Life With My Drunk Father

As a child, when I would hear the sound of keys rattling outside the front door of the house, as if someone were scrambling to make their way inside, I would immediately drop what I was doing and run towards the bedroom.

I would shut the door behind me, jump onto the bed, grab the closest pillow, shut my eyes, and pretend to be asleep.

Then, as I waited on the bed nervously and with each passing second, I would feel my heartbeat start to increase. Before I knew it, a blaring sound of footsteps would echo across the hallway, one-by-one, until eventually, they made their way inside the bedroom.

At that point, all I could do was hold my breath and remain still.

In that moment of silence, I would listen to the footsteps as they traveled slowly back-and-forth across the room. Then, I would get this feeling as if someone were observing me closely, almost as if those footsteps were watching to see if I was truly asleep.

And as I lay there motionless, a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach would begin to build up. And although my body desperately desired to move, I knew better than to make any sudden action. Luckily, before I would have the chance to do anything, the sound of those footsteps would suddenly stop

And just as quickly as they stopped, the room would go dark. Then, a loud bang would follow as the bedroom door slammed completely closed.

Alone in an empty room, I would lay still.

In the darkness, I would hear the footsteps gradually make their way past the hallways of the house and come to a full stop as they hit the kitchen tile.

Seconds later, I would start to hear the drunken voice of a man muttering words that I had heard plenty of times before. And not long thereafter, I would be listening to him recount stories of his past. Stories of the struggles he had to endure to come to the United States. Stories of needing to somehow find a way to put food in the mouth of his wife and children. Stories of raising ungrateful sons who did not appreciate any of his back-breaking sacrifices.

On-and-on he went, confessing his truth to an unknown stranger or perhaps, I often thought, he was speaking to an empty room.

Moments later, there would be a long pause.

Finally, the sound of his loud snores coming from the kitchen would be all anyone could hear from inside the house.

This was the routine that played out for many years.

And this drunken figure, who had the distinct title of being my father, would come and go in-and-out of my childhood so much that the only memories of him that I had during that time were of his drunken rants.

And as I grew older, and the more we argued, the more we started to drift apart. I felt, as a son, I was never good enough.

In my early twenties, I had enough of him and decided to move away from home in an attempt to get far away. And when I needed advice that only a father could provide, I went searching for those answers from my uncles, brothers, mentors, or anyone that was older than me.

Yet, those stories that I heard my father unintentionally share when I was a child about his struggles would always linger in the back of my mind.

When I returned back home after years of being away, I made the decision to finally confront him about those memories that haunted me as a child. I figured I would no longer run away and hide, better yet, I was ready to release years of pent up anger and anguish onto him.

As we gathered in the kitchen, and as I started to take a real hard look at him, I was caught off guard. Before me was the face of an older man. A man with more wrinkles in his face than I could remember and more strokes of white lines covering the sides of his hair. And decades of drinking had left him with a weakly body that I had to help him get into his chair.

Suddenly all the words that I had practiced earlier in front of a mirror could not come out.

But before I could get the chance to regather my thoughts, I looked up and saw him staring at me, strangely, in a way that only a proud father would look at his son.

I had never seen him look at me like that before. A few seconds went by, and as I stared back at him and without saying a word, I started to understand.

I don’t know how to describe it. But in that moment, I started to recognize the pain he had gone through as a child. The pain of moving away from home in a desperate attempt to try and prove something to someone who was never around. The pain of having a father who showed him no love and treating his children just the same.

In that moment, while staring into his eyes and sharing his pain, I felt his regret.

And before long, he started apologizing for always coming home drunk, for pushing me away, and for never showing love.

I didn’t say a word.

In that moment, I reached out and hugged him. Hoping to let him know that I acknowledged and accepted his apology.

I don’t remember how long we hugged or what we talked about next.

But I do remember as we hugged, thinking back to those childhood nights, as he would be drunk, snoring in the kitchen with the lights turned on. And I can remember slowly walking up to him, trying my best not to wake him up, and covering him with my blanket.

And I can recall thinking that he was my father and I didn’t want him to sleep in the cold.

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My Life: Friends, Lovers, and Family

I did something that I had been dreading for the past five years…

…last month…I turned 30!

