When some people hear the word father, they associate the title with love, protection, and a role model.
Feelings of warmth, respect, and care fill their hearts, maybe recalling their own dads or a male figure who was like a father to them.
When others hear the word, they shrink from the weight of it, crushed by memories that caused them immense pain and hurt. Reminders of abandonment or rejection, loss, or longing.
Then there are those who experienced the father who may have been an amalgam of everything mentioned above.
No matter how perfect our childhood may have seemed, we are all suffering from it in some way. And many are caught peeking through the window of another’s life, filled with envy and sadness, believing that their world is so much better than our own.
In reality, we have no idea if what we saw painted a true picture of what was real. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
So often the person with the kindest heart who is never without a smile is the one who is hiding the most—pain, insecurity, and angst. A tormented soul who suffers through each day, making it look effortless.
I want this to speak to the girl who hates her father because he thought females were less than and she was never good enough. I want this to speak to the boy who hates his father for beating him, never standing a chance to shine in his eyes.
How about the teen whose father snuck into her room at night, whispering words of affection flavored with threats of harm should their secret be told. Or the boy who was creative and flamboyant, rejected by his father because he wasn’t man enough, such a girl.
You, yes you.
You may have healed, though the scars are thick. You may have forgiven, though you carry the hurt deep within your heart, paying for his sins as you navigate this life.
You. Yes, I’m speaking to you.
You were fatherless, abandoned, or abused. You were tortured, wounded, and suffered. Yet here you are. A gift to us all.
I hate what he has done to you—the mental, emotional, or physical torment. I hate that he caused you such unimaginable pain.
But I see you.
The you who exists today. The you who has come so far. The you who has had the courage to share your story and help those who haven’t yet found their voice. The you who is so fragile, vulnerable, and real. The you who has overcome such personal atrocities and not only survived, but thrived.
You are so strong. You are so beautiful.
It’s not a happy Father’s Day for you. There’s no celebration of paternal love or feelings of gratitude.
This day may be a painful reminder of your history. It may be fraught with memories that you’d rather keep locked up, the key thrown away, never to be found.
So today, whoever sees him or herself in this piece writing, I celebrate you—the person you’ve become and the life you’ve built—in the name of the father.