Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl....(What Daddy don't know won't hurt you?)

This post has been on my mind for a while. Should I or shouldn't I? This is a little too close to home. I don't know if I want to expose myself like that. I can't control who reads this. What if he finds out? Will he be mad?

Lots of people put their lives (and others) out on display for these blogs and DNT is no exception. But there are areas we don't tread. Maybe its fear of retaliation. Or maybe its just that we aren't ready to deal with the gravity of the subject matter. There is always a small part of me that don't want judgment from the critical eyes of the readers.

Nevertheless, I made the decision to look honestly at myself recently and this is one of those subjects that is the cornerstone of my anxiety, fear and disappointment in love and relationships. Daddy.

Now, I was born to be Daddy's girl. Don't get me wrong, I was raised Mama's baby and even in my 30s I still am. But just like HDtv, I already came outfitted to be Daddy's girl. Plug and play.

I truly do believe that for the first 11 years of my life, that's what I was. But its funny though, I carried around this sort of embarrassment about it. I don't know if I can articulate it well, but I remember being eight and having a mixed, sordid feeling of wanting to be really close to my dad, but completely humiliated and disappointed in myself for even wanting that. Maybe that's one of the symptoms of being the product of divorced parents. Early on, I felt compelled to show fierce loyalty to Moms, even at the alienation of Dad.

Now, if you're lucky enough to have parents who went through an amicable divorce, great for you. However, that wasn't the storyline that played out here. I think I knew, to my own detriment, what my father was like as a husband. Hence, the guilty feeling of wanting someone who lived out sexist mores that were probably passed down from the men in his family since the post-Reconstruction era in American history.

Growing up, I maybe saw my Dad 2-4 times a year, with the occasional half day pick up. But when I did see him, it was a good time. I pretty much ate everything my mother never allowed. I stayed up until ungodly hours of the night and watched stuff I had NO business viewing. (I remember seeing Eddie Murphy's Raw when I was about eight years-old and making a solemn pact with him and the Lord that I would not tell my mom).

I craved for these excursions from my reality and like most kids who spend time with the so-called fun parent you start to believe that if you lived with them everyday it would be like living in an amusement park. But he could never figure out staying present. I have to believe now that he wanted to, but just couldn't figure the shit out. Thus I went back to the disappointment that it would be another six months before he called.

I always felt defeated that I wasn't good enough for his time. He always told me that if I ever wanted to come over, I could call, but his calls seemed to be few and far between. Oftentimes, I felt like I was asking for a favor by coming over or begging to hang with him. Ironically, that not so pleasant feeling still looms with me when it comes to men in my life. I could never tell with him, or them, if they wanted me in their lives. I felt like I had no right to make any requirements or demands on their times and when I did....the most debilitating feeling of dread would lodge itself in the middle of my throat.

Its strange, even though my Dad missed out on the everyday things in my life, he was good about giving me money when I asked for it. Later on in my pre-teens I learned to accept (and embrace) the money. It became the only near consistent thing in our relationship. It took me until my 30s to realize that the money only masked my real desire for connection.

And honey, Daddy could swear, I declare. (Gladys Knight must've had him in mind on that one)

I unfortunately have been the victim of an angry outburst or several. To say I was scolded is an understatement. Getting told off like I'm a muhfckah from off the street is more like it. By nature, I'm not a confrontational person, so when confronted in this way I find myself on the brink of craziness trying to handle it. (I can totally relate to Jill Scott's character in Why Did I Get Married Too? at the first sight of any man reacting to her.) Its this behavior pattern that terrified me at the thought of losing a man and also kept me distant from being close to one. But my Dad's outburst was always followed by isolation from me. I don't wish that loneliness on anyone.

It's funny, to this day, the doubt in my head convinces me to believe that I didn't have it bad and that maybe I am making this up. Or even believing that he's a no-good jerk and justifying to myself that I'm better off without him.

The day after my 22nd birthday, I was hit head on in a car accident, the universe allowed me to walk away from it unscathed and all I could think about is that I wanted my dad. I called him up and told him what happened, but he couldn't console me. He asked me to repeat the scenario over and over again and each time built up more frustration in me that this man couldn't comfort me. He grew frustrated with me and said, "I AM your father!" To which I replied, "but I want my mother!" I'm sure that it didn't make him feel good, in fact, I'm convinced that that moment severed any connection we had left. It was the defining moment in my life where I realized that we had no bond.

Right now, we still exist in a gray area. Operating on surface conversation and exchanging pleasantries. I can't figure out where I want or need him to be. I would hate for either of us to leave this earth distant from one another, but the bond is undeniably broken. My biggest fear is that I will fall victim to the already endless cycle of women with "Daddy Issues", seeking out resolution and thawing out frozen needs with every male we encounter because Papa was a rolling stone.

I dunno y'all...I don't think I have an answer and not sure there is one. I can only hope that I've worked on my shit enough to not let it effect the quality of (love) life I envision for myself.

'Til Next Time,
~ T-Gyrl


  1. Poignantly and painfully honest. Thanks for sharing yourself with us, yet again.

  2. T, babygirl.. i felt you in this piece. thank you so much for opening wht i am sure is a not-quite-healed wound, to share with us.

    i hope, sis, i pray that you have since understood that you ARE worthy. you ARE your own weight in this world, and God put you here because you matter. you DO deserve to demand the best.

    as for how to relate to your dad... what struck me is that perhaps you shouldn't consider what you need him to be, but how much room u want him to have in YOUR life. i don't know if that makes sense?

    thanks, once again, for sharing. as someone who confronted her daddy issues as well, i respect your courage.