How Having 2 Fathers Turned Into Double The Daddy Issues In My Life
All the beautiful stock photos depicting the 20-something experiences of wanderlust and sexy romances make it easy to forget many of our childhoods were far from glamorous.
This reality means different things for different people.
For me, growing up with a father and a stepfather meant one thing: I now have double the daddy issues.
Despite having two male authority figures in my life, I had zero male role models I could look up to.
Neither of my dads ever called me their little girl or made me believe I was a princess the way I saw fathers do with their daughters on Disney Channel.
I was never told no boy would ever be good enough for me.
There was no "daddy" to teach me how to swim or drive a car. I had no idea what a real relationship with a father was like, and I spent years wishing I did.
Instead, I found out at a very young age the evil stepmother from my storybooks was real.
Except that, sometimes, she was a man. And I learned many awful things about men growing up because in many ways and for many years, he was the only man I knew.
My stepfather taught me men will make you suffer to remind you they hold the power. They will lie about you if it makes their lives easier.
He showed me men are ruthless and unpredictable, yet somehow always right.
They can do anything they want to you, and no one will stop them.
But, most importantly, my stepfather taught me men are not to be trusted. I grew up accordingly.
My experience with my biological father was admittedly less hellish. But, because he wasn't there to protect me from the villain in my story, he taught me I am 100 percent alone in this world.
My father taught me men will always put themselves first, and no one will blame them.
He taught me the only real problem a man faces is his woman, and the only real problem a woman faces is herself.
He taught me charm is more valuable than honesty, and anger is more powerful than fear.
He taught me, quite interestingly, I don’t deserve apologies and should never expect them to begin with.
But, most of all, my father taught me this: If you know what you want out of life, and you'd rather be alone when you get it, then for the love of God, use a condom.
Not everybody is meant to get married and have children.
As one might expect, I have no warm feelings toward anyone on Father's Day (except for myself).
I hate to think about it or even write about it, but when I do, I marvel at how stable I am (all things considered).
I'm proud of the fact I'm alive because when a child grows up feeling hated instead of loved, the idea of life loses its appeal.
But, I lived. And so did millions of other girls and boys who grew up without a father or, worse yet, with a man they would've been better off without.
As much as this is no justification, I can't deny my "Law & Order" episode of a childhood has made me the person I am today. And I’m pretty great, as I’m sure you’ll agree.
So, on Father's Day, I choose to celebrate us kids who turned out just fine in spite of our fathers’ worst efforts.
And I urge the men of our generation who are new fathers or who are considering becoming fathers to please take the title of "father" to heart.
Act out the part with everything you have inside of you.
Love your child — whether he or she is a stepchild, foster child, godchild, etc. — as much as you can and as best as you can.
Because children grow up. And, when they do, they will show you what you showed them, for better or for worse.
No one's trying to play Mother Teresa, so for your own sake, be a good dad while you have the chance.
I'm begging you.