Not My Father's Daughter
An open letter to the man that has caused me the greatest pain in my life (my father) and how his actions, or lackthereof, have been my greatest teacher and allowed me to recognize what I deserve and desire in my own relationships. It's deeply personal, but I know that I am not alone in this struggle, even in those times that I feel so.
Where were you in those special, celebratory moments of my life? As fathers greeted their daughters with flowers after dance recitals and graduations, you were nowhere to be found. It was always mom making excuses for you.
"Where's Daddy?" became the question of the occasion. It was so sad to see your absence become normalcy.
I am your daughter, do you see me? Why can't you look me straight in the eye when you speak to me? Do you ever think to pick up the phone and check in on me?
We thought that one time you left us for good. Or for someone else. You were just drunk and in jail for a DUI. (And while we commend you for making the choice to become sober), it only seemed to go downhill from there.
You nearly isolated yourself somewhere along the way and have become numb to any emotion but anger and negativity.
There are broken pieces of you lodged inside of me and I can't seem to shake them out.
Because when I see your imperfections in me, I bury myself in shame and frustration.
Your short-tempered, selfish and apathetic ways are suffocating.
Your mindless words and actions embarrass me.
Your racist comments and jokes disgust me. They are not funny, and your choice of words are not okay.
Your lack of self-care saddens me, as does your unwillingness to make changes for the betterment of yourself, and this family.
I refuse to be like you, or settle for a partner that harbors qualities similar to you.
So many times in relationships I have run when I see that their reactions resemble you. Short tempered. Isolated. Apathetic. It seems to be a pattern that I've become immune to.
But thanks to you, I am fully understanding what I will and will not stand for. That applies just as much politically as it does romantically.
I am always observing and carefully learning from you.
You are my father, but you have not been a father to me.
This must change, but I lack the confidence that it will. Maybe...I, too, have become numb to you.
But your numbness sits deeply within me as pain.
And I am so tired of this pain.