SOME GUYS JUST AREN'T CUT OUT FOR A 9 TO 5…
My father was born and raised in Jaffna; a small, Tamil town in northern Sri Lanka. And like many Tamils of his generation, he was determined to leave from an early age; not just for a better life but for a safer one too.
He first came to the UK in 1970, armed with his suitcase and £50 in his pocket. And after an initially tricky period adapting to a new culture, a new environment, pretty much a new everything, he landed an assistant teaching role at the University of Bath.
In the years that followed he would obtain his PhD, essentially be forced to return to Sri Lanka to marry my mother (she wasn’t too enthralled about it at the time either), have three boys (of whom I’m the youngest) and take up employment with an American oil firm that saw the family bounce between Sri Lanka, Norway, Thailand and finally the UK, which we’ve called home since 1984.
I have mixed feelings about my childhood. For the most part it was a happy one. Don’t get me wrong, we were raised in a very safe, loving environment and we never went without. I was incredibly close with my brothers and had a great relationship with my mother. But I had no real connection with my father. The part he chose to play in our lives – as far as I could see – revolved around two things; education and discipline.
I get it now. He simply wanted the best for us and felt that that was the only way to achieve it. But as a kid this was very hard to understand. And of course this was also a reflection of how he himself was raised.
So true (fragbows.blogspot.com)
I never really knew my paternal grandparents but I gather my grandfather was particularly hard on my father. However he would also heap praise on him for his successes; of which there were many.
Unfortunately, this not only made ‘him’ extremely strict but also controlling and impossibly demanding.
He worked hard to send us to a private primary school. But being the type of man he is, from day one he was already thinking about our entrance exams to secondary school. Consequently, we were assigned additional work on an almost daily basis.
I remember the routine like it was yesterday. We’d come home from school. Have maybe an hour or two to act like regular kids before first completing our actual homework and then the additional assignments.
He’d make us stand in a line as he marked our work at the dining room table. Being the youngest, I had to wait and watch as he smacked my brothers for every mistake they made before he even got to me. And when I say smack, I don’t just mean a slap on the wrist.
It was usually across the face or the back of the head and it fucking hurt.
In today’s world a lot of people would be quick to call it abuse. And whilst I absolutely felt it was uncalled for, I wouldn’t classify it as such. But there is a fine line.
When I was about 8 or 9, I destroyed a telephone in his study as some form of protest against my mother. My punishment?
I was marched into the living room, made to take my shirt off and using the same cord I’d previously cut (doubled back on itself), I was flogged repeatedly across my back until my mother finally intervened. I counted 12 lashes before she stopped him. He definitely crossed the line.
And it wasn’t even a good phone (askville.amazon.com)
I fucking despised him after that. It wasn’t just the physical pain but the humiliation of it all. My maternal grandfather was living with us at the time and witnessed the entire thing. But of course he said nothing as it was my father’s house. Plus that was also just ‘their’ way.
A few years ago I found out that when my father was a teenager, he and a cousin had snuck into another relative’s home and taken his motorbike out for a spin.
When they returned home, my grandfather tied ‘both of them’ around a tree – facing outwards, binding their wrists together – and proceeded to cane them across their entire bodies.
No child deserves that kind of punishment and I feel for the pair of them every time I think of that story. But that still doesn’t make what he did to me okay.
That incident was probably the only time I thought about running away seriously. I told one of my friends at school and he suggested calling ChildLine.
I packed a bag but only made it as far as the driveway. I didn’t call ChildLine either. As with all families; you make mistakes, you learn from them and you move on over time.
My father made a huge one that day. And whilst I’d be lying if I said that he never hit me or my brothers again, things were definitely different after that.
We’ve all moved on.
Given his academic achievements and the fact that we were ‘his children’, he placed an unbelievable amount of pressure on us. And in spite of our successes, we still usually felt like we’d failed somehow.
In 1993, I needed to score at least 230 in my 11-plus exam to gain entrance to the state funded grammar school he wanted me to attend. He was so embarrassed about my 232 that he lied to people about it.
A week earlier I’d received a full scholarship to a reputable private school (something neither of my brothers had done) and don’t forget, my score ‘was’ good enough to attend the grammar. Yet there I was at age 11, feeling like a useless, under-achieving piece of shit.
