When I decided to start a blog, I started writing down random topics I wanted to cover…things I experienced, things that spoke to me, and just things I had to say. I’m constantly taking notes every time something strikes a chord with me.
One of the topics I wrote down was “Why I stopped missing my dad,” but at 3:00 am after an emotional day, 4 vodka waters and an extremely heart-breaking episode of Switched at Birth, I don’t know that I’ve ever really stopped. Maybe I stopped missing the person he is, but not the idea of him.
My friends and I often play “Would you rather” when we go out as a way to entertain ourselves… “Would you rather give up pizza or hamburgers for the rest of your life?” “Would you rather be homeless with your true love or married and rich with someone you don’t love?” “Would you rather be deaf or blind”… get the picture?
That night one of my friends asked for a tough one and I asked, “If you had to pick one, would you rather murder your mother or father?” Everyone picked mother… my friends all made jokes about how their mothers would haunt them or be hurt, but I simply said, “I haven’t talked to him in years, it’s not like I’d miss him.”
Then something happened as the night progressed… I started thinking more about my life, my family, my past relationships, the negative feelings that come with living life and the painful truth behind my answer to that ‘would you rather’ question. By the time I got home and took a shower, I found myself to have become completely unhinged. I was crying uncontrollably wondering why he didn’t want me… why he disappeared when I was 6 only to reappear when I was 10 and abandon me all over again years later. I just kept asking myself one question, what was wrong with me? How could my own father leave for reasons I still don’t understand, then work himself back into my life just to decide he didn’t want me again?
The first time he disappeared was after a visit. He was at our house while my mom was at work when my now step dad called… he asked my sister and I numerous questions about who this man was. I guess he wasn’t happy with the answer because he left that Sunday night and I didn’t hear from him for 4 years.
I have memories of waking up when I was 8 or 9-years-old missing him and just wishing I could talk to him, crying because I didn’t understand.
Losing a parent is the hardest thing a child can go through; one of my greatest fears is something happening to my mom. But if I’m being honest, I can’t say that she was always the person I would have spared in the aforementioned “would you rather” scenario. Even after my parents separated when I was 3 and my mom moved us to a different city, I was a huge Daddy’s girl. I worshiped him. I anxiously awaited his weekend visits and clung to him when he was there. So when his visits and calls stopped, it killed a piece of me I don’t think has ever fully recovered. I say things like, “fuck that guy,” or “my step dad was awesome growing up” to hide the gaping hole left in my heart. There are horrible people who steal, rape and kill while their fathers stick by them, so why wouldn’t mine? I would never try to compare my situation to someone who has had to deal with the loss of a loving parent. But to have one who is alive and well, knows who you are as well as the type of person you are and still doesn’t want you? That is the most tarnishing thing that can ever happen to the spirit of a young girl. I often wonder if I will ever really let it go. I wonder if I’m just another stereotype who makes poor decisions in life and love because somewhere deep down I feel unworthy. They say a parent’s love is unconditional, but maybe that’s a wrongly stated generalization. Maybe it should be, a good parent’s love is unconditional.
I don’t think about it often, but when I do it consumes me. I don’t sleep, I don’t think, I just feel… loss, hurt and confused, until something happens: the confident, sassy girl I let everyone see gets angry. She reminds me I don’t deserve to be ignored and I don’t deserve to feel unworthy… anyone who makes me feel that way themselves is unworthy. I build myself back up until the next time I watch the wrong show or movie, or I hear Des’ree’s “Gotta Be” (a song he often played in the car when he visited)… until I see a photo of a girl and her dad doing a father-daughter dance, some guy I like blows me off, or a big event goes by, like my college graduation.
The thing is I don’t want him in my life, someone who has torn me down and made me feel such self-doubt. I think about it sometimes. I wonder if he’s even still alive. I wonder if I ran into him in the street, would he recognize me? (After all the last time he laid eyes on me I was 12) What would I say if he tracked me down?
I typically try to wrap my blogs up in a nice and neat bow, but there is no bow for this. It’s an ongoing battle, but maybe if you’re reading this and you can relate…you feel a little less alone.
Do it for love, Dia
Edited by M.L. Scarbrough
Writers Note: I wrote this a few months ago. I’ve been hesitant to publish it because it is such a personal topic for me. With Father’s Day this month, I decided if I can just make one other girl feel less alone than it is worth it.