First, dear readers, I will apologize in advance. I am in a rather depressed state and I fear my writings after this will reflect this state of mind. Please keep in mind, if you don't want to hear ramblings in the possibly depressed/emo/whiny-bitch state then feel free to skip over this and continue on to whatever someone else is posting.
Still with us? Excellent!
I started to write about why I create, why I LARP and do my other creative writings. Instead, I found my thoughts drawn to my father. No matter how I've tried to shake things about him, I cannot seem to do it this night. So, I shall write and hopefully express myself enough to finally have sleep.
My father was responsible for naming me, my mother wanted to call me Gabriel but my father won out. I am thankful, for I do so enjoy being called Christopher Jackson more than I would anything else. My earliest memories of my father were always tinged with sadness. Yes, as all young boys, my Father was the God-Figure in my life and many early memories are of me looking up to him. I idolized him, in so many ways. He was the man I wanted to grow up to be, to be just like him. Sadly, he was always working. Always working, always busy. The time I got to spend with him was precious yes, but it was always tinged with the sadness of knowing he would soon go and work. Or spend time with my sister, again.
Yes, my sister and I have had the typical sibling rivalry, she being only two years younger than I. We were still close in the early years, but it never escaped me that she seemed to have more of daddies attention or time. She had more similar interests to him, while Father and I began to grow apart. I tried to be interested...but I never cared about cars or mechanics, I didn't care about races or sports. I tried to be more like him, to do more of his things or show and express interests. But they all just...fell short. My sister, or his job, or Mom, or his family or everything else in the world always seemed to have his attention more than me. I lived for the times when it was just us, but they were few and far between.
My first forms of disappointment came when I was 9-11. I honestly can't remember the age, but I know it was 4th-5th grade years. I joined Boy Scouts, I loved it because I got to go out with the guys and just be guys and because my Dad would come along and it would just be us time. Except I was always struggling for it to be us time, it was frequently everyone +us time. I distinctly remember one day that we were returning from a camping trip and Dad was cranky and upset. He wanted me to hurry and finish unpacking so we could get home, and i hastened to do the task. I come around from the trailer to find the other boys having a water fight with the buckets they were supposed to be emptying. One of them runs up and splashes my Dad. Here it comes, I thought, my Dad's gonna go off on them because he wants them to stop goofing. Instead, he laughs and joins in the water fight. I quickly finish and race over to join, but find it's ended and my dad wants me to empty the water bucket I just filled and get in the car for home.
It was never anything large, nothing major. But little things here or there, they all dug tiny barbs into my skin and I began to wonder what I was doing wrong, or what was wrong with me. I grew farther away, and my sister grew closer as the years rolled on.
Not to say, because it needs pointing out, that my father was bad or didn't do things. Please, I don't want anyone to take that message that I had a shitty father who was worthless. He taught me so many things, and was there for me for so many things. I'm very thankful to have him in my life and i love him very much. but i just need to express this...to cleanse this wound the only way I know how.
Life took a turn for our family with out ill-fated move to Indiana for a few months. I started to notice my father becoming more withdrawn, and I noticed the habit he wished to keep from the rest of the family: pornography. It was my first real introduction into the world of sex (beyond some ill-fated earlier encounters) and I never spoke to him about it. It became our little secret, i felt in my head, that he would download these things and I knew about them. Part of my brain, for whatever reason, always rationalized these things as bad though (more on this later). I had a deep, primal fear that what he was downloading needed to be trashed. So, for about 2-3 years I would regularly check my computer after Dad had used it and deleted whatever pornographic items I found.
This, ladies and gentlemen, brings us to October 10th, 2002. I was called out of 4th period Math to the SRO's office. For those not in the know, SRO stands for School Resource Officer, which means for all intensive purposes the police had just asked to speak to me in private. Terrified much? Ya, you bet I was shaking I was so scared. I went down and sat in the office, where I was met by not only the SRO but a Federal Agent. Now, I was outright panicking because this was when the illegal music crackdown was starting to rear its ugly head and boy did I have a collection! It was explained to me, in point blank and no uncertain terms, that my Father had just been arrested this morning on the charges of possesion and distribution of Child Pornography and attempting to coerce a minor. To say I was stunned, would have been an insult to the word. I was informed that for the last year or so the FBI had been fishing for criminals and posing as underage girls and boys in aol chatrooms, and that for the past year they had hooked my Dad and built a criminal case around him. They had seized the computer as evidence and asked me a series of questions.
I was in shock. I was struck dumb, and it was as if I heard everything occurring around me echoed from miles away. They knew everything that had occurred in the past year as far as our family internet habts went. Passwords, screennames, websites logged into, even questioning if it was me who logged onto Everquest (providing me my account name, password, and character names as well). My privacy, which was something I was always fond of, had been so otherwise shattered into a million tiny pieces that I didn't know what to do. I was hurt and scared and terrified all at once. I just wanted my Father to make it all better, to fix everything like he always did.
I was in for a world of hurt.