Did they really make kids wear these? (kizaz.com)
Fast forward ten years and nothing had changed. I studied Statistics & Economics at University College London, graduating with Upper Second Class honours.
From 2000 – 2003, UCL was ranked amongst the top 10, if not 5 universities in the UK. I’m not saying this to impress you. Personally I don’t care what university someone attended or if they attended one at all; as once you land that first job, it becomes fairly irrelevant. But some might say obtaining a 2:1 from UCL was a pretty good achievement.
My father thought I should’ve got a 1st and didn’t even come to my graduation. Admittedly he asked if I wanted him there but if he had to do that…
Long before I’d even gotten to that stage in my life, I was still considering which subjects to specialise in at school.
Now I’m not saying I would’ve made it as an actor. But when I mentioned to my father that the head of drama had specifically pulled me aside and asked me to seriously consider pursuing it further, his message was pretty clear:
“Music, art and drama are subjects for dreamers and certainly not for any son of mine.”
I could’ve got to wear a cool wife-beater like this guy
To my father, professional success means one of two things; working for a firm or in a profession that garners instant respect/recognition. Or earning a shit load of money.
Though I guess I can’t really fault him for that as my oldest brother is earning annually what most people would struggle to see in their entire lifetime. And the other one is a fucking brain surgeon!
Like my dear friend Northern Monkey once said, “short of becoming Prime Minister or a super hero, I’m afraid you’re screwed mate.”
No thanks (the-libertarian.co.uk)
After graduating I didn’t know what I wanted to do; preferring instead to go travelling. But my father and oldest brother convinced me to apply for a Masters in Finance, as surely with one of those under my belt, the big banks would come knocking and all would be right with the his world?
That was probably the worst year of my life. I had no interest at all in the subject matter but at the same time, didn’t want to disappoint the old man. Yet again.
Some of you may be reading this thinking ‘why didn’t he just grow a pair and tell him how he felt.’ But in our family, that was a lot harder than you might think.
Ironically, there was a Tamil girl on the course who felt entirely the same as me and I encouraged her to speak to her father about it. She did; and subsequently dropped out after the first term. I didn’t and subsequently wasted a year of my life.
I eventually found work in the financial industry and though it ticked neither of his boxes and wasn’t at all what I thought I’d be doing with my life, I stuck with it and forged a pretty decent career for myself over the years.
Being financially independent from my father made it easier to deal with his disappointment but the problem was; I still had feelings of doubt. On a sub-conscious level; whilst it must seem crazy to you, there was still that need to finally obtain his approval. But the more pressing issue was: “was this how I wanted to spend the rest of my life?”
There’s a saying “there are those who work to live and those who live to work.”
I’d been married and had also owned a home. “Working to live” wasn’t for me. And so around two years ago I decided to quit my job.
Seeing this as an opportunity to wield his influence again, my father suggested applying for an MBA. Hell, he even offered to pay for classes to prepare for the GMAT.
But thankfully, with the encouragement of three of my closest friends, I finally grew those balls and spoke my mind. And using the money I’d been saving for that house society dictates I should buy, I eventually made that trip abroad.
That trip was a game-changer for both of us. Without question it was the best year of my life. And the two months I spent volunteering in a mountain village in India was probably the most meaningful, eye-opening period of my life.
I fully intend to go back one day and have even been asked to become a trustee of the charity. But I can’t commit to them fully until I’ve sorted out the other things in my head.
One of those ‘other things’ was a desire to write a book, which is something I wouldn’t have felt brave enough to discuss let alone attempt before. It’s also something that I’ve wanted to do since about 2009 but it was only whilst I was away that I started to really believe in it; writing my first story in that same village.
Buoyed by fellow travellers I was meeting along the way, I decided “fuck it, I don’t know how but I’m actually going to do this.”
Unfortunately people back home weren’t as receptive to the idea: “Is this a joke?” “Since when have you been interested in writing?” “What? Full-time?”
‘God only knows how my father was going to react’, I thought. His response blew me away.
A lot of you have probably formed pretty negative opinions about the man, which is only natural as I’ve only talked about my negative memories. I could list a bunch of positive ones but that’s fairly redundant as whilst I’m grateful to you for reading this (and I really am), he’s ‘my father’ and your opinion of him won’t change that.
