At first glance, you might wonder why Christian Long, a man with multiple fathers, would be featured in a series on fatherlessness. Good question. It’s true that Christian has a biological father, but he was out of the picture before Christian was three years old and only emerged again when Christian was 25. Christian also had three stepfathers (and three different last names.) Thanks to his wife, he has a father-in-law… So there is no shortage of fathers in his life.
What’s missing, though, was a dad – a safe, constant male figure in his life.
The story of Christian’s father-void is still not over. At age 50, he’s still processing how his experience of fatherlessness has affected his temperament, his fears, and his relationships – especially his relationship with his own children.
As he reflects, a deep, raw honesty emerges. It’s real. It’s is a place of acceptance. And it’s hopeful.
By the way, here's a link to Christian's poem, "Imagining," that we discuss in the story.
Hey there, welcome to Season 3 of Belly of the Beast Life Stories. I’m David All.
It’s another season of life here at the podcast. This third season is a very rare collection of stories by men who share the golden thread of growing up with an absent biological father and broke the pattern to be a good man. I’ll be sharing my own Belly story later this season. And let me tell you that a year ago, when we launched this show, I didn’t realize this was my Belly story.
Wisdom for our Soul -- Courage for your Journey. Extraordinary life stories illustrate the nature of personal transformation. A change that forced us down into the dark, gooey stage of life where we found our purpose and climbed up a new person.
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- Christian reflects on having multiple fathers -- stepfathers and a biological father –- yet he had a dad-void.
- Christian’s childhood memories of his biological father are so few, whatever in-person memories exist happened at or before the age of two.
- Christian’s first stepfather insisted on adopting him. Years later, Christian realized the adoption was not based on love for him as a child; it was nothing more than a negotiation, a poker move of sorts.
- Once a year, Christian visited his paternal grandparents, and once while he was there, he spoke with his father on the phone, though at the time, he didn’t know who he was.
- Anger, often suppressed or masquerading as sarcasm, has been a constant companion of Christian’s.
- The threat of violence from his stepfather left Christian on edge, scared, and looking for outlets away from home.
- Christian describes a difficult time in his marriage when he moved out for a couple of months and how the responsibility he felt as a father helped pull him back home.
- Christian shares why he believes his children are what held his marriage together through a rocky time.
- Christian reflects on the lines of a poem he wrote for his daughter, Berkeley.
- Christian articulates why feeling love is so difficult.
- Christian describes the work of healing from being fatherless.
- Christian describes his online community of men who choose to be honest and vulnerable with one another.
- In some ways, Christina feels like he’s just beginning -- just beginning to discover himself, to feel. It’s never too late to start.
“The first thing that Christian said to me about his story was that it might not be a good fit for this season, because he still feels the deep wound of fatherlessness.”
“The idea of thinking of who was my dad in an intimate, emotional, close way is a moving target for me.”
“I was in a constant state of discomfort and also trying to protect my mother but doing it through sarcasm or one-liners.”
“While I didn't take that violence out on people I cared about, that violence becomes passive but just as detrimental in other ways.”
“My kids were my salvation. When I wasn't sure about me and I wasn't sure about my career, my skills, I wasn't sure about my marriage, whether I was lovable or could love in return, my kids, even at a young age, were my salvation.”
“if there hadn't been kids, I don't think there would have been a way back. I don't think, for my wife, I would have been enough to bring back, and I don't think I would have felt there was a place to go back to.”
“What I felt deep, deep, deep is that those kids were the way back, that my wife and I, our relationship was possible because those kids would bring us back together as a family.”
“It was like I didn't know how to exist until they arrived.”
“I have spent a lot of my life assuming and feeling that the people that I was meant to love or I was meant to feel their love were going to disappear.”
“I look at the kids and I'm still in awe that my daughter really deeply loves me. And I'm still super intimidated and feel a pain, like a breaking, when my son doesn't need his dad.”
“That just to be in a space where good human beings will talk deeply about what guides them and what they're challenged by... It's also just a helluva lot less lonely. You're not stuck in your lane. So I keep showing up. I keep welcoming them back.”
“This is the moment. The past story doesn't have to be the next story.”
“Identity, I think it's out in front of me. It's time to go lay claim. It's time to feel good. It's time to say this is the life that was meant to happen.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR GUEST
-"Imagining" poem by Christian Long discussed in story
- Founder / Host of the "Oh, Sh*t" Sessions: a virtual gathering of 'good men' from around the world who come together each month to explore the "Oh, Sh*t" moments in their life -- now and in the past -- as well as to define the ways they are seeking to make a purposeful impact in their future. Interested to learn more / participate? Reach out directly via: firstname.lastname@example.org
- TEDx Indianapolis talk -- "Wonder, By Design": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R68Yhd--RY
- We Are Unusual talk -- "Creating the Conditions for Wonder": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsA6LZpoJ3w
- The WONDER Project (work) website: https://www.wonderproject.org/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christianadamslong/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christianlong/
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