When Father’s Day Is Complicated...

We survived it.
The day ended.
Thank God.
We no longer have to be bombarded with the oooshy, gooshy memories and posts 
Of dads,
At
Baseball games
And weddings,
Showing up,
For their kids
In ways you probably only dreamed.
Like me,
the memories of your dad may also be fresh,
But for totally different reasons.
The sting of the hurt,
Because he didn’t show up 
How you always dreamed,
Or even at all,
Still burns,
Like the first day you realized,
He wasn’t all 
You’d hoped him to be.
And now all these years later,
You scold yourself,
For not getting over it,
And letting it go.
It’s so darn complicated.
You have forgiven,
Yet the pain keeps,
rising to the top.
Obviously, 
You’re supposed to be over this,
But You’re not.
So what do you do when
what you hoped for,
doesn’t line up with what you got,
And lil’ holidays like Father’s Day pop up,
as an annual reminder,
Of the beautiful relationship and experiences 
You missed out on. 
Here’s my story...
While my dad was very much physically active in my life,
His presence came with a lot of pain.
Now deceased,
I never got that apology,
I rehearsed over and over again in my mind,
Or the questions answered,
Or my whys addressed.
So,
I tried to bury them,
But realized some time ago,
They were 
Simply shoved down,
And Alive.
But I had to decide,
I no longer wanted to relive the pain,
And I needed to get closure,
With or without him.
So here’s how I made peace with my complicated relationship with my father.
I Rewrote the Story
At a certain point, I realized
the story I told myself about my father,
was only partially true. 
There were a lot of bad things, painful things that wracked my brain and heart for decades. 
But I didn’t want to keep living in that. 
Reliving that,
Garbage.
I had to decide 
that in spite of the mess, 
I learned so much about me,
and what I needed 
and desired as a woman,
through that pain.
I crafted a beautiful profile of what I wanted for my kids in a father,
and what I would never allow to happen to them,
because of the impact my past had on me. 
I committed to end the cycle.
I didn’t get the fairytale daddy story, 
but I chose to rewrite a new story
One that included the good I inherited from the bad. 
Like my commitment to not minimizing unhealthy parental behaviors; 
my desire to shine a light on physical abuse; 
and even 
the positive characteristics I inherited from my dad,
like my unwavering passion and willingness
to fight for what I believe.
It wasn’t easy
And,
It took me years to rewrite the story, 
I ultimately realized, 
there can be a happy ending to my story,
If I choose.
That while I can’t change the past
I can choose to stop replaying the part
That affirms what I didn’t get.
And remind myself of
The resilience,
The Grit,
And resolve 
That formed within me,
Because of what I experienced.
I realized I can write and share and empathize
With the hurt that unites so many of us women,
Because we together 
grew up feeling bare and naked and alone.
There are a whole bunch of us out here.
But we are here
Strong,
And,
Fighting to rewrite
The part of the story
now within our control.
So where do we start? How do you begin to rewrite that which feels already written 
In stone.
You acknowledge the past while still acknowledging the hope of the future.
Here are a few examples:
  • My dad wasn’t there, but even though he wasn’t, I am choosing a path of healing and accepting him not being there, was because of  his shortcomings, not mine.
  • My dad didn’t love me the way I desired, despite that, I realize I was loved by so many, who taught me how to become the woman I have become today.
  • My dad didn’t show up to activities that were important to me, and because of how much that hurt me, I now make every effort to show up for my loved ones and demonstrate the love I wanted to receive.
  • Because of what I experienced, I am choosing to break the cycle, and build examples of what healthy love and relationships look like.
You can rewrite your story.
The question is are you ready to write it?
It starts with one sentence,
and then another,
until your new story is not simply one of hurt,
but one of hope,
recognizing you are a beautiful work in process,
full of highs and lows,
some radiant
some gray, 
but in the end 
You have become 
a unique,
masterful,
Valuable 
work of art.
I’ll admit that my dad no longer being alive
means 
I don’t have to freshly confront 
old and maybe even new demons.
That said, 
these complicated relationships 
often require
crystal clear boundaries 
Read Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (https://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454/ref=nodl_)
to learn how to set healthy boundaries.
It was life changing for me.
But most importantly,
don’t put off today
the steps you can take
towards 
beginning 
a journey to healing. 
Now, get to writing...
or maybe even seeking a therapist =>
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists

Scriptural references:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭

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