And yeah, I know that I’m probably exaggerating quite a bit, but to be honest, throughout my early twenties, the idea of making something out of myself before the age of 30 continued to randomly creep in my mind. There would be weeks where I would have a hard time sleeping and all I could do was lay in my bed and think about what a failure I was for not making millions of dollars a year or for not having started a professional career in the field that I studied.

Then there would be days where all I did was compare myself to others. I swear, I would write down a list of all the material things that other people had that I desperately wanted but could not afford. Then at night, I would read that list to the point of feeling sorry for myself and then after what seemed hours, I would become exhausted and fall asleep.

Every day, time was ticking extra fast for me.

By the time I was twenty-five and I started my graduate studies, I thought I was already too old to be returning back to school. After a few months, the growing doubt of whether I was smart enough to be a counselor and the pressure I put on myself to be the best student in class started to become too much to bear. So, I made the decision to quit and voluntarily dropped out of the program.

I was devastated for years.

But looking back, I’m glad that I stopped when I did. And I’m not trying to make any excuses for my actions. I guess, in retrospect, those three years of my life after graduate school allowed me the time needed to work on my issues. I reflected on my bad behavior and I started to piece together who and what were important in my life.

Not everything was perfect, but the journey to live a more normal life started the day I walked away from that program.

And now, I am thirty years old.

And like most people who are lucky enough to turn thirty, I feel an obligation to share some small wisdom that I have acquired throughout my life regarding people.

FRIENDS:

When I started writing this blog, I was 23 years old and had just returned back home after living in San Francisco for two years. I spent the next few years going back and forth between southern California and San Francisco in order to maintain in contact with college friends. In a strange way, I felt like I needed them to know that I still cared about our friendship and I would spend money that I didn’t have in order to stay connected to them. But soon, those trips were far in-between and slowly, I started texting and calling them less frequently.

At first, I felt guilty. Like I hadn’t done enough to keep them around in my life.

But those feelings quickly faded, my co-workers had become my new friends and I didn’t have enough time or money to continue taking trips to San Francisco.

I partied and shared my frustrations with my co-workers for the next two years.

But then I started graduate school and had to quit my job.

Shortly after, I lost contact with the group of co-workers that I had befriended and my graduate classmates became my new friends. And so and and so forth, the people that I once knew and shared great memories with would come and go for brief moments at a time, only to be replaced by new people.

So, if you’re like me, someone who cares about friendships, understand that the group of people who you are friends with now, will look differently in a few years.

And that’s okay.

Don’t fight it. Rather, enjoy the time you share together.

Enjoy telling each other those secrets that you’re too scared to openly admit to others. Enjoy those late night drives down the beach, eating your favorite fast food burgers, listening to that song that will soon be a reminder of those wonderful memories.

Appreciate time and moments.

And please, try not to waste too much time on people who will drain you mentally.

LOVERS:

I made the mistake of falling in love with the first person who showed an interest in me.

I was a naive twenty-one year old in love with a manipulative twenty-eight year old. I spent months trying to get him to love me. And when he finally said, “I love you too,” I didn’t care that his actions didn’t reflect his words.

And when he stopped talking to me out of nowhere, I desperately went online to find him and when I did get ahold of him, he somehow made me feel guilty for attempting to contact him. And soon, his partner reached out to me. And the truth of him being in a relationship with someone else was a reality that I had to face.

Back and forth, hours, days, weeks, and years of my life wasted on someone who could not care any less about me. Yet, I still reached out, hoping and praying that he would finally come to his senses and love me back. But it never happened.

Don’t be like me.

Communicate your expectations at the start of every relationship. And if their actions don’t reflect their words, trust me, you are better off without them.

At the end of the day, try to spend time with people that will love you unconditionally.

FAMILY:

In my case, my family has always been a constant reminder of how much my life is a blessing. And I mean that with all sincerity.

And no, not all my relatives are perfect. Like me, they have their flaws and they stumble with getting by from time to time, but in my moments of weakness, I can share what is on my mind with them without feeling like I’m being judged.

And in those moments, they share their thoughts with me as well. And it is during those conversations that we have together, that I am reminded of how we have the same struggles, hopes, and dreams.

