Friday, July 25, 2008

Why insomnia is bad for you

A couple of days ago a bad combination of too much coffee, afternoon napping and a demonically noisy toddler neighborg resulted in me lying perfectly awake in the dark at 1 am. I wasn't exactly worried, given the fact that I still have a few days of summer vacation to enjoy, but in my desperate effort to try to relax and get some sleep, my brain started to wander around, and instead of following the well-known routine of telling myself an original story, suddenly my father came up in my mind, which was probably due to the fact that I had been watching "The Six Million Dollar Man" on Cable TV, and I briefly recalled how I used to think that Lee Majors sort of looked like my daddy when he was younger.

The point is that I'm not used to thinking a lot about my father, since my parents separated for good around 14 years ago, and my dad decided to move on and form a new family, which was not difficult for me to deal with, given the fact that my psychology course and a couple of readings had luckily provided me with the necessary tools to survive such a difficult transition; I guess I just assumed that , since I was no longer part of the equation of his life, he should be eliminated from mine.

Unfortunately, my younger brother hasn't been that lucky, and he has been under a lot of emotional stress because he was innocent enough to believe that his father could still be interested in him, and invited him several times to his new home, with his new family. For many Americans this might not be that unusual, but for most Mexican people it is considered bad taste and politically incorrect at least. In my personal opinion, if my father had been genuinelly interested in his son, he would've arranged a private meeting, just to get acquainted with the adult he hadn't seen for around 5 years, but as things turned out, he was more interested on my brother's money. The last straw came when our own daddy told my brother that he regreted not selling our family's house many years ago when he had the chance, since my brother and yours trully were old enough (we were 17 and 16 in those days) "to survive on our own".

Believe it or not, when I was told this, I started laughing my head off. It was just unbelievable for me that a 54 year-old man could possibly regret something he wasn't even near to do for a bunch of kids that were not even conceived in the mind yet in those days. I found it extremely amusing, but my poor brother was about to burst with anger and dissapointment towards the old man.

And that sleepless night, I unwillingly started remembering that episode, and all the other moments when things went wrong with our dad, and how it has been radically different for my brother and me; how I had learned not to expect a great deal from him, and how my brother always kept looking for that "fatherly approval" that most men long for, and about that moment in life when you have to acknowledge the fact that mommy and daddy are not Superman and Wonderwoman (or Mighty Mom and Dyno Dad, if you like), but just a couple of guys with the right to make their own mistakes and how it is difficult for some people to assume that, before being our parents, mom and dad were individuals, kids or no kids in the way.

The really annoying part came when, after spending 3 hours grinding all these thoughts in my hyperactive brain, I reached the same conclusion I have lived under for the last 18 years: there's no point in wasting time holding onto the past, and my brother is stupid for letting these things still hurt him. It's hard, and it hurts when it happens, but when somebody, whoever that is, doesn't want you in your life, you must face it and go on. You still have yourself.

Sorry for boring you dead with all this babbling.