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Friday, August 19, 2011

LITTLE SELF

I was at the shrink yesterday.  Like that should come as a surprise to anyone.  I've been going a lot lately.  What brings me to the couch?  It's not the stress of the show.  On the contrary, work is my escape.  I crave 16-hour days.  It's not the noise I create with my big opinions.  If I'm being completely honest, all that shit kinda fuels me.  It makes me feel vital.  Gets me sporting Lenny Bruce wood.  It's not my marriage.  That's the one thing I've done right in the past 8 years.  So what brings me to therapy?  My kid.  I'm sure this is every parent's dilemma, so I know it's nothing new, but my developing relationship with my daughter brings me face to face with my own, unresolved, fucked-up, juvenile pain.  

My frustration and challenges with Esme rarely have anything to do with Esme.  I am becoming very aware that children give us the opportunity to work shit out we couldn't when we were young.  I don't mean that I'm not attentive or present for her, I just mean that as I grow as a father and struggle giving her what she needs, I realize that it's often something I needed myself and never received.  And until I acknowledge that need in Kurt, I can't fill it in Esme.  In other words, I have to grow up to be a grown up

The truth is, I would never have taken the time or energy to go back to therapy if it wasn't for my kid.  I desperately do not want to fuck her up.  Katey's done a remarkable job raising her two kids and I want Esme to have that same chance.  I just want her to land on the right side of happy.  The pursuit to achieve that is turning out to be incredibly revelatory.

By example: I know I have a reputation for being aggressive and angry, and I've clearly earned that sway.  But the truth is, it's more a persona than it is the person.  I'm a pretty quiet dude and I really dislike confrontation.  The problem that I struggle with in pretty much all areas of my life is balance.  I have trouble finding the middle range in anything.  I often go from a one to a ten in a single thought.  So my behavior can be erratic and unpredictable.  Then I made this simple discovery when I was working on some patience issues around my daughter -- When I was a kid, I couldn't get anyone to listen to me.  I had a voice, it just wasn't connecting to any ears.  So I learned at an early age that if level one wasn't working, two through nine sure as hell weren't gonna work, so let's go right to fucking ten and stir shit up.  That was the only way I could get an audience.  That's not a skill set that I consciously established or one that I was even fully aware of until my kid forced me to look at it.  So now I have some context for behavior.  Clearly awareness alone isn't enough.  One must actually take contrary action to apply change.  And as usual for me, it's always one tweet forward, three tweets back.

I share all this here because this stuff is just as important as my gripes.  More importantly actually.  My rants are the results of circumstance hitting my character.  These personal entries are slow to percolate and speak to my journey.  Process is always much more interesting and revealing than results.  All my work, hard and soft, defines me as an artist and a man.  As I grow.  As I change.  As I fall down.  As I slide back.  As I burn.  As I resurrect.  As I shave the bunny.

33 comments:

barriesuddery said...

As someone with some pretty fucked up issues himself I am constantly amazed at the courage you display by opening your heart, mind and soul to all of us out here in the e-ether.

I honestly don't know if I have that much courage but, you've given me much to think about as all great enlighteners do.

Katherine Turner said...

what's gonna be really phun is when you dial it down to 2 or 3 and realize people aren't listening. then you're faced with a dilemma: use another tactic other than volume/intensity, or realize, in one facet or another, you don't actually care that the other person hears you. it boggles the mind when we realize, in the moment, how effective our old tactic was. and what our role in the bs was. and in that moment, when facing that dilemma, the real question is: what am i hoping to get out of this person hearing me? knowing the weapon and the personal payoff is the secret to it all . . . that's when the old weapon gets repurposed to slice through the bs . . . stories, more stories . . . we all are gemma, clay, jax . . . we're all arjuna :)

AliDawne said...

