I was very young when I got my heart broken for the first time. At the time, I didn’t have any awareness that my heart was broken. I just knew that I wanted him to leave because he was hurting me. The longer he stayed, the harder it became to let him go. Despite my desires to see him go, I still loved him and so desperately wanted him to love me back. But I knew if he stayed I would only hurt more and feel less love. So, when he finally left I felt relieved. My best friend assured me that I was complete without him.
Her faith in me and my gifts helped me to rise up on the days I felt lost without him. He wrote a few times in an effort to stay somewhat connected. He even showed up at my doorstep one day. He wanted to come back and work things out. However, my best friend once again helped me to realize how much he hurt me, and I was so much better without him. After that, I never saw him again and life went on, so I thought.
That man, who broke my heart for the very first time, was my father. My fierce best friend was my mother. It was her mission to ensure that I felt as if nothing was missing despite the fact that my father was not a part of my life. I, in turn, took on the attitude, “I don’t need my father” or “I don’t have a father” is what I would tell myself. My father was abusive towards my mother and that’s why I wanted him to leave. I wanted him to stop hurting my mother.
However, the older I got the more I realized that what I told myself was nothing less then a bold face and ugly lie. My mother was filled with great intentions. Her desire for me to feel complete was founded on the immense love that she had for me. It was one of the ways she helped me build my strength and character. The deposits of her constant love helped me build a great fortune of self-esteem which assisted me in reaching my life goals and dreams.
Yet, there was a part of me that did not experience self-confidence. That part of me was only awakened when I fell in love with another man. It’s the part of every little girl who has not known their father’s love that wonders if she is lovable enough for someone to stay and never abandon her again. That part of me carried the pain of not having a father tell me how beautiful and amazing I was, just the way I was. That part of me needed my father to tell me that I was more than good enough, no matter how many times I was rejected by a boy because I experienced a disability; and was not perceived as likable or hence lovable. I realized later on in my life that those were the times I needed him the most and those were times that despite what she tried, my mother’s words fell a bit short.
I realized that every time I was rejected or made fun of by boys, I knew it was because of their perception of who and what I was, and in those moments a piece of me withered and became damaged. Damaged in a way that indeed made me believe that no boy would really love me for who I truly was. I thought life went on when my father left but the little girl in me stayed in the space and time of wanting her father’s love and attention to show her how worthy she was. I was an adult when I understood how much my heart had been broken by my father leaving and then his passing away. All of this happened before I had the chance to ask the question, “Why?” and “Did you ever love me?”
For years, I wanted to have the father of my dreams so I could easily recognize the man of dreams. I came to understand and accept that my life’s road did not include a father that exemplified the type of love I should expect from a man. I didn’t have a father to continuously remind me to level up whenever I became disappointed by the guy I fell in love with. Like the time I was in love with a man for way too long knowing he didn’t value me the way I deserve to be valued and somehow was always left feeling I did something wrong when he didn’t call for weeks. When he did call, he acted like nothing ever happened and that my feelings of utter sadness and confusion was not a factor in his overall behavior towards me or the handling of my love for him.
This story is a familiar one for many young girls growing up in single-parent homes headed by mothers and it is part of my story. I had to confront my truth and heal myself using my fortune of strength and character. I had to forge ahead and recognize that my parents were human and not perfect. I understood that just as every being is worthy of beautiful dreams, love and compassion, they too are worthy of forgiveness and empathy. I had to work on that and work with what I had. I was left to mend the pieces of my heart myself. The little girl within me, alongside the adult I became, had taken responsibility for healing and loving myself through all of the pain and disappointment.
I forgave my father for his mistakes, and in forgiving him I set myself free from ever believing that something was wrong with me because I experienced a disability. I was able to see that I did not have hold to anyone who didn’t value me or didn’t have any regard for my feelings. This was critical for me because I came to terms with the fact that I held to such a person because I was trying to replace my father. I didn’t want to lose another man’s attention and hopefully love. I also came terms with the fact that no other man could do what I myself could have done for me. Any man that came into my life after father was not responsible for doing my father’s work. In seeing my experience of not having a father from this lens was so healing to me that, above all, now I know that I’m worthy of self-love which is the first love that one needs in order to welcome any other love in one’s life.