29 years. I have lived for 29 years without knowing the sound of your voice. There are a lot of things I do not know about you. What you look like in person, what sets you off, what makes you smile, what makes you proud of an offspring, what family diseases you’ve inherited and passed on to me, what makes your day, what breaks your soul.
There are a lot of things you don’t know about me as well. You don’t know the things I like, how determined I am when I want something, my kooky sense of humor that Mama insists I got from you, my achievements, my aspirations, and my heartaches. Most of all, you don’t know that you are the cause of my biggest heartache.
I’ve dated a handful of jerks. I’ve had days when I went through pints of ice cream and nights when I muffled my sobs with a pillow. Even now that I’m married to a guy who adores me and whom I love in return, there are still times when my emotions get exhausted and all I want is let out a good cry after an argument. But nothing, absolutely nothing comes close to the crushing pain you’ve put me through.
Daddy issues. That’s the name they’ve given to problems that crop up in women who’ve had absentee fathers. Some women become promiscuous; others date emotionally unavailable men; all in vain efforts for daddy to notice them. As for me, I strived to do well in school. I enjoyed the accolades but subconsciously I’d think to myself that the moment you find out you have a smart daughter, you’d regret leaving my mother while she was pregnant with me.
I was desperate for you to acknowledge me as your offspring. I wanted nothing more but to receive a letter or a phone call from you. I wanted to share something else with you besides the weird last name. Every year my mother would ask me “what did you wish for?” after I blew out the candles on my birthday cake and each time I would answer “to meet my father”. She’d laugh but I can only imagine the pain she felt each time she found out the answer.
As I grew older, I grew bitter with resentment at this man who never took the time to know me despite the numerous attempts to reach out to you. And over the years I found out that I wasn’t as successful at compartmentalizing as I thought I was. There are times I have been unnecessarily mean to my husband because I am jaded and afraid that he will do to me what you have done to my mother.
But after 29 years, I think it’s about time to move on. That you’re in the Philippines and my request to see you has fallen on deaf ears is enough indication that you do not want me in my life and I’m rather unsure why I wanted you in my life either. You do not deserve to meet me and I do not deserve this heartache. I forgive myself for all the years I pined for you, for believing that you and I will ever have a normal father-daughter relationship, for the dysfunctional relationship patterns I have created over the years, for my commitment phobia, for being angry, and for being sad all because of one man.
Because you see, I may have issues like any other person but you, daddy dearest, have bigger ones.
“Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.” – Sylvia Plath