For the first 8 years of my son’s life, I was the breadwinner. The provider. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a dedicated and loving father, but we’d always split the duties of Devin’s parenthood right down the middle with virtually no overlap. My wife was a full-time mother, maintained the home base, and took care of our household and family matters, I hunted and gathered to fill the coffers, pay the bills, and put a roof over our head and food on the tables. For quite a while we were both happy with this split of duties and responsibilities. It’s what we’d thought we both wanted. But it wasn’t- and took a heavy toll on our relationship over time. Forcibly becoming a single dad made me realize how unbalanced our relationship had become.
The hill was tall and rocky against a cloudy sky, with a stone lighthouse piercing the sky at the top. I never understood why, but I felt I needed to get to that lighthouse more than anything else in the world, and scrambled feverishly up the hill towards it with every bit of my strength. My hands and bare feet were scratched, bruised and bloody by the time I crested the hill, and just as I found my footing it happened. Just as it happened every time.
We’d had spotty electricity all day due to an automobile accident up the street taking out a power line, so when the lights started flickering back on and off Monday evening my son and I figured maintenance was still in progress. The sound of helicopters in the distance were a bit non-standard, but we still tucked in and went to sleep anyway – not knowing that the Thomas fires now ravaging the area were the new reason for the outages. It wasn’t until the sun peeked up and shone a blood-red glow into my bedroom that I realized things had gone seriously sideways while we slumbered.
When life is challenging, it’s important to keep yourself balanced. Look at everything that’s going well, and not focus on your struggles so much- as once you’ve counted up your blessings, they’ll far outweigh your burdens. And this Thanksgiving morning I’m truly grateful for everything that’s come my way over the last three or four years – both the good and the bad.
It’s been difficult for me to watch the #metoo campaign against sexual abuse and harassment towards women develop this week.
That isn’t remotely because I disagree with or oppose it, but quite the opposite.
I’ve never (at least not that I’m aware) used my influence, power, or strength to harass and abuse women. I have never groped anyone who didn’t clearly expect and invite me to.
But I have been abused, harassed, groped and intimidated by men and women alike. I’ve had advancement in my career offered in exchange for sex. I’ve had record deals and press coverage extended to me, contingent upon ‘quid pro quo’ favors – both discreetly and not. And from that perspective, as a man, I support #metoo wholeheartedly.
I’ve felt solid with myself lately after a few heavy years of change, but a bit stagnant in my new skin. My content management work at LinkedIn has been busy recently, just as I’ve also been focusing most of my free evenings recording an upcoming album project. It’s been quite a blur this last 6 months of fumbling forward into my newfound full-time single dad life.
The first week of July – vacation time – was always blocked out in my calendar for a vacation, but all things considered I went a little bigger this year and booked a 2-week sojourn for my son and I across Italy and France starting on the 4th of July. Kaboom.
For most of my life, I could never explain these waves of foreign feelings that would consume me out of nowhere. “You’re just overly sensitive,” people would say. Intuitive. Insightful. Sharp. But I knew something deeper was going on, and unfortunately for decades I’ve hid it, instead letting myself believe that I was just a little introverted, a little twitchy, a little off. Empathy is a strange topic for those of us who have abnormal levels of the sense. I’m only just now beginning to realize the depths to which it can (and has) affected me through my lifetime- both for the good and the not-so-much.