Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Of Fathers and Sons

My parents arrived here two weeks ago. I was looking forward to their visit after 15 years, and in spite of my expectations, or maybe because of my expectations, the past couple of weeks have turned out to be the most difficult time of my life. A number of times, I became so frustrated that I cried and sobbed alone. This is me, a 45 years old male, frustrated with my 75 years old parents. Clearly, I love them a lot, otherwise I would not care much for them and be hurt so much.

In the past few years, I have become increasing aware of parts of me that were hurt and damaged in my childhood and adolescence. One major thing that I missed then, and apparently still missing now, is spending time with my parents, specially with my father. In the past few month, I imagined that I would use the time of their visit to spend more time with them and engage in some fun activities specially with my father. I remembered some vague memories of my father working on different projects, with calm and focus, and always wondered why I had not been more engaged with him. Deep down, I thought (although, this is not `thinking', but more like `operating' from a certain place) that I had a problem, was lazy, or did not try hard enough. I also imagined that if I had a child, I would love to share with him/her some of the activities that I enjoy.

The first time I tried to do something with my father in the backyard, a few days after their arrival, he completely ignored me and kept working as if I did not exist. I tried to talk to him that same night and  tell him, indirectly, that I really want to spend time with him. (Why indirectly? Because I have not had the courage to talk directly about my need.) The next day, same thing happened. I felt crushed and confused. I re-lived memories of my childhood (of being excluded and alone) and in a strange way, all the hurt and suffering of that time came back to me, not as visual memories, but as pure pain.

I realize how childish the whole thing sounds. But this is exactly the nature of the wounds and sufferings that we carry from our childhood. They look childish and stupid from outside. But from inside, they hurt like hell and they can easily push us toward depression and/or anxiety.

After a few occurrences of this pattern of behavior, I decided to let go of the idea that this trip is an "opportunity" for me to make up for the lost time of my childhood. That reduced the pressure considerably, and let me evaluate the situation better. It seems to me that my father is very competitive and his work ethics/habits are not compatible with me. He is even competing with himself when he works alone, and if I am present, he cannot help competing against me too! I like to do things differently, let's say in a leisurely fashion, with calm and focus. The truth is that we probably cannot work together anyway. I may just have to let go of the fantasy of working with my dad altogether and simply enjoy their stay as much as I can.

Another frustrating point is that I realize that Sima's work habits is very close to my father. They actually enjoy working on projects. Although, to be honest, they do -NOT- work together, because they are both super competitive and they prefer to work alone. Neither of them does understand my Zen approach to doing things, lol.

Anyway, I am still analyzing this, and I am still bothered a lot by the whole thing. I just hope that I can enjoy part of my time with my parents somehow.

PS. In a very strange way that I cannot fully explain, this post is closely related to the previous post, [Parting of the Ways]. The symbolism of "God" is closely related to the relationship between father and son (as in holy trinity, for example). "Parting of the ways with God", therefore, can be a premonition of the difficulties that I was going to encounter in my relationship with my father. It is as if I am forced to confront the differences between myself and my father, in the harshest way possible, and hence, to accept my own identity as separate from my parents and specially my father. In this way, we are parting ways, saying goodbye, to each other.

2 comments:

  1. نه اصلا هم احمقانه و بچگانه بنطر نمیرسه.

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    1. Thank you very much for your comment, I appreciate it.

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