Memories From the Balcony – Our Roots

I have news for you, which should not come as a shock at all, but still, this needs to be placed here as a reminder.
This is really nothing more than a simple fact.
Life will always keep moving. We know this.
But more than saying, “Hey, that’s just life.”
“That’s how life goes.”
Either way, I want to place this here, in trust with you, so that when the future eventually comes, perhaps you’ll understand more about us. Or if anything, maybe you’ll see me differently.

One thing that we seem to forget is that we’re all human.
Everyone in our life – they’re all human.
What does that mean?
This means that we all make mistakes. We all say things that we wished we never said.
At some point, everyone is going to do something that they wish they could take back.
Above all things, no matter what role you have in this life, no matter what job you end up working, and no matter where you live, your life will always be influenced by your perception and point of view. 

But, not everything is as it seems. 
I say this knowing full and well that we understand this on an intellectual level. However, there is an emotional aspect to our thinking that does not understand this. There is an emotional attachment to the wrongs in our life and the unresolved tension from our past.

For example:
I look back at the way I got along with my Father. I think back to our challenges and how, at one point, neither he nor I were able to come to an agreement or be on the same page. 
I understand this now on an intellectual level. But when you’re a kid and when you lack the benefits of hindsight; it’s hard to understand the concepts of someone else’s struggle. Hence, we internalize information and gather data that is otherwise unhelpful to our growth.

I know there was love between us. I know that my Father loved me and I know that I loved him.
But, we didn’t always like each other.
I know that somewhere in the rulebook it says that you’re supposed to love your Mother and Father. The same rules apply for others in our family. Parents are supposed to lead, guide, support and love us. It’s okay if we have challenges. It’s okay if we make mistakes. It’s okay if we have a reason why we’re not okay – but parents aren’t supposed to be human. Parents aren’t allowed to have problems. Family is supposed to come first.
Any deviation from the standards is wrong.

I never saw my Father as human. I only saw him as what I thought he was supposed to be.
I never realized that perhaps he lived with anxiety as well. Even when I did recognize this, I still held him to accountable for the concepts in my mind.
I never thought that maybe he knew depression just as well as I did.
In fact, maybe it was his frustrations with himself or the life he lived that made it tough for him and I to get along with each other.

This is an understanding which I choose to see as growth.
I say this because for years after his passing, I would never dare to say anything about my Father, The Old Man, that wasn’t loving or respectful. I would never reveal truths like this because, to me, this level of honesty would be disrespectful to my Father’s name.

I would never dare to be this honest and recognize that, like me or anyone else in this world, my Father had challenges of his own. Yes, I understand that he did the best he could. At the same time, it took me years (if not decades) of growth to reflect and admit that, at times, my Father’s best wasn’t good enough.

We are all human.
Hence, we all make mistakes.
We all have our own mental and personal anatomy.

We all have wants and needs. In most cases, if we’re being honest, there are times when we’re resentful of the people around us. There are times when we blame others. There are times where our personal inventory becomes packed with issues and the files in our brain are stuffed at the seams with useless data that causes us to decay from the inside out.
This is where our subconscious programming comes from. This is where our automatic assumptions slip through the cracks of our best thinking.
To me, this is the who, what, when, where and why of my historical mindset. 

There comes a time when we have to realize that the world is only made up of humans. So, it pays to stop putting people up on pedestals – it saves us from future disappointments.
We have to recognize that outside influences and the people who are “supposed” to have a certain role in our lives are not always going to fit our description.

Think about this for a second.
Think about our definitions of friendship and the lack thereof.
Think about the definitions we have about family, or about brothers or sisters, or cousins, aunts and uncles, about mothers or fathers and then think about how we view people in our life.
We have this mapping which comes from our past.
We have a belief system which has been hindered or influenced by past experiences. Thus, we might find ourselves in the face of interpersonal challenges. We might have separation anxiety or challenges with abandonment. The list can go on but at least now we can understand how and why this list got started in the first place.

Our biggest challenges with the anatomy of our mental or personal self comes from the historical wiring, which are symptoms from our past.
I get that now.
I understand where my shame comes from. I understand why I judged myself too harshly.
I also understand where my challenges with being “enough” come from.
More than anything else, I understand that judgment is a bitch!
I understand how our standards and opinions can be skewed by the details of our historic events and that unless we learn to unlearn what we have learned and reprogram our thinking, it’s really easy to be stuck in the rut of old thoughts and behaviors. 
Again, I say think about this.

