When I came out, it was a momentous affair with incredible discomfort and an obscene level of bewilderment. My ex (and only) boyfriend to date remembers fondly pictures from the early days and how I behaved, demurely and sweetly behind plastic sunglasses. He thought it was magic to have known me then.
I think about the person I see in the pictures. He has fluffy brown hair, very little grey at that point. Pointed jowls from being anxious, attempting vegetarian and completing a triathlon – all the while keeping his job in a new town with two babies and a sad wife. His eyes look pained and vacant.
I can’t compare myself to that man. I don’t sympathise with that courageous, angry, hurt, scared and volatile man anymore – I just don’t know him.
It’s not that I don’t want to know him, but from what I recall, he didn’t do much but hide from discomfort. You could flip a coin and see which path he could have gone down. Though imagine I may, I just can’t imagine my life being of any value without my sons.
It’s not that not having sons means a value-less existence. I’m saying that at a very basic level I’m a dad. Was destined to be I think.
So, I can’t remember the man in the pictures standing in front of a bar with clean shaven skin and tight t-shirts. No I can’t remember his mind and how it used to flit between fits of jealousy and abandonment.
My second set of teenage years at 38, raging with booze, love notes, tears, short-shorts, drugs and a size 30 waist – all the wild discomfort of not being the real me has brought me to here.
To my thirty-eighth year, more grey than brown, bearded jowls, a thicker body and a distinct flavour that needs to be firstly withstood, carefully cultivated and caressed to be loved.
Comfortable in discomfort. That’s the real me.
INFO: You can follow John at daddydearest.com.au