The Impact of Having A Great Dad

The Impact of Having A Great Dad

And not having one at all.
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Since Father's day just passed, I'm sharing a monologue I've crafted about some of my observations of father/daughter relationships. All experiences are from the daughter's perspective.

Prologue

Father. Papa. Dad. Do they all mean the same thing? I’d say no. From my experiences and observations, the best one of them all is “dad.” Dads get their hands dirty, dads bring home the bacon, dads call their daughter “beautiful,” dads carry a spirit that lives on, long after his vessel is expired.

Chica

I can't remember her name, so I’ll call her “Chica,” but a girl once told me about a psychic she consulted for information about her deceased father. She had questions about the state of his spirit. Was he resting peacefully? Did he make quiet, unknown visits to Chica and her family? Was he scared when he died? Chica proceeded to tell me, with a surprising amount of emotion, that the psychic said her father’s spirit never appears to her because he knows he hurt her by leaving this earth very unexpectedly. Chica’s face brightened to an almost neon pink color. The blemishes on her face stood out even more, now appearing like red ink blots across her cheeks. I could see, actually, I could feel the loss she felt for her dad. It was a kind of sorrow that drifted naturally from her body into the atmosphere. She carried an old pain, one that pangs when disrupted with pieces of the truth. I knew this when Chica told be about early memories with her dad. How he played childish games with her like "got your ear" or "got your nose." And about the time he taught her to swim in her “swimmies” and how he cooked while listening to music playing from his boom box. He even wrote beautiful poems and short stories in French. He was French Canadian. It’s been fifteen years since he passed away, and Chica still has the pages of her dad’s work. Now yellowed and frayed, she has the keepsake tucked away somewhere in a paisley printed box. She reads them from time to time when she feels alone and afraid.

Through These Green Eyes

I’m envious of this girl's relationship with her dad. How she missed him, never spoke poorly of him to others. I wonder how her memories could be so amazing. Was she acting? She must have been lying for sure. I’m not being a crabby patty. My accusations of her dishonesty stem from my barely full bucket of fatherly love. I mean, really, what did I have? Of course a couple of soft memories float along all the grooves in my brain. But the darker, harsher recollections stay stagnant, fixed like those statues made of stone outside of museums.

O, Sandy Corvette

My girl Sandy once told me and a group of our colleagues that her dad was her best friend. He passed away when she was fifteen and now, at thirty, she still isn't over it. She said, "I'll never get over it." She spoke those words lethargically, like with each breath another breath was taken away. Sandy's kind of a firecracker. She thinks of crazy things then usually does them. So when she told me about wanting to get a nose job, I believed her. To my surprise, she changed her mind and decided not to trim her nose with plastic surgery. When I asked why, she replied, “When I look in the mirror, and I see this nose, I see my dad.”

In another conversation, Sandy shared an experience she had with spirits. It happened shortly after her father passed. In the middle of the night, her dog walked slowly up to the front door of their home. He then calmly sat in front of gazing up, as if he were looking at someone through the door. Sandy said she was unafraid when she witnessed the weird actions of her pup. She knew he was looking up at the spirit of her father, who was perhaps stopping by to make sure she was safe.

My Jade GemStone

Sandy's best friend was a man who protected her and openly showed his affection.. She must be special I thought. Better yet, he must have been a special man. He was a dad.

Who protected me? I guess mom did. But dad’s protection is like a shield that can make any girl feel safe. It’s no wonder I walk around here with some kind of guard up. I always get the feeling someone’s “out to get me.” Maybe it’s because when people did “get me” there were no wings wrapped around me to ward off the evil souls that meant harm. No angel wings.

Someone Like Her

At a team potluck, Brandy once told us, with her mouth filled with food, the story of how her husband proposed to her. He took her dad to the jewelry store where he bought her engagement ring. Her then-fiancé made sure that one of the store associates recorded him asking Brandy's dad for her hand in marriage. Brandy said she had no idea what the men in her life were up to. It all happened “down the Ocean.” That’s Ocean City, MD. She was enjoying an afternoon of jet skiing with family members while the ring was being purchased. I glanced down at her left hand and noticed the ring. It was pretty large, beautiful. It was a ring for a woman adored. I can’t remember what she said about the actually proposal. Between my extreme disinterest on the event and the annoying sound of her voice through the process of mastication, I completely tuned everything out. I was focused on my plate of food. Actually, I focused on getting more pasta salad with bacon chunks in it.

But Brandy wanted to make sure she told her story and everyone heard it. She kept eating, and talking, and waving her hands to exaggerate certain points. “I just tell this story all the time, because it’s kind of, like a way to honor my dad.” Her dad had accepted her husband’s request. And then he became terminally ill, and then he was gone forever.

