This is going to be a challenging blog entry to write because I did not prepare for it in advance for how quickly I run through the years of my life, perhaps at another time I will write about them and explore them more. Read back in my blog, there is a few interesting things that have happened to me I hope.
My Bell Let's Talk day started rather boring and I was compelled to just follow other Twitter members and retweet inspirational quotes and song lyrics. But the more I thought about it the more I wanted to do something a bit different. Bell Let's Talk is not just about motivating discussion it is about sharing your story with others. In sharing your story, my story, hopefully there are young people out there who will see they are not alone and that if you keep looking ahead there is light beyond the darkness, just reach out. So, my story, yes, that is what I am going to do with you right now.
It begins back around high school, around 1985 or so. I was a nerd back in school and did not make friends easily. The ones I did I kept for many years and treasured some of them more than they will ever know. I wish I could mention names because there are some that deserve to be recognized. So in high school I was shy, nervous around girls, and I rarely did anything to set myself apart from the shadows. Ironically I did run for students council which opened me to criticism but I believe in our democracy and equality for everyone so it was a passion more than anything else. I was depressed a lot, perhaps by environment or by genetics it did not really matter the source but I admit there were a couple times in high school when I felt I couldn't go on. I did think about taking my own life a couple times. One time I thought about strangling myself and another letting myself fall off a high train trestle in our town but both ways had a small percentage of survival so I did not attempt them. I recall many times walking over that trestle at night and staring down into the darkness below.
In around 1987 a friend of mine drowned in the icy river. I remember visiting his grave to talk to him and telling him that he was the lucky one. He escaped all the bullying and sadness. I said on more than one occasion to his grave that I wished I could switch places with him on that mild spring evening. He was a good kid and had a future before him and in my mind it just was not right for him to be taken away when I wanted to leave.
I won't tell you their names but in my senior years, when I ran for students council, I made friends with two girls from the 'popular' crowd. They supported me in my efforts and after I lost the election (to a popular kid) one of the girls told me "you may have lost but you gained the respect of so many students for trying". The support of my friends, all be them few and far between got me through some of the dark days in high school.
There were many days when I was 'popular' not for what I said or did but popular with the bullies, and there were a couple, one in particular whose name I still remember today, he sought to abuse me mentally and embarrass me publicly. I also faced some physical and mental abuse outside of school that I will not go into at this time so I dealt with bullying during a good portion of my waking hours. I do not know how kids today can survive it all. I could not. At 3 o'clock when the bell rang and you went home you could turn off the bullying and turn off the noise. You could sit in front of the television or do your homework or listen to music (I listened to a lot of "instrumental" music during that time that society would later label as emo or slit-your-wrists music) or play with your friends at the local park. Today kids can not escape it with social media and their own smartphones (which I do not agree with). If I lived in today's teen world I would probably not be alive to write this today.
In 1989 I had a girlfriend for six months at the end of high school just after turning 18. We were a match but mis-matched at that time in our lives. She was quite emotional (as many teenage/adult girls can be) and needed attention while I was a short fuse and emotionless at the best of times. There were a number of incidents between us where she needed me to be there emotionally but I was trapped in my own mind and thoughts. We broke up just days before I entered college in August 1990 (not a regret but certainly a mistake).
In college I was faced with even more problems. The stress of finding my own way in life, classes I did not like, professors I did not like, challenges with landlords and others. It was all getting overwhelming. In my spare time I was mentally abused and threatened by another student in the house I rented in. I would hide in my room, which did not have a door by the way, behind the sofa just so he would not know I was there. I would take long walks down along the Kempenfelt Bay to think about the world and my life. My thoughts matched the darkness that surrounded me back in those days (the harbour district back then was empty fields with nothing but a parking lot near the metal statue). I remember one night sitting on the cold, wet snow of a baseball diamond with a 2 litre bottle of Coke just wishing that I could freeze to death and it would all be over.
In college one day I talked with a counsellor who promptly referred me to the mental health facility in Midland, I was even provided a ride up there to talk with two other counsellors. It did not help. In fact quite the opposite. I felt I had put everyone out of their normal routine and traveling all that way (over half an hour by car that I didn't own) was not something I could do several times a week. I felt intimidated and awkward. Now, I had friends in college, a few of them, but I still felt alone. I completed the year and left to move back with my parents.
About a year later I moved down to the city and got a job. Things seem to 'hang on' for a few years but I was still depressed and not taking anything for it. I remember the long walks I would take in Brampton at night. I used to go down along the railroad tracks that ran through downtown and wonder what it would be like to just hop on a train and leave my world behind. I did not date anyone for the years I lived there. I was part of a social circle of online friends and we met a couple times a month down in Metro. They were good friends but I was not really part of the 'inner circle' so I did not do anything with them otherwise. I did fall in love with one of them and remained friends with them for many years afterward but nothing really came of it.
In early 1994 I met someone online, we had a relationship and we married that June. I moved to the US in December and that is when the darkest side of my depression tried to consumed me. I had no support from my spouse or her family and my suicidal thoughts and depression got substantially worse. She lied from the first day I met her and she was mentally abusive and I did my fair share of it in return.
