To my Dearest Father,
Where were you? I needed you.
Your absence in my life has caused me more paid than I can even begin to explain. I know I have said over and over again I didn’t need you, but that was never true. I was trained from birth to be strong, to be independent, to not show weakness. I had to create a brick wall around myself and my feelings. I became so strong I was made of stone. No one came in, nothing mattered. I could cut anyone out at any time and never let anyone know I needed them. Why? Because I don’t know how to need someone, I don’t know how to trust. I needed my father to show me what love from a man looked like, and without that I became hollow inside.
I was abused by my uncle for as long as I can recall. I developed an eating disorder at 9, and lied my way through middle school. I allowed a boyfriend to beat me. I allowed myself to be assaulted by an older male boss in high school. I was groomed by a much older man from when I was 15. I was drugged in college and almost assaulted. I have abused others because I thought that was “love”, and let loved ones abuse me thinking I deserved it. I am broken from what happened to me and having no one to talk to. I never had a male figure in my life I could trust and so I never learned that men were trustworthy. I self sabotaged my marriage and every relationship I had because “all men will leave you in the end”.
I became very good at wearing a mask of independence and strength. I had to learn to turn off my emotions, otherwise I would have crumbled. I had very strong female role models, but none to show me what love and trust really look like. I missed the bond that every girl craves, and by the time a semi-solid male figure showed up I was already well trained to not NEED a man… so I didn’t let him in either. I don’t blame you for what happened to me, nor do I blame my family. It’s MY story, it’s part of who I am… but it’s not who I am anymore. I have been working really hard in the last two years since taking over my Grandmother’s care and I want you to know.
I want you to know that it did hurt me to not have you. It hurt every time I thought you would show up, and didn’t. It hurt me to watch you blame my mom, my aunts, and everyone else but yourself that we didn’t have a relationship. You need to know at the end of the day, that was on you. You could have made it happen, you were my father. You knew where I lived, you knew my grandmother loved you, and you knew my mom worked. You could have come come for me… I wish you did. I wish you were at my wedding, I wish I could have have that moment. I didn’t need you to give me away, but I needed to know a father’s love before entering into a lifelong commitment. It hurt my heart that you didn’t even send a card or a note. You didn’t even acknowledge the biggest moment in my life. I didn’t need you there, but I wanted you there. I never said that to anyone because I thought it would make me look weak, and I was never that on the outside.
But I am on the inside, I’m still that little girl who didn’t get to have her daddy in her life. Father daughter dances make me crumble. I cry and I can’t stop it. Every wedding I go to reminds me that I’m still without that love. I hate that this makes me look weak, and I don’t want people to know but I have to get it out or I won’t heal… and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m growing now. Now that I am free from the chains that tie me to my abuse and my abusive thoughts I am becoming a woman… and I forgive myself and I forgive you. I know you did the best you could with what you had. That you were broken too and just child yourself then. I understand why, and while I wish it wasn’t true, it is.
I never showed you how grateful I was for the times you were there. For the car, for inviting me into your home, and giving me another extended family. I didn’t know how to react to it then, but I am thankful for it now. While neither of us can go back and fix the past, I need you to know that it hurt me. I need you to know what it did to me, and that I’m sorry I hurt you, and that I hope all can be forgiven, even if it will never be forgotten or fixed. I need to me able to move on with my life and I can’t without getting it out.
I don’t know if we’ll ever be close, I don’t know if my sisters will ever be friends of mine. It’s the situation and decisions you made in the beginning, but we both made in the end that brought us here. I hope you can take responsibility for your decisions, as I have for mine. I hope that knowing that frees you a little bit too. I love you dad, even if I’ll never really be able to show you the way you want to see it. And now I know you love me, even though you may never show me the way I want you to. You hurt me, but I can now see beauty in the darkness and pain. It made me who I am today, and while I’m still a work in progress I am proud of what I’ve done so far.
The Daughter (you left behind)