How long does it take for the present to become the past? How long does it take for moments to become memories? How much work must be done to overcome everything until it becomes nothing?
I tend to babble grand philosophical questions like these when I’m forced to grapple with complex and sometimes, unresolved feelings. I am back at this daddy issues topic again. I kind of get upset and frustrated with the need to write about this so much. It just bothers me that it’s not one of those things I can just write about once, make peace with and move on. In a lot of ways I get to feeling like I’m giving another man, another perpetrator against me, another negative impact in my life, my power. But I know better. I know way better.
By writing about this topic so often, I’ve made leaps and bounds with what once attempted to break me so many times before. By giving voice to my former pain and current persistent confusion, I am consistently giving power back to myself. I am standing strong for the once broken little girl, lost and forgotten by her non-existent daddy.
Damn, just writing those words takes a toll on me, still. I don’t have a daddy. I’ve never had a daddy. And, I am more than confident that I will never have a daddy. Woo boy! Let me tell you now, coming to peace and acceptance with such a hard fact, has taken all of my natural-born life. Some days, most days even, feel like having a dad or a daddy is just an extracurricular activity I never really got into. Like sports or the math club. It’s just not my thing, ya feel me. It doesn’t make me less than. Nothing about it not being in my life, represents lacking. More of just something that just was not. That just is not. That just will not. You feel me? At all? I hope so.
I’ve written before that my mother raised me to always be and feel sufficient and competent with the things in which God gave me. To focus on what I had, and not what I couldn’t or wouldn’t get. If she couldn’t give it to us, we couldn’t get it. Bottom line. Of course, that like anything, had its down sides. I grew up lacking the ability and courage to ask for anything. Whether it be asking for help or simple advice. I’m still working out my issues with that. Nonetheless though, I found much peace in letting go of what was and is not.
If I don’t have it, I don’t stress it. If I can’t see it, I don’t work too hard to imagine it. I am quite the visionary and imaginative person. At the same time though, sometimes to a fault, I am quite the literal, linear and drastically rational person. My father was not around. No point in dwelling on that. Get over it. Move on. Focus on who and what is here. Like myself. My amazing beautiful self!
That leads me to where I am today in my life. I researched and found my father’s address online about two years ago. More like three years ago, but yea, who’s counting. Against my mother’s wishes and understanding, I knew I needed to find him. There’s a Jay Z song, named ‘Moment of Clarity,’ where Jay talks about seeing his father’s face at his funeral. He says, “damn, that man’s face is just like my face.” The pain in his voice, during that verse, still haunts me. Perhaps, only I can hear it, as I grew up as a fatherless child as well.
Jay speaks about the struggle with not being able to really get to know his father while he was still living. That verse messed me up for a long time. Just like the Tupac verse in ‘Dear Mama,’ where he speaks about his loathing of his father, “because the coward wasn’t there.” I decided long ago that I couldn’t let my anger and hurt toward my father swallow me up inside. It took me far longer to be honest with the fact that I wasn’t going to be able get past my ‘daddy issues’ if I didn’t confront the man responsible for their existence. Moreover, I began to see that I could easily be eaten alive if I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to confront that man while he was still living.
People harbor pain and sadness from years of abuse and neglect from others who’ve passed through their life, often until they die. I didn’t want to be that person. Too many people never get the chance to make peace with that hurt and anger, directly via the person who caused it. People lose contact. Move away. Don’t want to make peace. Or just die before one gets the chance. While I had the chance, I needed to at least make an effort to confront the issues. Face on.
So, on a fateful night in December 2013, a few weeks before moving cross-country, I made the choice to go confront him. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I had no idea what to expect once I knocked on the door. What if he wasn’t there? What if the address was wrong? What if he didn’t want to see me? What if? What if? What if? I wouldn’t know, if I didn’t knock and find out. And I could no longer be tied to a life of what ifs.
I’ll save the dramatics of that night for another post. In short, after knocking on the wrong door and asking people around the building where I could find a blind man named John, I found my father’s door. He came to the door. And he cried. He began bawling crying. He kept saying, “you came for me! Oh my Lord. My baby came for me!” The rest went really fast.
Between December 2013 and now, May 2015, I’ve been in whirlwind of confusion. My father somehow found a way to make a scenario I’d waited my whole life for, all about him. How that was possible is still beyond me. I do know I had a lot to do with it, though. There I was, showing up to take back my power. And somehow, I’d ended up handing even more of it over. The past year and a half has been all about me taking that power back, for real and for sure, this time.