I know exactly what you mean. I have four children, one of which is my biological daughter. She is a mirror of every bad behavior I have and I have been doing some serious work on self over this past summer. Not only because I strive to be the best person I can in order to set a decent example for the kids, but also because seeing her behave in the same manner I do allows me to judge my own behavior objectively. I am really working on changing some of these things so that I can not only be the best person I can be to set a decent example for my kids, but also to help my bio daughter unlearn some of the things she's picked up from me. I would hate to be responsible for her being less than the best person she is capable of being. Keep up the good work. Its very admirable for someone our age to acknowledge their own issues and go out and try to resolve what they can. I applaud you.

Abby said...

My favorite thing about you leaving twitter is more blog updates! I liked this post...really made me think about why I behave the way I do.

Librarychic1 said...

Sounds so very familiar, I started hitting the shrink after my son was born, I was determined for him to be raised the opposite of how I was. I refused for him to get any lashbacks from my shitty childhood. He is an only child and I'm guessing the neglect I recieved turns into focusing all my attention on one. The journey is ongoing and we all struggle with ourselves and their developing as a little person. My son just turned six and thinking about my life before him is boring in comparison.
My therepy is writing, and especially writing this kind of shit to my friends, they all understand and have similar stories themselves.
Thank you for continuing to inspire us all.

Anonymous said...

K,
Write a book for Dads.
Your insight is refreshing, honest and thought-provoking.

Urno Talbot said...

30 minutes with a punching bag works hella better, I thought Jersey knew that already?

Anonymous said...

AS I READ YOUR BLOG ENTRY...I FEEL IT VERY SIMULAR TO MYSELF...ALOT OF PEOPLE BELIEVE I SHOULD BE GOING TO "THERAPY"...I'M WHAT YOU WOULD SAY A VERY "UNIQUE" INDIVIDUAL...I TO HAVE A CHILD...HE IS 19YRS OLD AND NOT SO MUCH A CHILD ANYMORE BUT A MAN!

...I WAS IN THE FILM INDUSTRY FOR 16YRS AS A STUNTMAN AND DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES AS IN A "CUSTODY BATTLE" WITH MY EX-WIFE I GOT OUT OF THE BUSINES TO GIVE MY CHILD A BETTER AND (REGULAR) LIFE!...I FELT THAT AFTER 16YRS I PLANTED MY FLAG IN THE INDUSTRY AND WANTED TO FOCUS ON MY SON WHOM IS STILL THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN MY LIFE!

...I ALSO FACED FEAR AND AT TIMES HAD ANGER ISSUES THAT WOULD MAKE ME GO FROM 0 TO 60 IN ABOUT 3.2 SECONDS...AND WHAT I FOUND OUT IS SOMETIMES I FIND MYSELF THINKING OR DWELLING ON THINGS TOO MUCH!...AND THE MORE I THOUGHT ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS OR SENARIOS THE GOOFIER MY THOUGHTS BECAME

NOW THERE IS ALWAYS A THOUGHT IN MY HEAD I GO BACK TO PERTAINING TO MY SON ...AND THAT IS "DID I DO ENOUGH FOR HIM"...DID I MAKE HIS LIFE A HAPPY ONE IN HIS CHILDHOOD.. I WILL ALWAYS HAVE THIS DILEMA WITH IN MYSELF..THE REASON WHY IS..MY SON QUIT SCHOOL IN HIS GRADE 12 YEAR! AND NOW IS TRYING FIND HIS WAY AND HIS FUTURE AND IT'S BEEN A STRUGGLE FOR HIM!...HE A GREAT KID

WHAT I GUESS I'M SAYING HERE IS ...AS PARENTS WERE GIVEN NO GUIDES OR INSTUCTION BOOKLETS ON HOW TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR CHILDREN AND OR RAISE THEM...AND THE ONLY THING WE CAN DO IS GO OFF OUR OWN EXPERIENCES AND GUIDE OUR CHILDREN TO BECOME THE BEST PEOPLE BY SHOWING THEM FROM OUR EXPERIENCES...AND SO THEY MAKE THE BEST DECISIONS IN LIFE FOR THEMSELVES!..OUR CHILDREN SHOW US ALOT ABOUT OUR SELVES!...ON THE TYPE OF PERSON WE WANT TO BE AND WHO WE DON'T WANT TO BE! (SORRY FOR BEING VERY LONG WINDED)

CHEERS
(ONTHEMARKSTUNTS)
BRYAN

chuck said...

kate sings truth...sometimes your skill set is your skill set...and the role is the role...whether it resonates is pretty much out of your hands..

