Monday, August 2, 2010

Strong Arm

Strong arm Cyberman
Originally uploaded by

For the majority of the day I have been at odds with my 16 year old son. Nothing I said to him seemed to connect. Nothing I asked him to do got done. And, nothing I did for him appeared to be appreciated or understood. Now I can only imagine the thoughts that are going through his head. "Nothing my dad said made sense. Nothing I did pleased him. And, nothing he did for me was what I wanted or needed." Where exactly lies the truth? What exactly is the reality?

I'm finding that since our move, we seem to often be at odds. He is now out of summer school, and I'm not currently working. Too much time on our hands has made for a difficult transition. I liked it better when we were both busy, and there were less opportunities to find ourselves at odds.

Tomorrow I need to find a way to get my son moving in a more independent direction. Since the move he has been quite hesitant to venture out too much on his own. He seems to not want to use the local public transportation, rather wanted dad to chauffeur him around. I, on the other hand, have been adding more activities that get me out of the house for time on my own, as that is what I seem to need right now. These two things appear to be at odds. How do I secure some autonomy for myself, when my son is wanting, or needing, the opposite? Not an easy solution.

As I keep having to remind my kids, I am only one person.

The other strong force in my awareness today was a sense of touch deprivation. I go through this now and then. Since my body has been feeling quite sore lately, I decided to book a massage this afternoon as a way of trying to get myself physically back on track. Of course what I continue to experience is a lack of adult touch, be it nurturing or sensual. And while massages in the past have helped in this regard, today's was far from that. When I arrived I discussed with the massage therapist my feeling sore from all the work of the move these past couple of weeks, coupled with the recent addition of yoga in my life. I asked him to work out all the knots in my body, and to use a deep pressure. Well, I learned that you need to be careful about what you ask for. This guy was quite muscular, and his deep is another person's pain. I found myself doing a lot of deep breathing, as it at times became extremely painful. I knew that this type of treatment would give my tight knotted muscles the type of relief needed in the coming days, so I just took it like a man. A suffering man in pain. Evey once in a while the therapist would ask if I was okay, and if he was going too deep. I'm laughing to myself right now, because it was so difficult to answer him when it felt like his hands were about to dig right through one side of my body, and out the other. When I left I didn't feel nurtured, and it was far from sensual or relaxing, but I am already feeling the benefits from this therapeutic treatment.

I guess much of today's difficulties can be chalked up to growing pains. Adolescence is a difficult time. It is difficult for the teenager, and it is difficult for everyone around them. I'm sure that by the end of each day my son feels like I have been strong arming him with all of my demands and expectations. I'm sure he feels like it is difficult to tell me when I am pushing too far, yet he, and I, know that this is what it will take for him to make progress in his life. As for me, I need to recognize when what I am seeking is more than I can currently handle. Even if I think I can handle it, or even if I know it will be good for me in the end, perhaps I need to stop and remind myself that I don't need to add any unnecessary suffering to my life just to feel like I am tackling these difficult times.


  1. Just tossing out some thoughts here. Perhaps the relocation has caused your son to lose some of his confidence. Some people have a difficult time with change.

    How are things going with your son's jiu jitsu classes? Is the new place working out okay? If not, perhaps he's lost a little of the confidence gained in his old class back in S.F. It may take him awhile to get back in his groove. If there's a problem there, maybe it's something that needs to be addressed as it seems the jiu jitsu is important to your son. I would not under-estimate that importance to his sense of self and confidence.

    Is there any other activity he likes and may be able to get back into now that you're in SD? Maybe something close to home that he can walk to and not need to lean on you for transportation. Have you got Boys & Girls Clubs there? The one in the town where I stay in winter has a lot of members and quite a lot of activities, many of which are geared toward confidence and skill building.

    Well, I have very limited experience with massage therapy. The one and only time I had a massage, the woman was extremely strong and even though she used some massage oils, I was left smarting with some major pain like what we used to call "indian burns" when we were kids (you would grab someone's wrist and twist the skin in opposite directions to make a sort of quasi- rope burn). However my burns were at the top of my back by my neck. Hurt for days. Needless to say, I haven't bothered going for any massages since then! I'm glad to hear that some people find them beneficial though. (-:

  2. i can offer few words to help since you know your son so much better. you are the authority on what is right for him, and for yourself. i do know that i always talked to my son and daughter. gentle words, pushing into their minds: "what is it you want?" "what happened today to make you act (or feel) like this?" "i like that you did this, or said that, or didn't say or didn't do..." i questioned and softly gave unsolicited advice. i was always there. my only job was to recon the perimeter waiting to see what mood their father was going to be in so i could protect them. my situation was so unlike yours that i think my advice is moot.

    you are such a good father. they know you love them. you tell them. positive reinforcement, firm hand, praise, you have it all. it does get exhausting when there are other concerns and worries that threaten to cave in around you.

    for what it's worth, i feel proud to call you friend. i look forward to seeing you Friday.