And I know not everyone has family that they can talk to when things aren’t going the best. But that’s the reason why I appreciate my family the most.

It took years of heartbreak and disappointments to come to that conclusion.

I guess, now that I’m thirty, I have learned to cherish living in the moment whether I’m with a friend, lover, or family member. I don’t know when our last moments together will be, so I just learned to stop focusing on what will happen in the future and just tried to share a laugh, a cry, or a joke with them. And when they end up leaving my life, or me end up leaving theirs, I will thank them from afar for the wonderful memories.

So whatever you decide to do, just remember one thing: Please spend time enjoying your life.

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My Life: A Small Update

Hello?

Is this thing on?

I have been absent in the world of the blogging for years. Today, things will begin to change.

When I first started by blog, I was in a world of chaos.

I had just received my Bachelors in Psychology along with my Minor in Counseling and I was tirelessly filling out resumes day-after-day in the hopes of landing a job in the a field that related to my degree. I was constantly thinking about my ex and believing that living in close proximity to him would be the spark to rekindle our relationship and the change needed for our relationship to work. In addition, I was living in a house occupied by fifteen of my family members.

The pressure to begin my adult life and start my professional career had increased to the point that I was sleeping and eating less and throwing random tantrums when my family asked questions about my life.

After researching ways to deal with stress and reading on how writing could be a helpful coping strategy to deal with my anxiety,  I decided to start this blog.

During the process of writing and reflecting on my life, I was better able to understand the multiple traumas that had occurred in my childhood and how they shaped my perception of the world. The more I wrote, the more comfortable I became about sharing  intimate moments of my life and gradually, the number of followers on my blog started to grow. Soon, they began sharing their own traumatic experiences, disclosing how they overcame those obstacles, or how they were dealing with their daily struggles.

Regardless of how different our paths in life had been, my followers were able to find something to relate to in my writings and were supportive and encouraged my journey of self-discovery.

Engaging with them offered insight on the importance of sharing life moments with strangers and made me aware of my need for connecting with people no matter how different we each may seem.

That was five years ago.

Today, I can confidently say that, at the core, I am still me, but my understanding of the world has changed.

I no longer carry the burden of others on my shoulders and have prioritized myself and my mental health.

I can only laugh now when I think back on how I used to blame myself for the actions of those around me and how I approached life trying to vigorously help every single person that meant something to me.

I almost lost my sanity in doing so.

I can let go now and move forward with my life.

I would like to say thanks.  For the people that randomly showed up in my life – the ones who broke my heart, the ones who pieced it back together, and the ones who filled it with love.

I am not alone. And I hope you, whoever you may be or wherever you may come from, understand that you’re not alone either.

I was once you. And in some strange way, I hope this journey that we call life, brings us closer together.

Here’s to the future and the continuation of sharing my life experiences with the beautiful people willing to listen.

Thank you! Truly.

My Life: The Unspoken Monologue

As a school assignment, we were to give a presentation about the reasons why we wanted to be a therapist. I, of course, decided to write a monologue about my life and how it led to me being in a classroom learning skills to become one. However, as the weeks progressed and my monologue became more personal, I decided that I was not ready to share. Instead I gave a presentation using family photos that showed a glimpse into my personal life. I concluded by saying that I wanted to be a therapist for my family. Funny, how I almost convinced myself that this was the truth.

Here’s my true monologue:

Through the process of looking at my childhood, adolescence, and adult life, I discovered just how much of my past I had been running from. I do hope everything makes sense. Thank you.

In order to understand why I want to be therapist, I had to reflect back.

I thought of when I was a kid and how I constantly heard my mom get yelled at by my dad.

I remember how she just stood there, took it all, and begged him to stop drinking.

I thought about when my dad drank, his anger, and the pain I felt when he hit me and my older brothers.

I remember my older brothers, the drugs they took, them getting locked up, and taken away.

I thought about how alone I felt, the bad thoughts in my head, and how scared I was of someone finding out.

As a child, I wanted to escape my family.

But those thoughts of hanging and drowning myself became unbearable.

Instead, I decided to separate myself from my family. That way their problems were no longer mine.

