I read about them in books, those aptitude/career tests high schools supposedly give to their students to place them on the right track. Maybe that’s why I remained uncertain all my life. Those guidance counselors, who only had me and several other hundred students with last names A-G in mind, are to blame. Those bastards.
Find A Girl, Settle Down
As I listen to Cat Steven’s “Father and Son,” a part of me yearns for a different childhood. Perhaps if I knew my father better, I might have been a different man. Then again, if my father was still my father – the drunken man staggering in, shouting and angry – I might have been worse off.
Life has been one abandonment after another when it came to male role models. My maternal grandfather – the one I’m named after – died when I was in the third grade, while my paternal grandfather passed three years later. Uncles came and went. Male teachers who were inspiring enough only lasted a year in my life and were not common.
In college, I haunted the hallways outside the offices of professors I looked up to. When they were in, I sat there talking about class assignments and later political topics, etc. Even when I wasn’t enrolled in his class, I’d sit in a cushy or uncomfortable chair just to learn from an authentic man – not like the ones you see on TV who need to strut their testosterone.
But a few men gracing my life was not enough to create a philosophy of manhood. It’s just something that’s supposed to come naturally to you, I suppose.
Everything She Wants, I See She Gets
Instead of men, women were the ones that taught me what being a man meant.
Anyone who thinks this isn’t possible needs to shut the fuck up and stop reading my damn blog get better educated. Despite the obvious exceptions, women are just as capable as a guy. And that’s not some neo-feminist-guy babble.
That Was Gonna Go On A Tangent (formerly, I Need A Job)
The point, let’s stick to it, shall we?
After all these years of being educated, I’m not any smarter than originally thought. I’m good with adapting to situations. My mother’s always thought of me as a survivor – “Whenever Willie gets into a mess, I know he’ll figure how to make it right.”
My mother’s faith in me might have been the foundation of my arrogance. My mother’s a survivor, she’d had to be because she had three sons – what gets more chaotic than that?
But the tides are changing, and I’m drifting caught in the undertow. There’s what I’m good at and what I love doing and the two cannot exist while the other is around. There’s what’ll give me money and what makes me happy; I cannot have both. Not to mention, there’s the plan of returning to school in hopes to get my MFA in Creative Writing.
The cords are pulling me two ways and I feel like I’m drowning. And I’m reaching up for the tiny hand that might pull me out of myself – I’ve lived within myself for far too long – and bring me ashore.
And Sometimes When You’re On, You’re Really Fucking On, And Your Friends They Sing Along And They Love You. But the Lows Are So Extreme, And The Good Seems Fucking Cheap. And It Teases You For Weeks In Its Absence, But You’ll Fight And You’ll Make It Through, You’ll Fake It If You Have To And You’ll Show Up For Work With A Smile. You’ll Be Better And You’ll Be Smarter, And More Grown Up, And A Better Daughter Or Son, And A Real Good Friend. And You’ll Be Awake, You’ll Be Alert. You’ll Be Positive, Though It Hurts. And You’ll Laugh And Embrace All Your Friends. And You’ll Be A Real Good Listener. You’ll Be Honest. You’ll Be Brave. And You’ll Be Handsome And You’ll Be Beautiful You’ll Be Happy.
I know I should feel nervous. Anxious. I feel like I should worry and pace around. Like I should feel like taking walk, getting back with nature. Instead, I feel stoic.
That might actually be some improvement.
- Manliness Doesn’t Just Happen (artofmanliness.com)
- True Fathers (gregoryhamel.net)
- Writing Competitions (mineandotherstories.wordpress.com)
- Lesley University Creative Writing MFA Ranks Sixth in Low-Residency Programs Worldwide (prweb.com)