In a past post, I talked about the effects of toxic masculinity and how groups are trying to combat it for future generations. What I missed was the baggage that older generations carry from toxic masculinity and the ways it has shaped their lives. Even if they do not grow up in abusers and homophobic monsters, their quality of life is still diminished, just like my dad’s.
My dad worked from the time he was six years old picking peaches in a texas orchard with his older siblings. He was raised to believe that a man worked no matter how he felt sick, tired, or unhappy, he went to work. he only stopped when he went to college at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Tx because he had a football scholarship and wanted to stay close to his mother that he loved. Unfortunately or fortunately he left Texas Tech and became an independent contractor. Throughout his life, my father constantly pushed himself to be all things to all people, especially his family. Having a family was one of my dad’s life goals and he accomplished this by marrying my mom after six months of dating and later having four children and during it all he worked. He pushed himself to be the breadwinner of the family and to be present at major life moments, like when he pick me up from school in his 18-wheeler. One thing my dad always wanted us to do was have dinner together around the kitchen table and talk about our day. This became difficult when we grew up and started having plans of our own but he still expected it sometimes.
When my dad’s chest would tighten he would just pushed through. He never wanted us to worry about him because he was the dad and the “dad” doesn’t complain. When is back hurt from lifting heavy equipment or knees aced from standing for hours he continued to keep it to himself. When my dad got covid he treated just like he had before with any type of cold, liquids and rest but this time events unraveled and conclude at a place I know he never thought it would.
I wish he would have rested more, enjoyed life more. I wish he never believed that just because you are a male, that your emotions and needs are not important. Maybe if he had my dad would be sitting on our sofa in the living room watching the Cowsboys game asking me how to fix something on his Samsung phone. I just wish I could look into his eyes one more time and truly appreciate the father I have…had.