Amanda said...

The thing that most adults don't realise is how much damage we can do to kids and not only how that damage affects them as kids but how it can fuck them up for the rest of their lives. People always think that when things kick off at home or whatever that the kids are too young, they won't understand, they wont remember in time etc. Or they put off trying to spend time with them because they are scared that they will repeat the same relationship they had with their parents so they replace time etc with material possessions etc. Well listen up people! all that is BS. Most kids are affected by so much more than we realise. (Trust me, I work with these kids, I know).

As someone who has, well, lets just call them "daddy issues", it pisses me off, even now, that he never made/makes one fucking effort to change and its a hate that is difficult to deal with. Your always going to make mistakes with kids and fuck up but it means so much more to them that you give them time, take an interest in what they do and listen. Do that then they know that you love them and anything else is pretty much fogiveable.


Very few people are as insightful as you Kurt, to be able to reflect on themselves and not only see potential problems or concerns in their parenting skills but actually go and get help for it.

As someone who has tried to go and get help for some of their own issues I can appreciate how difficult that is. In my profession I am also surrounded by people who just can't make that first step and I don't mean this to sound partronising but the fact that you did it is highly commendable and speaks volumes about your charachter (way more than some rant over something that pissed u off somewhere or whatever!.)

Esme is a very lucky little girl! I wish half the kids I know were as fortunate. x

Brandi Gerrena said...

Have you ever been diagnosed as Bi-Polar? My sister is and boy do you fit the profile ! I can't help w/ the unresolved issue, because my list is probable longer than yours, but it is wonderful that you are taking responsibility to make any effort for your child ! I wish there were more people like you so that our children can lead and live happy normal lives ! <3 Brandi Gerrena

Anonymous said...

Please hear me out and dont dismiss me like anything im saying isnt the truth or something, sugarcoated, because none of it is, and i have had just as much problems as you have had in your lifetime... Been at the brink of suicide so many times that you have no idea pal, psychotic so many times...

I really wish you the best and i can tell you are one of the few people understanding the simple way of life and the simple lessons of life that so easily go un noticed in todays society we live in, information overflow comes too a point where nobody can handle it, the smarter you are the harder you fall, and i really believe that the more flawed a person is, the smarter hes gonna become if he manages to rise up every time...

Be well everybody and all you can do is care.

Laura Federico said...

I think it is refreshing to read about a father so aware of his past and how it is affecting his parenting style. Parenthood is and always will be the most difficult thing anyone does. I have never thought about it, but it does give us a chance to work out our own issues that we were faced with as children. Sounds like you want to make sure your daughter not only has a voice but IS actually heard. Do not worry about "fucking her up" you're her father and as long as you love her and do the best you can that is all anyone can ask. "I will do better tomorrow." That is what I tell myself when I dont handle a situation well or lose my patience with my children. Think you're an amazing artist and your work is mind blowing and just at times brilliant. Best to you.

lowecat said...

The reputation that you have in the world is vastly different from the reputation you have with your children. I've never parented. The closest I've come is God parenting. And being an aunt.

I've had counseling off and on for years, dealing with fears of ending up like my birth mum. That's a book in itself, won't bore you with it here.

Suffice it to say, I like to think that all parents want the best for their kids, and for their kids to have a better life then the parents had. Yet, sometimes it's hard for parents not to pass along some of the same lessons they were taught that can mess with a young un's mind later in life.

That you WANT to be a better person for your daughter says a lot about you as a parent, and as a person. I respect that. It's why I respect you.

Anonymous said...

Shit you could be kid rocks living fucking twin, by looks and mind =) and i mean that like a sincere compliment

Anonymous said...

you are so honest and it just makes your work look even more real and coming from a good place. nobody is perfect, so no one has the right to judge ones behavior but yourself. i think the fact that you dont old back the truth will bring you more fans than haters.

