I Need You To Be A Big Man Now

I’m writing fervidly in the glow of my home right now….

After nearly 48 years of living, it’s very hard to change habits, even emotional ones. Learning to love myself has been a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. In the whole of my life I have been adventurous, charismatic, charming and a provocateur. I’ve lived a life that was heavily influenced by a need for attention, for affirmation, for acceptance by my actions, words, deeds and firmly believed philosophies.

I have been craving acceptance in a way that is fundamental to figuring out why I’m so broken. And by broken I mean that I cannot seem (at least lately) to find happiness with myself, my life, or the world that I have created. Something sinister keeps whispering in my ear that I’m not good enough to achieve my dreams. Read that again. I’m not good enough. Notice there was no moment where I clarified if I wasn’t good enough a writer, or good enough a person, or good enough to understand the difference between the two. I’m not good enough….

When you start to see painful patterns emerge, overtaking current patterns of bliss, you really have to sit back and ask, “What the hell happened? Why now?”

I recently became reacquainted with my sister. By reacquainted I mean that she and I don’t communicate at all, but we’ve let the world know through our work (her youtube videos and my blog), that we see each other. We hear each other….We’re just not quite ready to talk about our childhood with each other…Maybe never will.

About a year ago my father reached out to me on facebook. We are, as they say, “estranged.” He wanted to know about my life, how I’ve been, what I’ve been up to. And in a callous measure I told him he could read my blog like anyone else if he really wanted to know what is going on in my life….Keep in mind. There is a reason we are not close.

Then recently, I had a falling out with my mother. In a footnote, she disrespected my boundaries. I warned her about doing that time and time again, and the time before the most recent I made it perfectly clear that it was not to be done again. In a word, the last thing you want to do is provoke someone who wants to be left alone. They will make absolute certain that a deeper mote is dug and a higher wall built. They will insist you, nor anyone else breaches their boundaries again.

So, my original family unit is now visible on my facebook feed. And please, keep this in heavy memory, I would discourage these four people from being in the same room together at the same time. It would not go very well. Which is why it subconsciously started brewing, this pain, this fear, this heart break….this unrelenting sadness. I kept seeing these faces, all principle to a painful childhood that only my sister and I can comprehend showing up day after day on my facebook feed….

And nasty things started creeping back up.

My father used to beat the living crap out of me. He didn’t need a reason. I looked at him funny, or I said something too witty, or my gig line wasn’t right. (Go google a gig line. It is something only a child of the military would understand). I was such a disappointment as a child. I was small, wiry, scrawny. He once said to me that my ears were too big, my nose too long, and that I was too much of a string bean to be his son. This was not said in gest, for when I was about 12 I could hear him telling friends of his all this. I even remember their names. Mr. Heygood and his wife Bunny. Let that just be a lesson on how much attention children really pay to their surroundings. They’re new to this world, soaking everything in. Children are quietly observant, not stupid.

But, the abuse I endured was even worse for my sister. And that is her story to tell….for the moment.

Then one day my father came home and said my mother had left us, all of us. I thought he was kidding so I kept joking about how she’d be showing up with a pizza. He grabbed me by the collar of my t-shirt and slapped me and kept screaming and crying, “You don’t fucking believe me? TALK TO HER!” He grabbed a phone, dialed some numbers, and I started asking, “Mom, you’re coming home….right?”

I ran out the front door, headed for the little pond that was in front of our house, sat at the edge with the cordless phone in my hand, howling with tears, “NO! NO! COME BACK! PLEASE! I’M BEGGING YOU! PLEASE DON’T LEAVE US WITH HIM! PLEASE!!!!”

And I remember she kept saying, “I need you to be a big man right now…..” And I have to confess at that time, I had no idea what that meant other than one parent wants to destroy you….and the other parent is admitting to you that they are leaving you behind to save their own hide. In that moment, there is no place to call home, no place that is safe, and no one that you can believe loves you….

How does a child recover from that? And even worse, how does an adult forgive that?

A few weeks later she did come back….and things only got worse.

But, that story will have to wait. For now? As I head to bed, I’m grateful to be wrapped in the glow of a real home, where it is safe to share honestly, safe to discuss pain, and where there is no doubt of an abundance of love.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. I wouldn’t have the courage to do it without your support. 



  1. There should be a button other than “like.” Only a sadist could like what you went through. My husband and his sibs suffered abusive hell ( the sister even more so – you can imagine, but don’t; it will give you nightmares). It is trite to say, but I’m sorry you went through hell at the hands of the sperm donor (a child of an abusive man refers to her biological father that way; I think it’s appropriate). I hope your husband gives you a hug and comfort.

  2. Wow.
    Resilience is a strange phenomenon. You’ve demonstrated great adaptability and expressed hope that a bad start in life did not determine your fate. By all accounts, you’ve been through alot- and here you are, a survivor.

  3. My father was the pastor of a Catholic church but later excommunicated when he married my mother. I had feelings that he resented my birth and all I can remember was not always so nice. Not physical but the emotional abuse if it was abuse. As a teenager or close enough I was told over and over that I was good for nothing and would grow up to be a “none” instead a nun. That bothered me plenty and believed it when I didn’t have friends and didn’t date at all. Later, I did get smart and began to work against that instead of getting to deep into depression and considering suicide. Today, after talking to myself when fighting battles I’m not about to give in to an enemy and will live my life my way with whomever I will care about. If anyone doesn’t approve it is tough nuts for them. I live my life. No one else can live my life.

    Gregory, in your life, you already have made some strides and many people see you differently that you see yourself. Once upon a time, you do not have to be blood related to have us as family. All of us that care about you are your family….sisters and brothers. I have seven children that I don’t always agree with but I will love them just the same. On top of that, I have some that are “adopted”…teens that grew into adulthood, got married, have kids. Some of them were seen as delinquents but I didn’t. I gave them a chance and direction.

    On top of all I’ve said so far, your writing is so good, do not stop. You have a way with words that even my college education won’t help me to write as good you do. Write for yourself in a journal. Keep track of things you do, eat, and all that and add to that say a bit about your moods. Some of those things can be related. Keep doing something for Gregory. Keep out the toxic people. You don’t need that stuff.

    Crap!! I sometimes write/say too much. I’ll stop for now. And keep track of your blessings.

  4. I’m so glad you have Philip. Our past can shape us, but it doesn’t have to define us. You have a lot of support out here. It’s amazing what adults can put children through. That’s why there are so many people messed up. Prayers for you and your family, whether related or not.

  5. Don’t you wish that “letting go” was as easy as people that don’t need to seem to think it is? Yeah Gregory, just forget all that stuff. Wrap it up in a little bundle in your brain, tie it with a double knot and stick it somewhere that you will forget. Simple, right? Just do that. In reality, you never lose that frightened boy. But you can comfort him and remind him that one day he will be truly loved and tell him to rest and be your strength. Embrace that boy when he visits and teach him to know joy. Don’t let him (or anyone else) pull you backwards – you pull them forward. You got this.

  6. Greg I love you more than you could ever imagine. Forgiveness is the only thing that got me to where I am now. I will discuss this with you and only you. I have to live with the things I’ve done as a mother that I’m not really proud of, but can through self reflection understand. Now I have to protect her. There are things that only the four of us will know. But you are very loved, your not alone 🖤

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