Was it my fault something I did, to make a father leave his first kid?” –DMX, Slippin’

That’s one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite rappers. It’s personal. It speaks directly to my own personal thoughts and emotions.

At 24, I’m the oldest of Buddha’s three children. I’m the most connected to his mother and siblings. And even though my brother is the only one to have lived under the same roof as him, I feel I’ve faced the most disappointment.

I was the one visiting him in jail before reaching double digit birthdays. I was the one living in his hometown, constantly hearing, “You look just like your father!” I was the one being reminded of his talents and potential, constantly having my accolades in writing and art compared to his. I was the one he lied to when asked if he had ever sold drugs to kids. It was me who spent many-a-days sitting on his mother’s porch or couch awaiting his arrival, anticipating pony rides and new “daddy/daughter” experiences. I was the one who believed “it would different this time,” and that he was finally tired of missing out on my life and would change his ways. I was the one who believed he would make better choices each time, because he thought I was worth it. But he never did, and I eventually grew tired of waiting to be a good enough reason to inspire that change.

I was never enough for my father. My existence, my accomplishments, my desires, were never ENOUGH to make my father stick around. To be there. To choose me on those few occasions that he was able to enjoy life outside of bars. To this day, that is the reason, I send my résumé to 25 people before applying for a job. That is the reason I get intimidated in settings where people appear to possess more confidence than me, even in the areas where I usually excel. Every day I’ve had to remind myself that I am enough, and even though my father never appreciated it, I cannot let that stop me from appreciating myself.


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