Anonymous said...

"the right side of happy"

Isn't that what we all want?

Good on you for doing this for her.

Good on you.

Thomas said...

I know life is going good and it seems to be nuts at times, but are you thinking about another show to wright other then SOA, am I have to say I am happy you say sutter the right way to, I hear people say it like there is an o in it, just remember your kids are there for you and your wife, I know you must have a real true friend from your past that you could talk to, life can be hard but it sure would suck if everything was easy, and if you ever want to talk from one Sutter to another Sutter, and I am a real Sutter from the same blood line, but just remember don't trip off the little shit go play a 360 game with your kids and make a day of just you and your wife and kids and just say "fuck it" just for a day, it may put you in a better place, or how about this go and get a rockband game and all of you can try to play and have a bbq after, it is just a thought I do like the show and all my family loves it to, just remember we all are not going to live forever so take some time for your self Sutter.

Cavu said...

You're the dark side of Louis CK.

Denise Shelton said...

Whenever you mention Esme, I think of J.D. Salinger's short story. "For Esmé - with Love and Squalor" is an Army sergeant's recollection of a meeting he had with a young girl, Esmé, before he was sent into combat. According to Wikipedia, Lack of purity and innocence in the adult world, love of childhood itself, and the power of words and writing are among the story's themes. Were you inspired by this story to name your daughter, Esme? Whether you were or not, maybe rereading the story will help you understand a little about the difference between who you are, who your daughter is, who you hope she will be, and the fact that the kid is probably 10x smarter now than you will ever be. The fact that you are mulling all this over so early in her life is encoraging. We'll talk again when she's 16.

Mugwump said...

That struck a chord! had to go visit "self" whilst having CBT that missing piece of the jigsaw, and thanks I never really understood why I crashed after my girls were born, turns out I brought myself up from the age of 5. The hardests thing in my life was writing a letter to my 5 yr old self forgiving "me" a right headfuck now I just have the guilt of maybe's
thanks another piece of the jigsaw placed!

Madge Penelope Morgan said...

Good morning Mr. Sutter. I wanted to comment about your 8/17/11 post specifically and all your posts in general. You are one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. I think you are extremely intelligent, even if you are seriously angry and damaged, just like me. I have no doubt that nothing in this country will change for the better, be it TV, politics, corporate, etc, until EVERYBODY says ENOUGH, and starts telling it like it is, the truth, like you do. Fuck political correctness. We all see where that has gotten us, seriously fucked in the ass. PLEASE never stop being real, telling the truth, and unafraid to tell those full of shit to 'Do The Right Thing Motherfucker', and if necessary to "Suck My Dick". I'm a woman, but I say the same thing.
GOD BLESS you and yours.
Madge Penelope Morgan
SOA fan forever.

sailingkiwi said...

I can't get my head around Shrinks...I know no-one that see's one, or anyone that has seen one! Do they only live in the USA? If I need to 'Shrink' my head I go for a long quiet sail.

Anonymous said...

My father died 33 years ago and I still miss him every day. These are the things he did right, that continue to stand out in my memory:

- He loved my mom like crazy;

- He expected me, encouraged me, demanded me to be as smart as my (extremely smart) brothers;

- During my most awkward phase of adoloscence, he told me I looked like the Venus de Milo. He actually used those words, and they still keep me alive. (My arms are fine, BTW)

Remind Katey and Esme how smart/beautiful they are, every single day, and you won't fuck it up too much

John Cardinalli said...

Love them, include them in your life, listen to them and give them rules to follow. Don't spoil, coddle or be overly protective. Don't try to be perfect, if kids don't experience a little disappointment, frustration, or injustice, they won't have the skills to deal with adversity as adults. Don't over think it! It's not that friggin' hard!

Love the show... Your parents might have fucked you up as a person, but you're a friggin' creative genius as a writer/producer. AND, your openness and honesty are refreshingly human in fantasy land. You don't seem crazy to the real people who enjoy your work.

