My dear friends Ace and Anne of From A - Z Podcast took my obnoxious suggestion and invited me to guest on their marriage and family podcast to give my perspective on some things as an independent woman. I had a blast recording with them and their other guest, Annie, and can't wait to listen to it. Check it out!
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.
It's summer of 2012. Frank Ocean's Channel Orange has just dropped. My fruit stand fam and I are obsessed. It's on repeat every single day in the back room. Four years later and we're still down with each other and still Frank Ocean obsessed. Frank Ocean was asked to explain his current situation to his past self. And then my fruit stand fam started doing it. And it's been a trip. It makes you truly see how far you've come. It's funny to have watched each other glo' up, and to take that ride again.
So, without further ado...
Damn, Jordan of '11. You just started working at Apple a few months ago. You start grad school in a few weeks. A lot happens in between where you are then and who I am today. You love your job at Apple. You definitely get promoted to FRS, and before Christmas. It's a challenge, but you don't back down. I don't know how you do it, but you work a full time job (yeah, you get promoted to full time too), while taking a full load of grad school classes and you don't even have a car, so you're riding the bus every day. That doesn't last. You learn how to drive and get your license (it takes a few tries)! And you buy a brand new car without any help from anyone! That guy likes you back. You're going to find out that most of them do, they're just even more awkward than you are. I'm not going to tell you what happens with him, you just have to live it. Enjoy it. You finish grad school with honors (you have one shitty semester, but that's not notated on your degree so no one cares). Working at Apple helps you get over a lot of your shyness and you start singing in front of people more often. You even get a keytar! (It's a graduation present). You learn how to ride a bike AND how to swim, all during the same summer. You even get a little fitness obsessed. You have a gym membership. Weird, right? You drop a few dress sizes and can do ten pull ups at your strongest. You go, girl! You grow up a lot. A LOT. Lots of your friends get married and have babies. It's pretty cool. You aren't and you don't...yet. The people you meet at Apple are going to be some of the best people you've ever met; lifelong friends. You learn a lot about yourself, and relationships. You have the coolest group of girlfriends you cosplay with! You're the healthiest you've ever been; mentally, emotionally, and physically. Turning 25 isn't as scary as you make it out to be. In fact, at 28 you're the best you've ever been. You leave Apple after four years, so you don't get the plaque, but it's for the best. You actually start a blog. You're not internet famous, but you have over 1k twitter followers. Cool, right? Hey, remember how you were kind of a hipster in 2011? Of course you do. Well, that doesn't last. You're scene AF again. So scene, you work at Hot Topic HQ now. Talk about a lifelong dream. You go to a lot of shows, your Disneyland pass doesn't expire, you get more tattoos, more piercings, and you're actually...happy. Weird, right? Hang in there, kid. (PS. lay off the beer and don't dye your hair blonde).
It's 2011 me, and Frank's letter.