I, like many people around the world grew up without a father or father figure and I never knew how much it affected me until I got older. As much as I would like to say that not having a dad doesn’t faze me, I would be lying because to the contrary it very much does. It doesn’t bother me in the way that it would most people. It doesn’t keep me from doing things, It hasn’t really filled my heart with malice, and I have yet to act out because of it. However, it has affected me in smaller ways. For instance, It is hard for me to build long lasting relationships with people (both friendly & romantic) because I don’t trust people. I have also discovered that I am seemingly petrified of rejection. I don’t believe I express my self emotionally because I never had anyone to show me how to.
My parents had an extremely toxic marriage, my father was not a loyal husband and was a very violent man and although I don’t believe he deserves the title, he will always be my father. I think his absence was what was best for my family and I because we were able to have a some what normal childhood. I could not ask for a better father than my mother because she has singlehandedly helped my sister, my brother, and I become the best people we could hope to be and the great thing about that is that we haven’t even peaked adulthood yet.
Although I would not change my childhood for the world, I always wished that I could tell him how hard it was to grow up with one parent. It is my desire to explain this that is pushing me to do one of the hardest things I have ever done. This column, like the rest of my other columns is pretty random, however, it is different in the style. I have decided to write an open letter to my father because it has become clear that its going to be the only way that I can ever really contact him. I doubt that he will ever find it, but I am hoping that maybe one day he will come across it, and I can only hope that he feels enough remorse to pass that knowledge along to other men in hopes that they don’t make the same mistakes.
I wish you knew how hard it was to grow up with one parent. I wish you knew the perpetual sadness that I find myself in when I lie awake in bed sometimes. I want you to know that although I know you don’t think about me, I do think about you. I wonder what you are doing, I wonder if you’re sorry, and I wonder if you ever thought about making things right.
I grew up fast and I grew up alone. I know, how is it that a person who has a parent and siblings feel alone? Well the answer to that is simple. When you have two siblings who need your mothers attention more than you do, you’re often put on the back burner like a book that is too boring or painful to finish. So like a book I sat and accumulated dust. I couldn’t bother my mom to sign my home work because she was so busy so I learned to forge her signature in the second grade, I was seven then.
Tiana grew up distraught, always wondering why it was that you left. Rafael didn’t even really know who you were for a while until he met you. The only male figure he has in life is ironically a woman. You did well when you married my mother, I think its because you realized her strength. I know that you weren’t bothered leaving because you know my mother is and always has been a warrior. She has been the best parental example any of us could ever ask for.
Growing up I was not phased much by your absence. It wasn’t until I reached college that I realized how useful having one is. Do you know how painful it is to listen to your roommate talk to her father every night on the phone? Do you know how painful it is to be envious of a feeling you have never experienced? because I do. I have felt it for a long time now.
It wasn’t till the spring semester that it “clicked” in my head. Not your absence but the reason behind your absence. You simply just didn’t want us. You didn’t want to be a father because being a father and a husband is incredibly hard. But then why would you create something just to abandon it all together?
I have what many call “dad issues”, which makes it hard for me to build relationships with people both friendly and romantic. I am a control freak who cannot love someone more than they love me because that leaves me vulnerable and subject to abandonment. I am unsure of myself, and I have almost no trust in people. I am not saying all of this is your fault but a lot of it stems from not having a father figure.
I am currently incapable of allowing a man to love me for who I am because the one man who was supposed to love me unconditionally didn’t. I mean for god’s sake I don’t even remember what your face looks like.
Parenting is a privilege that should only be granted to those who are truly worthy but unfortunately this is not the case. You are a poor excuse for what a father should be, quite frankly you are an example of what a good father should not be.
I didn’t learn much from you, but I did learn from your absence. I learned that it is just as easy to love as it is to hate because in order for someone to hate they must have also been able to love at one point. I learned that one should never hold on to the negative things because it creates malice in the heart and malice nurtures hatred which is detrimental to human development. I also have learned that I want to develop humanly and writing this is a step in the right direction. I want you to know that I don’t hate you, I don’t feel anything towards you. Rather I want to tell you that I forgive you. I forgive you because I no longer want to hold on to the things that allow malice into my heart and nurture hatred. I am forgiving you because I one day would like to love and be loved unconditionally by a significant other in return.
I want to tell you that we all forgive you because you were hurt by someone too. And although I don’t know what happened, I do know that it damaged you, it hardened you, and for that I am truly sorry.
I am not going to pretend that you are going to scroll the internet tomorrow and run into my column and see this, I have learned that waiting for you is an endless task and time is too precious a commodity. However, I can only hope that one day you do see this and you can be at peace because I am; in fact we will all get there eventually.
I can also only hope that some one els’s dad finds this and realizes the error of his ways because it is never really too late to say you’re sorry and to be the dad you were meant to be.