Envy with a Side of Carats

Are you kidding me? He did all of that? Sometimes I wonder why people really care about the formalities of getting married and if it really matters when most people end up divorced or in shitty marriages. When Brandy's dad became extremely sick with cancer, she lived at home to help take care of him. And when he died before the wedding, she was crushed. Heart broken. He was supposed to give her away; walker her down the aisle. Everything had been set up so perfectly. And then he was gone.

I think I’d be offended if my boyfriend asked my dad for my hand in marriage. My dad has not earned that privilege. Dads who have that privilege are dads that tuck little girls in at night, comb their hair, help with their homework, ask about boys, see them off to college, encourage them to chase dreams… I’m running out of breath. Dads make daughters a priority; they do not treat them like another task at the end of a 12-hour day. Dads always talk up their girls; they’d never put them down.

Epilogue

Blessed is the girl who is loved by her dad. The little things build big memories, memories that tell us what “dad” is. I wonder if a psychic can tell me more about my dad. Maybe she can unveil uncomfortable truths about his past. Had someone hurt him? Was he neglected? Then his lack of affection will make sense. Or maybe no one can tell me. Although I do believe someday I will be able to accurately tell the story of my familial dysfunction. I'll find solace in the ability to answer all of my whys. And then at family gatherings and at my wedding, I'll think of my dad. I'll cry for my dad.

Cover Image Credit: smilesofindia

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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My Mom Is My Biggest Weakness In The Best Way Possible

Although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend.

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My parents are everything to me. They raised me to be independent, strong, smart, and hard working. They made sure to keep me in line, to ensure that I would be respectful and responsible. They raised me to be prepared for the world before I graduated high school. For everything they've done, I'm very grateful.

Focusing on my mom more specifically, she is my weakness. By that I mean, I can go to her with anything and I know she's willing to listen, to be open, and she won't impart judgment.

My mom always knows how to calm me down, but she is the one person who can also make me cry harder. I don't mean this in a bad way. It's just that whenever I've had a tough day or my anxiety has been heightened by some ordeal, I know that if I see my mom or if I even call her over the phone, the waterworks come flooding. I don't know what it is about my mom that makes me feel so emotional, so vulnerable. Each time I go to her, it's almost as if I'm a kid again, crawling into her mother's arms, seeking a nurturing soul to tell me that everything will be okay.

Sometimes I even avoid calling my mom when I'm in a rut because I refuse to cry or feel weak. For instance, if I had a problem, I'd avoid talking to her about it. If a week goes by, I'll update her on my problems, and begin crying about it (even though I was already over it beforehand). My mom can bring out anything from me. She laughs when I tell her this because she knows that no matter how old her baby girl gets, she'll always need her mama.

I think as I've gotten older, I've realized how much more my parents mean to me. As a kid, I always felt like they were against me. I felt as if they didn't want me to do anything and didn't want me to grow. As an adult, I realize it's the exact opposite. My parents have always wanted what's best for me, and because I've grown to understand this, I feel so much closer to them.

I feel as though now, although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend. She's someone I can go to when I feel down, someone I can go to for a good laugh. She's so much better than me in so many ways. She's outgoing, loud, obnoxious, smart, and is always seeing the good in situations. When I talk about my mom to other people, they're always so interested in meeting with her or talking with her. When they finally get the chance to, they're instantly drawn to her character. They're drawn to her laughter. I kid you not, my mom can light up a room in seconds. She is always the life of the party. It sometimes makes me jealous when people find out how amazing my mother is because I swear they'd rather be friends with her than me.

What people don't see is her struggles. They don't see the pain she goes through with her ongoing injury. They don't see that not only does it take a physical toll, but also an emotional toll. She hides it really well because that's what parents are "supposed to do." My mom is the strongest person I know and to see the two contrasts of her is astonishing. To think that someone so full of life can also battle personal struggles, it's hard to see, especially because she's my mom and all I want is the best for her. One part of my mom struggles while the other part of her is so vibrant, so full of life, so sassy.

I don't know how she's put up with all of the hardships in her life. I've never seen someone work so hard and refuse to fail. She refuses to be taken advantage of. I've never seen someone as amazing as my mother. She can do anything.

I think my mom looks down on herself sometimes. I think, like any woman, she sees imperfections. What I don't think she sees, that I wish she would, is the tenacity she has. I want her to see herself the way I do: beautiful, strong, courageous, sassy, outgoing. I could go on and on about how much my mom inspires me and how she's made me appreciate her in more ways than one.

Mom, thank you for all that you do and all that you are. I hope you know how much Rachel, Vanessa and I all love you. I hope you know that no matter what struggles we go through, you are our rock. You hold the fort down and you're always there to make sure we're good, even when you aren't yourself. Thank you for always thinking of us, for believing in us, and for never turning your back. I love you more than you know.

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