I finally reached out around 1997 and got professional help from the local resources. They tried to counsel me and give me drugs. I have, what you might call, a rather intellectual mind, and could see right through all the therapies and reasonings. Therapy is about trying to change your thoughts and I agree and support it, but when you can see the end of the road and you are depressed you jump to the final block without taking the walk first.
Counsellor: "What do you want to get out of this time in therapy?"
Me: "Well, I don't know but I know this method and this method and this method do this and this and this so that won't work"
Drugs (the medication prescription kind that is) work for some, they stabilize you to help you get back to where you "should" be. I think if you have mild depression or general anxiety you should look to other resolutions though but that's just me.
The environment around you is a big factor in your state of mind, when I left her and moved back to Canada my depression seemed to become a lot more controllable. I did not have several people implying to me I was worthless and a disappointment because I would not bow down to their control or demands. It is about finding and keeping balance in your life and walking away from those people and places that seek to harm you.
I'm straying off track here. The point of all this, from someone who thirty years later still suffers from once or twice a year bumpy rides of depression and undiagnosed general anxiety I can tell you that the support of friends, family, whoever, is key to your survival. Friends are everything because without them you are alone. But I do not want to give the impression that someone must be labelled a "friend" just to care about another.
And if you are someone reading this who knows someone who might be "a little blue from time to time" don't try to cheer them up. People who are depressed don't need 'cheering up', they didn't just choose the wrong type of ice cream they are consumed in a world of darkness where they feel they are worthless and do not matter to the world.
It is not about trying to tell them they are wrong to feel that way. It is not about telling them what they feel is 'not normal'. It is normal. It is a part of the grand puzzle of life but it does not have to be their entire life. With your help by just being there it can change a life. You can save a life when you smile at a stranger or be friendly to someone in line at the grocery store. A simple "hello" is all it takes to prove to someone that they exist and that others 'see' them.
I have loved and been loved. I might not always be smiling on the outside (I have a "resting serious face") but inside I am okay. I am okay because I know that there are people who care about me and I hope would miss me if I were gone.
My name is Kevin M. Klerks, 46, blogger, politician, advocate. I am a Canadian and I have manageable (after decades) mild depression and general anxiety. I hope that does not change what you might think about me. I am the same person you knew before. I am me. Let's Talk.
I actually spent my entire Saturday in the basement on my computer and never went upstairs, that's kind of creepy. I just opened the nearby window at 2 am Sunday and the cool breeze is coming inside.
I checked the temperature and it's mild at -0'C with a -4'C windchill. I can see the moon through the treetops in the backyard. It's an eerie feeling to realize you skipped an entire day.
I have to laugh though. I texted my friend upstairs earlier on Saturday around 4 pm. I have to share it with you :)
I have the coolest friends. So what was I doing with my Saturday that had me sitting in front of the computer all day you might ask? No, it wasn't porn, okay not all day at least. I had a couple projects that I needed to get done this week while on vacation. The first was one of my resolutions for the end of calendar year 2017.
A couple years ago I published a chapbook of poetry under a pseudonym with the intent that, some day, I would update and re-publish it under my real name. Well, after over a year of telling my publisher friend that it was still a work in progress including a bungled first draft I decided to abandon what I called 'Book 2'. I decided to release my poetry on my website instead, a link to which can be found here.
I got a couple things sorted out in the real world online and then continued on the crusade on Twitter against the blunders of our rather unpopular Prime Minister. It is not hard to point out the err of his ways when they are published so frequently in the mainstream media. History classes a century from now will remember us for our childish leader Prime Minister Socks immediately followed by how the economy of Canada almost collapsed in the early twenty-first century under his rule.
I don't want to make this entry political so I am going to continue on with some more answers to the questionnaire, right after I close the window because it is getting frigging cold in here.
Q: At what age did you have your first kiss, your first sexual experience? Was it bad?
A: My first real kiss came about five years before my first sexual experience. It was with my girlfriend at the end of my high school years, at age 18. I think it might have been within the first day or two after we met. We were walking along the railroad tracks north of town and decided to sit down in the grass and talk about life. After a few minutes I leaned in and kissed her and the rest they say is history. I am still friends with her today.
My first sexual experience was with the woman I would eventually marry, at age 23. It was not how I intended my first time to be. I had hoped it would take place about five years before but that was not to be the case. And to answer the second part, no, it was not bad. I lost my virginity and we had a great weekend together at my apartment in the city.
Q: Has it affected the way you view sex as an adult?
A: Well, no not really seeing as I was an adult for all of my sexual experiences.
Q: How many sexual experiences have you had? How long is your longest relationship?
A: Okay well that question is getting a bit too personal I think but I will answer it anyways. A recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour found that the average Generation Xer has had ten sexual encounters in their life by this time. I just did the list and, well, I will not dispute that number. I guess you could say that following my divorce from my ex- I made up for lost time.