My mother almost immediately began divorce proceedings. Life became very stressed and strained in my family, as my Dad moved in with his parents in Orlando and we remained in the house. They would try to get back together, then split apart again. My mother spiraled into drug and alcohol addiction, and my father spiraled into an angry and hateful man. Things frayed and nearly split between us, the bond of Father and SOn was put to one of its highest tests. I still don't know if it survived, sometimes I just pray it did and pretened it did...instead of seeing it for what it is now.
The fighitng between my parents grew and intensified...yet rarely did my father come to save the day. He would drive 3 hours to see my sister if she had a bad day, but never came for me. He drove over to help her with police issues, but never lifted a hand when I was having school issues. he tried his damnest to attend her soccer games or make sure she got what she needed. I always felt ignored, and he didn't come to my football games or my marching band evaluations. He once drove 3 hours to see my sister, because she had a bad day and a fight with mom and thus needed comforting. There was also a time that my dog was killed because both my parents were too busy fighitng with each other to get him any vet care, instead of a 3 hour drive to comfort me and help me through the tough time I got an angry and insulting voicemail from my grandfather blaming the issue on my mother.
When he fell under house arrest, things got worse for me. I began to explore my own perverse and kinky side (not ashamed of it, just calling it is :p) while under my aunt and uncles roof (hard right-wing Republicans...not the best choice). It ended with me getting kicked out of their house, and being confronted with my privacy violated again as my father and mother attempted to get me to see a shrink for my "issues". I ran, as fast and far from that house as I could. it wasn't my father who came to get me, it wasn't the one man on earth I wanted to comfort me and tell me everything was OK. It was my grandfather.
Yes, I know he couldn't have left the house without getting in trouble. But goddamn it he didn't have to get arrested in the first place. If he hadn't been arrested, he would have taught me to shave. He would have been there for me when I broke up with my first real girlfriend, instead of three 10 minute phone calls. He would have been there to help me through the tough times, when I needed a father to talk the birds and bee's with me when I had a pregnancy scare with a girlfriend I had no one. I would get letters telling me how to fix my car, instead of my Dad being hands on. He missed my graduation, because he was in jail.
I visited him, every chance I got while he was in prison. We never spent much time talking about me or my things though. It was always everything else in the world but me and my things. Krystine, my Mom, his friends, church, the family, everything else...when I just wanted him for myself. I wanted him to be there for me, I desperately wanted him to inquire about my life so I could talk about it and that be the only thing he's inetrested in. Yes, there were times when we managed to just be us...but they always seemed like never enough. Like how a single cup of water to a man dieing of thirst must feel. It happened enough though, that there are times I wish he was still in prison and still accessible to only me.
I have a memory, a favorite one that I cherish. My father was in prison, and it was Thanksgiving. My grandparents (who i was living with at the time after I moved to Orlando) had gone to California to visit my Aunt and Uncle, my sister was was in California as well living with said Aunt and Uncle, and my mother had bailed on me last minute (no surprise) to do something with her AA sponsor. Here I was, alone the day before Thanksgiving and seeing a pretty grim holiday...then I decided to drive out to the jail. I spent the night, waiting in line. I was the first one in, and Dad was already waiting for me when I got there. It was just the two of us, for 4 interrupted hours. We had apple cider from cans, slices of pre-made and cold pumpkin pie and turkey sandwiches.
I wish I had more of these memories.
After my Dad got out of prison, things seemed to be patching between us. We got a house together, but we ad grown apart. Things just felt...strained and stretched between us. He was always working, visiting strip clubs. I was always working, desperately trying to find a social life. Eventually my sister moved in, and things became all about her again. She was constantly getting in trouble, and Dad was constantly bailing her out. I moved out, and lived in freedom for two years. Two years that he and I grew fartehr apart, two years in which my sister continued to dominate his attention. She needed bailing out of jail for shoplifting? Not a problem. She had loans co-signed for fancy cars that she ruined from mis-care, or get fired and not work and have Dad cover her bills for her.
I move back to Orlando, and had to live with my parents for a short time. The first night...the very first night my parents and i are all together in 2 years. I cooked dinner, made everything nice. Then my sister tells us she's pregnant. Suddenly, my schooling and my life and my food doesn't get the time of day. it's all about her, and everything she wants and needs for the baby. She eventually quits her job, to be a stay-at-home mom and Dad continues to help support her financially. He gives her baby's daddy a job working for him to help them pay bills (mind you, I had to beg and plead with my father for work when I couldn't get a job for two months, but he just hired this unskilled/untrained guy at a time he couldn't afford it). He co-signs on another car loan.
What led to the strain, this snap after so many years? Tonight happened, sadly. I called my father, to see where he was. I am not a bowler, I rather dislike it actually, but I wanted to spend time with my dad so I thought going up to the thing he likes to do was a good idea. I call and find out he won;t be making it, because they're all just getting back form the county fair, the same county fair I had talked about going with my mother and sister as a family because it was something we all could enjoy. I was crushed and hurt and just....pathetic really.
I love my father, I do. I just wish I could feel like he loved me just as much as he loves everything else in life.
then again, maybe I'm just being a whiny bitch tonight and need to get over my sad excuse of self. *shrug*