I’m not that dumb. My mouth wouldn’t man up to admitting it, but my heart knew. I was lying for the Guinness World Record. I would have won.

I hadn’t forgiven him. In fact I had held on to my anger like a child holds on to a picture of a loved one lost. In a way, my anger was how I reminded myself that he did exist and that daddy was just away on a trip. I was so naïve.

This anger was chewing at my soul like heartworms in a dog. I hadn’t learned to forgiven him, and because of it, I hadn’t learned to forgive myself. My life was GOD’s domino set and I had every feeling that HIS mighty finger had willed the chips to fall. My dad had left; so I hated him; so my life got messed up; so I hated myself; so my life’s ashes were blown away in the winds of chaos like unwanted dust from a bookshelf. It was all too much for me. It was the fallen log in the river of life flowing through me, the short circuit in the mother board that is my mind, and the cancerous marrow in the restoration of my bones. In every sense of the word, it was unhealthy.

…But in that moment, that moment that had dripped into my heart as slowly and sweetly as the last drop of honey, I …….I finally forgave him. As the warmth of these words met my cold, icy heart, my chains of anger slowly lifted away. I felt myself floating above the world in response to the sudden lost of weight. I was a balloon, escaped from the tight and greedy grasp of a child’s hand, free and floating to where I had so longed to be.

I read a quote once, don’t ask by whom, that read, “when you believe that adults are perfect, you are a child; when you see that adults are flawed, you are an adolescent; and when you forgive them, you become an adult.” I may not legally be an adult, but now that I’ve let go of my dingy security blanket of anger, I feel like more of a man. And that’s how I’ve wanted to feel for a long time. Thanks Ms. Livingston.

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