I never cheated on her during our almost nine years in a dreadful marriage though I did come very close one time that I wanted it to happen. I met this beautiful intelligent woman while I was working as an assistant manager for a convenience store. She was a customer who would stop in on her way to work and a co-worker told me she had expressed an interest in me. After stopping her one night I agreed to meet up with her the next morning to talk. We started meeting up several mornings in the week and we started sharing poetry with each other. Yes, poetry, I told you I am a romantic at heart, albeit sometimes misguided.
I felt a strong attraction toward her and I knew she did toward me. When I was close to the point of having an affair with her she had second thoughts and broke off our friendship. She ended up sleeping with, what sounds like, a random guy because she couldn't sleep with me. How do I know; because she wrote me a poem about it confessing her actions. A short time later she received a work transfer she had applied for before we met and relocated to another state. I never saw or heard from her again.
That being said in the final months of our marriage I met someone online that I hoped would evolve into a relationship but when I returned to Ontario I discovered that was not to be the case. I believe she did step out on me in the same final months and as I explained earlier she married an old friend of hers just two weeks following our divorce.
Now, excluding my ex-wife, my longest relationship appears to be about six months unless you count the woman who had an affair with me and that was somewhere around two years total. My shortest relationship would have been a one night stand I had in the mid 2000's.
This is not my final opinion on the topic of gender. I have found myself, in this past year, evolving in how I view gender and gender identity. So please be kind if you are commenting on this blog and know that I do not know everything about the topic nor am I firm on my beliefs at this time.
With that being said I have been presented with a couple comments and I have replied to them. The comments are in bold italics below.
In the very diverse world we live in today, what do you do when you encounter someone who tells you they're non-binary or that they feel they were born into the wrong gender? I'm not asking you to defend your opinion per say but this is a thing that comes up frequently. I have several friends who would classify themselves in this way. I mean how do you react if it's a stranger? A co-worker? A friend?
I don’t encounter anyone like that. In our area we have gay people who are men and women. I’m not sure about the schools because I’m not in them but that gender bending nonsense seems more like a ‘city thing’ in Ontario. The problem is the definitions are being re-written and this isn’t possible.
A male is born with male parts, a female with female parts. No matter what you call yourself you are still male or female unless you get all your parts changed. When I see transgenders in the media I refer to the sex they were born with and all language as such. For example, that one, in the US the treasonist who says he’s a woman. He still has his man parts as far as I know so to me he’s a man.
I don’t classify them more than male or female. It doesn’t really matter to anyone but yourself what you “identify” with. And we went for generations accepting that some women were tom-boys and they just, like you, accepting that society saw them as women wanting women things. It’s no different than how society thinks I should act based on the media out there. I’m not aggressive but protective, I’m not negative just realistic but society labels me one way or another. You read about that in my daughter post. Me not liking it doesn’t change things and when I had the opportunity to morally I couldn’t.
I don’t “react”. First, strangers don’t come up to me and tell me they identify as one way or another. Around here I think they know that people don’t give a damn what you are. I have a couple gay co-workers, males who are attracted to other males, but we don’t sit and talk about it. That’s their personal business not something for discussion around the water cooler.
As you know I have very few friends in my life at the moment to really draw a rounded opinion from, but those who do are straight or perhaps bi-sexual to my knowledge. Any women who were bi- so what, they identified as females attracted to females and none of this gender bending crap. And hey, what guy isn’t turned on by a woman who likes guys AND girls?
I am quite content with people being attracted to the same sex. Who cares. But don’t make me change words that have been around for centuries just because you (the generic ‘you’) feel bad. I just watched a discussion the other day between a trans-gender man and he makes a valid point from 1 minute on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbTwoLah2VY
I agree if you want to create a new set of pronouns to describe them, then fine, but don’t force me to change existing pronouns that have been around forever. I won’t bow to the social bending of reality. I would call Blaire White a transgender woman, but it doesn’t change the fact “she” is a man. In public, I’d call her a woman because she looks like a woman.
the push to force me to change has only made me more anti-gay than pro-gay, now I couldn't give a damn about gay rights (outside of basic human rights that is) concerning marriage etc. I'll support it still but the whole conversation has gotten ridiculous to the point of insanity.
I see gay and transgender as separate things though. You can have people with same sex attractions who are VERY entrenched in society's male and female stereotypes even.
The same thing is happening with these sex stories in Hollywood, which I refer to as "McCarthyism wearing a dress". Some of these people have gone on 20 years accepting it and only now through #MeToo are speaking up. Lauren Southern did an excellent video about it from the early days of this whole thing how people will jump in. Let me see if I can find it quickly... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CrCp6UKYVs her video doesn't entirely support my comments, but it's interesting how she basically predicted what is happening now
We are the only animals who can change our bodies or identities by choice. I mean a caterpillar to a butterfly is a process, a set pattern. And no you cannot change your race, even though I read one rather unusual news story of a woman faking being African American with extreme tanning, but you can by choice change a great number of physical features. I mean I think of people who have cosmetic surgeries, are heavily tattooed and pierced etc. It's not changing your gender; which is way more invasive, but some of those choices are quite significant. I don't know I always think of the science of it, and there's probably more I could be reading. But in science we frequently think we've understood all the variations of an organism, and then all of a sudden more variations are discovered. It's possible that some of those variations are psychological.
