This I Believe

Charles - Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Entered on October 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I am surrounded by a world of contradictions and hypocrisies. I believe that man is manipulative, cold, and superficial. Granted there are always exceptions to the rule. You may find a person that is kind hearted with no ill bone in their body. But those people are few and far between. It is in human nature to plot and use the tools surrounding you in order to obtain what you feel you need; even if the “tools” are your friends and family.

I admit I have a defeatist attitude. I am a pessimist and I hold grudges. My childhood was a distant and unhappy one. I am a product of one of the more than fifty percent of divorced families in the United States. I have a grudge that is six years strong against my father for manipulation, verbal abuse, and lack of support.

When I was eleven, I pulled my father aside and asked him with a tearful face if my mother was having an affair. He said yes, but that he still loved me and that that was all that mattered. To start, my mother never had an affair, and with any platonic relationship that she did have with another man while she was still wearing her wedding ring, my father had one just as complicated or even more so. When I was twelve my mother drove me home from school one day and pulled off to the side of the road to tell me that she had filed for divorce. I sat there stone faced and consoled her saying that it would be ok, and it could only go up hill from here.

As I started to know my way around the back hallways of the Family Court Services center in downtown Minneapolis, my father and I would have excruciatingly long talks. My mother, working close to one hundred hours a week and having just moved out of my father’s house, had resorted to sleeping in her self-made business, an assisted living home for the elderly. My father had only to simply say, “When you go over to visit your mother, do you like being with all of the old people?” Since I was twelve and still loved my Saturday morning cartoons, I obviously said no. Because of conversations like this I hardly saw my mother for three years.

I am now seventeen. By mine, and others’ calculations, I figure that I have gone through more emotional trauma and stress due to my parents’ agonizing five-year divorce than the average twenty-five year old has gone through from everyday life. I now knowingly break the court order and live with my mother, seeing my father as little as possible. I do this not only for the emotional stability, but because this house I’ve known for only three years feels more like a home than the building I grew up in.

It has been my experience that mankind does what ever is necessary to obtain what they want. In my case my father needed to deprive me of a happy and normal childhood to try and alienate my mother. I have decided that my increasing level of happiness due to my permanent move to my mothers and my life as a recently “out” homosexual is retribution enough. I cannot regain my childhood, but I can still salvage my life. Someday I hope to come to terms with the fact that my biggest worry should have been I how the bathtub could possibly drain without me standing by to watch it instead of what to say in court.