My life: the early years

or, A few reasons I grew up to be such a selfish bastard but not turn out too badly anyway

Posted by Orville Bennett on 21 April 2021
Read time: about 7 minutes

Hey there kiddo. So I feel like telling a story. Would you like to hear a story? I'm going to tell you a story. This particular story though is all mine. C'est, l'histoire de moi1. I'll start it off with my earliest, favoritest, most pleasant memory. It's of my dad.

It was me and him at our house, beside this HUGE mango tree—which I'd eventually get old enough to climb into and eat mangoes from. He took me into his car, put me on his lap, and started his car. There I was, me in the driver's seat! I was driving a car!

I wasn't really of course, but 3 or 4 year old me thought I was, and it was cool as hell. That's my last memory of my dad. He left sometime after that. Went off to find fame and fortune. The weird thing is I don't remember being sad, or even realizing when it was that he had left. I was still pretty young. What I do recall is a void, and the nagging feeling that something was missing.

I remember that whenever I was with my dad, I was invincible. Unstoppable. Nothing could touch me. And that wasn't any magical property I had imbued upon myself. It was because of him. I instinctively knew with every fiber of my being, that when he was around no one could touch me. Because he was unstoppable; he was invincible. But then, just like that, he was no more.

That brings us to my next memory, which is neither pleasant nor my favorite. It is my earliest recollection of meeting my grandfather. This was some years later and my mother was dropping me off at my grandparents. I did not approve of this arrangement. I'd already lost the man who protected me from everything. I was not going to lose the woman who cared for me and loved me and did all the fun things in the world to these ... old people?

I decided to employ the oldest trick in the book when any child is trying to get an adult to do what they want: cry. And so I started, when out of nowhere, I heard this booming, terrifying sound: "Boy, stop your crying!"

And so I stopped! Terrified at what would happen if I didn't! And my mother left. I think she came back that day to pick me up. But eventually she did drop me off and not come back any more. She, much like my dad, left to go find fame and fortune. I'd see her again. Not as much as I'd like, but enough to let me know I wasn't abandoned. That she'd actually come back, from Canada, from the U.K., from wherever.

At this point I feel like I could have become the son in Lupe Fiasco's He Say She Say (from the album "Food and Liquor"). Doing poorly in school, getting into fights. I certainly had the opportunity. I didn't though. I had a male role model, and my grandfather certainly kept me on the straight and narrow path. He wasn't the hero I wanted, but maybe the one I needed.

And so I grew, living with my grandparents, being taken care of very well, but always yearning for a mother or father instead of just caretakers. As I got older we eventually got a phone. My father would call sometimes and I'd get to talk to him. He would ask me what I wanted and, thinking that the less I asked for, the higher the likelihood that he'd actually return home I'd always say: "Nothin'." Or if he asked me specifically if I wanted something, like a bicycle, or an NES, I'd say "Yes." Can't refuse a gift, amirite?

But what I actually should have said to "You want anything?", was "You." Maybe it wouldn't have changed anything, but at least he'd have known. But I didn't do that and I got exactly what I asked for: nothing. That's when I learned life lesson #2: if you ask not, you recieve not.

You're probably curious as to what life lesson #1 was, that's a story for a different time.

By the time I was in my teens I decided that I had gotten wise to the ways of the world and abandoned the idea of ever getting my father back. My father didn't care after all, and if he didn't care about me, why should I care about him. I'd pursue different things. Things to replace the relationship that was lost. They wouldn't be good replacements, but beggars can't be choosers. It'd be close enough.

And so I decided, I'd just go after whatever I wanted. There was a tiny propblem with that though. It was all Hevel. Like smoke, when I'd grasp for it, it would slip through my fingers. It was also a bad idea because, for me at least, that pursuit for self led to selfishness. Correction. Led me to be being more selfish.

Once I grew up, if I wanted something I didn't ask anyone's opinion, I just worked to get it. "This is what I'm getting." and if anyone had a problem with it, they could let me know. Any failure to voice disapproval would be an implicit approval of said pursuits.

And so I started pursuing other things to fill the void I had created: Video Games. Movies. Knowledge. Pornography. But alas, nothing filled the void. Hevel. Nothing gave me that thing I was searching for, the thing I wanted; a sense of belonging, of family, and later on in life, of purpose.

A part of the problem was that even though I had given up on my father ever caring about me, I hadn't really. I kept that "Father" spot open, awaiting his return if he ever decided he wanted the job again. So I didn't look for any replacement father figures in my life as some people might have. In fact, I was adamant that I was going to make all those decisions that I might have consulted a father for myself.

Even after I finally met him again in my early teens, it seemed that my father was more interested in money than being my dad. So I kept the position open waiting for him to make his return. In the meantime though, I started offloading some of those tougher decisions to someone who promised that He would always take care of any problem I decided to offload to him. Ask, and you will find it. Knock and I'll open the door for you.

I'm talking about Christ of course. I gave my life to Christ sometime in my teen years and finally got baptised on Sunday July 4, 1999. I didn't really understand all that well that it was supposed to be a relationship, not in the beginning. And as soon as I had gotten baptised, I literally left home and country for good. Left to find fame and fortune. Actually, left to go be with my mother again. Finally.

New country, same problems though. I was just as isolated, if not more, than I was previously. Mostly because it's what I was used to, but also because I lived with my mother now, and she had other problems she had to deal with. Me, I didn't want to be a burden.

And so I found new pursuits. Pornography? That's when that started. Yes, after I accepted Christ as my savior, not before. But that's a story for next time.


I'm ravaging the french language right here. Please don't take this as canonical french.