Dear Biological Father,
I have every right to hate you.
Most children need their daddies, and growing up I was no different. But I hated my weekend visits to your apartment after mom divorced you. Alone, I would stare blankly out of the small window with tear-stained cheeks wishing for the comforts of home.
I would think to myself, please come and get me, Mommy. I miss you.
You left me feeling abandoned, despite being only a few short feet away. I wanted you to take me out for ice cream, to push me on the swing as my hair floated freely in the breeze. I wanted you to play with me.
More than anything, I wanted you to hold my hand, to tell me I was beautiful, to listen to me, and to be there for me. I needed you to love me, but you didn’t. You didn’t do any of those things.
Eventually you moved to Tennessee, and found yourself a brand new family to care for. But back home, I still needed you. I wanted you to heal my heart after boys tried to break it, to remind me how special I was when girls bullied me, to hug me in pride when I was on the honor roll, but you didn’t do any of those things, either.
You were such a shitty dad.
As much as it sucked not having my biological father around, the vacancy in my heart was filling with memories that didn’t include you. I was numb to your absence. I was surviving by a thread.
When you left the state, I didn’t hear from you for 10 years. You didn’t visit, call or even send a birthday card for 10 goddamn years. After that, I washed my hands of you. With all that being said, you were somehow still surprised when you showed up unannounced on my 18th birthday, and I told you to leave.
I wanted nothing to do with you.
You missed everything important in my life: high school dances, my marriage, my college graduation, the birth of my children, my countless moves, the birthdays, every Christmas morning, Easter dinner and Halloween costume. Every laugh and every tear; you missed it all.
Despite all the shit you put me through, last year I shoved it deep into my belly, burying my distaste for you. After my second child was born, I consciously decided to reconnect with you. I convinced myself that time must’ve made you a better person, so I called you.
The conversation started off great. “I have grand kids!” joy spilled over every syllable into my receiver. I could feel the wall I’d built over the years start to crumble. We reconnected on Facebook, and I shared some photos with you. Unfortunately, only weeks went by before you revealed your true self to me.
“Can I have your address? I’d love to send them gifts,” you said.
“Not yet,” I responded sternly, “I need to get to know you first.” I wasn’t ready to share my entire life with you yet.
Out of nowhere, you snapped.
“You’re a stupid bitch, just like your mother,” you shouted, throwing me off guard. Those words knocked the wind right from my lungs. You plucked a brick from the crumbled wall in front of me, and threw it at my chest. My eyes were wide, fists clenched, and heart bemused. What had I done to deserve this? How did I let you back to the place where you could hurt me so easily? I was alone, staring out that small apartment window, once again. Only this time, mom couldn’t save me.
I came to my senses and realized that no matter how much time, or how many chances, you offer to someone, they still might end up letting you down. Some people aren’t worth the love and time we have to offer. Sometimes we have to let go.
You were still a shitty dad.
I hung up the phone and severed each and every connection you had to my life, because I’m too strong to let your gravity weigh me down. I am desperately clawing my way past your negativity, thrashing my arms to find a place I where I believe your words are nothing more than letters strung together in a pattern, where I honestly believe that they mean nothing.
So here I am, letting you go. I give you permission to forget about me and my family. You’re free to father and grandfather your other family without remorse. Free to say whatever you want to say about me.
No, I don’t hate you. Not even close.
For you, I have zero fucks to give.
Your Unapologetic Biological Daughter
A version of this essay was posted on Danielle’s Blog.