Well first one who claims they are another gender would argue the change is not by choice but because nature made them wrong. Only when Man intervenes does nature make mistakes. In the end however changes to ones physical appearance does not change their genetic sex. You can gut all of the plumbing out of a house but it's still a house.
Psychological and physical attributes are not interconnected. I can feel pain yet no body part shows pain. I can feel I'm a woman but my physical body still says I'm a man.
More questions from the questionnaire:
Question: What are your top three insecurities?
Is that like doing tasks as good as people expect them to be, or perhaps as I believe they expect them to be? I would say that, as an adult, I have used the phrase "I'll do as best I can" more lately than ever before.
My insecurity or anxiety or lack of confidence is definitely rooted in how I believe others perceive me and the "impression" I give to others. The problem is this is based on environment and my feelings of frustration which then project an image I am someone I am not.
Insecurity would be how others see me in a work capacity, since socially I have very little interaction with others. At work so long as I have the necessary resources available to me to complete the task I will. I will admit to holding myself back on several occasions, declining to step forward to take an opportunity to advance because I felt I was not ready at the time. That is a feeling of insecurity. In the end I would take the job and do my job but I was always a bit 'slow out the gate' so to speak.
Question: What was the situation surrounding a time you had your heart broken (if any) and how did this affect your life?
Which time? Does not every relationship with another that ends end in a feeling that your heart was broken or about to break? Is there ever a time we are truly happy to see someone we care about leave our lives? While some women in my life have let me down in some way or another by ending a relationship I would not say overall that I have been left heartbroken but at the time my heart felt pained.
Do I recall a specific time that I felt the pain to the point of heart break?
Yes I do. It has been some time passed now so I can write about it.
A while back, over a decade ago, I met a woman on one of those online dating sites. We met at a motel room for the intention of having a one night stand. She was married, had two kids, and, according to her comments her husband neglected her because she did not have the model body he wanted her to have. I was horny and single so it did not matter to me that she was still legally married.
The one night stand worked out nicely for both of us and at dawn we were both left satisfied but still wanting more. Our relationship was based on sex but we did seem to have a connection emotionally.
She and I had several consensual sexual encounters in places I never would have imagined myself in before. I think I added about four or five new "Have you ever had sex in..." places to my list. Besides the sex, which was good, I respected her and valued her for who she was as an individual and who she wanted to be and our talks brought us closer together.
After about two years of secret rendezvous in parks, parking lots and a couple other places I will not mention, she decided it was time to re-commit herself to her relationship with her husband. I think that they re-located down to the city and I have not heard from her since.
I can say this is one of the times in my life that I was left heart broken. Could it have worked? No, probably not. The baggage that would come from a volatile break-up with her husband would have led to her possibly losing custody of her kids and her stable lifestyle.
So yes, as I write this I am sure there are women out there reading who condemn me and say they would never be with me because I chose to have sex with a married woman. Fine, not that I will remind you that it takes two participants to have a sexual encounter. I do not care what you think and you do not have to worry because if you feel you can judge someone for their past actions I would not want to be with you anyways.
If you ask how I would feel if some guy did that to me with my wife today (I do not have a wife by the way) I would tell you that I would never allow my today wife to feel she was worthless just because she had a few more pounds than "normal". I can not help that she was on the website. I can not help that she sought me out and that she came to the motel room that night.
I think it was just last year that someone had asked me if I had ever really been in love. I said, Yes, that while the words 'I love you' have certainly been used by me in the past there are three women in my life I can stand here today and say that I truly loved. I had fallen in love with her and she with me.
Today I’m continuing answering the questions from the questionnaire I mentioned in a previous entry.
Question: How close are you today to the person you were in high school?
In high school I had a couple close friends. I was nerdish but not too geekish. Two friends that I made way back mid way through elementary school and kept until early adult life. I have always been interested in politics and being a part of the democratic process. I think that might be the Aries in me, if you believe in that sort of thing. I tried running for student council in grade eight and grade twelve and, unfortunately because I was not one of the “cool kids” I lost both times.
I investigated the idea of participating in it in college but decided that my path was taking me in a different direction. As an adult I ran for municipal council and finished at the second to the bottom of all candidates. Today I am still interested in politics though not as involved as a decade ago. I could see myself getting into it again but right now I just do not feel any specific party (geesh it really does not like the word “particular” for anything that I write) or group represents my vision of what the future should be.
In high school I played Dungeons & Dragons and now I play online metaverses like the Great Canadian Grid, so that’s similar.
In high school I was depressed, had a short temper and some issues with my health like allergies and poor posture. Now I get frustrated when things don’t make sense, suffer general anxiety and continue to have allergies and poor posture.
In high school I was single, there were girls I liked, a couple that I wish I had dated, but I did not date anyone until I had turned 18. We lasted six months, at the time she was over-emotional, and I was the opposite. I am single now, divorced, but I have dated and had consensual sex (would not want to give the wrong impression here since we all know how that happens) with several women since high school so that is certainly better.
Question: How does who you are now compare to what people thought of you back then? Overall do you feel that you exceeded or fell short of people’s expectations or you since high school?
