Tag Archives: psychology

Fatherless, Childless


I recently realized I am in a fairly unique position. There is no paternal bond left in my life. Both of my grandfathers are gone, my father is deceased, and I have no children. I’m sure this is not a wildly rare situation, but it’s one that lends itself to some introspective examination.

I wasn’t raised with a father, so I can’t speak to the notion of men needing other men to cultivate a fully-formed human. There wasn’t a bigger, harrier version of me handing over a playbook with keys to the testosteronic kingdom.

I’m sure I may have missed a few lessons along the way. I probably can’t throw a solid jab. There is no desire to attend strip clubs, kill animals for sport, or sit at a poker table, and I’d rather intentionally collapse my trachea than sleep outdoors in a tent.

But from a macroscopic level, there may be a fundamental disconnect when the bloodline comes untethered.

The long-lasting psychological implications germinating in a mind left alone to wander the world are above my pay grade, but there is certainly something absent. Finding a sense of peace as the calendar pages are torn becomes more of a priority than second-guessing specific decisions made along the journey. The “what ifs” are heartbreakers, but “what’s next” is fuel.

This stage will be tackled like all the rest, and I’ll find my footing on an icy staircase leading to some version of actualization, however faded that picture appears when I finally (hopefully) arrive.

We are driven by our core instincts and the only job we have is to listen. The answers come from the quiet voices in the shadowy recesses of our mind.

We simply need to remember that those whispers are screams.

Adolescence Interrupted

The Fight

fight1Life is a brawl, but some of us have the innate ability to pull ourselves up from the mat, even when every cell in our bodies is screaming at us to stay down. Why do some people reach for that rope while others accept defeat?

This has been a central question throughout my writing, research, and life. I’m endlessly fascinated by survivors and the wiring required to face seemingly insurmountable obstacles with the mentality that failure is an unacceptable option. It’s more than willpower and a strong constitution. The defiance to fall is born from a fire raging deep within the recesses of our memories. It’s fueled by history and circumstance.

I can only speak from personal experience, but low self-esteem and an unrelenting drive to prove myself worthy have combined to transform fragile guts to concrete. My reluctance to bow is propelled by an incessant need to demonstrate inner strength. Spitting in the face of slim odds and disheartening diagnoses became my religion. Of course, there were times when that resolve faltered, but the mentality endured. I credit the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” mantra for my health and sense of purpose today.

Is this level of fight something learned? Can people be trained to be survivors or are they only built on the battlefield? Will someone without a difficult past still find the determination needed to break down walls of fear, despair, or hopelessness?

These are questions I will continue to ask in my pursuit of clarity. The human condition and the psychological puppet master pulling the strings are fascinating areas of study. Plus, what’s a day without some wildly complicated topic to obsess about?!

Adolescence Interrupted