In my first post, I spoke about how you defined father. If you have not read them I propose you go back and check it out because this one might make more sense.
I spoke about defining “father” in the first post and failed to mention that there is not a single human being on this planet, nor has there ever been, that chose their father. Prior to being born, I did not select a Navajo cowboy as the man who would raise me nor did I chose to have his 23 chromosomes that make my skin slightly brown. Oddly enough, just like many aspects of life, we were not given any sort of “say so” in this decision.
You might be asking; “Where is this going, Caleb? I know I didn’t choose my parents.” While understanding that who you are is important, understanding how you got there might be just as vital. As we grow up, that “father” that we did not choose instilled in each and every one of us anger, malice, rage, insecurity, mistrust, love, joy, hospitality, hope, and many more characteristics both positive and negative. Lets be honest; even if he was never there that absence allowed some part of who you are to blossom.
Now on to what we can have a part in.
In each one of us, there is a “gravitational pull” toward that person that our father raised even if it’s a sore, painful, and dark human being. Realizing what “father” is, what your history looks like, and who you are now may be the keys to a much-needed season of healing. I want you to reach real deep… I’m saying reeeeealll deep into who you are. What has your father fostered in you due to past interactions? Do you cling to different men because your father never clung to you? Do you work hard because your father always encouraged you to do your best?
Now I want you to separate those positive qualities from the negative ones.
Here we go. I want you to identify/acknowledge those sore spots in your life that your father instilled. It’s like a bruise, it hurts, its ugly, you want to cover it up, but what i want you to know is that bruises heal. The choice of which father we got was never our own, but who we are today is. I want you to realize that you are not the crap that your father may have treated you as, you are not the beast that he claimed you were, and you are worth any man’s time even if your father never spent any with you. Although every daughter and son has a “gravitational pull” to believe what their father wrongfully downloaded into the depths of their brain, you can defy gravity. Open your eyes to the bruises and taste the bitter truth of the history none of us could choose, but deny the lies that embrace your heart and break the chains that make you believe you are anything but beautiful.
Its time for healing but healing comes through truth and the truth can be painful.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. -Gandhi
For those who feel like admitting you’re hurt will make you appear weak, you’re wrong.
For those who say hiding from reality is better than facing it, you’re mistaken.
For those who are desperate for love and attention but suppress it to get by… stop right there.
You do not have to hide anymore. You are not alone in the struggle. There are countless people who are broken, just like you, by the very person meant to protect you… your dad.
The truth stings. The truth is painful… but the truth really will set you free.
Can we stop pretending we don’t care for a minute?
Imagine someone talking about how awesome their relationship with their dad is without feeling the least bit of envy or jealousy.
Imagine someone asking you about your dad and you feel no embarrassment.
Imagine seeing your dad and feeling less ambivalence and more benevolence.
Imagine yourself free of the distrust, hesitance, and complicated emotions.
Imagine yourself optimistic.
Imagine yourself free.
Imagine that all these things could be.
I assure you, there is such a place though you can barely imagine it to be. For now, simply envision yourself free. Not free of your dad, but free in spite of your dad. Imagine that.
Divulging the truth is just the beginning.
Freedom is also the beginning.
The beginning of a state of mind you have never known before.
Releasing the truth about how you feel… discovering new ways to express how you feel…
This is the start to the free you long to be…embrace vulnerability.
father: one who has begotten a child, whether son or daughter; a generator; a male parent.
Many times I wonder if Webster understood what a daughter’s definition is of “father.” Today a dad can mean anything from the guy who gave you 23 of your 46 chromosomes to the man who loved you everyday since the day you were conceived. I would argue that the “genetic donor” definition is most popular among most, but does that make it correct? According to the Merriam-Webster, ” a man who has begotten a child” is all it takes to make a father.
