The Shocking Challenges of Being a Dad [guest post]

This post is written by my bro Booster Blake. When I read it, i was struck by how candid, honest and real it is. Booster brings it to us raw. I’m guessing many dads have experienced something similiar. I’m grateful to hear his words as I believe they’ll help other dads on the path. 

I didn’t know Booster back then, but i trust he’s an amazing dad to his two sons now. The guy is constantly working on himself and working to express his own art and magic in the world. This post is such art. 

Here it is:

14 years ago today I became a father… Here’s a bit of my story if you’re interested.

I always wanted to be a father, the kind I never had but always wanted. But when Liam came round it was a surprise to me and his mama. She and I had just decided to split up after two years together when she discovered she was preggers. Life came to a skidding halt. She didn’t want an abortion. Breaking up meant she would move home to Sweden and I would lose out on being a father. In hindsight, that may have been the best choice. “Best” in terms of ease and grace for all concerned. After all, she had family support in Sweden, while here all she had was a few good friends and a rocky relationship. But I was prideful and couldn’t accept the label of “absent father”. She was codependant and needed me to choose her to feel whole, so off we went into the wilderness of parenthood with the best of intentions.

I remember the painful early days of fatherhood. I remember desperately wanting to authentically want to be a father and feeling very frustrated by the fact that I didn’t. All I felt was anger over the unexpected pregnancy. “This is what happens other chumps, careless chumps. Not me.” But there I was. And so I tried my best to fake it till I could make it my reality. I was certain there was gold to be found here if I just pushed hard enough to discover it.

Six days a week I was a perfect husband, cleaning the house, working full time, going to school, cooking dinners, even massaging my woman’s swollen feet. But one day of the week, I took for myself. And my wife hated that day. She hated it becuz deep down she knew it was the only day that I felt free. It was usually a Friday or Saturday. And she would start in with me the morning of. First little passive aggressive jabs like, “How come you spend your savings on your night out with your friends instead of on a vacation for us?”. Then escalating thru the day until by the time I was ready to head out, I was dodging a firehose of rage and scorn. By the time I jumped into the car waiting outside with my buds, I was redfaced and ready to blow a gasket. They wouldn’t ask any questions, they’d just laugh and hand me a bottle of Jack, which I’d drink deeply from just to climb back off the ledge.

Then before sunrise the next day, I’d return home. Sleep till noon. Shower. Shave. “Yes dears” all queued up ready for the week. It was abusive. To us both. I justified my “free day” with a week of servitude indentured to my own need to be The Good Guy. She refused to take responsibility for her own life and continued to hang her happiness upon my shoulders, stifling her power and her own right for happiness behind a curtain of fear and shame. Like a game of chicken in quicksand. A suffocating, disempowering dynamic that built up resentment like slowly charging up a laser gun, and the first to make a wrong move got blasted with a ray of bitterness and blame.

Somehow we made it out of that mess. Now 14 years later, we’re divorced and living our own lives in accordance with our own hearts. I’m happier by far, mostly because I’m in right relationship with my heart than of anything else. She seems so but what do I really know? A scorned woman wears her secrets like armor and with good reason. Over the past 14 years, I’m grateful to say that my wish to authentically appreciate fatherhood slowly grew into reality. Not like a bolt of awareness or anything, more like a slow thaw. Like the way a forest regrows after a fire. Probably has something to do with me claiming myself, or some such thing, I dunno for sure. Maybe I just matured with age. Maybe I just got lucky and ended up with two kids easy to love. Like I said, I dunno really how it happened. But I do know that I’d sooner saw off my own legs than give up this privilege to raise these two boys now.

The upside is that fatherhood has made me a better man as a result. Better in the sense that I care more about the world. I feel more inspired to meet my spirit’s call, support my community, do right by my word, and help where I can. Why does fatherhood evoke this in a man? I dunno but I think it has something to do with what happens to his heart when he finds something more important than himself. It’s a sort of alchemy of the soul. A slow boil that renders the fat in his head into wisdom.

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