Writing My Wrongs

Javier PachecoA few weekends ago, a friend of mine, a guy I’ve known for most of my life, was talking to me about my blog. He likes it. He thinks it’s been a good platform for me.  “I think you found your new therapist,” he said. I think he’s right. Writing is very therapeutic. It is a great outlet, a way for one to process  thoughts, ideas, fears and fantasies. Writing this blog has allowed me to do that.

I’ve been blogging now for three months. Recently, I’ve been sitting on a piece that was hard for me to write. And it got me thinking about why I do this…Should I do this?? And the answer I keep coming back to is “Yes!” This blog has been a wonderful experience for me. It has reinvigorated some old friendships; it has brought me many new perspectives; it has connected me with people across the globe and right in my own backyard. If you have been reading it, I want to thank you. Thank you for letting me in, for letting me rant and reveal, pontificate and pester. Thank you for visiting with me—if only for a few moments in your week.

A lot of people claim to like the format of my blog. How I write about an incident that happened with the boys just moments ago, and then throw in a piece from my past. To some, it may seem random, but this blend is purposeful. My past makes up my present. When I see my sons, when I look at the man I am in front of them, I am a father, but I am also a husband, brother, son, friend, student, teacher, neighbor. All of who I am is represented when I parent.  I am the sum of my parts, as you are, too. And I am constantly seeking a better understanding of that. Bringing in the past allows me to do that more, and, hopefully, better.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I have been brutally honest about my upbringing and my experiences in my family—both current and past. In talking to another friend, she cautioned me to not forget the good stuff in the past. That is an important reminder, and I thank her for that. I did not start this blog with an axe to grind or out of anger. I am saddened by some of the topics I cover, but they are what resonate with me.  I am not trying to play the blame game or point fingers, I am merely trying to write about my experiences. These are the memories and the relationships I have struggled with.

One of those relationships is with my mother. When I was young, I thought my mother was a living saint. Married so young (21) and 7 kids by thirty. With little means, she made the most of it. She gave us each a spark of her personality. She taught us how to have a big heart and she loved us all the best she could. I was hesitant to show her my blog because I thought it may offend her. However, I did not want to do this behind her back. Around my birthday, she stopped by to drop off a cake for me. We visited for a while, and then I asked her to sit and read the blog. I was so nervous  I went for a run while she perused each entry. When I got back, I was relieved (and surprised) that she loved it. I asked her how she felt about the entries where she may have looked bad. She exclaimed, “Well, it’s all true. How could I be mad?” What a great moment for mother and son. Permission to tell the truth. I recently came across a quote that speaks to this very theme: “The truth hurts for a little while, but a lie hurts forever.” This blog is my truth.

My father also did his best. He lived during a difficult time for men to be alive— they were taught not to show their emotions. My dad was a boy during The Great Depression; he never went to college, yet he was very smart; he never made it passed middle management in the insurance business. He was a staunch Catholic with a strong moral code. He had some bad breaks in his life, like a heart-attack at age 44, and he never truly found peace on this Earth. My father has been deceased for more than a decade and a half. There is some guilt in me for writing about him when he no longer has a voice. I feel bad that he is not here to speak with me about these words I write, but sadly, I think if he was here, and he read what I wrote, he would not speak to me. Perhaps it would be different. Perhaps.

These are my parents, and they are flawed—as we all are. And it is through their flaws that my identity was formed, and that of my six brothers and sisters. And I cannot stop what I have started. I believe in the power of writing and its ability to bring us to a greater understanding. If I ever come across as whiny or petulant, please call me out on it. And please understand that the writing you find on these pages has been developing in my mind for years, decades even. I do not write about the past without having given it much consideration and deliberation.

Finally, some thoughts from the teacher in me. When I talk to my high school students about writing, I inform them that the word essay means an attempt; to try. These essays I write are my attempts. Like all attempts, some will be more successful than others.  Which brings me to my second teacher point. When I discuss the art of argument with students, I explain to them the old adage “Everything’s an argument.”  I tell them that what we are trying to do when arguing is “enter the conversation.” My blog is my attempt to enter the conversation. I have something to say, and I am glad I am finding a way to say it. I have started a conversation and I would love it if you would join me.

What do you have to say? Tell me your thoughts. Let me know what topics you would like me to cover more. If you blog, what scares you about writing? Please let me know what you are thinking. It matters.

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17 comments

  1. Hi michael! Loving your blog and ive passed on to several non-emotional-sharing men who hopefully will be inspired not to write necessarily but to release emotions on these tough topics! I was cleaning my attic and i found a box of “stuff” from da U. I was going through my binder which i stored all of my Class papers etc. throughout was lots of random Michael doodles. Reminders to visit. Michaels dorm room, to have a smoke with Michael, to watch guiding light with Michael, to wish Michael a happy bday, etc. it was fun to see. It always amazes me that people can be as close as we all were and not even be in touch. FB is a waste of time but it has been very valuable to reconnect (even minimally) with those that were and always will be special in my heart! See u inspired me to write! Rin

    Corinne McAlee Sent from my iPhone

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    1. Corinne, Thanks for your support! Love that you passed it on to some non-emotional sharing men! I am laughing at all of your notes from college–boy did we have a lot of time on our hands. Glad to be back in touch, too. Life does fly by us, embrace every moment.

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  2. Mike,
    What you are doing takes great courage. I have always respected you but I appreciate you so much more after reading this blog. It is important that we embrace our past and exorcise our demons.. It makes us better parents and teachers. Much luck as you continue on your journey.
    Love ya,
    Danielle S-E

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  3. I started to write to keep good memories alive and get rid of bad ones.Some validation of how I felt and a true account of my life for my grandkids.It has been hard but good for my whole family.When I read a blog like yours it gives me the courage to be honest about my life as a kid.Thank you I am glad to have found you.Liz

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    1. Thank you, Liz. Blogging seems to help us realize how powerful writing can be, I am exploring things I never dreamed I would write about. Thanks for reading.
      You are an inspiration to be exploring these areas as a grandmom–what a legacy for your kids and grandkids.

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  4. Michael, I am in awe each time I read your blog entries. You write from your heart and soul. We all have a story to tell, some of us not as forthcoming and honest as others, but everyone has a story to tell. You write so eloquently and so natural. I love reading your Blog, it always brings a sense of humility to me. Keep writing Michael, So Proud to know you!

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    1. Thank you, Alesia. So cool to be in touch like this after all these years. It’s readers like you that make me want to keep writing from the most sincere place. I appreciate your support.

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