When I say I used to have low self-esteem, there was nothing. I needed my relationship with Mr. Bartender to keep me sane. That in itself was a recipe for disaster.
Then my dad died in the Spring of 2012. Once again, everything was a mess. Even more of a mess. The fan started spinning s*** faster than I could keep up.
As a young boy, I rarely saw him. Before work, my dad exercised in his room until 5 am when he’d leave. He’d come home around 5 in the evening and go straight to his room to do who knows what.
I remember imagining all the things my dad could be doing in his room. Watching tv? Exercising more? Who knows. I only saw him a few hours a day if I was lucky.
It wasn’t until high school that my dad and I started spending more time together. But he still ran a tight schedule. Boy Scouts, high school band, swim practice. Week in, week out like clockwork. I started seeing my dad more and more only because I had to.
Then in college, things changed. My dad started coming to my marching band practices to support me. It was nice. He was there so often my friends knew him. He was the crazy guy who walked around the band field raising the roof to drum cadences and majorette twirls. Or just staring at the majorettes.
In the Spring of 2007, I moved to Chicago. I had to escape the pain of grief. Our relationship inevitably suffered. We weren’t as close as we used to be when I was in college.
And then it happened. It was about four and a half years between the deaths of my mom and my best friend. It was just over four and a half years after Ryan died that my dad passed. The timing was scary.
Somebody was going to die in another four and a half years. That’s how screwed up I used to think about it all.
My life was falling apart. Our relationship was falling apart. I realized I was codependently relying on Mr. Bartender. And it just wasn’t working anymore.
For another year and a half, I scrambled around figuring out an exit plan. Everything was crumbling down on me. It was suffocating. I had to get out.