Librarychic1 said...

I also wanted to add that we influence our kids so easily too, most of the time without knowing. I somehow passed on my fear of clowns and freaky dolls, now I try to remain calm and keep my mouth shut with the spiders and snakes and whatever else my son finds interesting.
It can be really scary and sometimes intense to think that we are molding them as a person and everything we do can influence their personality.
All kids want is to have fun, be loved and be happy.
Having said all that, I have no idea how I got pedophobia and coulrophobia.....maybe 'Chucky' and 'It', never did well with horrors!!

Rachel said...

I love to read your blog for your profane hilarious rants and for updates on SOA - the best show of all time, thank you for sharing your brilliance with us, no I am not being sarcastic in any way. So this entry gave me pause and in a weird way I feel like you are giving voice to this little part of my soul that I try to ignore. I don't have kids and while I try to explain this by saying 1) we are too busy, 2) we are too selfish, 3) (fill in the blank) - I think deep down there I have a HUGE fear that I am going to fuck up any kids that I produce. Because although I try to be successful in career and friendships and romatic relationships, really I am just a totally insecure, freaked out kid. So Kurt thank you for your honesty. And I don't think you will fuck up your daughter.

arh-pea-see said...

I'd actually love to see some of these issues around how the heck you raise decent kids come out in SOA as the seasons go on...

I did a course called the 'circle of security'. It was really helpful for me in picking up some of the stuff which I was missing around patience and knowing when to comfort/when to challenge kids. Also they pointed out you only needed to get it right 30% of the time which was reassuring to here.

lady_marble said...

It is good to see that you are concerned about how you raise your children, and that you are willing to subject yourself to scrutiny to see that it may not be the childs fault. Yes kids give us the opportunity to work shit out. It is funny I was just talking to a friend of mine about this the other day. She said something of the same thing. I think it is good to see that celebrity fathers feel the same as us in the general population. We want the best for our kids & yet we all struggle due to how we were raised or what we percieved while growing up. Then when we do grow up we do not realize how childish we are being until we examine how we are raising our own or we see something that reminds us about our own childhood.

It is good to see that you are willing to find ways to help you with that instead of just muddling along and making the same mistakes that your parents, or adults in your life, did while growing up.

Of course it does not mean your nonattentive, & your not going to fuck her up, if anything the media will do that all by itself. It will not be you or her to blame on that. The thing is it is hard enouph to rasie children but to be in the spot light as yourself it is more difficult to define what she needs and what she really needs. I think that is the biggest struggle any celeb has. Yea they grew up but unless your in the spotlight as a child and you watched your parents handle things you really do not know how to handle things. Even then they may have handled things differantly than what today standards are. So not only are you raising a child but your having to raise a media savvey child as well. The things we as normal general population can do and take for granted; go out to a club, dancing, hiking, biking, shopping as a celebrity or children of celebrities that is not so simple especially today. The media is ALL OVER and they have no respect for your private space, now it may have been there before but not as strong as it is now.

Hang in there Kurt, you'll make it and be blessed with the fact that you at least are willing to admit, that you need help with your child unlike some celebs that should have gotten that help a hell of a long time ago. I could name a few but I will keep that to myself.
Good luck and keep us posted, she certainly is a wonderful & beautiful girl.

Heather R Alexander said...

Most people didnt listen to me when I was a kid either. I was an only child so I learned that talking to myself and keeping to myself was beneficial for me at a young age. As I got older I craved that attention I didnt get as a kid and acted out. I've always been an honest, semi neurotic, self soothing human being.

So now that I have kids I find myself looking at them strangely when they need my attention or have an idea. I really HATE that my automatic response is to dismiss them like I was when I was their age. And then I think I try too hard to make up for being such a bitch to them.

I'm lucky to have a hubby who's sort of in the middle of crazy and half asleep. He sort of keeps me aware of my lack of attention toward my kiddos. No parent wants to fuck their kids up ( if they're a good parent anyway) and I truly believe we all try our hardest to show love. For me, my kids keep me grounded and sane. I'm sure I'd be nowhere if it weren't for my daughter. Kuddos to the kiddos!