Which brings me to this post. I decided today, that I was cutting ties with my father. For good now. I decided that I’d made all the peace I could and needed to make with him. I came to the conclusion that I no longer needed contact with him to continue the dirty work of letting go of the feelings of neglect and sadness that have haunted me all of these years. My work is done here. It feels really good to finally say that and really mean it. My work is actually done here. Of course, there is more to do, as there will always be more to do. But what is left to be done, can and will be done on my own. By myself.
Now that I am about to be a mother, everything is so much more important to me. I need to make peace with any and everything I haven’t made peace with. I keep having images of growing up and watching my mother be physically, verbally, financially, emotionally and psychologically abused by just about everyone in her life. I keep remembering how helpless I felt when it came to protecting her. I wanted to save her. I needed to save her. From them. From herself. I needed her to feel the love she made me feel.
It took me all my life to let go of that useless need. I’d never save my mom. She had to save herself. I realized this just a few months ago. Perhaps more accurately and honestly, I realized this last Wednesday (4.29.15). I’ve since went overtime into saving myself. Now that I have my little butterbean in the oven, I gotta get the job done. The hardest thought I keep working to swallow, is not that I won’t be able to protect her from the evils of this world. Or that I won’t be able to guard her heart from the pain she’ll one day experience from disappointment and humanness. The hardest thought is that I won’t be able to protect her from me. That I won’t live up to all my amazingness as a mom.
I could always make excuses to myself about how I can’t control the outside world, no matter how hard I want to or may even try. I’d never forgive myself (as much as I know I should), if I didn’t make myself a better woman. A good enough woman to be worthy of the amazingness that this little one is destined to be. The easiest and most accessible person to ever “fix” is oneself. I can’t control the world, but I can damn sure control me. I can work on me. I can be a better me. I can.
So, I must. Because she needs me. I don’t want her to grow up feeling the need to be the mommy. Feeling the need to be the protector. Feeling the need to be the savior. That’s my job. Her only job is to grow up being amazing. It’s up to me to ensure that that is a reality and not just a dream. Every time I recognize a mistake I am making as a new mother-to-be, I get so upset. I get into a state of indefinite sadness and regret.
I’m always putting other people first. I’m always giving people my power. I’m always dwelling on what isn’t, instead of honoring what is. I’m always saying “I’m always,” even though it’s more accurately, “I’m sometimes.” I’m too hard on myself. Way too hard on myself. If I treated people the way I treat myself, people would most definitely think I am a crappy person. As, I treat myself extremely crappy. Or rather, I can treat myself crappy.
I don’t want my butter bean to grow up, learning that behavior. I just can’t stand the idea of it. It’s enough to make me not only second guess becoming a mother, but even wish I wasn’t given the option. What if I fail? What if I am not good enough? What if I teach her all the wrong things, forgetting to love into her all the right things? What if I’m not who God called me to be?
Those are just a few of the questions that haunt me almost daily. I push past them, though. Because I must. I am not perfect. I have made so many mistakes. God knows, I will surely make so many more. That’s a huge part of the human existence. Mistakes. So, is learning from them. Mistakes are not a bad thing. They are an important aspect of the lessons life gives us, to make us better. I’ve grown to be really good at learning from mistakes. So, I refuse to even pretend like motherhood is not something I can continue to do the same with.
People who know me, know very well that once I make my mind up about something, it’s as hard as ever to get me to think otherwise. I’m stubborn as heck. Like the King of the Jungle, I was born to be. I’ve made up my mind that I am a mother. That I was born to be a mother. That it is my time to show up or shut up. Right now. Today. In this moment.
In such, I choose to move past my ‘daddy issues.’ For my butter bean. I choose to forgive and let go. It feels kind of unbelievable. Surreal. To think, I’ve dreamed of this for as long as I can remember. I was reading old diaries from middle and high school the other day, and the pain and sorrow sowed into the depths of each word I wrote, shook me. I didn’t ever think I was going to make it. I just kept going anyway. Because that’s all I could do.
Now, I am poised to do more. More than keep going. More than just survive. I am poised to live. To give life. To foster life. My God! I am poised to give life. I promise you all, I’m gonna do this right. Not perfect. Not without fault and error. But right. With excellence and determination. I declare that my daddy issues are past issues. I am ready and fully prepared to create a healthy future for my unborn. To God be the glory! Here we go! A’se!