How do I express something that often left me speechless? Even when someone approached me to talk, I would flub my words and stutter too. My excitement would overwhelm my mind and then my mouth would sputter something out that sounded like words and sentences. Was it though? My hearing was a bit hazy too.
Throughout my journey as a parent and a stay at home dad I spent alone. No really…alone. I was the only parent and then stay at home parent. How would I socialize? Who would mingle with me about puréed food and little bite sized snacks for my children? When did I see other adults? I saw them and they saw me.
Ostracized from many groups is what I experienced a lot. Mommy groups wanted ‘moms’ only. I was a man and then on top of that a gay man and now a father. A stay at home father. I was a young father at 28 years of age. I’m still young and virile, at least that’s how I feel. That is not up for debate here.
So I searched for someplace to have commonality. A group to support my parenting questions or to help entertain and engage my children. And me too. Again time was often spent with just us 3 during the week. I needed and craved for a play date. Was I ever going to have one?
I did eventually find a group. L.A. Dads Group which is a part of City Dads Group and then to find that Dad 2.0 Summit is connected. Well I found my home. A place where I can thrive. A place where other dads are trailblazers in their everyday life. A place to learn and grow. To nurture and rejuvenate. A place to have many hugs and many new experiences. A place of support and love.
My voice was heard at the convention this year. I had the opportunity to be on a panel. A first time panelist speaker position for me was a full circle moment. I was telling my story and perspective as a father, a social media influencer and a gay man. It allowed for many other wonderful opportunities too. Two fans/followers of mine came up to me and said hello. I was so engrossed in them I didn’t take a photo. Why? I was basking in them and being attentive.
I have been suffering from depression for some time. I have been taking care of my family too. My focus has been on taking care of me. Over several years before I found my true home and tribe of father I lost 5 of my closest friends, they passed away. I also had to edit out friends. Again lonely and without my support system.
So as a child I had been a loner. At the start of my parenthood journey I was a loner. In my life that has occurred twice. In my time of need as an adult I was fortunate to have met fathers online and moms too. Then I experienced them in real life, IRL! We actually spoke and hugs and laughed. There were many memories made.
The convention is my home of my support system. The dads and moms and friends who welcome me with open arms and embrace me completely. If you didn’t see me, I’m sure you heard my name. Many of the brands mentioned hearing my name before I even spoke to them. I’m not a celebrity…I’m just telling my story.
Having lost my previous husband to cancer and many other life experiences has made me strong. I too am fragile still. So when I speak of my depression it’s from having to still process the years of consistent death and loss I experienced. Even as recent as of last year before the holidays. I’m healing my heart still.
All of what I was able to experience at Dad 2.0 Summit was utter bliss and joy. My little brown self worked and worked hard. I’m still working hard. Many friends and new acquaintances inspire me still. I fell more invigorated and rejuvenated. I’m beaming with pride as the summit was exceptional. Just what I needed.
I’m sitting here typing this and all that is happening is a big huge smile on my face. My soul was touched. My heart was mended a little. My tears wiped a little too. My pride was made stronger. My world has been changed. That is amazing.