I'm still 13 years old sitting on a couch waiting for a man who doesn't want me. Sounds weird when you say it out loud, but it's true. My parents split up when I was a kid. He would come around and promise he'd be a real dad and we'd spend time together and then he would never show. I sat on the couch in our living room in my favorite outfit from 11am until the sun went down waiting for him to show and I'm still waiting.
Only I’m 28 now, and it’s not him, and it’s not lunch; it’s a cute boy with blue eyes, and I’m waiting on a text message, waiting to make our relationship official, or waiting for it all to blow up in my face.
Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist in my own life, bumbling around, looking at my own past, trying to figure out how to got to be the way I am now. What if the one that got away was your father?
People joke about girls with ‘daddy issues’ all the time, but if you haven’t lived it, then you probably don’t realize there’s nothing funny about it at all.
No Doubt released Return of Saturn in 2000. They were (and still are, to some extent) my favorite band. I knew Gwen wrote “Home Now” about her tumultuous relationship with Gavin Rosedale. All I could think about when I listened to it was my absent father. I cried buckets listening to “Home Now”, wishing I had a real father.
I'm hanging out // With me // And you're a vacant chair // A chosen compromise // This space we rarely share // And if you lived here you'd be home now // So what you givin' up for me? // And what shall I give up for you? // Aimless expectations passing by // If you lived here you'd be home now // If you lived here you'd be home now // And to make it // Real // I need to have you here // I need to have you // I need to hold you // Barren wasted heart // Neglect of normalcy // And if you lived here you'd be home now // Oh if you lived here you'd be home now // And to make it real // I need to have you here // I need to have you // It can't be sincere // Unless you spend time here // I need to see you // Supervision is what I need // Is what I need // Some consistence, tangibility // Some casual light days // Part of the furniture // I want to take you for granted // And see you regular // So what you givin' up for me? // And what shall I give up for you? // The separations tired, it's been too long // And to make it real // I need to have you here // I need to have you // It can't be sincere // Unless you spend time here // I need to see you // I need you // Come home now
I fired my father a year later. He had promised to come pick me up for lunch, and I sat on the couch all day. Literally all fucking day. From morning, because I was so excited at the prospect of being able to tell my dad about my school, my friends, my dreams, my hopes, my ambitions, so he could get to know me, to afternoon when he was supposed to show up for lunch, to evening when it was well past lunch time. Where the fuck was he? What was more important than me? Did he forget? Was I forgettable? Did I just not matter? I wrote him an e-mail the next day. I was done. I had spent too many afternoons like that. All of my friends had been at the mall taking glamour shots after choir practice, and on Monday they’d ask me how had lunch with my dad been, and tell me how they had missed me, and I wouldn’t have an answer for them. I was over it.
Except, I wasn’t. I’m not. I don’t give a shit about him anymore. But, I’m still waiting.
When I was 16 and he and my mother finally divorced; he was the one who filed. He was the one who claimed a minor child on the divorce paperwork. And when he was told he owed child support that minor child; he was the one who attempted to legally disown me. I only mattered until the stakes were raised.
I can’t raise the stakes in a relationship. I’m too frightened. A 16 year old thinks they know it all. They don’t realize they’re still growing and they will carry these scars as they grow.
I feel like a shitty person admitting any of this. My mom is the bees fucking knees and the best parent a kid could have asked for (even if she confiscated my CD player a bunch of times). I had quite a few father figures; my uncles, my brothers, Dave, Tony. I am such a loved person.
When it takes longer than 15 minutes for me to get a text back, I start to wonder. Where the fuck is he? What’s more important than me? Did he forget? Am I forgettable? Do I just not matter?
I never want to ask “what is this?” in reference to our relationship. I don’t want to actually bring up making things official, moving in together, marriage, and kids…if I raise the stakes he’ll run. It’s what I was taught about myself and my value from my father.
The first time I heard "A Trophy Fathers Trophy Son" by Sleeping With Sirens I was a mess of tears all over again.
I have to remind myself that I know how to form and maintain healthy relationships with men. My brothers, my uncles, Dave, Tony, my friends. Thank God for my friends. For Cobain who always calls me his best friend. For Richard, who didn’t talk to me for five months, and then squashed it, because we both knew it was dumb. For Louie, who didn’t let my Disneyland pass expire last year when I just couldn’t afford it. I have to remind myself that I’m an adult and I can’t excuse my poor behavior in relationships on other people and I have to be held accountable. I have to remind myself that I had examples of healthy relationships in my life.
But, my heart still starts to pound when it takes longer than an hour for me to receive a reply. But, I’ve just stopped talking to guys all together, because I was too scared to tell them about how I felt, and I just made things that much fucking worse between us.
Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist in my own life, bumbling around, looking at my own past, trying to figure out how to got to be the way I am now. Mostly, I feel like a mad scientist, trying to sew myself back together and turn myself into something better.
Heres to the girls who’s hearts were broken by a man long before any boy got ahold of it.
Heres to the girls who believe that they can’t be loved because the one man who was supposed to always love them didn’t.
Heres to the girls who can’t stay in a relationship because all they were ever taught was how to leave one.
Heres to the girls who are in an abusive relationship and don’t know it because it’s what they grew up seeing.
Heres to the girls who can’t trust men because the man they were supposed to always be able to count on left.
Heres to the girls who are scared to have kids because they never want their kids to face the same pain they had to endure.
Heres to the girls who refuse to say they have a dad because all their father ever was is a man who helped create them.