Over the course of life I’ve always been ”that guy”, in the sense of the strong guy both physically and mentally, with strenght and words ect ect. Nothing could bring me down, which I always like to think as well.. While past experiences do make you stronger, it does also leave a scar on your soul. This is not me saying ”ooh look at me, I’m so sad and you should feel bad for me”. Quite to opposite actually, however I do get quite annoyed that whenever something happens, people always assume I will be fine. Ofcourse I’ll be fine in the end, I’ll always get back on my feet wether it’s by myself or a rare reaching hand to pull me up.
Yesterday I’ve been fired, while it wasn’t a job that paid me, it was my dream job, I was mainly a Youth worker there and had my own location to run. It happens that people lose their jobs and I’m coming to terms with that, sure it sucks but I’ll find something new. The reason why it saddens me is the way how I got fired, my boss didn’t even had the guts to say it to me herself, nope she asked someone else to do it while afterwards offering me a ”goodbye” party with the interns and other common visitors. I gracefully declined the offer with a ”You can all go and fuck yourself.”. I know, I know, not quite mature and professional like, but the anger was building inside me and I could’ve done worse.
The way I’ve been fired made me think if I’m such a bad person that people don’t take the time to properly talk with me, I am reasonable, atleast I’d say so myself. A lot of people will say ”No, ofcourse not, you’re great!”, but that is easy to say and difficult to remember when you can’t sleep at night and your mind starts taking directions towards the not so happy door.
After I got home frustrated and told people what happend they said ”You’ll be fine, you can take the punch, after all you’ve been through this should be a piece of cake.”
Well, it isn’t. It actually hits me harder then I want it to be and harder then it should, because of my past experience which are all just unresolved and doors have been closed but not locked, it hurts even more, it’s the last water drop that makes a full bucket overflow. I’m not even sure that’s a saying in English but alright.
You see, it might be my own fault. I’ve always been the joker and the class clown, which I didnt mind because laughing is healthy and I love making people laugh and laugh myself, the people who have been with me on Skype know my laugh can be quite contagious. However, due to me making a lot of jokes people assume I’m fine, ofcourse people wont ask if I’m fine because deep down, they know the true answer will be ”No, I am actually not fine.”
Eight years ago my dad lost his job and got into some sort of depression because he couldn’t find a new job anymore because of his age and low education. He has always been the type of guy who was stuck in the old day, so when my mother was forced to work more and also would earn more money, his ego got cracked and shit was about to hit the fan. Fights between them happend, between my father and mother, but also between my father and sister.. I always tried my best to stay out of the picture, did not want to get involved in the fighting because I had to focus on school and the people around me. Still, I could joke and laugh.
This has been going on for two years, of constant fighting each day. Untill one day my dad came to my room, called my sister there aswell and said that he’s going to leave and not return. Upon hearing that my sister burst into tears and I did my best to push the tears away, which worked. Everything that day was a mess, so was my mother and sister and it was up to me to keep everything running. After he left the door I had to get some air, I needed to be away from this all, but had no place to go. Everyone I went to was either busy or wasn’t around. On school there was a mentor, who told me I should push everything back and focus on my school, so I did. The next week upon coming home my father was suddenly sitting there with my mother, begging us to let him come back.
So my dad was back, nothing really changed, ofcourse my behaviour changed, I was growing, started to get my own opinion and was more dependant than I ever was, which my dad didn’t like. He got more lazy, didn’t do anything in the household and kept chatting with random women on the internet till the next morning. Cleaning the house basically came down to me, because my mother was working a lot, and my sister is terminally ill so she can’t do much. Arguements with my dad vs everyone grew and happen more often. It came to the point where I wanted to keep the peace and just played stupid, asked my father for help while in reality I didn’t need it. Untill one day that I had this big arguement with my father, he told me I should learn my role in this household, as the little punk I am. Which I replied in that he should know his role as a father, he jumped up, stood infront of me, obviously me being 16 was growing very fast so stood up aswell to the same lenght as him, on that moment he said ”If you don’t like it, beat it.”. I was so fed up, that I was actually about to leave, but then my mother told my father to act like an adult. Things started going from bad to worse, he basically tried to mentally abuse me, saying that I’m worthless, that I’m dumb and that I won’t achieve anything in life. He was really getting to me and I started to go from being this goofy fun guy who used to sing and cheer everyone up, to a cynic and someone who was more or less sad most of the times.
