Father's Day has always been a rough day for me. As I've gotten older it seems to be less difficult. Although I no longer go through the whole "crying" and asking God "why me", I do feel this deep emptiness; because the older I get the less likely it is that I will experience the love of a father and that father/daughter relationship (in the natural). I've always known who my father is and where he is, though I haven't always had access to him, even now. I remember being 11 and seeing him for the first time since I was a toddler. I believed that would finally be the moment that void would be filled in my life, and even though it was, it didn't last very long. Talk about a heartbreaking disappointment! He turned out to be just as much of a predator as the man that was raising me. Now, my father has never rejected or directly brought harm to me, but I did feel that he failed me. I would often ask why his love for me wasn't enough for him to just do right. It felt like indirect rejection. That coupled with the pain and abuse I endured at the hands of my step-father, caused me to look for that love and acceptance in others. I would be who and what anyone wanted me to be, as long as it would gain me their acceptance. At a time when I was supposed to be "coming into my own" and "discovering who I was", I was instead burying the real me under layers of who I thought others wanted me to be. I also accepted less than what I knew I wanted and/or deserved, because my daddy-daughter relationship, or lack thereof, taught me that. I battled with this for so long in pretty much every area of my life except my career. I even carried it with me into my first marriage.
Imagine being 30 years old, recently divorced, a mother, and not knowing who in the hell you are. So many friends and family that know and love you, but you don't know and love yourself. You look in the mirror and don't know the person staring back at you. The moment of this painful revelation occurred while having a conversation with my son about not caring what other people thought about his height. I was reassuring him that he was fine just the way he was and that he didn't have to change or conform to be accepted by anyone. Then it hit me, I had just given my son advice that I had NEVER taken for myself. That hurt, but getting to the root of why would hurt even more. It all went back to never having that initial love and acceptance from my father. Deeply rooted in daddy issues, and my daddy was in no condition to do anything to fix it for me.
Like most, I didn't have the luxury of seeing myself through daddy's eyes; at least not in a healthy way. I didn't have anyone to tell me things like "babygirl you are perfect just the way you are", "Daddy loves you", or "there's nothing you can't do". I didn't have the safety of daddy's love, just the scars of the lack thereof. Til this very day, my father's love for me still isn't strong enough for him to want to do right.
How do I recover from this? How do I find the me that I never got to know?
This by no means is an overnight journey. It takes a lot of work and time sitting with yourself. I had to forgive, even those that would never apologize. Then I had to forgive myself. Believe it or not, we have to make a mends with ourselves and build up trust within ourselves. As much as you trust yourself to be vulnerable with anyone else; you have to trust you to be vulnerable with you. Embrace every part of you, no matter how ugly some of those parts may be. You must commit to accepting and loving yourself as you are, while simultaneously working to heal and grow. Present your TRUE SELF to others, and trust that the ones meant to be in your life won't turn away from you. Be everything to yourself that daddy wasn't to you. The things you wish daddy had spoken to you, speak them to yourself. The love that you wish daddy gave you, give to yourself. There will be things that simply can't be made up for, and you have to be ok with that. Lastly, I got to establish a relationship with my Heavenly Father; which to be honest is even more powerful because God will never let me down. He's not like man, He doesn't disappoint or fail us. His words don't hurt, they build up and comfort. Once I stopped looking to man for my validation, I became validated. Once I stopped placing the burden on others to fill this void, the void was no more. Once I stopped looking to a person just as flawed as me, to complete me, I was made whole. You may not have Daddy's eyes to see yourself through, but you will always have The Father's eyes; and there are no better eyes to catch your reflection in than His.