Having an Absentee Father Has Made Me a Stronger Person

Having an Absentee Father Has Made Me a Stronger Person

I realized at a young age that I didn't need a father or a man to define who I was or where I was going in life.

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Just coming off Father's Day, I wanted to write this article for anyone whose dad isn't present in their life. When most people hear that I do not speak to my dad, they automatically jump to assuming I am sad about it. While yes, I do get sad at moments when I see my friends dad's care for them but not for the automatic reason you might assume. I don't get sad that my dad isn't in my life; I just wish at times I had an added support system. Overall, I am honestly happy that my dad wasn't a part of my life. I didn't meet my dad until I was 15, so from a young age I knew I had a different dynamic than my friends growing up who had both of their parents in their life.

There's a saying I've heard that your dad is your first male influence is your life. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, and I've seen many causes of both. I started to see the way my friends' dads would treat them, and that's when I started to realized these were example of what I want my future husband to treat my kids. With my situation, my brother was my first male influence and, while at times he wasn't perfect, he still loved me a lot and was always there for me as a child.

He was the person to go to when I didn't always agree with my mother or just a person to mess with when I was bored. My grandpa was also a huge influence in my life; always telling me I could do whatever I want in life. Not only did he support me emotionally, he's supporting me through my college career to help me create a better life for myself. I realized at a young age that I didn't need a father or a man to define who I was or where I was going in life. It was up to me and the people I surround myself with to define who I was.

At moments, when I got sad as a teenage, my older sister would give me her words of wisdom. She would say it wasn't me who did anything wrong, she referred to it like a pet. If a family member got a pet and you didn't live with them, you'd think the pet was adorable and cute, but if you never met the pet you have no emotional connection to it. While this might sound sad, it honestly stuck with me and helped me cope with the fact that a person who should have unconditional love for me wasn't in my life.

While a lot of people would normally have let something like this upset them, I try and view it as a learning experience. Most people pick a person similar to their father as a spouse; I created my own destiny and can pick and choose which traits I want in a partner from other male influences in my life. I also try and treat people kindly, while I will admit I don't always follow this. I'm not perfect, but I do try and make people feel included.

I know what it's like to not always feel included by someone who is supposed to be a huge part of your life. This, lastly, has taught me to pick a husband wisely; I want my future children to have a better experience than mine and to have a caring father. While I am still young and not focusing on this, it is still in the back of my mind for the future.

Cover Image Credit:

Caroline Domingue

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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4 Things I’ve Learned From My Military Family

Military families teach a lot of valuable things.

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My mother and father have both been in the Army, both before I was born. My mother got out after 4 years when she was pregnant with me but my father serves for almost 22 years. My older sister also decided to enlist in the Army, and I've found myself in Army ROTC after years of telling myself I'd never be in the military.

As I've grown up, I've come to realize just how many valuable things I've gained from living with military parents that everybody may not understand, or have been taught the way I have. I strongly believe that the military influenced the way I was raised and I'm pretty proud of that.

These are four things I've learned from my military family.

1. The first and foremost thing that living in a military family has taught me is discipline.

My mother and father both expected more of me than the average family, and I've come to greatly appreciate it. Growing up, I always hated the expectations that were put upon me by my parents to always give everything I did my 110%. There was no such thing as halfway doing something. If I committed to a class or a sport, there would be no giving up or no giving it only part of my efforts. In college I started to realize just how valuable this lesson is and I believe the level of discipline I received should be learned by everybody. Due to the way I was raised, I have a very good work ethic and I always stick to what I plan, even if I decide it's not for me. I don't quit and I'm often praised for my dedication especially to the things I love because not many people my age have that quality anymore.

2. Another thing my military family has taught me is to appreciate the times where we can all be together.

When I was younger, my father was away a lot either on deployments or in the field training or even at military qualifying schools. I remember birthdays where he was away and wasn't able to call until after I was in bed, or the fear I would sometimes get at night wondering what he was doing or if he was okay. My father is a strong man and never failed to come home, and every time he did so I realized even more just how lucky I am. Even now, going home to both of my parents is an immense privilege and with my older sister deploying soon, I take time everyday to tell my family how much I love them.

3. I have also learned the importance of true friendships throughout a lifetime.

Similarly, my father in particular taught me that true friends don't have to talk every day. Instead, they're there whenever you need them and vice versa. My father has a few people whom he considers true friends and he doesn't talk to them all the time, or very often to be honest. Two of my dad's true friends recently moved close to him and even after not seeing them for several years and talking to them very little, when they met again they picked up where they left off. The relationship he has with these friends exceeds anything anybody can understand.

The camaraderie between soldiers is something civilians couldn't understand. One of these friends has a son whom I've known since I was in kindergarten. When we moved away, I was still in elementary school and therefore had no means of communication with him and we lost touch for almost 10 years. When he moved to my town right before I left for college, our friendship picked up almost exactly where it left off and he's one of the people I would do anything for. He is a true friend and I value our relationship as much as I value my family.

4. The last thing I learned from my military family is how to be strong.

Since I was little, I had to face the fact that my father was protecting our home in a place that could be dangerous. As I grew up, I came to realize just how much he was willing to give up to protect his home and family, and just how much of a hero he truly is. It's difficult to put into words how much I look up to him and he's made me want to follow in his footsteps. Through him and his stories I've learned exactly what true strength looks like. He has always been my hero and my strength comes from him because I know he's one of the strongest people in the world.

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