Think about where our biases come from. Think about where our irrational assumptions come from.
Or, even better, think about where our preemptive strikes come from.
Think about the reasons why we react or overreact to situations in our mind – especially the ones that haven’t happened yet or do not exist. 

I can say that looking back, there were parts of my Father’s personality that, at one point, I swore would never be me.

I swore that I would never be as inflexible or frustrated – like he was.
I swore that I would be more loving and patient.
And was I?
In fairness to the truth and in full disclosure, no. I was no different.
With me, my defense was hey, I’m human.
And I am only human. I did my best but no differently from my Old Man, there were times when my best was not helpful.

Again, I call realizations like this growth.
This is not self-deprecating.
Not at all. This is simply an honest assessment of my past measures and mistakes.

I find this interesting because, again, I go back to the standards of who we think our parents are supposed to be.
I go back to that rulebook, which as it states on page 12, section two, third paragraph, you’re supposed to love your family with all of your heart and with all of your might and there’s no questioning allowed.
There’s no room for parents to be human and, according to the law, everyone is supposed to get along.

Well, I say the rulebook sucks . . .

Furthermore, I had to learn to challenge my assumptions as well as the lessons that I learned because in order to grow or in order to improve and be my best self, I had to learn that some of the lessons I was taught, including the lessons that I learned about my life were not accurate at all.

We all come to an age of realization; in which case, we find ourselves looking back at the life we have and the life we’ve lived.
We find ourselves stunned by moments of awareness. As we move through life, hopefully we come to an optimal level of understanding. Therefore, we learn to let go of our resentments.
We understand the wiring of our history. We understand that while our life might not have been perfect and that fights and arguments can separate us, my hope is that one day you come to an understanding that relinquishes all of the past or the inaccuracies of your historical events.

My hope is that you recognize that we all have the ability to do or say the wrong thing; that just because we said something mean doesn’t mean we actually meant every word – or that even if we did mean it – we never meant to say this out loud – but in moments of frustration and in the heat of an argument or personal dispute, things can be said that create irreparable damage.
I know this now.

I agree there are some things that we don’t come back from. I agree that there are times when we have to part ways and that although it says in the rulebook that family is always supposed to love us and understand, the fact is that roles and positions in life are not going to guarantee a good or strong relationship.
We’re not always going to get along.

And me?
I had to come to a crossroads to understand this. I had to come to a harsh yet personal understanding.
I had to stop nurturing or burying my resentments in order for me to nurture and unearth my truth.
Otherwise, I’d still be stuck in my past.

I look back at who I was. I look back at the roots of my insecurity and the fears I had about being my true self.
I think back about the judgments and the definitions that were taught to me. 
More than anything, I think about the roots of my dilemmas and recognize where they’ve come from.

This took years of understanding but eventually I came to an understanding that it is okay to question or challenge my assumptions. It is okay to question or challenge the lessons that we learn.
In fact, this is a must in life.

There are some great memories from my childhood. I’m more comfortable with them now.
I’m more comfortable with allowing myself a journey into my past without the harshness of judgment. 

My point of this is so that you come to your own realization. One day, you’ll start to understand that whatever mistakes I made are part of my emotional DNA and that yes, at best, I am only human the same as my Father was before me. 

I say this as a man who is familiar with the terms of divorce as well as someone who understands the painful value of parental alienation. I used to blame myself for everything, but not anymore. Besides, blame never helped solve a problem. Instead, I recognize my areas in need of change. I adapt and then I improve accordingly.

I suppose that, in part, I want the world to know that we all have challenges. We all have episodes in our life when we’re not at our best. Resentments do damage. Also, there are times when we are mentally compromised – and I get it, Dads aren’t allowed to have certain feelings or be human. While I am a Dad and while this is more so in name than anything else – I’m also human.
My Old Man was human as well. 
So was his before him . . .

It’s strange and sad to say this; however, I have to admit that I have a better, stronger relationship with my Father and his memory than ever before. 
Of course, I wish this could have been sorted out while he was still alive.
But hey, that’s life.


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