From You I’ve become

Michael - NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia
Entered on April 27, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: setbacks
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This I believe for I know I am is quite a tongue twister. I was once asked if my father’s absence has changed who I am and how I feel about him. I am the sum of many parts, not just a few sentiments. As I thought about whom I was and how I felt as whole, nothing progressed but Descartes’ cogito, ergo sum. I think therefore I am.

I am angry, but I do not believe I am an angry person. It’s been three months since my father has left for Iraq. His company has been attacked twice in the past month. My father has begun to show signs of depression, and as I say this I simply chuckle. My father is a strong man and a good man. The fear of losing my father to either physical or mental harm deeply saddens me, so I pray for his safety every day, but I know he is weak. His weakness angers me because he like all of our family must remain strong, through this pressing time. If he falters then we are unable to remain strong. Our family has been through many hardships, from bankruptcy to household violence and to separation. Yet we have fought to survive and stay strong.

I am angry at him for his and our family situation. I am angry for yet again forcing me to quickly grow up and claim responsibility for our family. I love my father very much and know that all that he does is for us, but at this time in my life where I need him the most. He is not here. I need help with school documents, tax information, and scholarship information. I need help consoling my mother who has responsibility of working to sustain us above this economic recession and that of being alone in a three bedroom house with an aging dog. I need help becoming an independent adult, while slowly transitioning into a new setting as a college student. I know my father would chose differently for all of us, but at this time we are forced to grit our teeth and knuckle down for the ride.

I am angry, but I love my father. It is because of him that I have learned to correct my flaws, flaws of gang affiliation, resentment, anger and violence toward others. These are not traits that I want to mark my being. I thank my father for enabling me to grow as a strong and solid individual and or instilling the values of strength, self-reliance and hardship. I thank him for showing me that one gives himself to his family and to others at all times. Even if it requires for you to be separated from those you love. I think therefore I am, as a testament to both truth and contradiction. Life is endless experiences that shape who and what we become. My father absence has changed me. It has made me better and realize I am an individual with my own progressing story.