Fifteen years after my father left my mom and me and took off, I started to rebuild my relationship with him. There were many questions that I asked but one stood out more than any other and that was “Why were you so hard on me in my tennis training but nothing else?” He really couldn’t answer that, and I felt some shame in his body language after I asked him that. I believe if he could go back in time he would redo certain things that affected his relationship with me and my mother, but although he made my life a living hell I had to forgive him, in the end he was my father and he did apologize for the way he was even though he didn’t give me a deeper reason as to why.
Even at the age of 32 I was a little bit unsure about how I was going to approach my father with all these questions, I wasn’t sure how he would react because I knew if I had confronted him back in my high school days about his treatment towards me I would have gotten a scary earful or worse. An unbelievable sense of relief came over me after our chat, the kind of relief you feel when you accomplish a long-term goal.
I used to nickname my father “the beast” because he was very much like a scary beast during my childhood. If anyone asked about my father I told him or her to refer to him as just “the beast.” Crazy, over the top tennis fathers can be pretty common in tennis and it wasn’t surprising to see two fathers going at each other in a crazy verbal battle in junior tournaments across North America. Many of those professional players who had father issues over tennis never got a chance to “start over” with them, but I was glad I did.
Get It Off Your Chest Now!
The worst feeling is having something lingering inside of you that you just have to get an answer for. After our chat, we started to bond again and he would tell me how life was in the country of Turkey, no one loved their country as much as my father did, and with how the country was excelling in so many ways combined with the beauties of it I couldn’t blame him.
It pains me to see other people now suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and depression because I know what they are going through. It may have first started for many because of the pressure to “fit in,” or the feeling in your body that felt odd, or scary, or a recurring traumatic event that becomes difficult to forget.
To those people I say that you can grow stronger from this pain if you don’t let it completely destroy you, I am living proof to everyone in this world that the true way to success through an anxiety disorder or a sport you love truly, is to always try just one more time because the past cannot hurt you anymore, unless you let it.