When I think back to my childhood, no matter the age, no matter the experience, one thing is constant. Dad.
Dad was ALWAYS there for me. In all his humility he will say that he wasn’t there enough because of his shift work or that he didn’t do enough to help me in life.
But I see it differently. He was up at 5am driving me 1.5 hours to Tae Kwon Do tournaments, labouring over my studies with whatever tutoring books he could find, and playing tennis with me on a regular basis.
Looking back on my younger days, I was a brat. No-one understood me, the world was a cruel place and it definitely owed me something. That’s not to say that I didn’t have hard times expected of gay youth (that will be a separate blog), but perspective is everything.
My dad isn’t perfect. That’s probably what makes him my inspiration. He tries. My dad perseveres. And he has the goods to show for it.
Growing up in Sydney, I remember seeing a lot of it from a moving vehicle as I watched my dad run races, triathlons and the legendary City 2 Surf.
The top of our home cabinet was crowded with trophies and the insides were stocked with crystal dinnerware he had won as prizes.
When I won my own gold medals in Tae Kwon Do, my dad placed them next to his trophies. I took it for granted at the time but now I want to cry. My dad was proud of me.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing. For you LGBTQI folk out there, you know all too well the silent struggle of coming to terms to with your sexuality. For girls they can cry to their sisters and mothers, for culturally diverse people you have your families to talk to about the racism you experience. For a gay guy in the 90s there was no-one. The rage in me grew and I couldn’t talk about it. The more my dad tried to help, the more I exploded.
Now, in my mid to late 30s I have really hit a stride and proved so many things to myself. Dropping out of 2 degrees, I have now attained 3. Being an unsporty adult, I now wrestle competitively. And failing my design degree, I am now producing artwork all the time. I am thriving.
The whole time through my ups and downs you are there for me dad and I notice. I call mum and she tells me she’ll put you on because you’ve been dying to speak to me.
But recently you’ve been unwell. And being the stubborn man you are, you defy doctors orders and continue to push yourself. Now the COVID-19 crisis separates me from spending time with you. There’s nothing I can do now except to tell you that I love you dad. The best thing I can do is thrive and grow every day because that’s what I’ve learned from you. I do it all for you dad. All of it.
You are my hero and my inspiration. I love you.
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