I grew up without an enduring male role model.
My parents divorced when I was five – my father was barely more than a vague presence after that. I can remember him surfacing, usually with a girlfriend, to take my brother Charlie out. I was rarely invited.
If you read Pivotal Moments Part 1 you know that my brother died when I was ten and his loss shaped my life.
My father’s father: I can probably count on one hand how often I was in his presence – with fingers to spare.
My grandfather was the most consistent male presence I had growing up – he died when I was in my mid-teens. I have a recurring memory of him: I was with my friends at a nearby roller rink and I wiped out while skating. Cradling my arm, sobbing, my friends were walking me out when I looked up and like an apparition, saw my grandfather watching the skaters, bopping to the music. I didn’t know he’d be there. I screamed for him and somehow, over the music, he heard me.
I had uncles on both sides of the family who were kind and made cameo appearances throughout the years.
My mother had a significant other for 15 years, but like my uncles, he didn’t embrace the responsibility of teaching me what a good man looked like and how to remember my worth while on the quest.
This is what I had to work with when I entered the dating world. If anyone crossed my path who would have brought me tea at night, accompanied me to the doctor, prioritized our relationship – I never would have recognized him. Instead my outstretched hand was always reaching for a shadow, the real object of my love, never accessible.
But it’s not just about dating.
The lesson from these losses, these absences, is one I long to forget. Maybe then my mind, always occupied in rehearsal, mistrusting the skills and value of the performer, would be liberated.
Is this what makes me, me? It’s what incites my need for (self) acceptance – and it’s definitely what makes me single.
What makes you, you?
Pivotal Moments is a collection of experiences that contribute to who I am. Have you considered what makes you, you?