Marco Orlando

Not everyone in the world is fortunate to have a so-called “nuclear family” and grow up with both a mother and a father. Mine just happens to have a 15-year age difference between them. It made for a unique dynamic when I was growing up. I’ll be honest, I was a bit of a “mama’s boy” as a kid. I had a much easier time getting along with my mom than I did getting along with my dad. But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy some father-son bonding time now and then. Some of my fondest memories with my dad involve traveling with him while he ran errands around town and watching daytime TV programming like game shows and sitcoms, especially The Price Is Right, during the summer months and occasionally when I had to stay home from school because I was sick.

I hate to admit it, but I didn’t always think very highly of my dad. Growing up, I got the sense that my father was a bit adversarial at times. He seemed to enjoy getting reactions out of me, almost as if he went out of his way to make things harder for me at home than they needed to be. I’m not proud of how little regard I had for my dad growing up. I’m not proud of how I lashed out at him for things that weren’t even his fault. He didn’t deserve to feel the brunt of my wrath when I was struggling to put into words how things at school were bothering me back then.

I like women. I respect women. I understand women and get along better with women than I’ve ever understood and gotten along with men. I didn’t have very many positive male role models growing up. I don’t have very many guy friends to do typical guy stuff with. I don’t feel an inherent need to prove how big and bad and tough and strong I am, how much of an “alpha male” I am. That just isn’t me. I would estimate about 70-75% of everyone who consistently gave me problems in life have been other guys. I haven’t always liked very many guys because of it, and I trust even less of them not to screw with me when I’m out and around.

I started learning more about my dad as I got older, and I began to understand why he was the way that he was. I learned to respect my dad as a man of integrity who works hard to provide for his family. I learned to appreciate my dad as a product of the era that he grew up in. Some of his “old school” qualities are actually quite admirable to me. He gives off what I like to call “Captain Dick Energy.” His penchant for speaking his mind and standing his ground has become something of a lost art. And that was when I realized that my dad was the exact “anti-hero” that I needed. He didn’t need to be what I thought I wanted him to be when I was young. He didn’t need to change anything about himself for anybody. And at his age, he shouldn’t have to.

My dad shares his birthday with The Big Show. He’s been a guiding light like Captain Lou Albano, “street-smart” and knowledgeable in his own way. He’s a blue collar Paul Heyman, a self made man, shrewd and businesslike. He and I may have come from different worlds, and his interests and mine aren’t exactly the same. But he’s my dad, and I wouldn’t want him any other way. I’m very fortunate that he’s gotten to see me grow up. I wasn’t always so sure that he would. I hope when all is said and done that I have done all I can to make him proud of who I’ve become.



If you are self advocate and would like to share a blog post with us please email Laurie Coldwell at lcoldwell@sufumaine.org   


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