Honestly, those who get to know me now and compare me to then would probably think me similar, though now I am far less emotional and a bit more openly opinionated. I am open but cautious, somewhat intelligent with an IQ around 115, a defender of equal human rights and still, despite all that has happened to me, a romantic at heart.
I think initially I might be viewed as falling short since I left college after my first year. But then they would see all the things I have done with my life since and some have thought me “brave”. I laugh, when I separated from my ex- and left my job in Ohio to move back to Ontario my boss at the time said I was brave. He said that to handle it the way I was, to lose my family my job my home and go back to somewhere I had not been in almost a decade. He could not do it he said. I see my life and just see choices I have made as the natural progression of life decisions.
Question: What kinds of feelings bother you the most?
Frustration, the knowing that something can be better, but circumstances do not allow it to be so.
Anxiety, the unknown or uncertain bothers me. I like stability and predictability. I hate surprises in all forms.
Question: How easy is it for you to trust someone?
In the past it was hard, then it got easier. Then people abused my trust so not it is not as easy. I would say it has evolved to a reasonable medium.
I plan on writing nine entries in my blog this week, one for every day I am off for vacation. Some days might have more than one, it depends on how inspired I am.
I have decided that for my blog I would like to offer everyone the knowledge I have acquired through my years of experience. I do not, by any means, consider myself an expert in any field of study. I do, however, know that I possess knowledge that others do not. Though I just discovered, while writing this, that I have not yet gained the knowledge of how to open my truck door without setting off the alarm occasionally. A lesson that I share with anyone, walking within twenty metres, quite annoyingly.
Today I received a copy of Herman Siu’s “Find Your Passion Questionnaire”. I am going to take it seriously, as it suggests, and try to answer the questions as truthfully as possible. I plan to share “some” of my answers with you along the way.
The first part talks about Parents & Family. In my case my father is still living so I won’t be sharing some of those answers with you as they will be too personal. My mother passed away from cancer back in 2013 and I might share some of my experiences with her with you. This journey will help me to grow and might help others too.
Question one – describe each of your parents the way you remember them as a child.
Since I was a “child” until I was 18 I’ll consider this to mean when I was a kid up to my early teen years.
In the years growing up my father worked forty hours a week as a furniture maker. He would leave for work early in the morning before I got up for school and return every evening. I remember him being home in the evenings. I remember laying on the basement floor watching television and he would sit in one of the chairs. He was not a regular figure in my life, but he was still there in the evenings and weekends. He was strong but understanding. Any discipline was done by my father when I was younger. He did rule the household and while my mother was the more outspoken one he appeared to have the final say. He was the rock and our family was well balanced as a result. He was very conservative, we got things when we needed them not when we wanted them, but we were never left without. He was the workhorse and worked at the same job, until it closed, for over 30 years.
My mother was more emotional. She was in my life a lot more. I would be up for breakfast and she was there. I would come home from school and she was there. She was the housewife in every sense of the word. I know when she was younger she worked outside the home and while I was growing up she did babysitting jobs but for the most part she was the one who raised me. She would get sick a lot from ulcers, I remember my friend next door watching me a couple times while they took my mom to the hospital. She had a necklace that looked like tweety bird, she called it her “worry bird” and would wear it a lot. I think she had a lot of anxiety.
Question two - How did each of your parents compliment you? What specifically would they say?
This question is hard. I don’t think they ever did but I’m sure they did. I remember doing things and achieving things, but it just seems to me like when I did right it was “normal” and when I did wrong I heard about it. I’m not going to accept the fact they didn’t compliment me as an answer to this question. I am going to say that the praise or compliments I was given were not over embellished or given just for the sake of boosting my ego. I think they wanted me to have realistic expectations.
Question three – Did either of your parents criticize you? How?
For the most part, no. If I acted like a child I was treated like a child. I mean when I was a bit older.
Question four – How were disciplined at home? What role did each parent play in disciplining their children and you specifically?
I remember not being grounded very often. I was, for the most part, a good kid. I think the longest grounding I got was a couple months for doing something stupid and I don’t even think they enforced the entire term. My mother was the role of jailer. My father handed down final judgement but because she was home all day she had to carry out the time off TV or being forced to “play outside” and so forth.
I remember one time I wouldn’t eat something I didn’t like. My mother told me I had to sit in the chair until I ate it. I let it go cold, she took it away and I sat there. I think it was about 20 minutes or, so she said I could leave but I stood my ground and didn’t leave the chair for the hour. She never tried that tactic on me again. I don’t remember all the circumstances, but I do remember sitting on that dining table chair looking around the kitchen at things trying to entertain my thoughts to stand my ground without getting bored to death.
I got the spank on the butt from my father when I was bad, as a child. It worked, and I didn’t turn out as a serial killer as a result I might add.
Question five – what did each of your parents do for a living?
I think I answered that one. For the most part of my growing up my father was a furniture maker, my mother was a housewife (or home maker if you want to use PC titles) and she did babysitting when I was a teenager.
Question five A – what role did each parent play in supporting the household finances?
