I’m Not My Father’s Son

It will not come as a major shock to many of you, but I know quite a few other gay guys. Without exception, those that I have spoken to in depth on the topic, all of them have some sort of father issues. I do too.

Most of theirs, sadly, are negative. Mine isn’t, and this has for a long time slightly confused me. I do, most definitely, have father issues, but they’re not remotely negative, they’re just issues.

Having seen (and blubbed my way through most of) the stage show “Kinky Boots” it has, for the first time, hit home what it is. There is a song (cruelly close to the intermission!) called “I’m not my father’s son” which details how a character in the play is not who his father might have hoped for, or who his father might compare himself against.

But since in the stage show, as in my life, the father has died, the character will never have the opportunity to show his father that although different, he has been successful in his own way, and is now happy.

Having wasted (and although I choose that word deliberately, I do not choose it in any way lightly) the first four decades or so of my life trying to conform to others’ expectations, I really would have loved the opportunity to sit down with my dad now, staring out to sea over a windswept beach, and just chat about who I am, who he is, and what it actually feels like to be honest with yourself.

He was, in my view, one of the straightest-thinking people I knew, and I think he might have been a little disappointed that I lied to myself and everyone else for so long, but at the same time, I think he would have been satisfied that I got here in the end. “You took your bloody time” might have been his reaction.

I really would have loved to have taken him to Kinky Boots and held his hand while they sung “I’m not my father’s son”, looked at him and shared a smile and a tear.

I miss my dad.

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About Paul Harper
These posts represent the collected thought of Paul Harper. Usually rants, occasionally lucid, always easily ignored. Read, don't read, your call!

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