SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAD 2.0 NEWSLETTER

The Winter of My Disembowelment

by dad2summit on October 22, 2014

There is a circle on the calendar. It has the flare of carelessness, heavy in red ink and light in any implications of afterthought. The date, December 8, follows on the heels of another that lives in infamy. It must have its own stories to tell and cards to receive, but it is not circled for anyone but me. After all, it is a calendar, not a dance card, and there is nothing careless about it.

Whit Honea

Whit Honea

It is a date of pending change, from pants to a robe always loose in the back. I will hug my wife and children and tell them not to worry. The procedure is safe, and it is needed. In fact, I may wither away without it, losing my stomach to time and tightness. The surgery is saving me with cuts to heal, and it will take me apart to make me whole again.

The fact is, I am terrified. Of course, I want to be well again, or what passes for it. I already crave the fix that the operation will give me. But it is a slice through the underbelly of all that I am, and there is much anxiety there.

Thom Hofman turns a phrase like most of us turn a key, the pins fall into line within the tumblers we are shaking, they scatter upon the edge of the cylinder, and the lock pops open as the conversation revolves. And then he is in, waxing on matters of anxiety and its dance with the gut while we are turning on the lights and taking off our coats.

His blog is Daddy, medium-well, and the post “Anxiety” filled me when no food could:

“ . . . there’s a strange out-of-bodiness to acute anxiety and the pineal gland is the pinecone shaped conning tower when navigating outside yourself. Dreams, near-death experiences, those minutes when either you shake God’s hand or you recess six inches back behind your eyeballs: they belong to this gland which rests amid grey matter but isn’t actually an organ of the brain. It’s the only unpaired structure within the skull, birthed from the fetal mouth, and a later emigrant to the mid-cerebrum. That it forms in the mouth is of no surprise to me, for it’s a short ride from mouth to stomach and it’s the stomach—nervous or anxious or irritable—that lends us gut feelings, feelings that are both in and outside of ourselves. Then there’s the Vagus nerve running brain to gut and back and this biofeedback loop, and sometimes I just can’t tell what pilots anxiety, whether the gut is informing the mind or vice-versa. How is it I’m so goddamn hot all the time? Why am I shaking?”

And I am shaking still.

I have battled anxiety for far too long. For years I couldn’t drive any road that I did not know. I was piled under pressures both implied and perceived. I suffered attacks that left me jobless, gasping for air, and unconscious on the floor before the spinning feet of my frightened children. Time has been kind in that regard. What once were demons have now been reduced to the occasional annoyance, and where once I knew I could not, I have tried again and again to prove that I can.

Yet, poor health begets poor health, and I do not think of blanket-wrapped Christmas trees when I spy December on my calendar. Rather, I feel the ghosts of battles won and all that we have lost; the specters of a sweat-covered brow wiped by sleeves and cold, clenched fists. I dream of dates that live in infamy, and I hope never to see another.

I think of Hofman standing in his kitchen with anxiety melting all around, carried away on a hint of jasmine, and left unlocked with a simple phrase to breathe into the ether: “I’ll be fine.”

I know my boys will be all the happier the moment that they see me. Theirs will be tried of concern and the fears that I have beaten. Mine will hunger with inspiration and the tastes that I have missed.

I expect all our feet to be light and spinning, and on the cusp of dancing.

—–

Whit Honea lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their two sons. He is the author of The Parents’ Phrase Book, co-founder of Dads 4 Change, and pens his personal narrative for the world to read on the Honea Express.

{ 6 comments }

Monday Conference Call: Your one-stop shop for Summit news

October 20, 2014

Welcome to our Monday Conference Call, where we launch your week with the latest news about the 2015 Dad 2.0 Summit, which is just 122 days away! (NOTE: You may be asking yourself: “This relentless counting down of Days Until Dad 2.0… is this going to be a thing?” Well, before you pass judgment, it’s [...]

Read the full article →

Welcome to Words on Wednesday!

October 15, 2014

In keeping with our new editorial direction, this is the first installment of Words on Wednesday, where we invite dads to write about something topical, interesting, or craw-invasive. This feature has a unique position, nestled midweek between our more news-driven entries on Monday and Friday, because it’s a chance for dads to discuss how this [...]

Read the full article →

Big plans for the Dad 2.0 Summit blog!

October 13, 2014

Now in our fourth year, we feel we have a greater editorial responsibility to our ever-burgeoning community. Therefore, you’re about to see a big change in the way we see ourselves, as a publisher and promulgator of all things fatherly. During these 129 days until we descend on San Francisco (where your luxurious room at [...]

Read the full article →

This sponsor announcement has us really STŌKed!

October 8, 2014

Our second sponsorship announcement is a special one, because it’s really two sponsors. And one of those two is actually more than 50. (Don’t worry. The math adds up. Stay with us.) Next February, you could very likely be gearing up for a summer season of building things, fixing things, and cooking things outdoors. That’s [...]

Read the full article →

Our first Official Sponsor for Dad 2.015 is PicMonkey!

October 2, 2014

It’s October! Which means two things: September came and went in about 45 seconds. It’s time to make the transition from Speaker submissions to Sponsor news! Thank you all so much for a stupendous Call for Speakers and Ideas for Dad 2.015! Submissions were up 57%, and the scope of suggestions has shown the sophistication [...]

Read the full article →

Our Call for Speakers and Ideas Is Open!

September 15, 2014

As we’ve maintained from the beginning, this is your conference. And we’re so very grateful to the speakers who’ve come to Dad 2.0 over the years (check out the roll calls for 2012, 2013, and 2014) to lend their expertise and inspire all of us to be better and do more. Once again, it’s your turn to weigh [...]

Read the full article →

Hello from San Francisco!

August 7, 2014

We just wrapped up our first visit to our venue for Dad 2.015, the Westin San Francisco Market Street, and this place is legit. From the moment we first sat down in the lobby lounge and noticed that every seat has access to a power outlet, we knew we were in good hands. This place gets us. [...]

Read the full article →

Seven days to save 50 bucks

June 10, 2014

This is it, dads! The big week, when the eyes of the world focus their attention on its male progenitors. Father’s Day is June 15, and whether you’re contributing to the $12.5 billion that will likely be spent on gifts, or are more focused on the kind of gifts money can’t buy, we hope you’ll have a great Sunday honoring [...]

Read the full article →

Join us in San Francisco on Feb. 19-21, 2015 — for only $129!

May 12, 2014

It’s been a great week to be an online parent. If you were in Atlanta for the 2014 Mom 2.0 Summit (which was attended by a record number of dads), you know that the first annual Iris Awards were off-the-charts fun. We were proud to take part in the proceedings, and prouder still of all the dads–including [...]

Read the full article →