I made the decision early last week that I wasn't going to wish my dad a happy father's day. I felt strongly about this and nothing was going to change my mind. But every day leading up to Sunday I challenged myself and asked myself why I was making this decision, just so I was 100% sure it was what I wanted to do. I asked myself several questions I knew my close friends would ask me had I shared this with them:
"Are you being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn?"
"Are you trying to prove a point?"
"Is this your way of hurting him like he hurt you?"
"Is wishing him a Happy Fathers Day that big of a deal?"
On this occasion, I didn't allow the thought of not speaking to my dad, linger in my mind long enough for me to form a solid answer. And that's not because I didn't want to answer it, I just didn't want a conversation about my dad to have that much air time, even in my brain. It's a coping mechanism. If I don't think about it doesn't hurt me. But now here I am, writing a blog post about it *eye roll*.
So why didn't I wish him a happy fathers day?
It's taken me years to come to terms with my 'relationship' with my dad. I remember the last time I attempted to save it. I was dating my daughter's dad, and ish was getting serious, so I knew that if I really wanted it to work, I had to confront the trauma of my past. If I was to love any man right and have a long-lasting successful relationship, I had to go back to the first man who should have been the role model for how a man should love and treat a woman. And in turn it would also teach me how to be a better partner.
I came down from Leicester, and we met at St Pancras International in London. He took me to Nandos just a short walk away, and it felt weird. I had never been to a restaurant with my dad before.
The conversation didn't go very well. He spent a lot of time blaming my mum for how things ended. He blamed me for siding with her, and then used this rare opportunity where I was sat in front of him, to drag her down even more. He expressed his disgust at not getting an invite to my graduation, saying that he deserved a seat instead of my grandma. Which to this day still stuns me as I was raised by my mum and grandma who walked me through my education from start to completion. A lot was said that day, a lot I've chosen to block out.
But I was shocked. I called for this meeting. I opened myself up. I was vulnerable. I put myself here. And all he did was cry me down. I remember sitting there like... This is my dad, the man who co-created me, the first man I'd ever met, the first man who should have loved me unconditionally. Without this man I wouldn't exist, his DNA formed me, his name is what identifies me. This is the man I call father, and this is what he's saying to me.
There's a segment in Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly where she talks about the process of building trust as a chicken and egg situation:
"We need to feel trust to be vulnerable and we need to be vulnerable in order to trust"
On this day, I was being vulnerable with my dad, in order to build trust. Because without trust we couldn't build a meaningful relationship, which is what I wanted. And maybe it was selfish or presumptuous of me to assume that in that moment we would form the foundations of a better father-daughter relationship. Maybe, I was asking for too much, I don't know! But what I do know is that his words cut deep, deep into a wound that wasn't yet healed. I was hurting, and I guess all I wanted was the reassurance that he still loved me, and for him to hold me, like the day when I was just born. I'm not a hugger, I find them awkward, but gat dammit dad, cut a girl some slack!!! lool
Since that moment there have been many others where any interactions with him continue to cut into an already severed heart.
To go back to Brene's quote, I hadn't yet felt trust in order to be vulnerable. I skipped that step which is something I often do. I want the relationship that bad that I just throw myself all in.
But fast forward 6 years or so to today... I've learnt that true vulnerability requires boundaries. I can only throw myself into vulnerable spaces that already have some degree of safety. And yes it's a chicken and egg situation, so I know I have to give a little in order to get a little. But not today.
Three simple words 'Happy Fathers Day' and I just couldn't say it. I don't want to. The words hold too much weight. And for the sake of my sanity, I choose to love him (and yes I do love him), from a distance. It's safer for me, and I'm ok with that.
I've asked myself some pretty grim questions over the years.. like what if this or that happens and the moments I have to salvage a relationship are no more. Believe me, I've gone there. I guess all I can say is my fear of being abandoned and unloved by my father, cuts far deeper than the already experienced pain from every past interaction we've had. I'd rather save myself from that and not speak with him directly.
But if there is one thing I can say.. it's Dad... You were loved.
Miss A Kamara x
This is a page from Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly and it really helped me understand why I feel the way that I feel. If this subject connects with you I highly recommend you grab a copy online or listen to the audiobook, it will change your life.