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Earlier this Spring, I visited my Dad in his new home of Nashville, TN (Well it’s not really new, because he has lived there for over 20+ years since re-locating from Atlanta.) If you follow me on Instagram, then you know some of the breakthroughs that I was able to experience and learn about myself. Here are the top three Daddy Lessons, I have learned from visiting him and having the tough conversations.

1. Daddy Issues Have Different Side Effects for Different People – I thought because I was a very active kid in sports (cheering, dancing), school clubs, and college educated that I was exempt from the damagaed goods a Daddy leaving home at the age of seven could leave behind. Boy was I wrong. Just because I didn’t become a drug abuser, alcoholic, drop out, didn’t mean I didn’t have issues. My scars were there. I just did not realize it because I was numb. Anytime I started to cry about not having my Daddy, my Mom made sure to tell me to “Shut-up” or ” I don’t want to hear about your daddy cause he ain’t paying child support.” So I numbed my voice. It was not until my second boyfriend broke up with me that I began to notice a stricking pattern. “OMG, I miss my Dad, and I have been looking for him in my relationships.” my thoughts. My College love, broke up with me and for some agonizing reason I could not figure out why I couldn’t get over him?? I would stay in my Ex’es lives WELL OVER the expiration date. I learned this from my High School sweetheart who broke up with me during my second semester of college, and I damn near DIED. That should have been a first indication of something is off about who I beleive I am and who I THINK I need to validate who I am. So I carried on, and fell in love with my College boyfriend, and he too broke up with me. You see i showed up “clingy” or like I “watered myself down” to make folks feel “smarter” or “more intresting”. The thing is I just wanted to be accepted and loved by a guy. It makes me so proud to see the truth now. No shade with my past, it’s not even about them, it’s about me realizing through talking with my Dad, that breaking up or a guy leaving me was trigger that reminded me of my father leaving and made me feel like I was not worthy. I FINALLY HEALED THAT WOUND. I mean words can not express! Whew, thank YOU LORD!

2. If a Tree Falls in the Forest, but No One is There to Hear it, Does it Make a Sound? – My Dad spent a lot of time saying his story didn’t matter, and that I’m not the only kid to be raised without a Father and that I needed to get over it. Maaaaan. We spent the entire evening talking in circles. So I said this to my Dad (The above riddle) and he said, “What are you talking about?” and I said, just because you were not here to witness my pain, obstacles, or  insecurities, does not mean it didn’t happen. Just because I came out without having kids out of wedlock , drug addictions, or severe low self-esteem, does not mean I don’t have “hidden scars”. He then got quiet. After 5 long hours, he finally said to me “One of the toughest things I have ever done in my life, was leaviing you at age of 7. I knew I was going to damage that little girl.” The ice cube in my heart melted. IT WAS DONE. All the resenetment, and anger I had towards past relationships, myself , and others went away. I just needed accountability. I needed to hear my Dad say, he knew exactly what he was doing, and that he was sorry. It was the pretending that damn near kept me in bondage. Actually, it did keep me in bondage for over 30 + years. Today, I am a much better, stronger, and courageous woman.

3. I am a Lover and it’s OK! – I now realize even more just how powerful my ability to LOVE is! I witnessed the power of  LOVE and it’s healing abilities to see those important to you through their confusion and lack of awareness. I saw my Daddy through. I stood by him through the night and held his hand to walk him out of his own denials. (I am crying while typing this …one second.) …. I realized LOVE walked me and my Dad out of 30 years of pain, denial, and anger.

I love you Daddy, you are so much more than you know. I honor you and thank you for every part of your heart that you opened up to me. I saw a Black man differently. I saw a glimpse of how hard it is to be vulnerable and hear others pains, when they may be going through pain them self. I am here for you as your daughter. During our time together I uncovered another gift I have… I can face ANYTHING in the name of LOVE and I can see my future children and husband through. Most importantly, I see MYSELF now. I see ME for the FIRST TIME. Ladies… if you can (as there are many different circumstances and Father/Daugher dynamics)  if possible, reach out to your Daddy. Talk to him, he has a whole world of insight and knowledge, that can help you in more ways than you may know.

Rebel on,

Antres

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