What I will do however, is share what he said with you:
“This past year; reading your emails, listening to you talk about your experiences, I realised that I got it wrong all these years. I pushed you too hard to be someone who I wanted you to be instead of considering what was important to you.
The past is the past and there’s nothing I can do about that. But going forward I will support you, even if it’s something I don’t really understand. So fuck everyone who is questioning what you’re doing. You’re my son, not theirs. If you’re happy and this is something you really want to do, then do it. Just don’t fuck it up!
And you never know; if it’s half decent, you might even make some serious money like that Harry Potter fellow.”
Okay so some things will never change but still?
I’m not sure if he realises that Harry didn’t write the books?
And with his unwavering support, I’ve spent the last seven months really working on my writing; not just for the book but also this blog. Obviously I’ve been doing other things too but the word-count on this piece is already too high so I’ll spare you the details.
In the early days of the blog, I wanted to accompany each post with a cartoon. I couldn’t afford to pay a professional so resorted to doing my own illustrations. One day my father saw me struggling to trace an image from my laptop screen and without asking, bought me a light-box.
I’ve since realised that I’m still shit at drawing and it’s a lot easier to just ‘borrow’ images from the internet. But I don’t think he understands just how much that gesture meant to me.
Although our relationship is so much better than it used to be and it must’ve taken a lot for him to say what he said, I still don’t think I’m ready to do the same. So I’ve put it in writing instead:
I’m not sure if you’ll ever read this but if you do, I’m sorry if you’re hurt by the way that I’ve portrayed you.
Yes, I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for me and the opportunities that have subsequently been afforded me; I really am. These were just feelings that I’ve supressed for too long and this blog has given me a means to let them out.
I won’t lie; remembering how you used to be has not been easy. But this piece also serves as a reminder of how much you’ve changed and I love the guy that you are today. If only we could’ve known him 30 years ago… Things could’ve been a lot different.
As you said though; the past is the past.
I’m still not sure what the future holds in store for me. Maybe this writing gig may lead to something bigger and better. I suspect not but even so, I hope that you’ll read my book one day and be proud. Not because it became a bestseller and made a stack of money. But because it was written by me. Though I should tell you now that it will probably lose more money than it’ll make!
A return to India is never far from my thoughts. Or maybe Northern Monkey was onto something and the two of us can start up the UK branch of the Avengers.
I’d be Thor (quicklol.com)
Whatever path I eventually choose to follow, I see now that you’ll have my back; even if it’s not what you’d envisaged for me as a child. And for that I truly thank you.”
I appreciate that this was a fairly lengthy piece so my sincere thanks to those of you who made it all the way to the end.
Before I go, there’s one more person I wanted to mention and that’s my mother. Without whom, I probably would’ve run away that day. Unlike my father, I have no problem saying these words to her face but I wanted all of you to know just how great she is:
I don’t think you give yourself enough credit for the part that you play in this family. You’re definitely the Beauty to his Beast and without you; the walls of his castle would’ve come crashing down years ago.
Thank you for being you.”
Oh and if you’re worried that this blog is taking a new direction, don’t be.
If you liked this then I suspect you might also enjoy my book. Or not.
Either way, thanks for reading; particularly to those of you who share these stories and/or leave comments.
Author of the largely unheard of 'How to Lose a Girl in 10 Ways'. Currently at home waiting for the royalty cheques... I've been sitting here a while.
Wow. That is one amazing piece. Very nice. It is constantly surprising to me how much children really want to please their parents. The violence did cross the line, but as you mentioned it was familiar to him as well. Children tend to learn what they live. Oddly it seems that the desire to please is strong in you, along with a great deal of respect, or you would have “grown some” much sooner.
For the most part people are who they are, partially formed by our parents and surroundings. I have been told that clearly I am a saint because my patience seems to have no end. That’s not true I can tell you but I guess comparatively, I am pretty tolerant. I don’t think I have ever punished my children by hitting them. They told me they don’t really remember being hit but that was because I was scary enough when I started to yell. That was all it took for them to listen.
It is also evident, even if it didn’t appear so, that your father loves you very much. It sounds like he is the type of man who doesn’t swallow his pride easily, and he truly believed he was doing the right thing. (even if the methods are questionable)
So yeah, it sounds messed up. But apparently not that messed up. It sounds like the relationship has mended, and you really are an impressive individual.
This is the perfect comment Julie, thank you.
