I hate Father’s Day.
Every year I get to look at all of your happy pictures and words of adoration on Facebook and try to prove to myself that I’m a good person by pretending to be happy for all of you.
But I’m not really happy.
It’s kind of like when my baby died and I had a really hard time seeing all the happily pregnant women who still had living babies.
It wasn’t just the surviving pregnancies that pushed my envy button. It was that I had been robbed of my own innocence.
I could never have another wonder-filled pregnancy. Because I knew what it felt like to give birth and then hold your baby while she died.
Watching everyone else celebrate Father’s Day is a lot like that.
I’m a grown up. I’m supposed to “get over it” and be happy for all the rest of you. But I’m really and truly ANGRY at all the innocence that those who have had fathers get to feel.
You get to feel a safety and love that I have never known – that I can’t even imagine.
Or at least that’s what it looks like from this side of the celebration.
As I get older, some of my friends are now grieving fathers who have recently died. And, while I feel empathy for their pain, I also have a hard time relating.
I mean, at least you got the man for your whole damn life.
I got a sperm.
That’s what I told my mom once when she referred to my father as “my father.”
“I didn’t get a father,” I said. “I got a sperm.”
I know it’s harsh, and somewhat offensive. But it’s also the truth. Besides, what’s even more offensive is to raise yourself in a fatherless world.
When you are a fatherless daughter, you never really know what protection feels like. That means you have to defend yourself all the time.
Thus, you live defended.
When you are a fatherless daughter, no one teaches you how to live successfully with other men.
This complicates every male relationship you will ever have your whole life.
When you are a fatherless daughter, and you have sorrow in your life, you never have strength and protection to turn to for solace.
You life your whole life unprotected.
There is no man to go to for wisdom. Thus, you develop unevenly. You are skewed toward the Fierce Feminine, and that is not such a bad thing, except for this:
You live your whole life braced for trouble. And, if you are not careful, you can get really really bitter and resentful of all men.
If you don’t want this to happen, you have to do “your work.” Uck.
What this means is that you have to spend years and thousands and thousands of dollars talking to professionals about “abandonment issues.”
It’s not fair it’s not fair it’s not fair.
I know. Life isn’t fair.
And I’m supposed to balance this essay out by sharing with you all the mitigating factors – all the “goodies” you get because you are a fatherless daughter.
I could tell you that I’m strong as shit. But really, if you scratch past the outer veneer of that strength, what you find is a whole lot of protected vulnerability.
When you live in a fatherless world, it’s easy to live in a hyper-vigilant state. You have to train yourself to relax. To be. To trust.
Don’t even get me started on all the god issues you have to confront. If you have a father, you probably never considered this – but most major religions ascribe male qualities to their deities.
How are you supposed to trust or rely on a “God the Father” if you never experienced an earthly father?
What does the word even mean?
And that is the most difficult part. There is a whole area of social literacy that is lost to you when you are a fatherless daughter.
Since you have never had the experience of fatherhood, you can never really “get it” when others talk about their fathers.
So, one day a year, all of us fatherless daughters sit by and smile while the rest of you celebrate the guy that gave you all that strength, love, and protection.
And the rest of the year, we muddle through on our own, because we have lived without that strength, love, and protection every damn day of our lives.
But, hey, Happy Father’s Day, everyone.