Growing up without your father is hard. Even though I knew my father wasn’t a good person, it still left a void in my life. This hunger and desire and thirst to prove myself to others so they could see that I wasn’t my father, and I was worthy of all the love and care I gave to others.
All I wanted was to feel accepted, protected, and loved.
I wanted the flawed but good man that my friends described their fathers as. I listened hungrily as they told me tales of adventures they and their fathers had, of the closeness they had, of that fatherly and daughterly bond they shared. It was hard for me not to be jealous.
Especially given the fact that me and my stepfather have never been close. He cares for me and he loves me, and I love him; but I don’t think we’ve ever fully understood one another on a deeper level.
It left a lot to be desired.
So I made up fictional fathers. Because fictional fathers can be perfect, they can always rescue you, they can love you with unconditional love, and they can make you shimmer and shine and glow with all the love you wished you had received as a child. Fictional fathers can be simultaneously a comfort and a painful reminder that you felt exceedingly empty inside.
I used to write poems to my father, I used to wish on shooting stars that I could see him, used to pray that I would see his face. But the universe never granted my wish, and my mother told me that he was a terrible person that I probably wouldn’t want to meet.
So I continued on with my fictional fathers because they brought me peace and comfort when it was hard for me to find solace. But the thing about fictional fathers is they can’t hug you, they can’t wipe away your tears, they cannot comfort you or help you face your very real problems in the world, they cannot hold you, they cannot become real even if you need them to be real.
Other girls got fathers, all I got was a ghost of a whisper. All I got was a painful reminder that some people get perfect families and other people get nothing, and while it never felt fair – the world never promises to be fair.
So be kind to fatherless daughters. They’re stronger than you’ll ever know.