My father was the “breadwinner” as they say. He made the most income and provided us with all the needs, food, shelter and clothing. I think my mother was the “supplemental income” and worked when his pay alone couldn’t cover all the bills. I believe they could pay for everything and never owed any great deal of money. While I didn’t learn for several years my parents certainly understood what it mean to “live within ones means”.
Question five B – What did your parents want you to be growing up?
Happy. No seriously. They never placed any direct expectations on me. I know some people say, “well they wanted you to work, to get an education, et cetera”. Yes, sure. They wanted me to have an education and to find gainful employment. But they never steered me toward any field or career. I remember years later when I asked my mother about religion she said that they had raised us to be open minded and to find our own paths.
Question six – What was each of your parents’ main advice to you about life?
I don’t think they gave me advice, persay, in the “sit down and listen to me” sort of way. I think I learned certain things just from their actions and the way they lived their lives. True, some things took making mistakes to learn – like finances and debt, but others came more naturally.
Work hard to provide yourself with the basics, food, shelter and clothing but don’t make work your entire life.
Don’t give up on something you don’t achieve the first time but don’t become obsessed with something that you don’t pursue other things.
Be honest, loyal, family is important but apparently not after you become an adult (I’ll explain that one more later). You don’t need material things to be happy.
I had and still, albeit buried sometimes under crap, an active imagination.
You don’t need all the toys and crap, material things, to be happy.
I never really learned to fight because my father was, overall, a pacifist. I think it came from being raised in post WWII Europe and then coming to Canada as a teenager. That isn’t to say he didn’t get into his own sort of trouble, he never really talks much about his growing up, so I don’t really know.
Question seven – How would each of your parents describe the way you were as a child?
I think my mother would have said I was quiet, compassionate, loyal to my friends. I was easily hurt, honest to a fault, perhaps a fiery temper. I am an Aries and used to be very much the fire sign it represents.
My ex-wife told me that my father once said that I was quiet and introverted growing up. I didn’t have a lot of friends but the ones I did I was very close and loyal to. The kind of friends you make for life, which is funny because of my two best friends growing up I only message one of them occasionally, while the other one abandoned me. I do make friends and keep them for many years even decades in some cases. I think my father would describe me as quiet, kept to myself, had an imagination and wasn’t in to sports.
Question eight – Do you know who you’re named after? Is there a significance or story to it?
I am not named after anyone. I think my parents just liked the names I was given. I know my mother said she liked my middle name but when the school wanted to use it to differentiate me from other “Kevin’s” in the class she said no. So, there was a significance to the order of my first and middle name if not to their specific meaning. I do know that I adopted this and did not like my middle name for many years. I only started to use it when I returned from the US because there was, by that time, one other Kevin Klerks’ in Ontario and four in the world.
Question eight A – Do you know which parent named you?
Like I said my mother attached some significance to my middle name being my second name not first, so I get the impression she named me. I should ask my father about it some time. Growing up I had a musical toy that included my middle name in a whimsical song. You would turn the wheel on the front of it and it would begin to play the song. I heard the song so many times over and over that I can still recite it in its entirety today.
My name is Michael, I’ve got a nickel, I’ve got a nickel all shiny and new, I’m going to buy me all kinds of candy, that’s what I’m going to do.
I’ve never actually thought to look it up and see who wrote it. I should check Google right now and see if it has ever heard of it or not. OMG it is, it’s part of a song called “Playground in My Mind” by Clint Holmes. I never knew that, perhaps all this time the key to something has been sitting there right in front of me
What I believe in…
I believe that people can only be one gender or the other – male or female – not both.
I believe a person can be attracted to a member of the same gender.
I do not believe that someone can be “transgender” being a ‘gender identity’ different than their biological gender.
I do not believe that obesity is acceptable and that it is indication of a serious health condition.
I do not believe someone can be “non-binary”, you are born either male or female.
I believe that transgenderism and non-binary are mental disorders which require medical treatment.
I believe marijuana should be legalized for self-medicinal purposes more than recreational reasons.
I do not support the “war on drugs”.
I believe that the US Federal Reserve should be maintained on the “gold standard”.
I believe that a 3+ party system is necessary to maintain a democracy through minority not majority.
I support limited gun rights but I do not believe the average person needs anything more than a handgun or rifle.
I believe that the military is necessary to defend our borders not start wars within others.
I value the existence of unborn life. I don’t believe that the government has a place in telling a woman if she should have a child. I do not believe the decision is solely that of the woman to keep or abort a child. I believe if the male does not want to keep the child and the woman does that the male should be able to sign away all obligation legal and financial to the child.
I support early term abortion in cases of rape, incest and life-threatening health issues (this continues to be an ongoing debate in the court system of my mine).
I support the morning after pill, condoms and birth control.
I do not support foreign aid except in those ways that benefit the people and only after our own people are taken care of first.
I do not support migration or refugee policies. I do support immigration policy which controls entry based on the individuals’ contribution to society or connection to an existing citizen.
I am a Pantheist. I believe that we are all connected to each other and to our world around us.
I am a Minarchist – I believe that the state is necessary for the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract and fraud. I believe that legitimate government agencies include police, military, courts, prisons, medical services and executive and legislative levels of government.
