Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Today is Father's Day. While people with the healthy family set up celebrate this day to give love and honor to the most important man in their lives, it's excruciating for girls who weren't given a good paternal experience. It reminds them of what they missed out on... a masculine support in their lives as they navigate womanhood.
I was born into a family with an emotionally unavailable father. Sure, he supplied us with financial needs and made sure there's a house, food on the table, tuition fee for schooling and physical comfort in life. But it all ends there. He just never realized that fatherhood is a LOT more than that.
Until this day, I never really knew my father's back story, why he became the way he is... cold-hearted, indifferent and saw life as something really fucked up, scarce and heavy. He just never really spoke to me and my siblings and opened up. He was that kind of man, very distant and lived life his terms even at the expense of unconsciously hurting those close to him, including me, my mom and my siblings. Relatives from his side said he did grow up with a heavy conflict with my grandfather so he probably unconsciously just passed on the baggages. But as a daughter who developed the complete awareness, it's very difficult to be given the responsibility to constantly understand where he came from without really knowing what's on his mind.
I only have a few fond memories of me and my dad. Most of them was when I was still a child because he did love to play with kids. Which is why when his kids grow up, he'd have kids with his mistresses. Because he liked the innocence, the play time, the stages where it's all fun and cuddles. But not when his child grows up, needs mentoring and guidance. Not the hard stuff and big responsibilities that come with being a parent. So when we grow up, perhaps our child-like novelty wears off and he goes about his old ways of living a life free of responsibilities until another baby comes along. Hence, the whole dysfunctional setting repeats itself.
Not having a paternal presence takes a heavy toll on a woman's self-esteem. You grow up not having a template on how it's like to be loved, cared for and treated well by a man. What you deem "normal" is the man should not really give a fuck about you and your feelings, be emotionally unavailable to meet your needs and just provide you with "stuff" so that you can survive. That led me to an unending vicious cycle of getting drawn to men who are similar to him... indifferent, unavailable and selfish.
I'm still a work in progress in resolving this deep-rooted childhood wound especially now that I'm focused on my physical, mental and spiritual healing. It hasn't been easy to accept and forgive someone who is a major part of your life who never asked for forgiveness and never developed the awareness and remorse about the damage he has caused in the way you present yourself in the cruel world. But with God's grace, I will get there... one step at a time, one day at a time.
To the fathers out there, love your daughters with mad passion through words AND actions. You're the first masculine presence in their lives so you will be setting the bar on how they should be treated, loved and cared for by a man. Give them flowers, always tell them they're an amazing human being, spend quality time with them, stare at them with deep admiration, hold them tight and tell them you love them and that you're so proud of the woman they're becoming. Teach them how to communicate their feelings and needs well and honor them. You will thank yourself later down the road because it will equip them better to attract a good man who will have the best intention at heart and have better discernment in weeding out those who will only give them suffering from an unrequited love.
To the daughters out there who have fathers that are there by their sides, you are truly blessed and lucky. So love your dads and celebrate them everyday. Thank them for being there, for loving you the best way that they can, for providing for you, for spending time with you, for everything that they do to give you a good life and feel cared for as their child and as a woman. I can only wish for what you have so appreciate your father's presence in your lives. They may not be perfect but they chose to be part of your journey growing up. It takes a real MAN to do that so always tell your papa "Thank you and I love you."
To the daughters like me who grew up without a father figure, love yourselves much much more. It's a bitter pill that we have to swallow to constantly work hard at giving that love to ourselves that our dads should've been responsible for. Don't seek that validation from all the wrong places, including men who are similar to your dad... emotionally distant, heartless and only with you because of egocentric reasons. You don't need to affirm the lack of manly attention and love in your life through these unhealthy, meaningless relationships. Again, love yourself. Surround yourself with good people who nourish you. Work with a therapist if needed. Pray for acceptance. Cry. And remind yourself that although you didn't have a physical father right next to you, your spiritual father, who is an Almighty King up there in the heavens who sees through you, loves you unconditionally and continues to guide you. All you need to do is surrender and trust in Him. He's got your back because you are His fearfully and wonderfully made princess.
To my dad, Happy Father's Day. Thank you for giving life to me. Thank you for providing me with a physically comfortable life. And thank you for acknowledging me as your beautiful princess when I was a child. I may not know what happened why you became the way you are but I will always, always wish you well. Know that I am in this constant journey of accepting, forgiving and loving you.