I hate Father’s Day. Every year I am so sad, angry and depressed on this exact Sunday. All the posts about “I’m so grateful for the greatest Dad in the world!” just remind me of my dad made sure I knew how worthless, stupid and unloved I was.
I adored my dad when I was little. When my parents decided to get divorced, my dad moved out. I began pulling out my hair. In handfuls. I made bald patches all over my head. I was 6. My mom and aunt decided to cut my hair into a pixie, which with my fine 6-year-old hair looked terribly babyish. I was called baldy and teased relentlessly until I reached 6th grade when my hair finally grew and looked normal. I still pull my hair out, but not so much you can notice. It’s an anxiety response, it soothes me. It’s super fucked up. But at least I’m not bald. Anyway…
Living with my mom was difficult. And I had this idolized image of my dad. I decided to go live with him when I was going into 6th grade. My mom wanted to move into San Francisco and knew it would be much easier without me so she was glad to have the opportunity. She didn’t know that my dad was going to be a monster. I certainly didn’t know. But he was a monster.
He yelled at me constantly. He called me stupid. Worthless. Useless. Piss ant. Other things I don’t care to remember. He threw things when he was really mad. Not right at me, but right next to me, almost hitting me. He was terrifying. We lived in a trailer, which he was hoarding into a Sanford & Son-esque nightmare palace. The shame of that combined with the shame of being stupid, worthless, etc just compounded. I felt totally ashamed to even exist. I was 12.
I also went through puberty. Overnight basically. From skinny girl with twig legs to having boobs, hips, thighs, butt, bam! I have stretch marks, since age 12, because my woman-ness just exploded. The attention I got from boys and men for my new body was terrifying. I wanted to disappear. I often want to disappear still. I’ve made my life so small that I feel like I have sometimes.
So that year of being 12 and living with my dad really did some damage. Serious Daddy issues. Self esteem issues. I have times when I feel like a really great person. But I always have this undercurrent of feeling worthless and unlovable. Especially unlovable by men. If my own father didn’t love me why/how will some random man love me? If I deserve the love and support of a romantic partner where is it?
Men deride women for their “Daddy issues” like these are a female issue. But maybe if more men were better Father’s so many women wouldn’t have said issues.
Sorry this post isn’t funny. I’ll try harder tomorrow. When Father’s Day is over.