I’m everything I never wanted to be.
Growing up my parents were always fighting behind the scenes, they’d keep it out of sight but my sister and I always knew they were disagreeing about money or something else. My dad had a perpetual urge to get himself into more and more debt. As I grew up I knew I wanted to be nothing like my father, he failed at nearly everything he did. He opened a Diner, failed after a couple of years but during those years we had decent money, I quickly figured out that the reason we had decent money was because he was so poor at managing it, instead of taking care of his business he spent all the earnings he got on whatever he could to try and make his family happy. For some reason, he thought that materials were what would make us happy, for our mother that was what she wanted but for us kids… We just wanted to spend time with our parents who seemed to always be at work. When I was in 6th grade I would come home from school and have no one at home, nearly every day. I would play Runescape or Diablo 2. I started getting attached to computer games because in them I didn’t need other people to be successful, I was really good at them. That’s when I stopped playing sports.
See I was really good at football and baseball, but as I got older I lost interest because well… My dad stopped showing up, he was too busy. My mom didn’t seem to really care if I did well or not, I never got any “you did great sweetie” even though I don’t think I really wanted it. I really only played sports to make my dad proud of me, so when he stopped appearing at events I stopped trying. Though if I had continued I could have easily made Varsity in high school and probably gotten near full rides to college.
Instead I chose to smoke pot, play video games, and fuck around. But my parents never said anything about it. They either were too busy to notice or did notice and didn’t care, either way I never got a single talk about “don’t do drugs, don’t have sex”. Now I never got anyone pregnant or got arrested so I was pretty lucky especially despite everything I did do. But the one defining moment of my teenage years were when I started to feel depressed, my best friend Bryan stopped hanging out with me because he’d rather smoke pot with a rich kid and I didn’t want to smoke anymore at that point. I had no one, my sister was sixteen and had a baby so I never saw her and she was my closest friend growing up, we always had each other when mom and dad were never around.
I was alone, my dad had lost his diner, my mom was unemployed. I was worried about our bills; my dad was drinking heavily from his own depression but I felt so depressed I was being swallowed by my darkness. I reached out, I came into my mom’s room early in the morning one day before school and woke her up. At this time, I was fifteen years old. I took a knee next to her bed side and broke down, I cried so hard and I just told her I feel cold, empty, alone, and scared. She had no idea what to do, but she took me to a counsellor. Nothing happened from that, I went once and felt like it wasn’t going to do anything for me and then I never spoke of it again. My mom never brought it up, she never tried to comfort me more, I guess she just thought that I had gotten better. Then I decided to move in with my older brother. At this point in time I was in running start, I was going to college full time now that I was sixteen and I had a good path lined up.
But to summarize that, my parents moved to Las Vegas, then asked me to come live with them, I thought they had gotten better and were in a good place so I went. Big mistake, I missed an entire year of school because I was busy working and paying bills to help my sister and her boyfriend out. I made a huge mistake in not going back to school. Then when I was seventeen I started back up, as a Jr. That year all the kids I grew up with were graduating when I should have been… That mortified me, because I was smart, I was extremely smart, every teacher I had told me how my intellect could take me very far. But for some reason… at that point, knowing I wouldn’t graduate with everyone I grew up knowing, knowing I would have to wait another year… I gave up. I did the bare minimum and didn’t even try. I did still graduate though, I was the first of 3 boys from my mother to graduate high school. So at least I had that?
Jumping ahead a few years.