I've cut and pasted this a few times and redacted information so if there are any continuity errors or details that need correction please let me know my clicking the email button above. Thanks.
A bit of background to this story.
I was married to an American from 1994 to 2003 and lived in Ohio. The marriage was a disaster from day 1, details I will get into another time, suffice to say we divorced in 2003. She ended up marrying her fourth (yes, 4) husband just two weeks after our divorce was finalized. Whereas I found I couldn’t trust women, or anyone else for that matter, for the next five years but I digress. In 2008 she attempted to sue me for child support. I was broke, working a low paying retail job and about $11,000 in debt having lost everything but my car filled with my stuff in the divorce.
If I could have afforded a good lawyer I might have been able to fight it (details for another time too), but since I had not really been allowed to see my daughter in a couple years I didn’t have any fight left in me.
In 2004 and 2005 she brought my daughter up to Canada for a mini vacation, but in 2005 she decided to enforce the order that I would have to pay for her to come up if I wanted to see her. I could barely afford the bills I had let alone forking out probably $1,000+ just for a week.
After deliberations with her attorney we settled that I would pay $0 a month in child support but only if I gave up my parental rights and any right to see my daughter. I had no choice, they wanted over $400US a month in child support which worked out to be about half of my net pay in Canada and since I had not seen my daughter in about 3 years we had both moved on. I signed the paperwork and that was it.
I think it was a couple years later I discovered a blog written by my daughter. In an entry about me, specifically, she wrote many things. A couple of the things were true to a degree but most of it was straight up lies that I’m sure her mother told her. I told the website that if the information had been truthful I would have let it stand but it wasn’t, so I asked the website to remove it. They deleted it the same day. This year I might write about what it said and my defense to it even though it has long since been deleted. I must search in my archives and find the original document first.
Now it’s 2018, nearly ten years later. My daughter, wherever she is, turns 22 this month. And, with every January since 2008 the topic comes up and I wonder what I could have done differently ‘after’ I signed the papers.
This and other blog postings are conversations I’ve had with a friend about different situations in my life. To protect the identities of everyone involved (currently saying that is really kind of moot but anyways) I have changed my friend to the “Interviewer” and tried to use any names as little as possible.
Interviewer: I'm hearing the hurt in the situation and I get that it's a lot. Your ex sounds like a piece of work. It's possible your daughter is afraid to contact you after the blog thing though too. I mean if she was given false info and was living that as her truth about you and blogged, or she just fraked up, she's probably not sure where to go from that. Maybe she reached out to your parents hoping it would someday lead to you again but couldn't come right out and say it.
I just feel like if at some point you invite another kid into your life (via relationship or children of friends), there might be stuff that comes up for you about your daughter and how it's all gone. I think it's more than just explaining "Oh hey I do have a kid." in terms of connecting with a kid from someone else's life more intensely might make you feel. You had a life with her in it before all the bad stuff. hopefully she remembers some of the good parts of that life.
Kevin: The only reason I kept track of where she is/was for my own protection, so she couldn't spread more lies about me on the internet. Which is sad as the main reason because it should have been a personal interest in how well she was doing and not how her mother had manipulated her this time. My mistake was, when the court took away my rights, I should have told people that yes, I was married and no I didn't have kids. She had 4. But I can't lie that out there somewhere was someone born because of me. I doubt she is thinking or acting like me. The only way she "acted" like me she blamed me of in that blog post and said she was mean toward some friend because of habits she picked up from me. How she could have those habits when I’d been gone for over a year is beyond me. I left when she was SIX. She is corrupted, tainted, indoctrinated by her mother who was a lying B that I made the mistake of ever meeting. I don't really care if it stays like it is.
But then, take this woman, whom I am interested in. She, of course, wouldn't want me to have a kid the same age of her. I told her that my kid was about 21. I had to think for a moment and it turns out I’m wrong she’s 22 in a couple weeks. This woman is 25. That's not the same. We dropped it. It will come up again you know if anything did come of my relations with this woman. My daughter is not in my life, so it should not matter to anything. But, my "half me" kid has basically condemned me in so many ways just because of her mother and my inability to lie about her existence. She's not waiting for me. She's moved on. The problem is everyone around me, through normal social interaction, has not allowed me to. I don't blame them. I blame myself for not lying from the day I lost parental rights.
Interviewer: Sometimes people can turn out to be completely different from their upbringing and overcome the toxicity of a parent through the later path of their life. This could still happen for your daughter. She's not her mother even if she has been very influenced by her up to this point. Who knows where her life will go as she gets older. This is a very extreme example but years ago I watched a documentary about the children of the perpetrators of the holocaust. They had some bad parents, but they were not their parents and they had to one day reconcile who their parents were and what they did. Humans can be remarkable.
Kevin: It wasn't false to her. She posted the information that she believed was the truth because that's what her mother who didn't abandon her told her. She doesn't even know I saw the blog (until now). It was deleted by the website after I filed a complaint, they probably told her it was due to content and nothing more. Her entire life was corrupted. My father said when she called that she said, "I'm 18 now and I can call anyone I want to". Who the hell says that except someone who has been controlled and manipulated their entire life growing up. It sounds like something a person who was controlled and abused for decades would say, like those kids who are abducted and held in a house for years never allowed to go outside. Nope, she reached out to my parents, and my father gave her my contact info (at least my phone number). She also knew my name. Do a Google search "Kevin Klerks Canada" 188,000 results. It's not like I'm hard to find. I even have my own website!
