I should be going to sleep as I have work early in the morning but I have to get this out. I have to cleanse. It’s like a poison, like when you have eaten something bad and your body needs to reject it. You have to vomit. You know it is going to be unpleasant but it is for the good of you. This is for the good of me. Writing is Therapy, remember?
Tom told me today that his Grandma and Grandad on his Mum’s side doesn’t like me. Firstly, this doesn’t come as a surprise, it doesn’t come as a shock, I already knew. It’s clear they never have. Even when we were together they didn’t agree with my life choices. I refused to marry their daughter. I refused to adhere to their demands to join their family. Then I split with their daughter and ruined this perfect image they try and project. Perfect catholic parents with perfect catholic kids and perfect catholic grandkids living their perfect catholic lives.
But not me. That didn’t work for me.
So I’m not shocked at all that they don’t like me. To be honest the feeling’s mutual. First I reserve a contempt for most who believe in invisible sky fairies, second they stood by – or worse, supported – her when she stopped me from seeing Tom. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is unforgivable. They stood by and supported her when she stopped my parents from seeing their grandchild. That is more than unforgivable, it’s evil. Ironic really, these catholic dogooders acting so terribly, with a four year old child at the heart of their machinations.
That single act by her did more to ruin the relationship I had with my son than anything I could imagine doing. He went from spending two nights a week with me to spending a couple of hours at a time. We never recovered from that. We still may, as he grows older, but the damage it irreversible. And it was caused by that family.
So today Tom tells me that, according to his Grandad I’m not a good father, I am not a good role-model, and this is because I didn’t have my father around when I was younger to teach me how to be a good father. Note: There is no book on How To Be a Dad. Being a Good Dad comes down to heart and instinct. At first I thought maybe he was making it up. He is prone to exaggeration from time-to-time. But that phrase, ‘not a good role-model’ from a ten year old? That sounds too awful to not be true.
It’s okay that they don’t like me. It’s okay that they think I’m not a good dad and that I’m not a good role model. That’s fine. I am okay with that. Their opinion of me matters not. However, when you tell that to my ten year old boy it’s an entirely different matter. To put it simply; how fucking dare they?
Tom remains unaware that his mother stopped me from seeing him because I would never want him to think any less of her. The day before she stopped contact we had a fight and she shouted a now forgotten insult at me in front of Tom. He said, “If she says bad things about you, Daddy, I’m going to say bad things about her.” I told him he wouldn’t because he was not to be rude to his mother. She would not let me see my son for almost two months. I had to seek legal advice to get access back. The first thing he said to me when I saw him after this was, “I’ve missed you so much, Daddy.” and it damned near broke my heart.
Her parents, her holier-than-thou catholic parents, sat back and supported her in doing this to Tom. Not to me, to Tom. I’m a big boy, I can look after myself, but Tom was four years old when they, as a collective, ripped him from his father against his will. Disgusting behaviour by any standards, yet I am the Bad Dad, the bad role-model. It infuriates me, it frustrates me, and I’m not going to do a single thing about it.
After Tom told me this I told him that nobody else’s opinion mattered and as long as he liked me (and he said he does!) it’s all okay. I told him that what they thought didn’t make any difference to us as long as we had each other. He said that when they said these things to him he told them to stop and that he didn’t like them talking about his Dad like that. I question whether he would do this, but the thought was there and that’s good enough.
The only answer I can have to this is an answer for Tom, not for them, because they mean less than shit to me now, but to Tom I need to be the absolute best possible. I have to be the one he relies on, the one he goes to when he’s in trouble or when he needs help. The person who teaches him life’s lessons and accompanies him on life’s journeys. I have to be, for his sake, all the things that they say I am not. A Good Dad and a good role-model. Someone who didn’t have his Dad around when he was younger but is better and stronger for it. A guide, a mentor, a bank and a taxi. All these things I need to be and more.
And I will be all those things because I can be. I’m far from perfect, and my copy of How To Be a Dad was lost so I made it up as I went along with heart and instinct. I continue to do so and I know I make mistakes. But I learn from them and I apologise when I get it wrong. I forgive those who wronged me because it’s the right thing to do. I continue to be that person and allow them to think ill of me and speak ill of me.
The only person I have to prove anything to is Tom.
The weekend saw me fall out with someone I was following on the Twitter over her posting a penis photo that had been sent to her by some random yahoo via DM, and I wanted to talk about this issue at some length; unconstrained by 140 or 280 characters, so here goes.
Depending upon your country, sending a photo of your penis to someone ‘can be’ ILLEGAL. There, I said it. I’m in the UK so I’m going to look purely at UK law. You can imagine there are already well known laws and common morality if this involved kids, so lets ignore that for the moment and focus on the apparently acceptable business of sending a penis to another adult.
The Malicious Communications Act of 1988 makes it an offence to (and I’m paraphrasing here) send an electronic message which is indecent or grossly offensive intending to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient. The reason I’m paraphrasing is because legislation is wordy-as. But if you want the full content it’s here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/27/section/1
So if you send an unsolicited picture of your ugly willy to another person intending to distress them (and willies are by their nature distressing) you’re committing a criminal act and can be sent to prison for two years. If you receive a dick pic you have options. Report it to Twitter, or report it to the police.
What you shouldn’t do though is screenshot it and post it onto your timeline. But why not, Al? Well, seeing as you asked, firstly because it’s a vile thing to do. Penises are ugly. No one wants to see them. You didn’t want to see it. I don’t want to see it.
Secondly, and this is the important bit, because it is illegal. And you’re making the sender of the dick pic into a victim. You are making them, in the eyes of the law, a victim.
Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 makes it an offence to disclose a private sexual photograph without the consent of an individual who appears in the photograph with the intention of causing that individual distress. If something is sent to you privately, and you publish it publicly, you are committing a criminal act and can be sent to prison for two years. When that horrible jerk on Twitter sends you their junk and you post it on your timeline, you’re the criminal. Cool, huh?
But they deserved it. Of that there is little doubt, but you’re setting yourself up for trouble if you do this. When someone steals your car you don’t go out and steal their car in revenge. That is also criminal.
If I have to see it why shouldn’t you? Ask yourself why you didn’t want to see it in the first place and you’ll arrive at your answer. Cocks are disgusting.
So lads, stop sending ladies photos of your willy – unless it is by consent. And ladies, stop posting ugly cocks in public – again, unless it is by consent.
This has been a public service announcement brought to you by alsarcastic.