Kaitlin said...

Thanks for this insightful post. As a (childless) young educator I often worry that the parents of my students aren't paying ENOUGH attention, but this perspective of yours made me a tad bit less judgmental. It's not news to me that parenting is a rough gig (in grad school I was a nanny and that sh*t is tough), but the notion of growing up to be a grown up for your kids is something I will contemplate for at least the rest of the day. Thanks.

Davia Davis said...

Sir K

Seeing that each one of us is UNIQUELY and Divienly maDE, WE must recognize we were also made to Be different.

All of us are flawed, Excited, excitable, Moved to Words or fall Silent for long periods of time,

Go from 0 -10 in 2 seconds, OR some times, the Simpliest of Jokes Fly right over our heads.

One trick is there is TONS TONS of Humanity ONce we Learn we are in fact Human, not what Others expect , But rather what WE expect of Ourselves .

Our contributions are measured in the scope of Lessons Learned....as for ESME, Once a person Learns to Embrace the Good Bad and Ugly of of who they are , AND LOVE THEMSELVES DeSPITE Anway.

Once You've arrived there ( and i think the fact you're even meditating on the importance of who YOU are speaks Volumes.

But always KNOW, that "Into each Life, a Little Rain Must Fall" .

It is Our response to that rain or trouble , that Defines US and the Life and Love U create ,regardless.


Stay well K

DAVIA Davis said...

Sir K

On the NIGHT of YOUR S4 Premier, hundreds of thousands of Folks , from all walks of Life are waiting to see YOU!

NO , You say, They want THE SHOW!

AH HA, At this Point , isnt the SHow and U , one and the same? .

SOA is the By Product of YOUR Vision and frankly the Only way we can access Who U may be.

You've built walls, that Must exist, I guess, to Keep Stars Safe...but Apart from Average JOes.

If you sense Your work is followed, But not YOU, how can we know you ?

I like Your Youtube Q and A, but there again , the questions are about the SHOW.

You give us Water , without anything to drink it from.... We need to see the container KURT, being YOU

Perhaps this is WHY Michael Jackson was tragically Misunderstood and Mis read, and MIs Everything.

He chose Isolation from others Made Him An Island Unto Himself. I am a Rock , I am an Island." Very fitting here.

He floated further away from those that loved , and thought, by Isolating myself , it will yield a Mysterious Persona that would increase his fan base.

It DID, but His Heart was breaking in that Process.

I say, if you want US, the World to Know YOu the MAn , not the Writer, then brillliant as you are, tell someone at Inside the Actors Studio or some thing , you are ready to be REVEALED "apart from your work.

Then watch as the audience floods u with questions about YOU, why and what causes U to love and what U hate etc..

Michael Jackson had finally Isloated him so much from his family and peers , that in the end, HE DIDNT EVEN KNOW himself? SAD LOSS.

As Gemma said to Unser: Id Hate To See You LOst"

Kurt , If U feel that You are "Not Followed as a Person" and loved for your work , think in terms of Interview w a Vampire .

He longed to connect again to Humans, but was separated by the LOSS of his Own Humanity

Well Kurt, only You , can come up with a More Insightful way , for the World to know You.

You do the You Tube thing but here again , You read and answer questions about Your work ,not You.

Devote an hour, an improved Truthful Peek into yourself and KAtey could be your Journalist cause u trust her not to slide you a dagger disguised.

Called "THE SUTTER REVEAL: Meet the MAn , Not the Creator.

Now thats HOT , id watch that INterview over and over. Your fans would too, this would ne HUGE.

Otherwise, u will forever be known as the Creator of SOA for 7 seasons .

Appear on Inside The Actors Studio or some other indepth Look at the MAn behind SOA.

Selective questions are Aimed at revealing YOU, giving fans info enough to dig You the persom

"So we were left to Love thy Book, when all We wanted was just One LOOK"
by Davia Davis