Impotent Rage


One of the most profound discussions I’ve ever had was with my father when I was 15 years old. I can’t remember what I did wrong, but I do remember I went to my mother to confess because I knew she’d go easier on me. The next day, while he was eating his lunch and looking exhausted from another long day at the mill, my father called me into the dining room and told me words I’ll never forget as long as there’s breath in my lungs. He said, “The next time you screw up, don’t run to your mom for shelter. You come to me and be a man.”

While he was very cross and had no intentions of imparting great wisdom to me, he had given me the single greatest lesson I’ve ever been taught in life. Be a man. Be unafraid. Not that that meant I couldn’t be afraid, it meant to never let fear sway me. Even when I’m scared or worried, stand against the fear and be more powerful because of it.

It’s something I’ve carried with me ever since that moment and I call upon it often in tough circumstances. It was one of the things that most helped me when my brother passed. I was the first to see his body, I took control of funeral arrangements, I called specific members of the family and made it clear that they weren’t welcome to the funeral, I was a rock for my family when they needed one and I would later breakdown quietly in my room. Someone has to be stable in moments like that and I was honored to do that for my brother, as he would’ve done if I’d passed.

For the first time in my 31 years of existence I’ve finally come to a spot where no amount of bravery or courage can win a task for me. The last 2 years have been astoundingly difficult with multiple loses of family members, loss of religion, loss of relationships, and a massive shift in family dynamic, but it’s all been relatively easily traversable when taken with a heaping amount of pragmatism and a level headed nature.

Now, I just find myself getting more angry and frustrated at a situation with which no good can come from. All options are a sure loss. The only question left to ask is: how much am I willing to lose?

I apologize for being purposefully vague, but I have to be given the situation. To be clear, all is wonderfully well with my wife and kids.

It’s just that these last few years have been extremely testing of my character, but this is the final one I didn’t need. The potentially largest blow coming when I’m already stretched thin.

I finally understand the plight of the cat. Hang in there, dude. Hang in there.



9 thoughts on “Impotent Rage

  1. Nate, I’m sorry you are going through another trial. I hope it will be somewhat reassuring to know that you are not alone. I can relate to mounting loses and the feeling that I can’t take another straw. I am a woman. I don’t need to be a man to have courage and embrace the storms in life. That doesn’t mean I won’t take a licking by the battering waves, torrential rains, hurricane force winds and the damage left in their wake. But with every storm I face, my taproot goes deeper.

    If I’ve learned anything valuable in life — it is to be like the palm tree. Bending during the storm doesn’t make you less of a man. It enables you to survive without breaking — without being uprooted. In sharing this, I don’t mean to minimize your plight. Only to say that I empathize and feel compassion.

    Thank you for having the courage to share so personally.


    • Thanks so much for the kind words and for the analogy of the palm tree. Also, I apologize if in my post it seemed as if I was stating that women can’t possess the same qualities of a man, that wasn’t my intent at all. Anyone can be courageous or brave. Both fear and happiness are a choice. It was my dad that taught me that accidentally.

      I’ve no doubt that I’ll get through this with the help of one other person in particular, it’s just that I don’t feel I have much fight left in me, but sadly, there’s no one else to deal with this pressing issue.

      The inability to resolve the issue quickly or remotely close to not ruining vital relationships has me wore down.

      Thanks again for the kindness and hug. It helps more than you know!

      • “I’ve no doubt that I’ll get through this with the help of one other person in particular, it’s just that I don’t feel I have much fight left in me”

        I’m glad you are not going it alone. I come from hurricane country, so I was always amazed that the palms were the main and sometimes the only survivors of trees in long droughts and catastrophic storms — especially if they were in groups. That is to say — don’t brave the storm alone. Sometimes these palms would bend to the point that they were laying flat on the ground during the storm, but would soon rise when the storm passed. I’m glad you are not going to your room to cry alone. In other words, that you are not isolating yourself during this trial. Even if you don’t share the details with us — and even if we can’t offer the help or solutions you need to improve your situation, we are still here for you, nevertheless, even if it’s just to read/listen and offer a few encouraging words.

        If you are experiencing excessive mind chatter that is affecting your sleep and focus, or if you would like to find ways to help you manage your stress during this time of hardship, I would be happy to share effective, non-invasive, no cost ways to curtail both stress and mind chatter. while improving focus. These methodologies got me through some serious rough spots. Feel free to email me if you’re interested. My email addy is located in my gravatar.

  2. With the deepest respect, Nate, I think your definition is slightly askew, bravery has nothing to do with being unafraid – there are rare cases of people with no, or a damaged, fear center in the brain – these people aren’t brave, just fearless. Bravery involves being scared sh*tless, but pushing ahead anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.

    Been there, done that, had to throw the pants away.

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