21 Days ago I came home to an eviction notice. I was already struggling to get by and knew it was coming. My mother is facing her own hardships. My grandparents. Stepdad #1. My sister’s father. EVERYONE I normally depend on I no longer felt comfortable asking for help. I didn’t want to further disadvantage them because I hadn’t figured it out.
I never asked my biological father. He’s barely been out of jail one season and I didn’t want some heroic attempt to prove he cares about me to get him sent right back.
I’ve always been pretty independent. My mother said she always knew I wouldn’t stay local for college. But 21 days ago I began to drown. Alone. Independently. As more & more bills and shut off notices arrived and no income coming in. I even owed the LIBRARY money. THE LIBRARY!
29 days ago I helped my older sister handle a serious setback in her life. I lie beside her as she asked Step Dad #1 to tell her he loved her & that he would always be there to support her. In that moment I envied her because although I may have the burden & blessing of THREE father figures I never built that type of bond. I never developed a sense of security and trust in the efforts of one other individual that their words alone were enough to fuel me through a tough situation.
Today my last boyfriend offered to pay my past due rent. I’ve been very short and dismissive of him for months. I told him I didn’t feel comfortable asking for …He stopped me and said “You didn’t ask I offered. I still care about you. I still love you. I still have love for you, and I want to help.” We talked outside for a few hours because the bank and the rental office were both closed due to unrest here in Baltimore. Before he left he said “Next time someone offers you help ask yourself ‘Am I the type of woman who deserves help?’ do it”
It never dawned on me that I had somehow convinced myself that I was undeserving of his help. I didn’t want it because I didn’t want to feel as though I owed him anything.
As he drove off he repeated “Just ask yourself if you deserve help. I think you do and that’s why I’m willing to help you.”
None of my father’s ever made me feel like I deserved something I didn’t work for. My biological father bought me things because he thought it made up for time lost. Step Dad #1 did nice things for me because at that time we did nice things as a unit. My sister’s father initially did things for me to impress my mother and later as a reward for good grades, but not once do I recall them instilling in me that even when I couldn’t do for self I was deserving of a hand up.
Maybe I’m overlooking instances of assistance because I felt like that’s what parents are SUPPOSED to do. I do know that those four words got my gears churning. DO I deserve help?
Penned April 28th, 2015
I was watching HOUSE earlier (Season 5 ep6 JOY) and Cutty was trying to adopt a baby from a young meth addict. The girls told Cutty her grandmother stayed in a marriage where the grandfather treated her like garbage for 38 years. Her mom would have stayed married to her “loser dad” that long but he dumped her. She then follows it up with “You know I never understood how you could fall for the same crap as your mother. Then I met Tony. …I don’t want her raised by a loser.”
Shortly after that episode I spoke to my grandparents. They’re hilarious I love them, but today was different. Today my grandmother randomly decided to point out the things she DOESN’T like about being married to my grandfather. I laughed at them most of them, like “Having to pick out his clothes because he’s color blind.” But I was somewhat confused as to why she was going on this rant.
When I first met my last boyfriend I was sharing a story about my grandma with him and he said “You sound like you come from a long line of women who like to tell men what to do.”
I never thought about it that way but my grandma is the not-so-silent boss in their partnership. And my mom never legally married but in both common law relationships with step dad #1 and my sister’s father, she pretty much ran things.
I noticed after my sister was born her father kind of distanced himself from his family and friends. He really integrated himself into my mother’s family and all of the relatives of his I had gotten to know; my sister never did. In addition to his inclination for arguing he appeared to be very controlling. I realize now that he was just trying to be the head of the house owned solely by the woman he loved.
Just like the girl on HOUSE I saw my mother as weak for staying with him and I never wanted to be with a man like that. At the first sign of similarities between my last boyfriend and my sister’s father, I was over it. I shared those sentiments with my mother and she advised me not to base my relationship decisions off of my opinions of hers.
There are many things about my sister’s father I grew to love, but it didn’t stop me from noticing his flaws in the men I chose to date. I stuck it out with that last guy for another six months after I thought I should have ended things and another few months after that. Turns out I did come from a long line of women who like to tell men what to do. We also like to stay with those men a little too long, hoping we can love them flaws and all.
Guess I’m not strong enough to stick it out in the long run. But at least I noticed the patterns.
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I came to Jersey for my youngest sister’s birthday. I was the designated chaperon. I promised my father’s brother I would come see him this time. It was only right seeing how his birthday is a couple days before my sister’s. Even though my uncle had never mentioned it to me, I knew there was a possibility that my father would be there. As the thought of seeing him entered my mind while I drove up the block to my uncle’s house the radio played IDFWU by Big Sean & I had no choice but to laugh a little and release the anxiety.
When I entered the apartment only my uncle’s long time girlfriend was present. She said my uncle had gone downstairs to do some laundry so I sat and waited. Just as I got comfortable my father came walking out of the bathroom. He leaned down to hug me and although I didn’t hug back I hadn’t pushed him away either. He said “Thank You” and sat beside me silently. Shortly afterward my uncle came upstairs. I got up and hugged him. He and I carried on a conversation with his girlfriend and my father just sat there unable to contribute. I tweeted about him.
My mother always said he had good eyesight (when telling of how he stole her calling card number from across the room) and I guess he saw my tweet because he said.
“I know it probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but I really am sorry I missed out on your life.”
I simply replied “I’m ok” to which he seemed to have taken offense. As much as his lifestyle and choices confused me I always believed my father loved me. I also believed he was sorry he missed out on my life, but I had no room for & no need for another apology. Don’t make excuses, make change. At 24, this is the umpteenth time I’ve heard “I’m sorry for missing out on your life.” I wonder when he’ll realize he could stop missing out if he could start making better choices, instead of drafting better apologies.