Dadness to me is often finding the balance between the primal urge, the wonderful possibilities of a sentient species and the reality of a 21st century western existence.
Most of the time I’m too busy living the paradox to be analysing the dream.
Such as the past few months where I’ve been busy settling down in my new job. Which I have a because I was being made redundant by my previous manager (boo hiss) and so I found a new one, and I was lucky to do so.
Being made redundant sucks. This was my third time, doesn’t get any better. You go through the motions, suck up the betrayal, do the dance, look for the best outcome and get the fuck out of Dodge. You know when you’re not wanted.
But I’m not looking after myself any more, knowing I can fall back on friends, on family, on whatever I have left. No, somewhere deep inside many many many thousands of years of evolution buried away in my DNA were reminding me that I’m standing guard at the cave entrance, protecting the mother who’s giving life to my baby. That’s my job. That’s what I do, or did, or do, or did, once upon a time…
Yet I knew my wife earned enough to keep us going, I knew at worst I’d get a decent payout that could keep us as is for a year before I needed to work again, I knew I had nothing to fear about us losing our home or not being able to eat (and I know how very very very lucky I was to be in this position).
Yet I could not fight the deep inside. I could not run from the shame of having my ability to be guardian of the cave door challenged. That was exhausting. It filled my every moment with a confusion, it drained the hope from me, even when all my less primal urges reminded me that it was really all ok. This was not about becoming a stay-at-home dad which would have been amazing although there were other reasons why I didn’t which were in their own way subsuming to the practicalities of being a middle class westerner, and they equally suck. It was about not being able to make the active decision to choose to or not.
I can’t separate my dadness from the deep inside and my position at the cave mouth.I look at my world to see it seems it only made it harder to do so. I understand more fully now the anger that comes from the fear when there is no safety net; the humiliation of unguarded caves in a hundred, in a hundred more news stories, the facile reasoning that fall on desolate ears and the bile rises within me.
Does this bind me with all other fathers beyond colour, creed, beyond circumstance; a distant memory of the warmth of the fire on our backs, eyes cast out across the sunset? Or do I need to climb back into my paradox and get on with it.
This dadness thing. It’s not that easy sometimes.