Father’s Day is a weird Hallmark holiday for me. While I usually embrace the cheesefest of these types of holidays-I’ll take any opportunity to post a sappy-but-well-intentioned post about my loved ones on Facebook every Mother’s Day, best friend’s day, siblings day and pet day-this one is more of a punch to the gut reminder of what I don’t have that others do. I stopped letting Father’s Day and my lack of paternal influence in my life kick me to the curb a while ago, and am now in this strangely ok and accepting place that I’ve never been in. I was never close with my Dad; our relationship will never be what it should be. He placed many others, including himself, above me in importance in his life; never took responsibility for me, physical or financial; and abandoned me sometime in my mid-teens. He’s been a sporadic presence in my life ever since, and it’s strange to think that our friendship on Facebook since January of 2015 is the most consistent contact I’ve had with him since middle school, and all that really entails is him messaging me every 3-4 months and saying he hopes that I’m doing well. He did a lot of really fucked up things to me throughout the course of my life, and I spent a really long time resenting him-no, hating him- for it, and being incredibly angry and bitter. I passed angry a few years ago and moved on to numb, and that’s where I’ve settled.
I let go of the anger, hurt and betrayal he’s caused me, because I had to. For me. Not for him. I do not forgive. I do not forget. I just…stopped allowing my past, a past that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with him and the choices he made, control my thoughts, feelings, actions and future. I had to stop being angry, because it was ruining my life. That’s a thing he does, by the way. He messages me and says that he’s so sorry that he ruined my life.
My life is not ruined. I have friends and family who stand behind me on my worst days. I am halfway to a master’s degree. I work my ass off every day doing honest work that grows me professionally. I read books and see movies that bring me joy and tears. I find beauty and happiness in simple things. I am not broken. You did not break me.
Some people may read this and think I’m exaggerating or being childish; after all, how bad could he really have been? This is true, in some regard-what I went through with him could’ve definitely been worse. But this is what I’ve experienced, and it has changed me, profoundly and forever. And for the first time…that’s ok. It taught me to be thankful for the wonderful people who did stick around. It taught me to be wary, because not everyone has good intentions. It taught me to be kindhearted, because there are others going through similar or worse.
There are people who deserve a happy Father’s Day-among them my incredible grandfather and uncle-and those who do not…and that’s okay.