Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Men in my Life~Part 1

     Since this is a blog about men,  and developing healthy relationships with men,  I have decided to write about the "Men in my Life".  So for the next several weeks I will be posting about my close personal relationships with men that have impacted my life and blessed me beyond words.  I will share how we met and I will share personal insights to building, developing, and maintaining good healthy friendships that increase in dept and beauty as the years go by.    I believe with all my heart we are meant to have deep personal, intimate, and healthy, relationships with men.  It is part of Gods plan that his sons bond together to offer strength and support for each other to assist in returning back to him.  The journey is hard and a loving Heavenly Father did not intend for us to make it alone and without help.   How sad to go throughout life without taking the time to develop and nurture healthy loving relationships with our brothers.  So I hope you enjoy the message and I hope by my telling you of my close relationships with other men it will bring you greater understanding and inspire you to take the time to let others into your heart.

Dad, the first man in my life.

    I have thought about this a lot and even though my dad was a huge part of my troubled youth, I cannot write about the men in my life without starting with the man that is responsible for me being here and whether we like it or not we are a product of our Fathers.

     Before I go any further,  I need to say that I love my Dad with all my heart and admire the amazing man he is.  Relationships are a process that if we continue working at,  will eventually become what we need and desire.  That is how it has been with my Dad and I.  A process that through time we reached the point where we have come to now,  that is to say, where we understand and appreciate each other for who we are.

     My dad is a cowboy.  Not just a once in a blue moon cowboy,  he is a cowboy to the bone.  Those old fashioned kind that would never are seen without his boots on.  He reminds me of John Wayne in so many ways.   He was raised on a ranch in northern Arizona and he was raised by his grandmother.    Grandma Petersen was an amazing woman in every way.  She loved her grandson with all her heart.  "Buddy" my dad's name given to him by her,  was the joy of her heart.  She taught him all about ranching and cowboying.  He was raised to be a cowboy in every way.  He inherited all of the good cowboy traits, but he also had a few of the not so good ones and he was raised with out a father.  Grandma did a great job, but Dad had no idea how to be a father.  And he had no idea how to deal with a son, especially one like me,  that was not a cowboy.

     Growing up I worshipped the ground he walked on.  I remember in third grade the teachers were so worried about me.  I had a habit of putting my hands in the front of my pants.  Oh, they were so worried.  My mother would come to class to see what the problem was.  It was simple, but I was embarrassed to tell them.  Cowboys, and my dad always walked around with their fingers in the top of their pants.  I wanted to be just like my dad.  I guess I could have relieved a lot of stress if I would have just told them it was what my dad did, but I was to shy to say why and I knew they would laugh at me so I just let them think I had some other problem.

   I loved my dad with all my heart and like any son I needed and wanted and craved for his approval.
As a little boy I felt loved and excepted, but as I got older and my personality started to come out the distance between us started to grow.  I was a very sweet boy who loved girly things, from planting flowers, to playing dolls.  I love to write poems and wear my moms cloths.  As I look back I do not place any blame on my father for how he acted.  He had no clue how to deal with a "sissy" for a son.  It was against everything he new.  Men were men and did man things.  I was more than he could deal with.  In all fairness he did good most of the time, but there were times when it was just to much for him and I could tell by the look on his face, at least as a child, it looked like disappointment to me. My brothers on the other hand were real boys.  They loved sports, horses, tuff stuff and he loved them for it.  He could understand them, were with me, he had no clue.

    I have to admit,  I was a case.  I felt he didn't like me so I would go out of my way to drive him crazy.  In the 70's short shorts were the thing.  Wranglers cut really high.  Platform shoes and silk shirts with designs on them.   I would puff out my hair, put on the shorts, shoes, and shirt and parade out in front of him and his cowboy buddies.  It drove him insane.  Oh,  I would also tie a scarf around my neck.  I know,  it was a mean and cruel thing to do, but I was trying to get his attention.  The things we do to get noticed.

     The older I got the more distance we had between us.  My parents divorced and my mom had a few different husbands that also played havoc on me and my personality.  I think that drove me to want positive affirmations even more from my dad.

     Once I even went out for the football team to get his approval.  I worked really hard to get on the team and I made.  I hated every moment of it and when we went to the games I stayed on the bus.  I don't know what I expected from him, but it seemed to make no difference in how he felt about me, and it added another failure to my long list of them when I quit the team.  To make matters even worse at home, the small town where I was raised was a ruff place to be if you were a sensitive somewhat feminine boy.  Faggot was the common name used in the 70's for boys like me, that were different.

