Tapping into it..
Two weeks ago in my Instagram stories for Fathers Day I shared how growing up without a father has affected me the last few years compared to barely caring my whole life. At least I thought. I don’t know if it’s seeing the heart throbbing and deep connection my daughter has with my husband or that I realized how important their presence is period. I think it’s both and then some. While I shared this on Fathers Day it actually wasn’t the first time I’d tap into these feelings.
It was actually a few months ago. I sat straight up in bed and thought “I have daddy issues”. You would have thought I came up with some serious invention or something. Shit made me sit right up. I called my girlfriend Marsha like “Giiiiirrrrrrrrrl I have daddy issues!” to which she replied calmly ” yeah….”. As if to say yeah girl like a lot of us fatherless women do. The last few years I’ve picked up on outlooks from women who grew up with fathers and those who didn’t. For example, my girlfriends who grew up with fathers who were positive role models and good to their mothers were extra picky about the men they dated and was willing to go a long period of time without being in a relationship until the man met their expectations. There was no gray area. Either you did or you didn’t meet the standards. Period. They also still believed that there were good men out there where as me and some friends who grew up with grandfathers, uncles and fathers with cheating and manipulative ways always heard “Men Ain shit!” and believed it for the most part. Most recently I had this discussion with a friend who said her father’s absence made her work twice as hard so that she would never need to depend on man and gave her a no bullshit tolerance for them.
I met him at 15 in Brooklyn after asking my mother to find him for me. I explained to my mother that me wanting to meet him is not a reflection of how she did as a parent but instead because I needed to know the other half of me. He gave the wrong number for us to meet later that day, but we found him on Nostrand Avenue playing cards in the basement of a rundown Haitian restaurant. “Where have you been ?” I asked while he adjusted my tee shirt to close the gap between my bare stomach and Brazilian low ride jeans. He replied that he’s sent gifts for me to the same apartment that he once lived in with us. He also confirmed he had other children who’s life he’s actively in. So yes if you’re wondering he was given a chance to share his story, restart and rebuild with me. Clearly he chose not to. Imagine how annoyed I am even thinking about this man 18 years later. Like why the fuck do you care Vanessa?! Because, how I end up doesn’t give him and will never give him a pass to being absent and the older I get the more I see how much this absense affected both me and my mother. A seed planted is a seed planted…good or bad.
The women who grew up with fathers have such admiration for their fathers and a child like glow about them when speaking of them. While you can still be great without a father, their presence and knowledge could help with life, lessons and love. When I started dating my husband in highschool I didn’t have a man to run to and share some thoughts and experiences with. Someone to reassure me this is a man’s way of thinking or it’s immaturity and this too shall pass. Heck my husband didn’t grow up with a father to tell him what feelings and actions a man should have . We have to figure it out in a lot of trial and error. Yes women with great fathers can still experience these trial and errors, but they have a guide. Fatherless Daughters have to work twice as hard to figure that shit out.
Women who are forced and given no choice to be “Strong” can turn bitter. For years I considered my mother strong for wearing both the pants and skirt only to realize as an adult it must not have always felt that way for her. I stopped telling her Happy Fathers Day for a role she wasn’t born or signed up to play. We need to replace “You’re so strong” with “how are you?” and “What do you need?”. My grandfather who had many many children and baby mothers has come around more consistently the last 10 years and I can see the difference it’s made with my mother. She’s been more vulnerable and finds comfort in saying she’s going to call her father. It’s like the little girl in her is happy and the “Strong” woman in her can take a break.
So I ask myself now what?
You tapped into these feelings, he’s still not here. Now what?. Nothing. I addressed them instead of putting it off for what it’s not and that’s how I heal. Me accomplishing my goals isn’t a pass for his absence. His absence is also not a reason to shame away from this topic or not teach my kids how important vulnerability is. While I get annoyed with giving even half a fuck and him none I still owe it to myself to heal and deal with it. So yes women who marry great fathers still need their fathers.
Fatherless or not, please share your experiences with or without your father. I still get fuzzy hearing and seeing women love up on their fathers.
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