Great post, SS. The fact that your grandfather was much more strict than your father, reminds me of my husband, his father, and his grandfather. My honey is great, but the strictness (bordering and often crossing the line of abuse) increases immensely with his father and grandfather. I don’t know how it was beyond the grandfather.
The point we have to remember is how hard, how difficult, how almost impossible it is to change ourselves. Your father, just like my honey’s father, changed for the better. Yeah, it would have been nice if it happened earlier, but it did happen.
And as long as you write, you are a writer.
You’re right, it did happen. And it could have been a hell of a lot worse. We have a great relationship now.
Thanks. I guess that’s true. Though I’ll probably feel like more of one with a book to my name. Even it’ll be my first (and last).
I’m bookmarking this to show to my children when they’re all grown up to explain that the benign neglect was a chosen course of action…
Beautifully written xxx
Ha. Glad I could be of assistance Kate. And thank you, I really appreciate that.
Whoa. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, right? And did he really say “fuck”? Twice? Kudos to your dad. I think I’d love him.But I think I’d love your mom even more.
Very true Marie. And yes, it’s probably his favourite curse word. Mine too. I shall pass on the sentiment to mum. Sorry, mom.
I can see why this one was difficult to write, but you nailed it. I relate to this story in the oddest ways– I grew up with practically zero pressure on me to achieve anything, it was just assumed that we were already better than everyone else, HA, but the estrangement and the desire to run away as a child… I get.
Your father’s change is amazing. The fact he was able to write that e-mail is incredible. I’ve seen other friends’ parents change from being jean skirt wearing homeschoolers to wine guzzling liberals so perhaps this is a reminder that we are always working on becoming the people we are meant to be.
Thanks so much Aussa. That means a lot coming from a wordsmith such as yourself. Yes, although people’s experiences may not have been identical to mine, almost everyone can relate to something within the text. I’m glad.
In other news, I was snooping around the Bloggess’ site the other day, and H.N.H.S. is on her ‘reading list’. Seriously girlfriend (did I pull that off?), you are taking over the blogging world!
Mind you, being on my ‘reading list’ is probably cooler. Ha. Oh and thanks for embarrassing me in front of all your followers. As always, it is greatly appreciated.
Jesus Sean. You are one authentic guy. This really touched me. I was of course expecting something else… but wow. That note from your dad to you… without saying too much about it, I’d kill for that from my dad. I almost cheered when I read it.
You’re gonna nail this writing gig, dude. I know it.
Thanks man. I really appreciate that. No need to go into it but yes, it seems that I’m one of the luckier ones in terms of my relationship with my dad. I hope you can to that stage yourself one day…
Ha. Yes, I don’t think anyone thought I had this in my locker. My brother only got round to reading this the other day and called me to say I should stop writing about shitting myself and trying to get laid and focus on serious stuff! We’ll see.
Mix of both, perhaps? Keep em guessing.
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I might cry about this when I leave work am not ashamed to let my mascara run. That’s so great that he finally changed his attitude to one of support. What a wonderful new chapter in your relationship. I struggle with writing about my mom and the shitty situations we were so often in – always afraid of painting a bad picture of her (I’m southern) – but your post is very encouraging. Thanks for that. I’m glad you abandoned your job and are writing that book! You can count on me for pre-sales and attendance at your book signing tours : )
You should definitely write that piece about your mum Molly. I was really reluctant about putting this out there but the responses from people (both in the real and blogging world) have been great, and very supportive. Plus it’s probably made my relationship with him even better. But that could all change if he actually reads this! I’ll read your post for sure.
Ha. That’s very sweet, thank you. But the book’s going to be nothing like this I’m afraid. Just low-brow, trashy tales about what a douche I can be sometimes. Though hopefully it should make people laugh. Totally understand if I don’t see you at the signing!
PS – I’m also glad that I quit my job to give this a go. But man do I miss the money…
So I’m lying in bed, trying to get some sleep (after staying up half the night writing) when I decide to read this post. The title intrigued me. It wasn’t long before I found myself crying.
It breaks my heart to think of the pain and humiliation you both endured as children. My parents once beat me with a golf club after returning from an alumni weekend at Notre Dame, thinking I’d had sex with my bf! I didn’t even know about sex yet!
