Now look, don’t go crazy on me. I’m not one of those anti-feminist, uber patriarchal dads. I’m just saying, I have ideas about the kind of guy I would prefer my daughter date.
I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse before the age of four. When I was 12, I discovered porn. What started as teenage curiosity turned to fascination, and eventually a powerful addiction to pornography. For nearly ten years of my addiction, I was a youth pastor in the Bible Belt.
I lived in constant fear of my perfect image being shattered.
But one conversation with my little boy changed everything…
I just knew the Henchmen of Heaven would come and steal me away in the middle of the night as a thirteen-year-old and damn me to eternal punishment early because I’d said “shit” or been caught lingering too long on the adult movie channels late at night at my grandparents’ house. Any 90’s boy knows exactly what I’m talking about: the high numbers on satellite, blurred out, with the fuzzy green and pink lines. Every once in awhile you could catch the shadow of a boob if you just stared hard enough.
When I take my last breath on earth, won’t be thinking of metrics and stats. I pray to God I won’t be thinking of my failures of any sort of disappointment I ever faced, but instead of all the small things. The time I took to breathe. To kiss my son on the forehead. To reach across the kitchen table and hold my wife’s hand. To notice the way a baby smells behind the ears. These tiny moments are the ones that matter the most to me now.
Although mistakes are a natural part of growing and learning, they were forbidden in my house. The only thing I learned to associate mistakes with was pain. If I got a low grade, I got yelled at. If I laughed at the dinner table, I was spanked. If I stayed at the neighbor’s house too long I was grounded. I wholeheartedly knew that my parents weren’t perfect, yet they expected us to be. What I didn’t understand at that time was, why?