The question every man and woman, daughter and son, have to ask themselves is how their individual life experience has formed this definition. We rarely contemplate how definitions vary but just like everything else … it’s relative. Many of us never think about how we have become the person we are or even how our hands are accomplishing their tasks, but I urge you to start.
The DBMH Project is a platform for you to receive and share encouragement and insight concerning paternal conflicts of the past and present. DBMH is proud to present the Male Perspective portion of the project. Our guest blogger: Caleb is a passionate young man determined that women know the truth about their worth. He speaks words of encouragement to support us along the difficult journey to healing of past wounds inflicted on us by fathers.
You can email your private questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply add a comment beneath the post! Remember, DBMH is always looking for your thoughts and contributions to the conversation!
Read: Define Father by Caleb
Even though as infants and toddlers we were trained to love our blood relatives, as we come to an understanding that love goes beyond the words and hugs. Love is a commitment to put someone else before yourself. Love is a promise to look out for someone and keep their name from being marred or misused. Love is vulnerability.
Love is something we can help, simply put, a choice. Once betrayed, you choose to stop loving. Your vulnerability is treated as a weakness and manipulated. When Anaïs Nin stopped loving her father, you would think she would have found freedom from the negative energy of that relationship. This was not the case. She succumbed to what she describes as a “pattern of slavery.” A “pattern of slavery” to suppressed emotion, feelings of neglect, gripped in the chains of her own bitterness.
We can choose our friends. But blood dictates who is in our family. And even if we are never close to family for the better, we owe it to ourselves to resolve within ourselves why there is no connection. Furthermore we must recognize anew that love is a choice.
Love is not about the soft and fluffy nor the hugs and kisses and fond feelings. Love is tough. More often than not, love is tough. Tough love is about acknowledging the broken state of the relationship, and trudging ahead anyway. Tough love is honest even though it hurts. Tough love is hoping for the best for an individual from a distance. Tough love is difficult, that is why it’s called “tough” to start with. Even still, tough love is a choice to stay free of the “pattern of slavery.” When it comes to family, tough love is better than not to love at all. Remember, love is the absence of hate…and hate will surely destroy you.
This is one of the most difficult things to think about, let alone to sit down and write. But I am done with avoiding the inevitable. Better yet, I am done with telling myself I’ll be okay without digging deep to get at the root of my issues. I know without a doubt that God has been calling me to write all of this to deal with the baggage of being an emotionally abandoned daughter. There has been a divine call set on my shoulders to openly struggle and put myself on the line for reconciliation–however that may look. I hate writing things without a resolute ending in mind. I hate being vulnerable and admitting that I am hurting if there is no available comforts to my pain. After all, what’s the point? I express myself to feel better, not worse.
Even still, I write. I write because I seek to grow, even if that means I will suffer from the painful anguish of coming face to face with my fears and all the implications of the baggage I have been carrying all my life. I write because I have found that it is only in obedience to the Holy Spirit that one can prosper. I have avoided going in this direction for too long and have reaped the repercussions of it which could have been a lot worse, and yet, mercy prevails and reminds me to stop running from what I should to do. This is the time to unpack all the anger, bitterness, mistrust, hurt, fear and longing from the depths of my heart and surrender my insecurities, questions, doubts, and skeptical attitudes. He has called me to love my father. How to do so is beyond me. But maybe I should start figuring that out.
I invite you to take this journey with me. The journey will surely be filled with tears, frustration, and probably lots of discouragement along the way. But God walks beside you and me and is all the help we need. When things are tougher than we would have imagined they would be, may we always remember that we owe it to ourselves, our Creator, and our lovers to be at peace with the man who brought us into this world. In this, we are never alone. Walk on in courage. If you think reading this might be difficult, imagine having to write it. I feel like I’m being crushed under hundreds of pounds of weight. My chest convulses for air as my eyes blur over in denial of the reality of the feelings I will divulge.
But like with everything else, this journey begins with the first step.
For me, it makes sense to go to the beginning of my dad consciousness: my memories of my first disappointments.