Oyster Bar – Vivid Dwells #1

From August 13th 2022, sitting outside in the rain at my Uncle’s oyster bar, in Battle Creek Michigan.

Water is running down this tin roof outside. It’s a gray morning. Later, we bury our brother, father, uncle, and friend. By eleven the reality will set in and this will be another moment in time where we all say our goodbyes. Death brings out inner demons through grief. You can watch a person melt away in front of you. In their moment this new persona prevails, the one with less to give, more to say, and something to prove. My thoughts want not to judge, however, we are raised and praised to judge those exposing the rails of self they hide. This to some could be a simple ceremony, a simple week of going through the paces. Beneath all the streamlines and emotional numbness…there is a wild, streaking, in your face, poetry. This could look like a peaceful morning, or physical conflict. This could be as soft as a threatening message through social media, or large vats of blue tequila that turn a greenish color when stirred. In all the madness we have to choose how we will function through this space. Are we to become a vessel for others….Hidden in the words of “support” or guilted from another to control their experience? It seems easier to disengage, to not allow anyone the actions of telling you where you go, how you cope, or when to leave. 

I’ve spent decades of my life sitting in chairs because someone else needed me to. Anymore, it feels wrong to move without choice. Odd how the very characters of this story never ask much about me, or how my life is going. You can hide a wealth of sadness and pain in front of most people and they can’t even sense a subtle tinge of imbalance because they are hyper focused on themselves. I wonder how that sustains through so much territory of vitriol, and poisonous truth a tongue has been dying to convey. But we surrender to our demons the fickleness of our souls. We want to spit venoms and let people know because we ourselves are afraid, bitter, and ready for change. Fear exposes such things when tensions stir up the great sagas of a life. We are not so young anymore after loss, after years of depression, and struggle to believe. These truths shatter fantasy, they force us to want more while being disabled to produce a pathway. Why do we fear ourselves in the eyes of the public? Any public, even the community you believe has your back. Truth is, we have to sail away, alone, while looking for the new versions of our intentions. You can call it a restart, a fresh start, we can call it a crisis, we can label it something that’s terrifying, sublime, you name it we can say anything, do anything, be anything. But there’s a price and we always have to say goodbye somewhere. Always. 

Fathers

This is my seventh Father’s day. Yesterday driving along the lakes in Tellico, my two young boys next to me, it felt warm and home like. The inner dialogue, which I tried to silence couldn’t help but rattle off thoughts about love, and family – a narrative still fumbling and working hard to stick with me.

When my oldest son was born I remember promising myself I wouldn’t allow my family to split. Three years after its break up, I’m still very much asking the universe to guide me to myself without the foundations of my kids, and the idea of family, or what I assumed my experience would be like. And its ok…I’m not an unhappy person, quite the contrary, I’M ALIVE.

Not seeing my sons every morning is crushing. The little things, a mannerism, the soft smiles of innocence, the skipping, and tripping over invisible lines – I miss a lot of it. And it hurts. But it’s also an opportunity for my own life as an individual. Even when we have families and become parents deciding to take care of other humans, it doesn’t mean we give up on ourselves. We have to develop our own dreams and follow our paths to be good parents. Society will trap you into thinking what being a “good” parent means, but I’m looking to be there for my kids as a friend, and a father when they need that too. For me to do that I have to welcome them into my world by not subtracting from what makes it different. They want to know who we are as people.

The other day my oldest son said to me “its because you’re like a kid Dad, you’re like us” in response to my excitement over a character we were discussing or something. That made me so proud as a Father.

Being a parent is hard y’all. This isn’t a movie with an editing room. We mess up, we blow it big time, and in the aftermath we have a choice. The teaching moments come when we too make mistakes, and those are the chances for us to teach our children, to allow them the respect to be human by inviting them to our personalities so they can see being human has nothing to do with perfection, and everything to do with learning from being flawed.

For me, that’s what I’m enjoying – having the awareness to see our friendship beginning.