My older brother wasn’t schizophrenic. He faked all the voices he heard in his head. And just for attention, he lost those twenty pounds. Barely slept. Never showered. He stunk so bad from not cleaning himself after going to the restroom that my dad forced him into the bathtub, yelled at him, and threw water on him until he was clean. Slowly his screams faded. He never learned his lesson.

My other brother, I hated him. His promises and his lies. The last real conversation I had with him was when we were both outside staring at the clouds and he turned to me and told me that things were only going to get worse from there on. This was before the meth. Before he got locked up for breaking into an empty house to sleep in when my dad finally decided to kick him out. Before the drugs messed with his head so much that he could barely speak in complete sentences.

At the age of fourteen, I convinced myself that they deserved it. We stopped talking soon after.

Years later when both were deported, I was too focused on school to care. And when one of them went missing, I was too concerned with moving to San Francisco to pursue a degree in a field that helps people that he never crossed my mind. And when I graduated, I was too obsessed with finding the right job that I had forgotten to visit the remaining one. And when I got the job, I was too stressed out to notice that he needed my help.

At the group home, I worked most days and long hours. Heard all these tragic stories by clients. I thought I was making a difference.

Then one day, a client ran away and I ran after her. I didn’t mind her cursing at me or the fact that I was running into traffic. I needed to save her. We ran far until she eventually got tired and decided to lie on the grass. She turned to me and asked why I didn’t just leave her. Nobody wanted her and nobody cared. I stood there silently. As she began to cry, I thought about how alone she felt. Her life full of pain. How much she reminded me of my older brothers. All her life she struggled with abuse. At the age of eleven she started using drugs. At thirteen she was arrested. And at fourteen she was sent to the group home. Before she ran away, she was told that she needed to stay there a few months longer because she was caught using drugs again. She told me she felt stuck and just wanted to be home and see her family. As I looked back at her, I finally said that I cared for her and the only thing that mattered in that moment was her. She began to cry again, but a few minutes later she stopped. A staff came and we were able to get her to return back. The next day she thanked me for running after her and to let me know that I was fast as hell. I smiled. Weeks later she relapsed and months later she ran away again. I will never know what happened to her or if I ever made an impact.

So why do I want to become a therapist?

Because of the guilt. Because I convinced myself that if I help others, it will ease the pain of not helping my older brother’s. But it won’t. And I will continue to search for that missing void in my life. And it will hurt. But in time, I will learn to let go. Learn that not all the things I experienced were my fault. I know that’s not the healthiest reason. Or a good one. But that’s the truth. And perhaps, that’s what that assignment was all about.

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My Life: Becoming a freelance writer

Hello? Is this thing on?

If so, I would like to say hi and welcome you to my blog. And for those who have not heard from me in years, I would like to apologize. My life these past two years have been chaotic (and that’s keeping it simple). I went from home to home trying to find a place to call my own, changed job positions, and invested a significant amount of time and money on pursuing a Masters degree.

However, life happened and I am no longer in the right circumstances to continue.

I hope to share with you, in time, that chapter of my life. You’ll understand all of my struggles, my joys, and my pains. But for now, I would like to share that I am no longer going to school. These past few months I have been trying to find meaning in my life and in the process, I have decided to become a freelance writer. To tell you the truth, I don’t have a idea of what I am getting myself into, but that has never stopped me before.

When my guidance counselor told me that I would not go to a four-year college, I ended up graduating from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Counseling. When all my other brother’s dropped out of school, I applied to a Masters program and got in. And I will continue to move forward regardless.

My stories aren’t too sophisticated (trust me, I know). Nor are they grammatically perfect (that is a creative choice). But they are honest (I promise). And that’s why I want to write and make a living out of it. I want to share my story and help at least one person get through the day. Or to make them laugh. Or cry. Or make them not feel alone.

And with that announcement, I would like some help from you.

I know this may alienate the people who read my blog, but I would appreciate any leads that can help in me becoming a freelance writer or at least a place where I can make a living sharing my stories.

Here is a list of some stories that show off my writing skills. I hope you all enjoy them! 🙂

Life: A Message To My Future Daughter

The Night My Life Changed: An Introduction

The Brother Who Left My Life

The First Sexual Encounter Of My Life

I know it’s a long shot, but it’s an attempt. Hopefully someone out there can hear me. Thank you.

Sincerely,

EDDY

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