Thank you to the men who left before their shift was over.
To the fathers who cracked,
To the fathers who fled.
To the father who stole the furniture out of the house
But was kind enough to leave one of each piece of silver behind.
Thank you to the men who didn’t pull their weight.
To the father who disappeared for 29 years,
Who thinks that an e-mail apology is enough to squeeze
Into this fabulous life I’ve created for myself.
You had nothing to do with this.
And you will never have anything to do with this.
Thank you to the men who abuse:
To the man who took advantage of a naïve teenager.
Robbed her of her innocence,
And then vehemently shamed her in the community, too,
Because carelessly taking her virginity was not enough.
Thank you to you and the people who believed you.
Thank you to the men who manipulate and betray.
To the men who say the things they know we want to hear,
But mean nothing of what they speak.
To the men who say they only do “open relationships”
Because really you’re just afraid to commit and face your sh*t.
Thank you to the men who do not reciprocate.
Fathers, husbands, boyfriends, brothers.
For every unacknowledged text message, email, or call,
For every ignored attempt at restoring a relationship.
Thank you to the men who violate boundaries
With no respect for a woman’s body.
To the men who molested a vulnerable woman during a massage,
And then denied it when accused,
Thank you for teaching me to speak up for myself.
Thank you to the men who projected anger
Onto their innocent children,
Who walked on eggshells to avoid the wrath of your unresolved issues,
But still could not avoid you.
And were met with messages of why they are “little sh*ts,”
Or told to stay in the car like a dog while you took her friends out to go eat.
Thank you to the men who do not respect women.
Who think they can send a text message asking for sex.
Who view intimacy as a game and women as a conquest.
Who view bodies as meat and sex as tally marks.
Thank you for disrespecting me and my body
So that I had to learn how to respect and love myself.
Thank you for showing me what I don’t want,
Time and time again.
Sometimes the best example is a non-example.
Thank you to the men who lie
About where they are and what they are doing,
Or what they have done.
I pity the shaky foundation you stand upon.
For continually reminding me that I didn’t need you in the first place,
Pushing me to limits that tested my strength
Only to see me rise above your sh*t
And come out sparkling.
Thank you for showing me that being a “daddy’s girl” is overrated,
And that all I needed was myself (and my mom),
And all I’ll ever need is myself (and my mom).
Thank you for enveloping me in a darkness so black that I forgot myself,
And then, cracked and bruised on the ground,
Had to learn how to pick the pieces up
And put myself back together,
Better than before.
Thank you for teaching me to forgive.
To let go.
Because holding onto your coals of anger
Only served to burn me further.
Thank you for the knowing that I don’t need a prince charming—
I’m my own princess charming,
Thank you very much!
Thank you for all that you failed to be.
You made me a stronger me.
Author: Hannah Shea
Image: Author’s Own/Unsplash
Editor: Taia Butler