Here's another girl with daddy issues. I hate to say it, but it is true. I fit the regular hood stereotypes. Absent father, raised by a single mother, struggling just to get by. My father did not walk out on my mother. He made some bad decisions, the American law system got him and for 14 years, his life has never been the same. Neither has mine.
My father's relationship with me, my mother, my siblings and our extended family has really shaped me in a number of ways. Losing a parent when you're 6 years old will definitely impact you in unimaginable ways. I do not want to claim to be the expert on absentee parents and the effect they have on children. All I have are my experiences and I hope you can relate to them.
1. I developed really bad trust issues.
Early on in life, I was privy to my parents' tumultuous relationship. There was a lot of hurt there. I was witnessing an unhealthy relationship before I even was able to fully understand what I was seeing. As I got older I began to really comprehend the depths of their relationship and it destroyed me. Now, I have a very big problem trusting men, not because I do not want to but because my father was the first man to break my hurt and I never really got over it. I was a daddy's girl, I adored him. But I adored an idealized version of him- not the reality.
2. Being related by blood does not mean they will be eternally loyal to you.
As I mentioned, my family and I struggled when my father was no longer around. I remember how horribly my mom was treated by members of the family. They pestered her to remain married to my father. When they got divorced they pestered her to get remarried. They wanted her to follow their cultural procedures but paid no mind to the fact that she was a single, undocumented mother with four kids. They did not care about her and her struggles only their reputation. There were some family members who helped out though and I will always be grateful for them.
3. You learn how to fight for yourself.
I was never the person who could say I'm going to get my daddy or my brother to beat you up when boys used to harass me. My mom, bless her soul, is a peaceful woman who always said, "If someone hits you, tell the teacher." Well, mama bear, that does not work. I had to face bullies all my own and I grew up fighting boys. It was not fun but it made me stronger. I could not depend on anyone else to fight my battles and I had to do it on my own. I do not regret this.
4. Independence and stability are major keys for me.
My mom was, like, the biggest victim here. She left her country and everything she knew to come to this foreign nation because her husband was going to support her. Seven years later, she is on her own with four kids and not many skills that one needs for survival in America. However, she did it. She didn't just survive she thrived and she has been a phenomenal role model. Nevertheless, it is quite obvious that she was set up to fail. She born into a society that did not encourage women to independent.They did not encourage formal schooling. You had to follow your husband and follow his lead and that is not ok. This is why I cannot be dependent on a man — ever. One, I know I am capable of handling things on my own. But, if that man is no longer in my life and I can no longer live off him, life won't be pretty, so I'd rather avoid it.
5. You realize women's power.
I was always bound to be a womanist. I was raised by strong women. All the women in my life starting from my mom, all held down the fort when the men fell short whether the man was still in their lives or not. I do not think men are useless but I think we need to get in the habit of expecting women to be an equal partner in the household. We should not wait until shit gets real and then just push them up to clean up the mess. I learned that women can indeed handle what life throws at them, it is our society that tries to convince them otherwise. I am proud that I was raised by a single mother who always showed me that I can be just as strong as anyone else!
6. Forgiveness and redemption = peace.
My father is still a very large part of me. I look like him. I have his dark skin and long legs. According to my mom, I have his temper. I still have very profound memories of him. I do not hate my father. Quite the contrary. I have made my peace with it — I think. I wish nothing bad on him and I do not mind getting to know him. Although he missed 14 years of my life, that does not mean I'm going to bar him from the rest of it.