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.