I had just enlisted in the Navy, I also had just rekindled my relationship with the one woman I had very really loved that I met in high school. I’m now twenty-two. Her and I spent so much time together and we loved each other. I made a very hard and very strong choice not to join the navy, I backed out. I did it because I loved her and we wanted to get married and I didn’t want to leave when our relationship was so new. We did a lot of moving after that, we moved out to Colorado for a bit because she was scared of her ex. We moved back, I did everything I could to find a job but I never felt appreciated. I finally found one, a good one… well decent. I made 35k a year plus bonuses. We finally got our own place, all the while I still did not feel appreciated, she didn’t cook, she didn’t clean, she really didn’t do anything other than go see her friends, and family. We didn’t do anything together at this point and then she got pregnant. When she told me… I didn’t know how to react, I was beyond excited but… I was terrified. I didn’t want to be my dad to my child. I didn’t want to have a child with someone who showed me no appreciation or true affection anymore. But I did my best to try and make things better, we had fights, we spent a little time apart. We both made a lot of mistakes but we tried. About 7 months later I got a promotion, we moved to SLC Utah. It was a big choice but my fiancé didn’t want to be around her family, she “hated the way they looked down on her for her parenting choices”. So, I thought it was a great idea. I made a little more money, I got to get off the phones and start leading like I loved doing. But she became isolated and pregnant, other than me she had no support system. And all I did was play video games. Two months after being in Utah our son was born, he was born with a glucose level of 8 and 3 holes in his heart. He was in the NICU for three weeks. I wasn’t even able to get more than a week off from work when he was born. Which fractured my relationship with my fiancé? She had obvious post-partum depression. I tried to get her to talk to someone but she refused, she disconnected from me and I did everything I could think of to talk to her, help her, be there for her. But between work and her being in the NICU all day every day while I was at work… We couldn’t have grown further apart. He finally got to come home, on an oxygen tank and machine. He couldn’t be off it. So that meant he couldn’t move around much with us and he was practically always laying down. It was hard to hold him and interact with him. I believe the three weeks in the NICU + whatever time he spent on that machine extremely delayed his growth and development.
Two months after he came home my fiancé and I broke up, she was going back and forth to Las Vegas and I knew it was going to happen. I resented her for not talking to me, not getting help, not taking care of her daughter because she was too depressed to. And not showing me love. I was being selfish for being mad at her for being depressed but I understood in a way, just as I do now. Depression is painful, it’s pure agony. But she left, she took my son, her daughter, and herself. I was alone, all my work and efforts to make our own life together over the last nearly 2 years were gone. I hated myself, I cried every shower I took, I even took unpaid time off from work because I was so close to snapping. I hated myself. I still do.
But at the time ex and I were trying to work things out, and finally after a couple of months we thought we did. We got back together and we were trying… Or at least I was in my mind. She was back for barely week when she started staying in bed again, when she stopped cleaning and cooking, stopped talking to me again. But I didn’t get mad, I just kept trying. I would come home, play a board game or something with the little girl and see my son. I would eat something and try to spend time with her, but I stopped trying when she made me feel like she didn’t want me. I started to think she only came back because her grandparents and mom were to mean. They wouldn’t stop telling her how to parent, they called her a shitty mom even though they are absolutely horrible parental figures. I felt like I was just a lesser of two evils. But we tried… for another year.
My depression had gotten so bad I finally reached out for help, I got medication and I was working on it. My fiancé was doing nothing all day and taking care of our children. She’d just watch tv and feed them, let the 5-year-old play video games. I started experiencing severe dizzy spells that would cause me to faint so I had to take some time off work. They never figured out what was wrong but my doctor thinks it was psychosomatic. No money for two months put us under a lot of stress, I finally got the okay to return to work and the moment I stepped into that office it felt like they were just looking for a reason to fire me. Which put me on edge, I got written up for stuff no one else had ever been written up for. Which was insane considering prior to my leave of absence I had been told by my manager, our director, and our Sr. Director how great of a job I was doing and how proud of me they were. But they were out to get me, it was clear, I was a liability now because of my time taken off. Which added stress to me and thusly my family. My fiancé and I were trying to get on even ground, I suggested the idea of writing down who we are and who we want our partner to accept us for and I asked her to go first or at least write hers out. She said she would, she never did. But I did, and I gave it to her after a few days of waiting. She didn’t like it, which was obvious but nothing about our relationship was ever fair. I worked my ass off to be a good dad, and boyfriend/husband/fiancé. She was lazy, she didn’t clean, she didn’t cook. She did nothing all day. She used the guise of the children being handfuls for not getting anything done. But for the fifty-seven days I spent at home, that was the case for May 3 of them. She was just lazy. Her laziness was like a slap in the face to me. She had given up trying, but she was always like that so maybe she just never actually cared? At this point she was going to Las Vegas for “7 days” every few weeks but those 7 days always turned into 10 or 14.
