I feel like I’m being left behind. I’ll admit, part of what I’m feeling is due to having a sick brain that I take less care of than I should. The rest is…murky and ill-defined.
My friends have paired off and moved on. They have families, jobs, pets, and hobbies that need tending to. Phones would ring unanswered, texts unread.
My family crumbled; what blood I have is dead, estranged, or at odds. The family I built has left and carried on with their lives. As they should. The universe does not stop on my account.
I thought I had it figured. I had someone I loved in my bed, I had a child on the way, I had a job with opportunity, I had people around me who I was invested in, and who invested in me.
The love, I found, was on one side. I was unplanned, never intended to be permanent or long term. And so, we parted. I got the dresser, she got the family.
With my home broken, my child is only in my life half the time. I appreciate my alone time, but I wonder what I miss, I wonder if I can be a full father part time. I wonder, since my time is spent trying to spend every spare second with him, if I can have a life of of my own any kind now.
The opportunity feels stolen from me. Not by his mother; she’s a good person and deserves her happiness…I just wish her happiness did not come at the cost of my own. No, I feel slighted by whatever gods may be; that Zeus himself has cursed me to a life of inadequacy, a modern Sisyphus. I feel no matter how much time I pour into my son, my work, and our future, it will never be enough. I have no team. I am adrift and alone, and as strong as I am, I cannot bear that load across my shoulders for long.
Those I love have found lives. Marriages, fulfilling work, families, passions…while my own wither on the vine. Was I slow in tending to my harvest, or were my crops poisoned in their seed, destined to die bitter and dry?
My friends did not leave me. I got busy. They got busy. And now, save for passing greeting, I have no communication with the world outside my head.
My troubles have deepened with age, like cuts in the creases of my hands. Any attempt to carry on living only tears open the wounds, while resting and healing is not a survivable option. A shark in an oil spill, if I stop moving, I’ll die, but if I keep going like this, the result is the same.
I hide in my room when I am home. My bed has developed a dip where I lay. I have to set alarms to remind myself to shower. I burn candles in an attempt to clear out the musty air of living in a 12×12 box, surrounded by dishes I will wash tomorrow, garbage I’ll take out before my son comes home, and toys I have not picked up since he left. My clothes sit wrinkled in a basket, unfolded, unhung, a trophy of my endless exhaustion.
I don’t want to go to holiday events. But I have to, or they’ll notice. They’ll notice that I am broken, unfit, and lost. And they’ll pity me.
I hate pity. I don’t want it. I’m not a charity case, I am a person. I don’t need to be fed, I need…fuck, I need a brawl, I need a good cry, I need to feel some purpose or some fire again.
I need my old man.
I’m out of my depth. I’m hurt. I’m not convinced I’ll recover. I’m not broken hearted, I’m just broken, and in ways with which I am unfamiliar.
I’m trying. Fuck me, I’m trying. I started a project. Been going four months strong. But it’s tiring, and energy is low as it is. I’m gunning for a new job, in a new industry, hoping to change my atmosphere and inspire myself again. But hope takes energy. I’m trying to date. I’m just bad at it. I’m trying to put myself out there, there’s just…nothing to give.
I’m busted up pretty good, in a year where we’re all busted up. I feel guilty even saying all this, cuz what do I have to complain about? I’m just having a midlife crisis, shouting at the stars about how life is unfair. Boo hoo.
I’m fed. I’m housed. I have a job in uncertain times. I have a car, a phone, utilities. My son is healthy, fed, and safe. By all accounts, I’m good.
It’s this other bullshit that’s got my goat.
Single parenting is hard, man. I’m tired. I got no time for anything or anybody. I got no money cuz the price of livin’s high. And keeping diapers on his ass and clothes on his back is stupid expensive. His clothes cost as much as mine, and they use a quarter of the material.
I’m spinning plates. Job, check. Kid, damn, that’s at least three of these plates, check. Basic survival needs, check; wobbly, but spinning. Then there’s these two plates that always struggle, and I seem to only be able to keep one. I have social life and passion project. Well, I chose my passion. So…friends, loved ones, romance…falls to the floor.
Overwhelmed, overstimulated, and over emotional, with poor coping patterns and apparently deplorable time management skills.
Single parenting is hard. Being a single dad is hard. You’re alone. This isn’t what you signed up for, but this is what you’ve got, and if you want to see your kid, there’s some things you have to abandon if you want to be a good dad. Maybe you’ll have room for them in a few years’ time. Maybe when he goes to school. Or when he turns 13. Or when he graduates. Or…shit.
Where did my life go?