Our marriage was a disaster and lie from day one. I don't want to get into it all right this minute but there is a lot more behind the statement "Divorce and bankruptcy were the two best things to ever happen to me in my life". I had an estranged relationship with my daughter, at best, and my wife only made life hell. If I could go back to being 18... I tell people I'd do it all again because it's life experience, but the more I look at it the less I believe that. In 1994 my life took a path that broke me in so many ways. Ways that have taken a decade not to move on from but to adopt into my life and try to deal with. To me, with all that has happened in life, my daughter is almost dead in my world but there's no way to move on because she really isn't. I don't wish her to be, the point is there will 99% most likely never be interaction between the two of us ever again.
INTERVIEWER: I think that both you and your daughter are victims of your ex-wife’s issues and that is horrible. Whether or not you talk to each other, I hope for healing for you both.
In terms of this woman you are interested in getting to know and ages and kids etc., life happens. I have friends who had teen pregnancies and then much later had second families so now they're not much older than me with grandkids. It's all relative. It's who you are now and how you communicate that matters.
Kevin: My daughter, by the way, is surrounded by family and friends who were all in her mother's realm of influence. She will never escape that toxicity. Two of her siblings leeched off their mother and clearly learned bad habits from her. Interesting to note as part of the settlement in 2008 I asked that, should my ex-wife die, that one of her daughters become the legal guardian of my daughter. I couldn’t trust my ex’s parents or anyone else in the family to protect my daughter. In the last words I did what I would to protect her future.
They will be my daughter's guides when the old B finally dies. The only way she could escape is to move to another part of the country or planet away from all her family. Look at where I am today. Do you think she could do any differently? I'm 46 and my father lives 70 kms away. I moved back in with friends. I am around my friends near to where I grew up and a town I considered my home. If anything, if you say my daughter is half me... then she will do the same.
INTERVIEWER: All of that is possible, but life is full of every possibility and it's unpredictable. Hopefully she can see it clearly to some degree before she's very old and you are gone from the world. Maybe the lesson won't even happen with you but with her own children if she chooses to have any. That would be a shift of perspective that could very well be illuminating in some way. You just never know. My parents are pretty fraked up. But I learned a whole bunch of stuff the minute they put my baby in my arms. There was just a shift. I can't explain it, but it can happen.
Kevin: Oh, we are. I may have divorced her in 2003 but ... well, I tell people I married an American and served 8.5 years in the US. served = prison sentence. My time with her damaged me in so many ways, and I was damaged already. Ways that I've spent 18 years trying to survive and get past. I sit in this basement room and still get flashbacks of the basement room I had my little circle of my stuff. Where I slept in the chair to be away from the mental abuse. Where I hoped I could find some security from her nosey daughters, but I'm sure didn't. I can't begin to describe the 9 years of it all and don't want to. I used to say I didn't want my daughter to contact me until she was an adult because by then I might forget everything from those years and moved on. For the most part I have.
As to this woman, who knows... I've never really considered having kids, anyone's kids, since I was married, but again that's the damage that my ex-wife caused me. I want "the family", the safety and security of knowing someone else is there with me in life. The chance to be the, I don't like to say father figure so much as the strong male guide for a child. Like a father, but we've put so many conditions on that that single mothers don't believe another man can truly be the father of their child from another relationship. I know you will say that it does happen, and that be great if it did, but I don't "expect" it because I know that may lead to disappointment. I'd be happy if they just came to me as the role in their life to seek support, comfort, common sense, whatever. I don't even know her kids so I'm not referring to this woman for that, just in general.
Well, at least my daughter uses the name I gave her. I just searched her “name State" and it came up with her long name used for voter registration in her home county. That, if anything, is at least something. For years she's used other names on social media and such, like she was embarrassed to be known by the name I gave her. And she is registered at her mother's address in 2016.
INTERVIEWER: You said, "single mothers don't believe another man can truly be the father of their child from another relationship". I've seen it happen successfully a few times though. My friend is the best example. He married a woman with two kids. the kids were both from different fathers, neither of whom were naturally father figures. He's divorced from the woman now, but her kids still call him Dad, send him Father’s Day greetings on social media. the girl, who was my son’s babysitter for years, lived with him over her mom even though he wasn't her "bio dad" and I'm pretty sure he helped put her through university. He's really their dad even if nature didn't make him one.
Kevin: Well in my experience then.
Interviewer: Your experience has been horrible. I'm so sorry. It's not everyone and everywhere that's like that. Thank you for sharing some of it. It's better to get it out than hold it in and let it keep causing damage. I'm here for you though if you do want to talk about it anytime. *hugs*
Kevin: Thanks, it's why I stand for "human rights" and not "women’s rights" because I know men can be abused as much as women they just don't go running to the cops or the media about it.
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