This morning, I defended my daughter from a monster under the bed. I failed miserably. My daughter came into the living room and said “There was a monster underneath her bed”. It was an especially scary monster. I walked into the bedroom and said, “You need to get out of here monster, or I’m going to beat you up.” I shined a light under the bed and saw nothing. The monster was gone and my daughter went back to sleep.
As I walked to work (in 14 degree weather because I’m working on endurance) I thought about this monster and how I handled the situation. What is really going on when I come into the room to take care of the monster under the bed? The monster under the bed is my daughter’s fear, not mine. My daughter is afraid of the monster, which is all that is really there, fear of the monster. As I heard about it, I immediately reacted and played along with the situation. She described the monster to me. I immediately sprang into daddy mode, going in to be a bigger and scarier monster than the one my daughter had experienced. My goal was to scare the monster away, but in my mind, because I played along, I was half expecting to see the monster. I momentarily looked under the bed, thinking that it was going to be a cat or something underneath and all I saw was a Marty McFly POP Vinyl, A Ziploc Bag and some abandoned toys. I told my daughter that the monster was gone and that he wouldn’t bother her anymore. Then I told her that she could go back to sleep and that Daddy loved her very much.
I believe the point where I failed was in how I handled the monster. I tried to overpower the monster to assert my dominance over the monster. The monster was there for a reason. He had decided to visit my daughter for some reason, which is usually to scare her. But I could have talked to the monster. Reasoned with the monster. Befriended the monster to get him on our side. Tried to understand why the monster had come to my daughter’s bedroom to scare her. All of these are coping mechanisms by which my daughter learns to deal with conflict. As someone who finds myself in conflict, I have a lot to learn about how I deal with it. I have a lot to learn about this, but I’m very thankful for this moment to realize that there are other ways to deal with fear. I’m also thankful that I have a daughter. She grows up every day, and every day I am reminded that who I am and my actions that I take around her are far more important than what I tell her to do.
"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ― Douglas Adams
I've been flirting with the idea of becoming a writer for some time now, and I have written quite a bit. But what was I ultimately really saying? That's a great question to ponder. The writers that I have influenced me are Ernest Hemingway, Dan Brown, Frank Herbert and Neil Gaiman. But there are so many others. I primarily read non-fiction books and life philosophy books. I'm very interested in philosophy. But I've failed to find my niche. My little corner of the bookstore. I've really failed at sticking with anything. In the past six months, I've been focusing on health. Getting as healthy as possible so that I can then build my new life. It's crazy when you believe that your life is going one direction and then it takes a complete and total u-turn. But it's time to let go of that story. It's time to start the new one. The old one doesn't serve me anymore. There is a highly-educated individual who has a wonderful YouTube channel called Nerdwriter. He defines trauma as this:
"The idea is that we are going to go through trauma, but trauma is an opportunity to change and to reorganize the elements that made up your life. When a person's mind is traumatized, it's like the story that they were telling themselves ceases to be persuasive and when a story stops being persuasive it is disorienting, and that I think is what trauma is. The period between when your old story breaks down and from the pieces of the old, you build something new." - Evan Puschak
When our story breaks down, it's hard to get to the new one. Mainly because there is the story that we tell ourselves, and then the story that everyone else tells about you. I believe the truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle. My story is in the middle right now of a place where the page is not turning. I'm ready to turn the page and tell the next chapter. But what is it? What will happen next? I know it starts with brain health, then with body health and then with taking care of my needs. It's impossible to take care of someone else's needs if you're not taking care of your own. So I guess, what I'm trying to say, is that my needs are becoming a priority in my life. I have two beautiful, talented and smart daughters who deserve the best daddy in the world. The best of me is what they are going to get. Eliminating social media has allowed me to see and think more clearly. Other thoughts banging around your head can definitely be a burden. This is a digital promise to write more. I hope to write on this blog and share with you who I am and what I do. More to come.