     At my school there were four groups,  the cowboys,  the jocks, the hippies, and the Mormons.  Some belonged to several groups, but if you didn't belong to one of them you were nothing.  I was not a cowboy, and certainly not a jock, the hippies did drugs and other things I would never do and I was not active in the Mormon faith at the time.  I was nothing and each group found a great pleasure in taunting me and teasing me.  From being beat up often, to being spit on frequently, ignored all the time, my self esteem was horrible.  I would go from school where I knew I was hated to a home where I did not feel loved or excepted.  At home I was called a sissy and at school I was called a faggot.  Life was pretty hard.  I grew more and more introverted and as I look back now I can understand why some thought what they did, but at the time it was confusing and hard.

     I remember one time I was playing with my little brother, tickling him and pretending I was Grannie.  We were having a great time.  My dad just went off.  He yelled at me to stop and told me I was a girl in a boys body and one day I would wake up and be a girl.  He informed me that was just what I wanted.  Please understand I don't tell this to belittle my father at all.  I remember at the time my mom had left him and he was not himself.  He was lashing out at me because I was the closet thing to my mother he could find at the time to  vent his hurt.  But at the time it crushed my heart and solidified my low opinion of myself.

     High school is a hard time even at the best of times.  To be raised in a home where I didn't feel loved and on top of that to move each year twice to accommodate my mothers marriages added to the distance between me and my father.  I ached to be loved by him and to cover my hurt I hated him.  That was how I got through it.  If I hated him it was easier to get over the hurt of not being loved by him.  I am sure that even moved him further away and added to his frustration.  During those years I still taunted  him by showing up in the most outrageous cloths I could find.  To his credit he endured them well.

    It is always great to be able and look back and have understanding.  At the time you are living it, understanding is hard to come by.  I lived those years in resentment of not having a father that loved me and accepted me for who I was.  All along he did love me, but did not understand what my needs were and so we both struggled.  I with the need for a father and him with the need to understand his totally foreign son.  It is funny and tragic how our struggles can build up walls around us and keep us away from the very thing we are fighting for.

    At the age of nineteen I was preparing to serve a mission for the LDS church.  I struggled with my feelings of hate for my father.  I talked to my bishop about them and his wise counsel was to not worry about it.  Go serve the Lord he said and it will work out.   So I left with a heart full of anger and resentment for him.

    My bishop was right.  The change started.  The most amazing thing was my dad wrote me every week of my mission.  You have to know him to understand how hard that was for him.  His letters were really short,  sometimes two sentences, but in my heart I knew that if he could do that he must love me and my heart softened.

     My dad had never in my life expressed that he loved my and he had never hugged me.  It was just something he did not do.  He didn't know how.  I am and always have been a hugging person and to me if someone does not hug they must not love you.  I need to hear the words also.  Some can go a life time with out needing hugs or words of love, but I cannot.   Dad just had no clue how to say the words.  I started to realize as my mission went on that he did love me and he was proud of me.  He still did not understand me, but he did love me.

      The most amazing thing happened when I got home off my mission.   My dad was a truck driver at the time so he was not able to come and get me at the airport.  We got home late and he was in bed.  I got up early the next morning to fix him breakfast.  When he got up and came into the kitchen the first thing he did was wrap me in a hug and he told me he loved me.  You cannot imagine how that felt.  To this day it is one of my most precious memories.  The perfect homecoming gift.

    It was a weird adjustment.  All the sudden I had a dad.   It took some time to adjust to that, but over  the years we have developed a wonderful meaningful relationship.  Dad frequently tells me he loves me and always hugs me when he sees me.  He is one of my greatest examples in so many ways.  He has shown me how someone can change and become what we need and I have learned that change is duel.  I had to grow  and learn also.  My dad is my hero.  Strong,  dependable, honest, kind, good, loving, honorable, decent, and his heart is pure.

     Life is a journey,  and if we persist in moving forward and keep trying to improve, it gets better and we learn the lessons we need to and we can come to love and understand those we thought we never would.   My dad is one of the greatest men in my life.  40 years ago I would have never thought that possible, but now I see and understand how important the journey was.  It's the ending that really matters, not the beginning.  And this ending is great, I love my Dad.


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  1. Thank you!! I had similar issues but I'm now glad my dad is one of my best friends!