You Were the First Dad…

CAM00585Dear Dad,

Honestly, this letter has probably been a long time coming. I have had many mixed emotions about you, our relationship, and have wondered how I would’ve turned out if you actually had been there for me. For the longest, I considered Mom to be my mother and my father and you were just the man she used to have me. Shitty, huh? Yea, I think so too.

There was a gap I wanted someone to fill. And now, I have issues when it comes to relating to men, especially black men. I don’t know if this is the reason I turned out gay or more feminine but I feel like it is part of it. They scare me. Most people think that I’m the intimidating one, but I feel small when it comes to interacting with men. I’m always nervous that I’m going to end up hurt in one way or another. I’m not as tough as people seem to think. I’m sure there are more reasons I am the way I am, but I just addressing the ones that deal with you. You know, I’m half of you. I’ve been searching for a man who would make me feel like somebody because you never made me feel like anybody. But I’m learning to love myself the way you didn’t.

 I really just felt like you were never interested in me. That you really didn’t want me and you already had a son- Chris. And it didn’t get any better when I told you I was gay- and the fact that you asked Keaira if I was turning into a woman. But you never asked me. You never asked me. I would’ve told you what was going on.

Part of me feels the reason you don’t care is that you have so many other children. Maybe I thought that you thought that, they were more important than me? And to add insult to injury, when I did see you, I felt like I was always met with anguish. All of my attempts to bond with you and show what my interest was failed. I guess drawing dresses and cooking wasn’t manly enough for you. I never felt like you liked me like I was a disappointment because I wasn’t like the other little boys. Truth be told, I wasn’t interested in any of the things you were interested in- things a man is supposed to be interested in. But I don’t think you ever took the time to try. You were too busy sleeping around and making more kids that single mothers have to take care of.

I don’t know what your relationship was like with your father. I never met him. I don’t know if this is how he treated you so it’s all you know, dad. I’ve always had to find out stuff about you from third parties like Keaira or Aunt Marilyn or mom. We barely ever spoke. I’m not trying to put all the blame on you. I could’ve picked up the phone and called to see how you were doing but I was always stuck between “he doesn’t really like me” and “if he actually wanted to speak to me he’d reach out.” And you never did.

When I was a kid, during Christmas time, I asked mom to buy me this cherry red Huffy with pegs for the holiday. She said she couldn’t afford it, but if I could find a way to earn the money, she’d take me to go get it. So that’s what I did. I took the family rake door to door and offered to rake people’s yards for cash and most said yes. But there was one man, in particular, a white neighbor-Mr. David- who lived across the street. When I knocked on his door and offered, he asked me what the money was for and my eyes lit up as I told him about that bike I wanted for Christmas. He said I could rake his yard and come back the next week for my payment. That was the same week you came down to visit. The day rolled around and I skipped over to the front of his door ready for my payment. It was the last little bit I needed to buy the bike. And all of a sudden, Mr. David rolls out a cherry red Huffy with pegs. I think I cried. I had finally gotten the bike I worked so hard for.

Later that day, you saw me outside on my brand new bike and made me bring it in the house. Interrogated me about where I got it from and when you found out, said: “I don’t need no nigga buying my kids shit, take that shit back!” And with a fist full of tears, I took the one thing I wanted the most back to the man who was willing to give it to me. You said that you’d buy me the bike, but that never happened. You lied and took away something I had worked for. I know you have your reasons for why you reacted the way you did but at the end of the day, you took away something I desperately wanted. And never apologized for it or made up for it like you promised. I didn’t realize how that day scarred me so much. I think that was also the day stopped trusting you and men. Because I also felt like Mr. David should’ve fought to make sure the bike stayed. I think this is one of the reasons I’m always hesitant to ask a man for anything.

I graduated from college. I know you know. And I didn’t even get a “congratulations” on Facebook. People who I’d only met once even reached out, but not you. I don’t even know what you’re doing right now or what your life was like. Honestly, you seem like such a stranger to me, but you’re my dad. And it hurts to even use that word. But that’s who you are.

I’m even crying while I’m writing this. How manly, right?

Ultimately, I just wanted you to love me and I never felt you did. Money buys things but not that. So I don’t think I ever got a chance to love you back.

I’m sorry. I should’ve loved you back, even if I didn’t get it. So I’m sorry….

Well, I have to live my life now, as the person I am, comfortable with me, in me, as me. I’m not asking to foster a relationship. I just wanted to tell you how I felt. I don’t know if you’ll read this but if you do, know that this was a hard letter to write. I’m not trying to make you feel bad for how things turned out. Advice: Just do better by the rest of your kids. I don’t want them feeling the way I do. Be more than a sperm donor and a bank. Children deserve more. I deserved more.

But, the good news is, I turned out fucking amazing. I love me, my mother loves and accepts me and my siblings do too. I have family and friends who wouldn’t have me any other way. They give me love.

Most importantly, I forgive you, dad. I think that its possible that you had no idea the gravity your absence or presence had on me as a child. Maybe this was all you knew. I understand that you are human and have faults like the rest of us and have learned to deal with your life how you see fit. I don’t want to walk around holding this on my back any longer. I never felt like I could effectively communicate with you without it leading to an argument so I figured that writing this letter would be better for both of us. Maybe you did try your hardest. I know we have different perspectives. I’m just trying to share a little bit of mine with you. So I forgive you, dad, for the things you did and for the things you didn’t do. And I forgive myself for holding on to so much for so long that’s made me bitter in some ways.

Thank you for the gift of life. I won’t waste it. And if I ever get the chance to become a parent, I’ll use this as a lesson- a blueprint to do differently. So, thank you and if I never hear from you again, know that I love you because you are my dad. And I will always love my dad, even when it hurts. Please do not feel obligated to respond.

I’m not sure how to sign this,


Inspired by: Half of You by Grace Carter

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