Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Reflections of Anorexia....National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This week is designated National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness) 2011, Feb 20-26 by the National Eating Disorders Association.

Their mission: "Our aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices — and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder."

Did you know as many as one million men in the US struggle with an eating disorder?  My masculinity is not measured or achieved by not telling my story of pain and struggles. More and more males are developing eating disorders these days. My fatherhood is not compromised by moments of weakness.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Was Born A Year Ago Today

"How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight? I don't wanna die without any scars..." - Chuck Palahniuk, author of  Fight Club

I think people would agree that a fight that's one-sided isn't really a fight. That's just a beating. That's a bully taking advantage of someone weaker than he or she is. A real fight is back and forth; you trade blows.

The keeping of one's faith is similar. If you want to be a Christian or even remotely God-conscious, this life will fight you for it. It's going to hit you, and as commonly said, nobody hits harder than life. The world tries to take your joy and your peace with every unwanted circumstance, every unexpected tragedy, and every unforeseen pitfall.

Monday, February 14, 2011

$2,500 on Happy Meals!

Every Sunday for six months it was McDonald's. My wife, my step-kids and I would load up in the car and drive for an hour and a half to Del City every weekend to have lunch at McDonald's for two hours from noon to 2pm. I got sick of McDonald's. But it was worth the $2,500.00.
Victims 1 & 2...aka "pawns"

To paraphrase, "He's dangerous. He's bipolar. One day he'll snap. He beats our kids. They are not safe. He gave them alcohol and exposed them to lewd acts. He has Parkinson's and is unable to care for our kids. They should be taken from him and given to me as if they are property to be decided in the divorce."

For months I stood there in disbelief in front the judge who is known for his intolerance. I stood there being watched by strangers while being accused of violent and vile crimes against my own children. While my loved ones waited in the lobby I stood in silence with only the support of a stranger who relied on monetary gain from me. While my accuser was allowed to freely paint a vivid portrait, no matter how fictitious it was, I was limited to answering the questions I was handed. At some point I learned the realization that in some situations the best way to fight is to defend.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's has experts?

It's that time of's Valentine's weekend. By now all those self-proclaimed relationship guru's have come crawling out of hiding. Maybe they smell the chocolate in air. Maybe it's the pheromones. Maybe it's the allure of the potential profit to be made? Maybe it's the opportunity to strut one's stuff.  Maybe relationship experts do truly care and offer their best advice with best of intentions. What's one to do?

I will honestly admit I've never "gotten into" the whole Valentine's thing. I have always done my best to go along for the ride and live up to my wife's expectations. I can't say that I've succeeded at doing so, but I will at least try (pat on back).  After all, isn't that what you do with your sweetheart?  

Every holiday has a bad rap for one reason or another. But Valentine's is the one that severs the sex's right down the center. You could almost define ironic from this scenario. The very holiday that brags of being shrouded in love and romance claiming to bring lovers together apparently seems to draw more lines of division than paint pictures of love. Let's face it, no other holiday has rules on how to and how not to love the one you love. No other holiday has rules, advice and guidelines when it comes to gift buying. Wasn't it just two months ago we superficially were making attempts of teaching our kids, "It's better to give than to receive" along with "It's the thought that counts?" Along with becoming about "taking" this is the only holiday that becomes about being gender bias. For 364 days of the year men and women are equal. Well, in theory, but not on Valentine's. The Valentine's season has way too cheesy clichés (again, I hate clichés), expensive candy, high price flowers, and too high expectations.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Four roles, one Father....

Today, it's difficult to define the role of fathers and it's very much a case of 'ask ten people and you'll get eleven opinions'

An eleven year old son, a seven year old son and a five a year old daughter from a previous marriage. A twelve year old stepson. A ten year old stepdaughter. Two inside cats. And two outside dogs.  That's my home, on certain days of the week...certain days of the month and certain holidays of the year.

You go from father to divorced-father to single-father and "weekend-dad" with the probability of step-father with a second family. Each role has its own difficult challenges. There's this internal fight that constantly goes on inside you. It's more than a debate. It's a weighing of options. Internal conflicts.

You know you're a father. You constantly remind yourself you're a father. The fact that you're even in a position requiring you to remind yourself that you're a father makes you furious. The court now says you're a non-custodial parent. You're no longer gender identified. They could've at least left you your dignity and allowed you to keep the one identifier that made you stand out, set apart...your gender. Maybe the title of, "non-custodial father?"  Or better, "non-custodial Dad." Because after all, it's the father-child relationship that is the defining factor of the fatherhood role in life. A "Dad" does not have to be a child's biological father. Many children, as my own step-children, refer to their stepfather as dad.


Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

Blog with Integrity\\ Auhor Lupe Picazo

Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome them