No, I take that back.
I’m not sorry.
I’m actually quite tired of being sorry. I’m tired of falling into the belief that because you hold the title of “father” you are something I must constantly try to earn the affection of. I’m tired of all the nights I’ve spent locking myself away in my room or fleeing for the high roads from conversations that only end in civil wars and blatant disadvantage to the one you swore was your number one.
I’m tired of being your daughter.
If this sounds sharp, may I be frank, it truly is.
They say that girls will marry men that are like their fathers. After all, the father is the girl’s first insight on how it is for females to be treated by men. The way a father acts will create a pattern for the girl and her selection of men for the entirety of her life.
And for a while Dad, I would have to agree. For my origins in the sphere of dating, I blindly followed men who treated me the way that you did. That you do.
You see, as with most psychological factors involved in forming social relations, we place ourselves amongst people and situations where we recognize familiar patterns. Humans feel better when everything has a place.
So I found mine, with men who reminded me that I wasn’t worth anything, but swore that they were all that I had. I let them yell and manipulate me the way I’d always watched you manipulate mom; twisting her words and playing the victim until she caved into whatever it was you wanted from her. I stayed with them even when instinct was screaming for me to go. I stayed because in them I saw you and that was all that I’d ever really known a man to be.
It was only recently, Dad, that I realized that the men who behave like you are not men at all. You see, men that behave like you are cowards; shrouded in their own clouds of ignorance and disillusion on the way that the world is and is going to become. They are people high on the fumes of their own egos and blatantly disregard the wreck that they leave in their wake when they finally leave.
You were afraid when I first brought him home. He was new and different to you. He held the door open for me even when I fought his act of kindness; he was unafraid to allow me to be treated the way I was meant to be. He looked you in the eyes when he spoke, confident in his own ability to take care of me better than you ever had and better than you ever could.
He scared you because for the first time, you saw that I was capable of finding someone who loved me without needing you.
And it scared me, Dad, for the longest time, to be with someone that really loved me. After learning to walk on eggshells for the majority of my life, being able to take down walls and simply allow myself not to fight for the affection of someone else was a foreign experience. I was uncomfortable accepting his gentle words or graceful mannerisms because I was unable to respond to kindness after so many years of learning that my place fell below everyone else’s.
Do you realize the kind of things you’ve made me think about myself?
The way you would mock my eating made me afraid to stay at the dining room table with you as you’d oink when I’d reach for the pasta.
The way you trained me to believe that I was never going to be as good as anyone else, no matter how many things I did to earn your approval or affection. Love was a game and without the proper amount of change, you could not participate. I always came up short on funds, and you always came short on recognition.
The rumors you’d stir within our own family to paint an image of me that didn’t exist, as if I was the monster and you were not. You, instead, managed to carve a demon into me, turning pieces of me against each other and clawing at each other for control. I became split in myself because I was unsure if it was worth fighting your words anymore. I internalized my thoughts because you trained me to believe my emotion made me weak, defective and unable to truly make the best choices.
Discipline was always more than a lecture and comedy was an affair of joking turned venomous as soon as it touched upon your scars instead of mine.
I didn’t know how else to be without feeling pain. Without a knife in my back, I wasn't sure I’d be able to stand.
But Dad, I can.
I am more than happy to tell you that I am perfectly capable of moving myself without marionette strings and passive aggressive tides. I have found myself without needing your approval because, in the kindest honesty, your words no longer mean a damn thing to me. I will stop seeking praises that aren’t coming and praying for a deity in you that is only a demon.
You believe I am a failure, but I am not. I am a success because with all you've said, and all that you’ve done, I’ve managed to become a person that is not at all like you.
So dear Dad,
I’m not sorry.
I’m not sorry one bit.
Not ever again.
Happy Father’s Day,