Having spent almost 32 years thinking about this I think I know what it takes. I am gay and have always wanted children, and to not be able to have them makes me understand what I am missing. Yet my father had 8 children and was never really their for us, yes I have a few good memories but that was years ago.
I remember coming out as gay at 16, he never spoke to me for 2 years, it was hard enough coming out as it was, I remember in 1999, we still had section 28, which made it illegal to teach children in school about different sexualities. The legal age for sex was 18 years old and I was ought up in a homophobic family who were uneducated.
I have always been comfortable being gay and have never allowed anyones thoughts on the issue to affect me, being gay has its own challenges, I remember my first job when I worked for Curry’s Electrical store in Crawley. I was 16 and it was hard, Crawley has a quite diverse population and different religions, I was bought up in a working class background in a council estate.
I didn’t know who I was, I wanted to work and make something of my life, I ran away from my family and Brighton and Hove because I hated my childhood, and it was the best decision I ever made.
Whilst the job had challenges I remember meeting someone called Sunny, he was asian but grew up in holland, he was this conservative, well spoken guy with a great work ethic, he taught me sales and within a few months I was the top sales person.
Not really being a tied down religious person, I consider myself as agnostic, but their was a cultural difference when I lived in Crawley, I remember going to my locker and finding pictures of men stuck to it, I was 16 this was clearly harassment.
I had a partner who was a father himself, I remember one particular time leaving on a Saturday, it was a busy day, we all had an end of day briefing and as I put my jacket on to leave and walked out the door all the alarms went off.
The security searched me and I took my jacket off, you know those sticky alarms, they were stuck inside my jacket everywhere. The reason the alarms went off was because they wanted to hurt me and it did I cried my eyes out, i didn’t understand why I was hated and why people would do that to someone who didn’t really understand what it was to be gay.
But this incident had an impact more than i thought at the time, it did help to make me more resilient, I decided to leave that job and went on to study performing arts. which was probably one of the most happiest periods of my life, I was able to express myself in a safe and creative environment.
My father during this period and pretty much from 1999 to 2016 has never really bothered with me, I have always gone to him, always call him, always turned up at his place to see him. I cant remember one occasion as an adult whereby he has made no real effort.
You can set your clock by him going to see my older brother weekly, each end every week, always making efforts, calling him being a dad, my brother had a father and I am sure now he has cancer its going to kill and hurt my older brother.
Me it hasn’t hit me, and I am sure it wont until it is too late, I have defied the odds, achieved so much and really only wanted my father to acknowledge this and say he is proud, instead he shows no emotion and no care.
I am the bad one because when I see him I ask him questions about when I was sexually abused as a child, people say ‘you shouldn’t discuss such things with him’ why not? He has never really spoken to me heart to heart, I can never remember him reading me a book.
I remember when my mother and he split in 1993, it was firework night they argued because he spend all the firework money we made doing penny for the guy on alcohol, their was a huge row in the house and obviously there was more to the story than we knew. My mother moved out and soon their was a divide in the family she took her other two blonde haired children and my dad who has jet black hair took his two children with jet black hair, my the ginger one, felt left out and unwanted.
I have counselling every week and have done for the last five months, we discuss family and we realised its good for me to discuss my inner feelings with family, however when you have a father and his wife who has nothing to do with my history with my father who insists I should be open and honest in getting answers, it creates conflict.
The truth is, I was brave to leave at 16, I was brave to choose a different path in life and I was brave to even approach my father for answers, if he hasn’t got the balls to listen to his son, understand that I need answers and provide me with the answers as a father then he is not a father.
To me a father is someone who educates you, listens and sets boundaries, a father should inspire his children, he should shower his children with love and teach his children the difference between right and wrong.
I remember how I was taught to swim, at the age of 6 -7 we used to go to Brighton beach I remember he put me on his shoulders and swam out to see, then he released me and swam back, I was so scared It was frightening, yes I learned to get back, but for years after I’ve been scared of swimming in the sea.
I remember he was the one who inspired me about football and for that I will always be happy for, I love Brighton and Hove Albion, he helped me with that, he didnt play football with us, but he took us to football, and the the pub after.
As a teenager I got in trouble, I was basically allowed to run riot, I remember getting in trouble with the police, there were no mobiles in those days, do you know when I got arrested, the police used to all the pub to get my father.
Another time I come of a bike on a road and fractured my arm, he had to take me to the hospital, he said I am going to miss darts. Basically we were more a hinderance than a treasure and i’ve always battled with this, not fully understanding why, i’ve had partners who have great parents and i’ve always been jealous.
Imagine seeing your father and feeling like he doesn’t really know you, or not really having much in common or thinking does he love me? thats my life.
I’ve decided to move on with my life, I’ve decided that having him in my life will never work, he will never live up to my expectations and will never be strong enough or man enough to be a father, instead he just wants to be a dad, and thats fine with me. No longer will I let the weakness of him be a negative aspect in my life, I am stronger and I am more educated and emotional, I am free and I am my own person. It is his loss but my gain.
What was your childhood like? did you experience a life like mine? let me know int he comments.