I know you are not around to see this but I haven't forgotten about you. Actually, there isn't a day that has gone by where I have not thought about you. You always were successful in leaving an impression. Those who have met you along your journey remembered who you were. You looked and talked the part of a superstar in a public setting.
At home, all I ever wanted to do was make you proud. Behind closed doors, it was hard to get that point across sometimes because growing up I was scared of you. I wasn't scared of you all the time, but I knew better than to make you angry. I saw how you could get. So I never spoke that much inside of the apartment. By the time I got to middle school, my voice got deep very quickly. The kids would relentlessly make fun of me for that. So I never spoke that much in school either. That made me a quiet kid even though I knew I had a lot to say about a lot of different things. I had longings to express myself openly and freely without receiving backlash.
I used creative platforms to get myself out there. The only time I ever felt accepted was if I played the part of somebody else. People seemed to be entertained by my antics on the stage, especially you. You were an old school performer who had an appreciation for the theatre community. Getting a compliment from you was the ultimate blessing. I knew if I did a good enough job, you would give me the honest to God truth and that would make me the happiest person on Earth. I was never given the staring roles because I never looked the part. To be recognized by you made me believe I could succeed even if the people in charge never wanted to give me the opportunity in the first place.
That's why I miss you on a day like this.
It is only in the past few years that I have learned that my voice matters. If only you were around to see how far I have come. I have made it my personal mission in this lifetime to make sure that other people are also heard and to be unafraid of who they are. One thing I admired about you was that you stood up to rude people and never backed down from them. Ever. Today, I take a stand against bullies that want to make other people feel awful about themselves. Nobody should live their lives in fear. I remember that part in my life and do not wish it on anyone else.
I only thing I do wish for was that you had gotten the help that you needed. It was only after that you passed away that I realized you were sick. When you live in the moment, it's hard to see the bigger picture. Only with time and perspective have I been able to understand you on a deeper level. You had so much to offer this world but you made the choice to leave it. It was ultimately your decision so I don't hold it against you. I've been learning to be a man on my own which is difficult in this day and age. Being the oldest child, I don't have an older male figure to look up to. It would have been nice getting dating advice from time to time but I've been managing okay. I do miss watching classic Bette Davis films like Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte with you or playing a round of Ms. Pacman on the Nintendo 64 though. At the end of the day, I try being the best person I can be for the rest of my small family.
If it were up to me things would have turned out differently for you. However, I am aware that a person cannot live in the past. So I take a step into the future and am excited for the endless possibilities that are out there. I thank you for reminding me to never give up. Not on my friends. Not on my family. Not on this world. As grim as things can look in a certain instance, I remember that a turnaround is always possible. My life has been an example of that.
Thank you dad for making me who I am today. I'll always love you.