I hated them. And it made me something of a pariah with my sibs. They were all afraid that if they spoke to me, it could be bad or them. They believed in”the belt” but this was off the charts even for them. It’s somehow almost worse watching your sibs get it. At least it was for me. Once when one of my older bros was about to get nailed with the belt, I stood in front and told my dad to hit me first!! I was 5. He backed down.
I don’t know if my dad was abused by his dad. I can only imagine he was. I started playing piano when I was five. But I really wanted to be Julie Andrews. I became fairly accomplished, but was only allowed to play classical music. I was trying to teach myself to sing. My dad told me on a daily basis that I played beautifully, but my singing was not good! Please don’t. I wanted desperately to prove him wrong!!
When he came to my first gig with mom and a couple sibs, I noticed him sitting alone at the bar. I expected to hear the worst. Was he too embarrassed to be seated with my family? He was sober as a judge, wiping his eyes with a handkerchief when he turned to me and said “Where did you learn to do that? I have no idea where you got that talent from!” BLEW ME AWAY! He became my biggest fan!
Point being, I think the torture is born of fear and a feeling of ineptness, more often than not. Raising a child is an awesome responsibility. When my son was born I often thought, a mother raised both Mother Theresa and Jeffrey Dahmer! Don’t Fuck This up! Granted, they did not have the same mother!
I’m so happy you are able to enjoy your dad. I made my final peace with mine the night before he died. So grateful for that.
The beauty of this? You turned out to be a great guy (in spite of the abuse) who is bold, intelligent, courageous and clearly has a big hear with a killer sense of humor. If I had a daughter, I’d set her up with you in a heartbeat! ( And if I didn’t live across the pond…)
The other piece, I sincerely doubt you will ever raise a hand to your children. I didn’t, ever! I never wanted my son to feel the sense of betrayal I felt when the one person in life I should be able to count on is the one I felt the need to be protected from. I also never wanted my son to hate me the way I hated them.
Should you ever decide to go down that road, your children are going to adore you, I’m sure of it.
Sorry for the lengthy comment. Thanks for your incredible honesty! So glad I found your blog. 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing your story and for the kinds words, especially the date with your hypothetical daughter. Though I’d be just as comfortable going out with you… Think about it.
Now you’ve made me giggle. That’s ALWAYS a good thing in my book.
Can’t get too soft, now, can we? I may have missed the update on the book, but I hope you write it.
Thank you, that’s very sweet. Though it won’t be anything like this piece… It’s more like the other crap you’ve experienced on the site unfortunately.
Sorry. Again, I need clarification. Which other crap?
Ha, no worries. If you recall, you read my piece about ‘followers’ and were surprised at my admission of checking out blogs based on how hot I thought the blogger’s gravatar was?
This was an excellent post. Really, it was.
Thank you so much. It was quite a tough one to write…
And it certainly makes a change from my usual bullshit!
Amazing story, and you write beautifully!
Thank you so much. That’s very kind of you.
Aaah, shit, I got something in my eye for a second there! It couldn’t have been any better than this.So heartfelt. For the first time I feel like I really saw a glimpse of YOU.
Everything you wrote in the beginning of the article, yes I couldn’t help but feel sorry. But the real magic of this article was how it came out to be in the end. I’m blessed that I never had to go through something like that but most of the Asian children experience it at some level in their lives.
As I proceeded to read the article, I did feel sad and angry but somehow as I got through to the end I felt so much better and happy for you . I know it must have been really hard for you but in the end everything did work out for you and for that I’m really happy. And the fact that your father changed so much just proves that people can change for good. I can’t imagine how happy he will be to see your awesome glossy book.
A salute to your mom.
And In the end note you said that we shouldn’t be worried about this blog taking a new direction, I for one would love this direction. I’m not saying that you should completely change it but once in a while it will be good to catch a little bit of personal YOU here and there 🙂
Thank you so much for writing this.
Shit my comment has turned into one big fucking letter. Sorry for that.
No need to apologise at all. This is one of the best comments I’ve received. And actually one of the reasons I didn’t respond straight away was because I didn’t really know what to say…
So I’ll just say thank you.
As for the direction, yes, a few people have said the same. I’m working on some other things…
You are always welcome Sean, I’m just glad you read it and liked it 🙂
Wow, I had trouble reading the parts about the physical violence–always pains me so much to read or see–but I’m glad I read through to the end. It took a lot for your father to say what he did, and good on you for cutting him some slack. That doesn’t at all make what he did okay, but it shows that you’re capable of getting past things and moving forward.
