This past weekend, like most, my family and I celebrated Father’s Day. I shared a post on my Instagram where I discussed the importance of amplifying the beauty of the black men we call our fathers, along with a snippet of my life partner basking in his #blackboyjoy.
It was great to see such positive imagery of powerful black men painted on my timeline (because we all know nothing has been more negatively stigmatized than the Black dad) and it allowed me to self reflect on my personal relationship with my father. I immediately realized that it may be a familiar narrative amongst many black girls growing up in a single-mother household, to say that Father’s Day was “just another day.”
My father wasn’t the most active during my childhood, I can admit. I remember growing up and there being a lot of resentment towards my absent father because I always felt like he could have done more. There was this yearning for my father’s attention that I essentially felt was missing resulting in a constant void. As I became a young adult, I compartmentalized that relationship, and should you ask me about my father, I often replied “we don’t talk”.
It wasn’t until welcoming my daughter into this world that made me realize that the blame I was projecting onto my father was only stunting my growth and impacting me to live to my full potential. I walked around with a chip on my shoulder, and as a result, I felt broken inside because I was harboring a broken relationship and that level of hurt kept me complacent. I was doing a disservice to not only myself, but also to my newborn child and the generations to follow.
I know what your thinking, this is quite the opposite, maybe a little heavy, of what you would expect to read following a holiday where we should be commending fathers for all that they do. But hear me out, a father’s impact is limitless and really is a subjective experience. I understand and I cannot dismiss the fact that:
However, in my personal experience looking back now, my father did the best he knew how to do, at that time. This does not exempt him from his mistakes nor excuse his actions, but this is me acknowledging that it would have been difficult for him to give me what he may have been unable to receive.
An informative read that is written by Mark Wolynn, “It Didn’t Start With You” dives into understanding how inherited family trauma shapes who we are and how to end the cycle. He highlights the importance of one’s relationship with their parents equates to longevity and success in all aspects of life. A theory that stood out to me the most was dissecting the fact that often our discontent toward our parents gets projected onto our partner or shows up in our close friendships. As mentioned I was entering a major milestone in my life by creating a life with my partner so I was diligent in ensuring that mistakes were not being repeated but rather lessons were being learned. I did not want my unresolved “daddy issues” to hinder or sabotage the relationship I had nurtured.
So fast forward to today, here I am a 26-year-old mother of two in a thriving relationship and building family fundamentals, and I am reflecting on how the relationship with my father has molded me into the being I am today. My Dad and I are the closest we have ever been because I see him for who he is beyond the title “Father”. Our close relationship has provided comfort and support through the difficult times, and I now know when we feel positive toward our parents, we tend to feel positive about life and trust that good things will continue to come our way. I navigate through my personal relationship knowing that a companion should be a compliment - not a completion and as a result, I pride myself in working together as a team, while maintaining my individuality.
So in order to obtain health that is vibrant and resilient, over time, I dedicated myself to do the work by making peace with my father because in doing so would bring generational inner peace. This post may or may not resonate with you, but I am certain there are complexities within any parent relationship whether it may be with your father or mother. While being more open-minded and receptive to change I’ve learned you can’t change your parents, but you can change the way you hold them inside you.
Love & Light,