I managed to pass my exams and decided to use my abilities to help people and went to follow an education for Social Work. Everything went alright, stuff didn’t change but I put the famous mask on, the ”Nothing is wrong, everything is cool, look at me being the fun guy”. But then, one morning during spring break, my mother found a note on the table. It was from my father, saying that he couldn’t take it anymore, he was going to leave and would stay at his mothers place. When I heard this all, I wanted to cry my heart out, but I couldn’t. Again my mother was in a bad place, so was my sister.
So my parents were going to divorce and because of some stupid law, the house we were living in had to be sold or my mother had to gather enough money to outbuy my father. We obviously didn’t had that kind of money, we could barely get enough money together for food. So the house was going to get sold, a sign was on the window inviting people to take a look. It was a horrible time, because we had no other place to go and we weren’t allowed to stay in the house when people were in there watching, because we could potentially boycot a sale, we had to move out, each time. Didn’t matter if it was boiling hot outside, snowing or raining, we had to move out.. During all this, I didn’t really have the energy to focus on both home and school, so I decided to push everything that happend at home aside and tunnelvisioned school work. As a Social Worker you hear all kinds of stories, meet people that are in such bad places, you need to pull them out. I helped abused mothers, children and helped addicts to start their life again without their addictions while I was working at a local community centre as an intern. But those weren’t the only problems I heard from people, also my friends and classmates had a million problems aswell and they came to me for advice or a shoulder. After a while I just broke, I couldn’t take it any longer. I was actually at a point where I didn’t care if I got hit by a car when crossing the street.
I discovered that my father was lieing where he was going to, all this time from my graduation till the moment he left he was planning to go to another woman, when he went ”fishing”, he actually visit his new girlfriend. This hit us hard, since we all knew it after looking at the facts, we got weird phonecalls from women asking for him, he was always webcaming with ladies untill like 6 in the morning. I felt betrayed, so did ofcourse my sister but especially my mother.
Pride was standing in my way, all this time I didn’t want to seek help, untill I finally took the step and did. The psychologist I had wasn’t really a nice man, he wanted to know stuff about my father, mother and the rest of the family instead of me, after a lot of argueing I just took off, never returned, I still have 5 out of 10 talks left I think. I couldn’t really talk about it with my mother or sister, since they were in a bad spot aswell and I had/have a lot of trust issues even with my friends so I couldn’t really talk, they knew what was up, but only the general stuff and the rest of the family didn’t pay any attention to us. Many times did my father contacted me, wanting to ”set things right”, I let him do it once, via email and he could only blame others, I asked him questions and he didn’t want to answer them, which left me even more frustrated.
After 3 years of fighting, talks with lawyers, being in court and college I managed once again to pass my exams, I finally had my degree in Social Work, I was happy ofcourse, but this ment that I couldn’t have anything else to focus on, so the divorce, the house which was getting sold, my mother and sister were getting my full attention. It wasn’t making me happy, all the friends from college dropped me like a sack of potatoes and were only around when they actually needed me, rather then the other way around. If the house would get sold, we would end up on the street, since we couldnt rent due to the fact that we had to pay the mortgage, so we could only get a new place with the money my mother would get when the house would be sold and it takes like 5 months to get a house in the Netherlands if not way longer. So a shortage of sleep happend, every night I heard my mother cry and I felt so helpless. She was in a really bad spot, so bad that she actually got suicidal, already had rope ready to hang herself. I was so scared that she would actually do it, that I never left the house for long, nor actually slept without one eye and ear open.
Things have cleared up and I got more or less back on my feet, but me having to drop out of Uni, the death of my grandpa, the stressfull but fun birth of my niece who also lives in the same house as me made it hard to be ”that” guy, but I still manage to do. Friends and love came and went, some I’m desperately trying to hold on to, because I will not accept that ”friends can grow apart”.
I will continue being the joker, I will continue being ”that” guy, I will continue to fight as I’ve always done. The story with my father is basically the core of my struggles, the mental wounds he created are still deep and not nearly healed.
So when you have a friend who jokes a lot, ask him sometimes ”Are you alright?”, I think you’ll be suprised what the out come will be.