At this point it was 6 days before Father’s Day, I was finally going to get to spend a Father’s Day with my son (missed the last one because they were in Vegas). And she kept saying how he was eating better in Vegas and the tension between her and I was making it harder on his eating habits. Which made me feel like shit. She had planned to go back to Vegas the day after Father’s Day. I don’t know what made me do it but I told her it was okay to go early, because our son’s health was more important (he wasn’t gaining weight, for months). So, she left on Thursday morning, Father’s Day being on Sunday. The same day she told me how he was already eating more and I felt like I had made a good decision. The next night while I was playing league with some friends. she broke up with me over a text message. A fucking text messages. She had no desire to be intimate with me the night before leaving, and we talked about that, she had no desire for a while but always complained about us not being intimate and blaming me. But I was always trying, buying toys and stuff to make it fun for her. But it was all really her fault and she admitted that. I should have seen that as a sign that them leaving was going to be the last time we’d be a family.
That same weekend, on Father’s Day. I found out what the barrel of my gun taste like. I was so close. But I didn’t because I love my son too much to kill myself. I want to be a part of his life too much to take myself away from him like that. A couple of weeks after this… I got “let go” because they finally found a fucking reason to fire me. I “passed the buck” when I clearly did not. But at this point I was just like “fuck it”. I actually found out what it was like to cry and laugh at the same time… I felt broken. But in a way relieved. That place was destroying me and I hated them but I gave 100% effort every day I was there. I was fired for a scenario where no one else in the company would be fired or has ever been fired. But on well.
I got to taste my gun a second time, why? Because how am I supposed to provide for my son, see him, visit him, buy him clothes, pay child support, without a job? The moment I get a job the government is going to fuck me for back pay, that I know she’s not going to spend even 1/5th on him. How do I know? because she gets child support for her daughter and not once did she ever spend that money all on her daughter, in 3 years of our relationship. She’d rather buy essential oils.
I cry nearly every night knowing I cannot hold my son, make him laugh, kiss his forehead, or hold his hand. Knowing I am not going to see his first steps, hear him speak his first real words, and I’ll probably miss out on his growing up. No one ever looks at a good father who’s been removed from his child’s life and says, “he’s a good father and doesn’t deserve to not be a part of his son’s life due to circumstance”. Everyone just assumes that a father who isn’t around is a dead-beat piece of shit who doesn’t care or is too selfish to be a father. I hate that stigma more than anything, I love my son, I’d die for my son. I would give anything to have my son. If he were a little older, and I was in a much more stable place with a good job I would fight for custody. But we all know how that would go, I’d lose because “moms always win”. Courts don’t see fathers and mothers equally.
I spend every night hating myself for what I was not able to do, what I failed at, and what I am not. I want to die nearly every day. But I don’t because my life is not about me anymore. My life is not about what I want or what I need. My life is about my son. My life is about what he needs and what he wants.
Sometimes I wish I could kill myself, but I’m either too weak or too strong. I don’t know which one is which. But I do know this, no matter how many tears run down my face, no matter how many emotional scars I suffer. I will never give up because there is one person in this world that I love more than I could ever hate myself, and that’s my baby boy. He deserves more than I’ll ever be able to give him, he deserves more than what his mother will ever be able to give him. But I will never take anything from him, not me, not his mother, not his family. If I had custody I wouldn’t isolate him from them.
I love my son, he is my reason for soldiering on. He is my reason to keep pushing.
If you are depressed if you want to die, look outside your selfishness. Know that everything you experience is just that, an experience. It can either define you or teach you. Don’t let it define you, learn from the bullies, learn from the hatred, the sadness. Use that knowledge to become a better person, that knowledge will help you connect with so many people and that’s what humans need. Connections. If you don’t see a reason to live because you’re lonely and you don’t think anyone loves you, ever will or that you are useless… You’re wrong. It may not feel like it but you are. Use the knowledge of your sadness and depression to prevent someone else’s sadness. If you don’t know how to fix yourself protect those around you who need help. Be there for people like you needed someone to be there for you. Make someone smile, someone laugh. Don’t wallow in your own self-doubt and pity. Stand up because the shit you stomp through is what makes you strong. If you think you’re broken, you’re not. The moment you think you are broken is when you are at your strongest. That is when You realize your weakness and you acknowledge it. Use it, use that knowledge to better yourself, to steal yourselves from any more pain or hatred. Don’t kill yourself or hurt yourself for attention, don’t do it because it feels good or makes you feel alive. Having a positive impact on someone’s life, saving them from themselves will bring you more relief and self-worth than any drug or blade can.
If you cannot fix yourself or you cannot find a reason to be happy, step outside yourself, look outward towards those who could use help and help them. You will learn more about yourself and you will find what you need if you just stop focusing on you and your self-pity for one moment.