Solid Exterior… Crumbling Within
Long ago, I learned the fine art of presenting a solid exterior to the world. I was bullied relentlessly and any emotions I showed regarding this only brought more bullying upon me. So I clammed up. I hid my pain and anger from the world (except for my closest friend) and pretended as if I were a brick wall. No matter how much I felt like my entire world was crashing down around me, I made it look like I was the most solid person in the room. Or, at least, I tried my best to make it seem that way.
In college, all I wanted was to be "normal." Everyone around me was dating so I wanted to date. I had no idea how to go about this so I clumsily made my way through those four years with a solid exterior/crumbling within. Every person holding hands, every quick kiss in the hallway, every conversation about significant others chipped away at me inside. I had a few breakdowns, a few times when I let my crumbling exterior show, but I would erect a new "solid exterior" the first chance I got.
Fast forward to the present day. As I posted on DadRevolution.com, NHL has been diagnosed with some behavioral issues. We strongly believe that I share these issues. In other words, he inherited them from me. Add this to the growing list of "Ways I’ve Screwed Up My Son’s Life Through Genetics." Intellectually, I know this isn’t my fault. It’s not like I said "Hey, here’s this bad gene, let’s send that on to the baby. Here’s a good gene, we’ll hold that back." Still, I find myself blaming myself for all of this.
Going back to the bullying. I always figured that it was a quirk of circumstance. Kids bullied me and so I became an introvert and so kids bullied me more. But what if it was the other way around? What if I was introverted because of these behavioral issues and *THEN* kids picked up on it and bullied me? It might seem like a small technicality, but it is huge to me.
If it was the first one, a quirk of circumstances, then NHL stands a fighting chance of not being bullied like I was. Of not going through the living hell that I went through day after day after day. If, instead, it is all traceable to behavioral issues, which NHL has inherited from me, I may have genetically doomed him to the same torture I encountered. I still feel pain thinking about high school, even though I graduated 17 years ago. How can I not feel some pain at dooming him to this same fate?
And yet, even now, I put up that solid exterior. I’m a brick wall, able to take anything thrown at me, at least that’s how I like the world to see me… until I come crumbling down.