Thanks so much Carrie. I’m glad you stuck with it until the end too.
It was a difficult piece to write; more for what I thought people might think of my dad than anything else. But getting it out has probably made our relationship even stronger. I think I’ll stick to writing about failed attempts at sex and shitting my pants though…
As you should. Those topics are always more fun to draft…
So I read this post this morning and wrote a long comment…pressed *Post comment*…and it just DISAPPEARED into thin air. Argh! After throwing a small paddy, I decided to reply later (because I had a house to view). So anyway…here I am!
I just wanted to say…
I admired your story from day one, I think anyone who goes out chasing their dreams, the way you have, is an inspiration. However, I now know how difficult this must have been for you.
In all honesty, this post really struck me,
Firstly, because I think you’re really brave!
And secondly, because I couldn’t help but think “This really remind me of someone” as I was reading it. That person being my husband, who like yourself, struggled to live a life his parents wanted for him. So much so, it drove him to a break down. Two years ago he made a very brave decision to go and chase his dreams. This meant I had to make huge sacrifices, but with sacrifice comes reward….and boy was it worth it! His mother still critiques every decision he makes, but he has accepted, that’s just the way it is.
So…enough of my rambling. What I’m trying to say is, I have huge respect for you! I am so glad you have found the happiness you deserve.
ps; I hope you’re having fun in in the sun…I’m a little jealous
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So I had to take my time responding as this was just such a nice comment. Unfortunately though, I still don’t actually know what to say… Other than thank you.
Even though the old man was the biggest hurdle to me pursuing what I really wanted when I was younger, he’s currently my biggest supporter. Obviously that’s because he doesn’t actually know what I write about though!
Now I still like to pretend that you aren’t married but I’m really glad things worked out for your husband in the end. Thanks again for the encouragement and your kind words. Hope the viewing went well..?
You’re very welcome.
Haha, I guess you wont be giving your dad a copy of your new book then?
PS; The viewing went very well indeed and I’m pretty sure the house is now ours. Woo hoo….no more cold showers!!!
Holy snappin’ duck shit, Sean, why the fuck it’s taken me so long to get across here I don’t know but I’m glad I read that piece. Well written, man. Thanks too for including your father’s support letter, it’s something I’d to see from my own but will never happen. I gave up waiting for him to come round a long time ago but you never really finish with your blood for good. I no longer live my life in the shadow of his perpetual disappointment in me but his voice lingers. Good luck with the, too, congratulations. Respect REDdog
that was supposed to be “book”, “good luck with the book”…what a dipstick!
Ha. It’s OK man, I totally got what you meant. And can I just say, nice to see you on these shores. I’ve seen you around the blogosphere for some time now, most notably on Aussa and Samara’s little piece of the interwebs.
Thanks very much for the kind words by the way. I hope you manage to resolve things with your old man eventually too.
Thanks Sean, if he were inclined I’d wholeheartedly embrace it but we’ve never been close, we live 1800kms apart and he’s 73, best I can hope for is no more trouble. He did give me a blueprint for what I didn’t want as a Father, though, and I now have 4 teenagers who think I’m pretty cool, so that’s a pretty good outcome. Write on, I say, write on!
Damn straight man, that’s pretty awesome.
I wrote to you a short story a while back of a drunken experience in college. (Drove drunk, got out to pee, passed out, etc)
I had no idea you’ve grown so much in so little time.
Kudos to you my friend. Kudos.
(yeah feel free to post it anywhere, anytime. I prefer no accreditation heh)
I’m just… proud of you.
Yeah man, I remember. A great story.
No worries on the name. I saw that and was going to remove it anyway.
Thanks a lot for the kind words man. I really appreciate the sentiment.
That was simply amazing! Just lost for words. You really have been through a lot and have come a long way. After meeting you yesterday and now reading this blog today, we can relate to it all!
You really are an awesome writer, and you have so much more to offer. Don’t give up your passion, and follow your dreams!
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Thanks so much for your comment; it really meant a lot. And sorry it’s taken me so long to reply… New Zealand was just non-stop.
