For The Dad Who’s Not There

I probably shouldn’t be allowed to write when I’m feeling stressed and it’s been a long week with late nights and early mornings but here I go anyway.

It really kind of sucks when you realize how screwed up one person can make you… If it wasn’t for that one father you wouldn’t have looked for a father in this person, or that person, or that one, or that one… Only to learn a few things: No one cares about you, you can’t trust anyone, BUT you trust too easily because you so desperately want a father, you can’t get close to anyone, or let anyone get close to you, people leave, you can’t ask questions, and the aftermath sucks.

You see, the aftermath is the fact that you’re (I am) 20 years old almost 21 and you have to argue with yourself because you can’t turn every adult man that befriends you into a father figure… I’ve gotten better at it, but there’s a few men that get me every once in a while and it’s just enough to annoy me.

The aftermath is, you get a good mentor/father figure, who knows how to comfort you, and then he leaves, life goes on, and you miss that comfort… I miss that comfort… You miss just being able to let your emotions loose and being able to cry while he gives great big hugs and tells you it’s all going to be ok…. And then finds something to get you out of the crummy mood….

The aftermath is, you’ve taught me to not ask questions because I get in trouble or because I’m stupid. So instead my MMA coach has to sit me down and have a heart to heart because I was having trouble that night and got to the point where I didn’t want to bother him with more questions and he had to explain to me he didn’t care how many questions I had, he wants me to ask.

The aftermath is having a crazy short Italian break you down into tears at clinics because he’s taught me that I can ask what I may think are the stupidest questions and he’s not going to treat me like I’m stupid or because he becomes insistent that he’s not going to abandon me. Now is there a part of me that doubts it? Yes… But here I am willing to trust. And ya know, it makes it really scary because he’s investing a lot into me. A lot… And I’m scared to death that I’m going to fail. I’m scared I’m going to fail and he’s going to get mad. Because that’s been my life. But I don’t think I could actually fail him… I think if I gave everything up and went another direction, I think he’d be ok with that, simply because he would be glad that he made what time I did spend, possible and enjoyable and there’s always a chance that I would come back… Maybe disappointed, but I don’t think he’d get upset…  Anyway…

The aftermath is, being afraid to let anyone near me. I panic when I let men into my life as mentors. I panic and push them away and then I don’t have the ability to go back and actually mend it because I’m afraid to mend it. Because I don’t want to go through the panic again… I’m like my horse with plastic bags, there’s no way on earth you’ll get near him with a grocery bag, but if it has food in it, or it’s an accident, then he’s ok with plastic bags, but by golly, if it’s coming at him on purpose he’s in a panicked frenzy and to this day 7 years later, he’s still deathly afraid of plastic bags that are put near him on purpose.

This is the affect of growing up without a dad. Luckily I had a great mother, close relationship with God, and some outstanding mentors so I’m not near as bad off as I could be, but I think it needs to be brought to attention the kind of affect it has on young women and the danger it can put them in, because it goes one of two ways, we shut out everyone or trust everyone and THAT gets us into trouble, speaking from personal experience (people we think are friends/mentors start sexually harassing us….) Unless your me and then you are a crazy wild mix of both which causes you to hate the fact that you trust people so you shut everyone one out after you’ve let them in close to you… That becomes a very dangerous combination for everyone involved…

Now I say all this, and don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad growing up and having a jerk for a father and then putting your trust in several other people who I had no business putting my trust in. Because you do learn to be independent, you learn to be more cautious trusting men, you learn to be more self-sufficient, and once you get past the “what’s wrong with me stage” and learn to value yourself you become pleased with who you are, and you learn to be more choosey with men so you don’t end up married to someone that is nuts.

To any of the men who are becoming daddies, or are new to being daddies, or even the ones who think the relationship isn’t up to what it should be. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years…

You are the person who shows your daughter her value.

You should be her first date, the one to show her how a boy should treat her.

You should be the one she feels safe around.

You should be the one to teach her about cars or fixing stuff without making her feel stupid.

You’ll be the one she aims to impress and your approval will go so far beyond what you may think.

You should be someone she can run to when she needs the arms of her daddy to embrace her when she’s worn out and needs a chest to cry into.

I know for you hard core men out there that last one is going to be a little hard. But if she won’t cry around you, you probably need to change some things. And I’m not talking about her getting so mad she bursts into tears, I’m talking, something went wrong in her day and she’s bottled it up all day and when you notice something is wrong and start asking about it, she should feel comfortable enough to let go of a few tears without having to beat herself up afterwards.

Don’t be the dad who is going to let his daughter grow up wondering if you’ll ever regret being a crappy father. Don’t be the dad who allows his daughter to grow up thinking she’s worthless or unloved. Don’t be the father who is never there and then realizes one day, “crap, she hates me.” and then regrets not having been there for her…

Be the dad who supports her, who she runs up to and tosses her arms around even when she’s 30, who she can trust with her darkest secrets, and feels safe with when she’s unsure…

Anyway, I think I’m done… I don’t know if I’m ranting because I’m tired or if I’m actually making any sense and making my point… It all sounds good in my head at the moment…

God Bless,

Jessica

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