Like I said to your son, you and your husband are pretty cool and I’m so glad I met you both! The reaction from other family members has been pretty special too. Though I’m not sure what they (you) make of some of the other stories. Ha. In fact, perhaps you shouldn’t tell me…
Not sure what the future holds in store for me but maybe I might see you guys in India later this year. I hope so!
I never had support from my father and I understand the hurt you felt. I am glad you can now share experiences with each other and that he has more compassion for you. When my father passed away, I felt relief, I was free and my life started.
Sorry to hear about your relationship with your father… Though I’m glad you’ve been able to move forward.
Yes, I’m so pleased with the way things are between us now.
One of the extremely moving pieces i have ever read, due to its raw honesty.
Thanks Jan. I’m sure it must have brought back some memories for you guys too… And thanks for sharing it on Facebook.
You managed to get more traffic to the site that day than I ever have. I’m definitely counting on you to help me promote the eBook when it’s available!
I’m a little late jumping on this particular bandwagon, but I REALLY appreciate this blog.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of months now as I’ve seen the hardened man I grew up with soften before my very eyes. Or what I at least perceived to be softening. Maybe it’s just that he is just accepting who I am? Could it be, maybe even proud?
Either way, this is an excellent piece and you captured the emotion so well. I actually just relived some of my very own beatings and the emotional turmoil that comes with it. Haven’t done that ever.
I have learnt though, Sri Lankan or not, our parents (most parents) do the best they can and often teach from the same seat that they’ve learnt. It’s their norm and often all they know. I’m terrified for when I become a parent, having grown up being torn apart by eastern and western culture. It’s going to make for an interesting ride. Mainly for the offspring. Suckers.
ANYWAY. I’m very impressed and you can consider me a legit fan. Not just by association. Haha.
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Well this is a lovely surprise.
Do you know, I was talking to your sister and cousin about the site in Sydney and the whole time I was thinking, maybe I shouldn’t be saying anything as I’m not sure what they’re going to make of it. But as you and other members of the family have shown, I shouldn’t have been so apprehensive to share it.
That being said, this is possibly the only ‘real’ piece I’ve written. The rest are usually about me being a horny, druken moron! I’m certain that you won’t feel the same way about those…
Thank you so much for checking it out though. I really appreciate it. And sorry I didn’t get a chance to see you and your bro when I was there. Hopefully you guys will be back here soon.
Haha. What’s not to love about reading OTHER people’s drunken escapades?!
Honestly, it may not be my ‘style’, but I do appreciate good writing, and great writing is a key element in your posts. Besides, as family we’ve got your back regardless of whether we understand, in it’s entirety, what the heck you’re blogging about. However I believe for the most part ignorance may be bliss?! haha
I’m so bummed I didn’t get to catch up with you lot this trip. Yet ANOTHER downfall of living in this hole. HOWEVER, I shall be there in Aug, so if you and the brothers are free, we can maybe catch up?
Hope all things are going well! xx
your father was born in Jaafna, that makes him my neighbor 😀 …Hey you neighborhood boy!!
I don’t know what it’s like in Europe, but here in the U.S. a child abuser is considered the lowest possible scum, not even deserving to breathe. And people generally use the term loosely. A woman who smacked her son’s mouth for cursing her had her children removed from her home. It doesn’t take much to get that title. But as you so beautifully pointed out, both good and evil resides in all men. The same person who hurts you can also be the one who loves, provides and nurtures you. My grandfather was definitely over the line as a child abuser. But he was also the person who made sure that the elderly woman next door grass got cut and her shutters painted. He made sure that everyone around him had what they needed. Both good and evil and he was just one person. I am glad that your father was able to see his mistakes and attempt to correct his way. It speaks volumes of him.
I think it’s safe to say that we share the same views on child abusers, Lisa. And there are certainly different levels of abuse out there…
As for my dad; you and me both. He’s been my number one supporter and I’m definitely very lucky to have him around.
Fuck oprah was right…”you do what you know, but when you know better, you do better”. I’ve been having a look around and you have made me laugh and smile. Great blog.
Thanks very much for the kind words, Lizzie. And the Oprah quote. Glad to hear you found my other stories entertaining too.
It has been about four months since I first read your story here. I understood it and enjoyed it. Mainly because this all rings true for me and many other people I’ve come to know intimately.
Thank you for sharing a part of your healing. Your story will bring comfort and hope to many people.
Thank you for the kind words.